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July 17, 2018

HEC moot demands autonomy of universities


July 17, 2018

Islamabad: The joint declaration of 4th Stakeholders Consultative Dialogue on Higher Education in Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities issued here, has demanded ensuring autonomy of universities, strengthening role of civil society, working groups and media for transparent, merit based appointments in higher education sector.

The 4th Consultative Dialogue was organised by Inter-University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences in collaboration with Punjab Higher Education Commission and Federal HEC at University of Education, Lahore.

The meeting also demanded a constitutional amendment for allocating 4% of GDP for education sector and one quarter to higher education out of total education budget, establishment of provincial HECs as autonomous bodies that complement functions of federal HEC without jurisdictional conflict as per decision of Council of Common Interests and 18thConstitutional Amendment, formation of National Task Force with proper secretariat and support staff to recommend improvements in higher education.

The dialogue was attended by Chairperson, Punjab HEC, Dr Nizamuddin, HEC Executive Director Dr Arshad Ali, Dr Rauf-i-Azam Vice-Chancellor, University of Education, Lahore, and other vice chancellors, academicians, elected faculty and civil society representatives, analysts, columnists and HEC, PHEC officials. The participants highlighted role of civil society, FAPUASA, media and higher education working group in transparent and merit-based recent appointment of Chairperson, HEC, through continuous monitoring and demanded such practices should be continued for ensuring transparent appointments of higher education leadership at provincial levels as well. It was the first public event at Lahore where the leadership of Federal HEC and Punjab HEC gathered and vowed to undertake collaborative efforts for meeting challenges in higher education sector.

The joint declaration also endorsed the main decisions of the recent vice-chancellors’ meeting held in Lahore regarding TTS and issues of approved journals especially related to Social Sciences and languages, approval by HEC for new MPhil and PhD programmes, composition of syndicates as well as autonomy of the universities.

The said meeting also resolved issues related to functions and representation of provinces in HEC governing bodies and other disputed matters. The participants urged effective mechanism to implement the decisions of the CCI to avoid further confusion. It was also suggested that Federal HEC should work closely with the provincial governments in this regard.

The participants had unanimous view regarding continuous review of policies and rules in higher education sector, end of external interference in university affairs, merit-based appointments, bridging the gaps among universities, policy makers and industry, selecting best Pakistani universities for improving their international and regional rankings, promoting values of peace, tolerance and harmony in university youth through strengthening student societies and sharing existing resources and expertise.

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