Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, chairman Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has said that the most crucial issue we face today is quality of governance in universities, along with financial control and management systems, functions and operations of the statutory bodies of the universities and institution of quality control and improvement mechanisms are a few crucial areas that deserve attention of the university leaders today.
He said this while presiding over a meeting of all the vice chancellors of universities and heads of degree awarding institutes Sindh in Karachi. Some 37 vice chancellors from public and private sector were present at the occasion.
While informing that HEC is liaising with the Government of Pakistan to secure maximum possible funding for HE Sector for FY 2015-16 and supplementary grant of Rs 2.80 billion during the CFY 2014-15. He said the government of Pakistan is fully committed to supporting the Higher Education Sector, which is evident from the all-time high funding during FY 2014-15, and inclusion of 55 new development projects in PSDP 2014-15. This is in addition to numerous initiatives of the Government of Pakistan such as PM Fee Reimbursement Programme, PM Laptop Scheme, establishment of a university or its sub-campus in each District of the country to being higher education to the doorstep of the masses, Smart and fully IT enabled Universities, Split PhD Scholarship Schemes for non-PhD faculty, etc., it is the responsibility of the each of us to set high standards of performance and delivery.
The chairman stressed the need for instituting zero tolerance to plagiarism, promoting moral and ethical behaviour, establishing strong financial control and management systems, observance of rules and standards in granting affiliations and opening of sub-campuses under PPP (Public Private Partnerships), observing entrance requirements into MS/MPhil programmes, exercising all possible vigilance and putting into place necessary mechanisms to curb the menace of fake degrees, greater participation of PhD students in IRSIP (International Research Support Initiative Programme) to boost quality of indigenously earned PhD degrees, and working with the community and local organisations to play an effective role in societal development.
Dow University of Heath Sciences, Karachi Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Masood Hameed Khan, appreciated the efforts of HEC to gather all the Vice Chancellors of the province and interact with them directly. University of Sindh, Jamshoro Vice Chancellor, Dr. Abida Taherani, requested the HEC that new campuses should be opened only where capacity exists. She also highlighted the need setting up more Engineering Universities in the country.
Dawood University of Engineering and Technology, Vice Chancellor, Dr. Faizullah Abbasi, Karachi opined that old and experienced universities should help support building capacity of new universities. Institute of Business Management, Karachi Rector, Dr. Talib Kareem, highlighted the issues faced by private universities in the province. He suggested that there should be only one entity for accreditation. At present universities in Sindh are facing difficulties in securing accreditation with many agencies.
Ziauddin University, Karachi Vice Chancellor, Dr. Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, appreciated the efforts of the chair. He suggested that regular meetings with the vice chancellors be held. SZABIST President, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, expressed resolve of the universities to curb all kinds of plagiarism and instituting a policy of no compromise on quality. She emphasised that HEC’s administrative action on fake degrees is fully supported; HEC should be strengthened, its autonomy be preserved and protected and its national role in prescribing and ensuring compliance of national standards as a regulatory authority for Higher Education needs to continue in national interest.
On behalf of all Vice Chancellors, Dr. Mohammad Rais Alvi, Rector, KASBIT expressed gratitude to the Chairman HEC and his team for organising the meeting at Karachi and pledged that there shall be no compromise on quality of higher education. The chairman, HEC appreciated the handholding pledge by the vice chancellors for promotion of higher education and announced to have biannual meeting with the vice chancellors.