Educationists, academicians, reject proposed amendments in HEC ordinance
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Educationists, academicians, reject proposed amendments in HEC ordinance

APUBTA HEC agreement

By Arsalan Haider

Lahore: The noted educationists, academicians, and Vice Chancellors have widely rejected some private members’ recently proposed amendments in Higher Education Commission (HEC) ordinance.

Founding Chairman HEC and noted scientist Prof Dr Atta Ur Rahman criticised the proposed ordinance and shared his thoughts on social media platform LinkedIn. He wrote, “At the Higher Education Commission meeting yesterday, I reiterated that HEC was set up by us as a facilitators body and every clause in its Act emphasises this role.”

He further explained, “ Universities are autonomous institutions all over the world, governed by their respective Syndicates, Senate’s and Academic Councils. I was the Federal Minister responsible at the time (2002) in the Cabinet when each clause was discussed and the supportive role emphasised when the Act was being designed. I hope that there is no change in this important aspect of the organisation.”

Former Executive Director HEC and CEO Knowledge Streams Prof Dr Sohail Naqvi penned down his views on LinkedIn and wrote, “When the original act, establishing the HEC was being drafted, there was wide ranging debate on the essential spirit of the organisation to be established. Following extensive debate and deliberations there was unanimity of opinion that HEC must be a facilitatory and supportive body that will develop standards for the higher education sector to help the universities achieve excellence.”

He further noted, “Another key principle was the recognition of universities as autonomous, self-governing institutions of higher learning. Quality was to be ensured by adhering to the international principles of quality assurance, the heart of which lay in the “ownership” of Quality by universities and external peer review.

These are the foundations on which the edifice of the world’s premier systems of higher education have been built and what lay at the core of HEC. A private member bill aims to fundamentally alter the facilitatory and supportive role of HEC. This must be carefully reviewed and all stakeholder universities, faculty and vice chancellors brought on board to ensure the continued development of this critical sector of Pakistan.”

Chairman APSUP Chaudhry Abdul Rahman shared his views, “As per my humble suggestion, no amendments in the law should be made without the consultation of all the stakeholders involved.

Moreover, as most of our country’s institutions are on the verge of collapse, my suggestion is that the role of HEC should be of a facilitator rather than a policeman.”

Former Vice Chancellor University of the Punjab Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran told Academia Magazine, “I am shocked at the amendments whereby FIRs will be registered against universities for what HEC or someone else. This is unbelievable – things have come to such a state. I would like to know who has suggested such anti-academic proposals to worthy MNAs. Obviously, some interested and anti-academic party is trying to destroy HE and the autonomy of HEIs from behind the scenes.”

Vice Chancellor Punjab University of Technology Rasul Prof Dr Rauf I Azam wrote on LinkedIn, “Can’t agree more. A law of such high importance on which the development of our future generations and autonomy of the federating units and the HEIs across the country rests should not be amended in haste through a shortcut like a private members bill. It should go through a full-scale national discourse engaging all the possible stakeholders with a futuristic vision and well-thought strategy.”

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