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February 2, 2015

Challenges faced by HEC discussed


February 2, 2015

All the accreditation councils of the country were brought together under one roof to discuss challenges faced by HEC with regard to the process of accreditation keeping in view the expansion of higher education sector.
The issue was discussed at great length in the fifth meeting of country’s Accreditation Councils held at Higher Education Commission (HEC). The meeting discussed that how the process of accreditation could be revamped and strengthened keeping in view the expansion of higher education sector, and learning from international best practices in the accreditation process.
Accreditation Councils are responsible for Programme Accreditation at undergraduate level across the country in the respective subjects with complete autonomy in terms of implementation under policy guidelines of HEC, whereas HEC is responsible for Institutional Accreditation as per its Act.
The two-day activity was aimed at formulating a joint strategy to ensure accreditation process in a more effective manner, and align their objectives with the Government’s Vision 2025, which has put special emphasis on ensuring quality of higher education through Programme as well as Institutional accreditation.
Speaking to the participants, HEC Chairman Mukhtar Ahmed appreciated role of all the accreditation councils for their efforts to streamline programmes in the respective fields. He hoped that close coordination among these councils and HEC will ensure quality at all levels of the higher education sector.
On first day of the meeting, each Council presented its functions and future plans and shared their good practices. The second day focused on agenda items like standardisation of accreditation process, implementation of effective communication strategy between HEC, Councils and universities/Degree Awarding Institutions (DAIs), significance of MoU, training for evaluators of the Councils, organisation of national and international conferences, publishing

programme accreditation reports on Councils’ websites, publicity of QAA’s and Councils’ policies for parents/students alerts.
It was decided that meeting of heads of all accreditation councils will be held at least once a year while the Sub-Committee will meet twice a year to discuss progress on the agreed issues and further strengthen coordination between HEC and the accreditation councils.
Most of these accreditation councils have already signed MoUs with HEC for revamping and strengthening process of accreditation of programmes in the respective disciplines, while the remaining councils agreed to sign MoUs on priority.
Another important issue discussed in the meeting was the impact of zero visits upon institutional and programme accreditation. It was emphasised that zero visits should not be taken as a go-ahead signal for launching any Programme but will be considered as Gap Analysis visit. Any University/Degree Awarding Institution will be allowed to launch a Programme only after meeting all the requirements. HEC will extend full support to all Councils in developing their Programme Evaluators capacity by providing them relevant trainings and capacity building workshops on a regular basis.
It was also agreed that each accreditation council will hold national as well as international conferences in their respective areas to bring stakeholders on one platform as well as learn from international practices. Another important decision was holding of national conference by HEC to be attended by all the accreditation councils and Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) of the country, brining all stakeholders, responsible for quality of higher education, on one platform so that they align their objectives and work in close coordination.
Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, HEC Chairman, chaired and inaugurated the meeting, organised by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) of HEC. The Councils whose Chairmen, Presidents and Registrars attended the meeting included Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Pakistan Council for Architects and Town Planners (PCATP), Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), Pakistan Nursing Council (PNC), Pharmacy Council of Pakistan (PCP), Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council (PVMC), National Council for Homoeopathy (NCH), National Accreditation Council for Teachers Education (NACTE), National Agricultural Education Accreditation Council (NAEAC), National Computing Education Accreditation Council (NCEAC), and National Business Education Accreditation Council (NBEAC).

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