‘VCs did not attend meeting over misunderstanding’

LAHORE: Punjab barring varsity vice chancellors from participating in the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan meeting must have been based on some misunderstanding, said HEC Chairperson Dr Mukhtar Ahmed. He added the 18th Amendment is a reality and the only contention was different interpretation of the law.

He was addressing a press conference with reporters in Lahore through a video link at the HEC Regional Centre on Friday.

He also rubbished a recent report that claimed that the higher education sector showed a dismal performance throughout 2017.

Dr Ahmed said the matter of devolution of the higher education sector would be decided in the Council of Common Interests (CCI). He said that the issues being faced after the 18th Constitutional Amendment were under discussion at the CCI, where a committee was deliberating and a consensus was being sought by the provinces.

He added that a meeting of the CCI committee was held with ministers and other high ranking officials from provinces. The moot was conducted under the supervision of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The chairman said that ever since he joined the HEC, he strived for national integration to achieve collective goals.

He said that the vice chancellors meeting was a matter of routine and four or five such moots took place every year.

Dr Ahmed added that as an educationist, he always feared every province could take a very different direction that under the pretext of devolution. “As a result, we could get to a stage where degrees given by one province would not be accepted by another.”

He added that some provinces had set up their own HECs and some wanted their own accreditation councils to replace the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), the Pakistan Engineering Council and others. To counter this, he said, there was a need for a discussion on mechanisms.

Talking about the letter barring vice chancellors by the Punjab Higher Education Department (HED), the chairman said he failed to understand the logic as Punjab had already given a workable proposal at the CCI meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2018.

Syed Zafar Ali Shah was speaking at the 1st International Conference on Quality Assurance in higher education

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1601968/1-vcs-not-attend-meeting-misunderstanding/