Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) Rana Tanveer Hussain has urged the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to put more effort into increasing the quality of the country’s higher education. He also stressed enhancing access to higher education in such a way that it does not compromise quality.

During a meeting at HEC Secretariat, Dr Shaista Sohail, Acting Chairperson of HEC gave a detailed briefing to the Minister on the roles and responsibilities of HEC as well as the challenges being faced by the higher education sector. The meeting was attended by all divisional heads of HEC.

The Minister appreciated HEC for its various initiatives to develop the higher education sector but stressed that more efforts are required to implement the policies to improve quality in letter and spirit. “There is no denying the fact that access to higher education must increase, but there should be a constant improvement in the quality of education and research.”

The Minister also emphasized that the universities should be encouraged to generate resources other than the Government’s funding. He underlined the need to strengthen universities’ capacity for resource generation as well as efficient management of these resources.

“Teachers play a key role in any education system. HEC has a system in place for their capacity building, but it needs to be further strengthened and planning should also be done to include training of college teachers. Secondly, the world is shifting towards a system where focus is being given to skills of students therefore, we also need to train our teachers and university management to plan their curricula and teaching methodology in that way,” he said.

Rana Tanveer Hussain directed HEC authorities to restart the national ranking process of universities, saying that it is an important factor to urge universities to improve their performance. “It is good that a few of our universities have made it to the top ranked global universities but the figure is too low. I believe that ranking at national level will play a catalytic role for enhancing performance of our universities.”

Dr. Shaista Sohail, in her briefing, gave an overview of all major functions of HEC, including quality assurance, accreditation of universities and degree programs, funding mechanism, strengthening of universities’ physical and technological infrastructure including Smart Universities and other HEC services like attestation and equivalence of degrees. The Acting Chairperson HEC also described the challenges faced by HEC in execution of its policies and hoped that with the Government’s support the higher education plans will be implemented smoothly.

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