VCs oppose provincial HECs without thorough consultation


ISLAMABAD: The vice chancellors and rectors of the public sector universities agreed that the higher education bodies at the provincial level should not be established without proper consultation and comprehensive discussion, and that their functions should not contradict those of the federal Higher Education Commission (HEC).Over 65 heads of the higher education institutions of the government sector gathered in Islamabad for the meeting to discuss the Post 18-Amendment scenario as far as future of the higher education sector in Pakistan is concerned. It may be mentioned here that are discussions are a foot for quite a while to establish the higher education controlling bodies at the provincial levels.The participants were of the opinion that comprehensive consultations should be held, involving all stakeholders, rather than taking steps in a hurried manner. It was discussed that setting up the provincial HECs without amending the HEC Ordinance 2002 would be against the constitution. A vice chancellor from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who had proposed a model of the HEC in the province had already been rejected by others as it only duplicated the present HEC’s role.The participants also discussed formation of the HEC in Sindh, which has still not become functional. Similarly, in Punjab, committee is deliberating on formulating a model of the HEC, but faces divergent views among the vice chancellors. The vice chancellors said that the provincial HECs should be made after fulfilling all legal requirements and these bodies should complement the federal HEC rather than contradicting its functions and policies.HEC Chairman Syed Imtiaz Gilani emphasised that the HEC has made a number of achievements in the last 12 years and the criteria set by the commission have helped the universities improve their standards. “It is prudent to think very carefully before implementing changes in an organisation that has worked very well,” he said.A proposed model for higher education was discussed by the vice chancellors, which says that the devolution of the higher education to the provinces should only be done after detailed deliberations on different legal and academic issues. The model offers two options, either provincial HECs should be established without proper consultation or go through a transformation process in the light of achievements made by the HEC in the last 12 years. The participants were of the opinion that the HEC should be a federation lever, and should be involved in the policy formulation, coordination like recognition, curriculum, quality assurance and research priorities, while bodies at the provincial level should be involved in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation, provincial level funding and facilitating in adding up the process.

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