HEC audit ordered to judge its performance

ISLAMABAD, May 7(Daily Times): The federal cabinet has ordered the Higher Education Commission's (HEC) international quality education audit to judge its performance, officials said.

They said the cabinet, in its meeting on April 11, had expressed concern over the deteriorating standards of education in the country. It noted that the indiscriminate award of charters to private universities and acquisition of substandard PhD degrees by individuals without any adequate quality assurance mechanisms in place.

The cabinet observed that there was a proliferation of agencies and organisations dealing with educational institutes at the federal and provincial levels resulting in the deterioration of education, which needed to be checked, officials said.

They said the HEC had been directed to regularly evaluate the performance of all private and government universities in the country and publicise their rankings to promote a culture of competition among the universities.

The cabinet also felt that transparent criteria should be evolved for the funding of private sector universities in addition to expediting work on the Ghandara University, the Balochistan University and the Multan University. They said the cabinet had also directed the HEC to make PhD college teachers' allowance equal to university teachers' from July 1 this year.

In its recent meeting, the Senate Standing Committee on Education observed that PhD teachers in reputed universities were receiving Rs 5,000 per month as PhD allowance, while PhD teachers in colleges and universities in remote areas were deprived of the same.

The committee had recommended that the government adopt a uniform policy in this regard. The cabinet, the officials said, believed that the HEC should consider funding the Tourism Development Institute, Swat, currently run by the Tourism Ministry to train people, mainly in hospitality.

The ministry has also approached the HEC for affiliation with some local or foreign university. "We have also approached a world recognised Austrian institute for affiliation," said a senior Tourism Ministry official.

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