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January 11, 2020

HED Punjab declares 23 sub-campuses of seven private universities unauthorised

National

January 11, 2020

LAHORE: In a major development, the Higher Education Department (HED) Punjab while declaring 23 sub-campuses of seven private sector universities unauthorised, and has directed the universities to immediately stop any further intake of students at these sub-campuses.

In the next phase, the HED Punjab is going to recommend legal action against the universities, it is learnt. According to documents available with The News, these 23 sub-campuses have been operating without the approval of the Punjab Governor who by virtue of his office is Patron of these universities.

Sources in the HED said the next step would be closure of the sub-campuses if these universities failed to get governor’s approval as required under the Acts/Ordinances of these very universities. They said besides being unauthorised these sub-campuses did not meet the minimum academic, management and legal requirements as envisaged by the Punjab government in its policy issued in 2006 and instructions of HEC Islamabad and HED Punjab from time to time.

The University of Central Punjab (UCP), a project of Punjab Group of Colleges, is on top of the list with eight unauthorised sub-campuses situated at Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Multan, Sialkot, Sargodha and Bahawalpur. The Superior College has four unauthorised sub-campuses situated at Faisalabad, Sargodha, Khanpur and Bahawalpur.

The National College of Business Administration and Economics (NCBA&E) has also four unauthorised sub-campuses situated at Gujrat, Sialkot, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan. The University of Lahore (UoL) has three unauthorised sub-campuses situated at Islamabad, Gujrat and Pakpattan. The Qarshi University has two unauthorised sub-campuses situated in Lahore at Canal Road and Ferozepur Road.

The University of Management & Technology (UMT) has one unauthorised sub-campus situated in Sialkot. Similarly, the Hajvery University has one unauthorised sub-campus situated at Sheikhupura.

A senior HED official, seeking anonymity, said unauthorised and unlawful academic programmes (being offered without accreditation) at many of these unauthorised sub-campuses were tantamount to offence of a serious nature. He went on to say that certain programmes were being offered at these unauthorised sub-campuses beyond legal jurisdiction as well as statutory approvals of the Patron (Governor Punjab) as per the Act/Ordinances of these very universities.

The official said at most of the sub-campuses the universities did not fulfill the prescribed requirements of teaching faculty. “This shortage of teaching faculty has a direct bearing on the prescribed benchmarks of quality of education and student-teacher ratio,” he added. Giving an example he said, against the requirement of 44 PhDs, only 32 PhD faculty members were working at the UoL’s Gujrat sub-campus (unauthorised) across 11 departments with no PhD faculty in the Medical Lab Technology, Radiological Medical Imaging and Physical Therapy departments.

The official said a recent inquiry into all these 23 unauthorised sub-campuses revealed that the accreditation process with regard to the visit of these sub-campuses by the sub-committee of Accreditation Committee was compromised and certain codal requirements were dispensed with. “We are going to take action against them as well,” he added.

It is pertinent to mention that HED Punjab high-ups in a recent meeting with Special Committee of the Punjab Assembly constituted to inquire into / evaluate the issues moved up in the Adjournment Motion No 769/19 informed the committee that in the past, similar situation was witnessed with regard to the establishment of sub-campuses of both public and private sector universities of Punjab.

The committee was informed that transparency, legality, propriety and quality were major casualties while the “investors/owners” minted huge amount of money at the cost of future of thousands of students. In this regard, the committee was informed that BZU's unauthorised sub-campus at Lahore was closed down on account of illegalities involved in its approval/establishment while the students had to be adjusted at the principle seat in Multan and some other universities. Similarly the University of Sargodha's five sub-campuses were also found short of legal and codal requirements and the students had to be adjusted at the principle seat during 2017-18, the committee was also informed.

When contacted, Secretary HED Punjab, Sajid Zafar Daal said directing the universities to immediately stop intake of students was the first step. “We are arranging a meeting of the Accreditation Committee early to assess these sub-campuses and then recommend legal actions against them,” he added.