HEC not to com­pro­mise on qual­ity of higher ed­u­ca­tion: Dr Mukhtar

Pakistan Observer - - NATIONAL - SALIM AHMED

LA­HORE—Tak­ing chal­lenges that be­set the higher ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor head on, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Chair­man Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion (HEC) made an im­pas­sioned call to en­sure qual­ity all lev­els of higher ed­u­ca­tion in the coun­try.

While ad­dress­ing the Vice Chan­cel­lors’ Com­mit­tee meet­ing that be­gan here on Mon­day, the Chair­man re­viewed year’s per­for­mance, chal­lenges and is­sues to set tar­get for the next year and urged the gath­er­ing of over 120 heads of pub­lic and pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties that qual­ity of higher ed­u­ca­tion should top their agenda while plan­ning for fur­ther ex­pan­sion and de­vel­op­ment.

Com­par­ing cur­rent bud­get of around 80 bil­lion ru­pees with that of 35 bil­lion in 2010-11, he said there was a re­mark­able in­crease in fund­ing for higher ed­u­ca­tion, though still low as com­pared to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. He ap­pre­ci­ated the Govern­ment for a sus­tain­able sup­port to the sec­tor and em­pha­sized that ‘it is now our re­spon­si­bil­ity to prove that higher learn­ing in­sti­tu­tions be­come a real en­gine for coun­try’s so­cio-eco­nomic growth.’

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed par­tic­u­larly ad­vised the pri­vate sec­tor in­sti­tu­tions that un­doubt­edly ed­u­ca­tion has be­come a busi­ness world­wide but that should not be done at the cost of qual­ity. ‘It’s my hum­ble re­quest that do earn mil­lions through your in­sti­tu­tions but not com­pro­mis­ing on the ba­sic pa­ram­e­ters be­cause if you do so, you will en­dan­ger fu­ture of thou­sands of young­sters who have trusted you for ac­quir­ing good ed­u­ca­tion,’ he added.

He also spoke at length about mush­room­ing of sub-cam­puses as well as launch­ing of MPhil and PhD pro­grammes with­out ful­fil­ment of min­i­mum cri­te­ria. ‘If any in­sti­tu­tion vi­o­late cri­te­ria and goes ahead just for the sake of com­pe­ti­tion or in­crease re­sources, it will def­i­nitely be held ac­count­able. Re­mem­ber there are no short­cuts if we want our in­sti­tu­tions to de­velop at in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. Proper plan­ning for re­source gen­er­a­tion and de­vel­op­ing hu­man re­source is the key to achieve suc­cess.’

To a ques­tion re­gard­ing post-18th amend­ment sce­nario, he said that the is­sue is un­der dis­cus­sion in the Coun­cil of Com­mon In­ter­est (CCI) that will soon de­cide it, keep­ing in view the Supreme Court’s verdict that for­bids any change in higher ed­u­ca­tion reg­u­la­tion sans change in HEC Or­di­nance. He how­ever em­pha­sized that this de­bate should not de­flect our at­ten­tion from the core is­sues of qual­ity and gov­er­nance that face many of our uni­ver­si­ties.

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said that over the years HEC has not only con­sid­er­ably in­creased the bud­get for re­search but has also as­sured that the fac­ulty mem­bers and re­searchers fo­cus on pri­or­ity ar­eas re­lated to our so­ci­ety and coun­try’s eco­nomic chal­lenges. He asked the univer­sity heads to take all pos­si­ble mea­sures for en­cour­ag­ing rel­e­vant re­search and al­lo­cat­ing max­i­mum amount for this pur­pose. He also stressed upon them to clear pla­gia­rism cases pend­ing at their end and en­hance ef­forts for erad­i­cat­ing the men­ace.

The Chair­man also dis­cussed the se­cu­rity prob­lem fac­ing the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, and asked the vice chan­cel­lors to thor­oughly re­view the sit­u­a­tion and come up with so­lu­tions that en­vis­age not only pro­tec­tion of stu­dents and staff but make sure that open dis­play of weapons should not cre­ate a fear­ful en­vi­ron­ment on cam­puses.

He also shed light on var­i­ous on­go­ing and up­com­ing projects of higher ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor in­clud­ing es­tab­lish­ment of tech­ni­cal uni­ver­si­ties, thou­sands of schol­ar­ships un­der US-Pak­istan Knowl­edge Cor­ri­dor in ad­di­tion to ex­ist­ing schol­ar­ship schemes, es­tab­lish­ment of Cen­tres of Ex­cel­lence in Wa­ter, En­ergy, Food Se­cu­rity and Cli­mate Change, cre­ation of tech­nol­ogy parks as well as many na­tional and in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ships for de­vel­op­ing hu­man re­source in all fields of na­tional im­por­tance.

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