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July 29, 2016

Accreditation councils agree to change university ranking for ensuring accuracy

Islamabad

July 29, 2016

Islamabad

All accreditation councils agreed to replace current university ranking with the programme ranking so that accuracy could be ensured.

The agreement was reached at a sixth meeting of all the accreditation councils organised by Higher Education Commission (HEC) to discuss various accreditation issues pertaining to different disciplines, universities and their campuses. HEC Chairman Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed chaired the meeting which was attended by Dr. Arshad Ali, Executive Director HEC, Rafique Baloch, Director General Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), Nasir Shah, Director QAA, and heads and representatives of all the Accreditation Councils including Pakistan Engineering Council, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, Pakistan Veterinary Council, Pakistan Nursing Council, Pakistan Council for Architecture and Town Planners, Pharmacy Council of Pakistan, Pakistan Bar Council, Pakistan Council for Homeopathy, National Council for Tibb, National Agriculture Education Accreditation Council, National Business Education Accreditation Council, National Computing Education Accreditation Council, and National Accreditation Council for Teacher Education.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed stressed the need for close coordination and joint effort to ensure quality of higher education in the country. “The two most important issues facing the higher education sector are quality and governance in universities. We have to put joint efforts to address these challenges,” the Chairman underlined.

He also urged the accreditation councils to avoid issuing conditional NoCs to universities or their campuses to launch new program, as this practice risks future of students if the University fails to meet the criteria. He also emphasized conducting joint review of programme by HEC and the respective accreditation council.

Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said the world is opting for virtual facilities instead of building physical laboratories, however the need for tangible facilities in Pakistan cannot be neglected. He said the universities should be convinced to share facilities within their departments, as setting up separate laboratories, libraries and other facilities for every department is impossible. “HEC has spent Rs225 billion on building infrastructure in institutions for the last 12 years,” he said.

He urged the accreditation councils to address universities’ complaints about visit charges. “The accreditation councils are professional bodies not meant for policing over universities but to facilitate them.”

Expressing concerns over shifting of medical colleges once again to annual study system, he directed the PMDC to ensure implementation of semester system as required internally. Underlining the significance of standardized training of accreditation councils, he said that HEC may hire foreign experts to conduct trainings.

The meeting also discussed minutes of the 5th accreditation councils meeting and reviewed progress on their implementation. The participants discussed outcome based education, advertisements about non-accredited programmes by universities, university rankings, self-assessment reports, issues of National Curriculum Review Committee, MoUs of accreditation councils with HEC, and quality of all educational programmes including PhD.

It was also decided that every accreditation council will have representation in the committee meant for ranking. In order to accelerate the operations of accreditation councils and stop anomalies, it was decided that councils meeting will be held after every six months now onwards, while the councils’ sub-committees will hold quarterly meetings. 

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