Commission meeting held after 32 months
Calls for review of university funding mechanism
HEC chairman says plagiarism cases under review
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) welcomes the private sector to play its role for progress of the education sector, but universities violating HEC rules will have to bear a penalty of three times the fees of students enrolled by that institution, HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri has said.
The commission chairman was briefing newsmen after the 33rd Commission meeting that took stock of the HEC performance and progress. The commission meeting was held after a hiatus of 32 months and evaluated HEC’s policy decisions regarding funding and regulation of universities, administrative matters, and quality.
Dr Banuri said the endorsed and appreciated HEC’s endeavours for improvement of quality, access and relevance of education. He said the commission had directed for reviewing the university funding formula in order to ensure performance-based allocation of funds, adding that the commission also directed for formulating separate committees for reforms in higher education system.
Offering further details, the chairman said HEC would formulate Higher Education Information Management System (HEIMS) to collect data of all new and running universities that would help in order to ensure transparency in the affairs of higher education sector.
About the role of private universities, Dr Banuri said HEC encouraged the private sector to come forward to serve the nation, however, there could be no compromise on rules and regulations. He said that universities that opened their campuses needed to obtain a no objection certificate (NOC) from HEC. The chairman said students must check the HEC website before taking admission in any university campus or programme. He added that foreign universities were welcome to set up their campuses in Pakistan, and that they would be treated as per HEC rules for Pakistani universities.
Dr Banuri said the commission praised HEC’s efforts for promotion of ICT in Pakistan, especially the establishment of Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN). He underlined that the commission had directed for strengthening the internal ICT systems of universities so that they could be interconnected nationally and internationally. He revealed that HEC Edu TV, a web-based television channel, had been made active so that students could ask their questions directly. “I will be on air every month and answer questions,” he said.
Commenting on the HEC’s policy on plagiarism, the chairman said HEC was working to tighten the policy to stop false accusations and address loopholes that people exploited. He said high-profile plagiarism cases were under consideration in the Commission and their decisions would be made public once finalised.
The chairman said HEC had reviewed its attestation and equivalence policy and the commission had endorsed the same. Banuri explained that HEC planned to connect the attestation and equivalence system to HEIMS to make the degree verification system online.
Dr Banuri added that the commission meeting had directed HEC to devise a policy to facilitate disabled students studying in universities, and the policy would be presented before the commission in the next meeting. The HEC chairman urged the government to raise the higher education sector’s budget by 20 percent, adding that the commission was already in negotiations with the World Bank to raise funds for further strengthening Pakistani universities.