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July 29, 2016

All stakeholders must work together to improve higher education quality: HEC chief


July 29, 2016


Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed on Wednesday urged the members of the accreditation councils to work in close coordination and put joint efforts to ensure the best possible quality of higher education in the country.

Arranged by the HEC Pakistan on Wednesday, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed was addressing the sixth meeting of the accreditation councils to discuss various accreditation issues pertaining to different disciplines, universities and their campuses 

The HEC chairman chaired the meeting which was attended by Dr Arshad Ali, HEC Executive Director, Rafique Baloch, Director General Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), Nasir Shah, Director QAA, and heads and representatives of all the Accreditation Councils, including the Pakistan Engineering Council, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, the Pakistan Veterinary Council, the Pakistan Nursing Council, the Pakistan Council for Architecture and Town Planners, the Pharmacy Council of Pakistan, the Pakistan Bar Council, the Pakistan Council for Homeopathy, the National Council for Tibb, the National Agriculture Education Accreditation Council, the National Business Education Accreditation Council, the National Computing Education Accreditation Council and the National Accreditation Council for Teacher Education.

 Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed underlined that the two most important issues being faced by the higher education sector were quality and governance in universities.

“We have to put joint efforts to address these challenges,” he said.  He also urged the accreditation councils to avoid issuing conditional no objection certificate (NOC) to universities or their campuses to launch new programmes, saying that this practice risked future of students if the certain university failed to meet the criteria.

He also emphasised on conducting joint review of the HEC programmes and the respective accreditation council.

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said the world was opting for virtual facilities instead of building physical laboratories, but he added that the need for tangible facilities in Pakistan cannot be neglected.

He further said the universities should be convinced to share facilities within their departments, as setting up separate laboratories, libraries and other facilities for every department was not practically possible.  “The HEC has spent Rs225 billion on building infrastructures in institutions for the last 12 years.”

He urged the accreditation councils to address universities’ complaints about visit charges.

“The accreditation councils are professional bodies, which are 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.

Underlining the significance of standardised training of the accreditation councils, he said the HEC may hire foreign experts to conduct trainings.

The meeting also discussed minutes of the fifth 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 the National Curriculum Review Committee, memorandum of understanding of accreditation councils with the HEC, and quality of all educational programmes, including PhD.

It was agreed that the programme ranking should replace university ranking so that accuracy could be ensured. It was also decided that every accreditation council should have representation in the committee meant for ranking.

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