Conspicuous by their absence: HEC’s meeting held in Lahore without VCs

LAHORE: As many as 50 vice chancellors of public and private universities from all over Pakistan, with the exception of Punjab, participated in the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) meeting in Lahore.

While almost all vice chancellors of public universities from Punjab did not attend the meeting, some from the private sector and two from public medical universities were in attendance.

The HEC also decided not to discuss devolution of the commission in the light of the 18th Amendment.

Punjab and Sindh provinces had told their vice chancellors not to attend the as this item was on the agenda.

The Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) barred vice chancellors from attending the meeting and a similar move was made by the Sindh government. Vice chancellors from Sindh participated in the meeting after its provincial government decided to reverse the decision.

However, many of Sindh’s VCs were only able to attend the meeting through video link due the short notice.

According to a press release by HEC, the vice chancellors reposed their confidence in the HEC.

The meeting, chaired by HEC Vice Chancellors Committee Chairman Dr Masoom Yasinzai, was attended by HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed.

Governance and the quality of higher education at universities and their affiliated colleges were discussed.

In his opening remarks, Dr Masoom Yasinzai briefed vice chancellors about the purpose of the meeting. He appreciated the Senate Standing Committee for calling vice chancellors to a provincial consultation seminar.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said HEC emphasises on governance as well as the quality of educational institutions and their affiliated colleges. He said that despite having made significant development, there still a lot to correct.

He stressed the need to set up quality enhancement cells for affiliated colleges to monitor and ensure their performances.

He said it was high time the higher education sector was taken forward by strengthening universities with ensuring accountability.

“Our priority has to be development of the higher education sector,” he said.

He claimed the sector’s development over the past 15 years had earned Pakistan a solid reputation across the globe.

“Mauritius, Bangladesh, Belarus and many other countries have requested HEC to help them set up their higher education bodies on its patterns. The higher education sector lacks nothing now, with the exception of teamwork,” he said.

The chairman added the HEC fully advocated national integration and harmony through education.

The HEC chairman pointed out that the second biggest problem facing higher education institutions was liabilities—around Rs450 billion in lieu of the pension fund. He urged universities to have studies conducted to find a viable solution

Vice chancellors from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa lauded the support of the HEC. The participants of the meeting agreed that the next VC Committee meeting would be held in Gwadar in February.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2018.

Workshop had been organised in collaboration with Higher Education Commission

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