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February 4, 2015

Symposium on higher education curriculum begins


February 4, 2015

The two-day national symposium on ‘Curriculum Development in Higher Education’ began at Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) here on Tuesday.
The symposium, which is being organised by the Academics Division of Higher Education Commission (HEC), is aimed at brainstorming the most suitable procedure to be adopted as a guideline for undertaking curriculum revision and development at undergraduate and graduate levels.
Minister of State for Education and Professional Training Muhammad Baligh ur Rehman was the chief guest in the opening ceremony. HEC Chairman Professor Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, AIOU Vice Chancellor Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, HEC Executive Director Dr. Mansoor Akbar Kundi, Dr. Mahmood-ul-Hassan Butt, former vice chancellor of AIOU and a keynote speaker, as well as vice chancellors of local universities were present on the occasion.
The experts, invited from relevant fields in academia as well as industry, will review current practices of curriculum development in higher education and have focus group discussions to recommend strategies for improving current practices.
The symposium is aimed at placing higher education in its local milieu from the international context that is kept in view when transplanting educational practices, identifying and filling the gaps that currently exist in higher education curriculum planning, responding to needs of the society and related industries, fulfilling the curriculum development needs with regards to coordination and alignment, improving horizontal and vertical relationship in curriculum, and revising the curriculum on regular bases for continuous improvement.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that curriculum is one of the most important components of the education system and appreciated the Higher Education Commission for taking well-timed initiative to review the process of curriculum development. He said that timely revision of curriculum was imperative for assuring quality of

education and setting high standards for the education sector.
He shared with the audience the establishment of National Curriculum Council, which has representation of all regions of the country and is aimed at setting minimum criteria for curricula from KG to Grade-12. He told the audience that an Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference was held recently in Islamabad which was attended by education ministers and secretaries from all provinces, FATA, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan. "The response from all regions of the country was very positive and the participants discussed performance of the education sector and discussed future plan of action for the promotion of the education sector."
The minister stressed the significance of academia’s linkage with the industry, SMEs as well as the government to make sure that our education institutions work as an engine for the socio-economic growth of the country.
The HEC chairman elaborated the role of erstwhile University Grants Commission and HEC, since its inception in 2002, for curriculum revision. He said that though HEC’s Curriculum Revision Committees in different disciplines have been meeting regularly to review curricula of respective subjects but a need was felt to gather experts and evaluate the review process itself.
“The basic concept of holding this symposium is to further develop the curriculum review process and seek guidance from experts on how current practices of curriculum review may be further improved and ensure that curricula taught at higher learning institutions fulfills the requirement of our society, industry as well as government’s policy making,” Dr. Mukhtar said.
It is expected that by end of this activity a white paper highlighting specific recommendations on the theme and the objective of this symposium will be developed by the core committee consisting of curriculum planning specialists. This white paper will serve as guidelines for Curriculum Division of HEC to set framework and standards of curriculum development in an appropriate way.

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