Punjab Higher Education CommissionThe recently established Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) is gearing towards building a prosperous and skilled Punjab through providing quality higher education compatible with the imperatives of knowledge economy.While the higher education system in Punjab has witnessed significant expansion and progress over the past decades, there are some fundamental issues that need to be addressed.Pakistan stands at a dismal 9%; lack of trained faculty, non-relevance of university research towards socio-economic needs of the province and low priority to college education are some of the other ailments that have seeped into the system. Transformational and innovative interventions across all levels of the higher education sector are the need of the hour.With the passing of historic 18th amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan and devolution of higher education to the provinces, PHEC is in a strong position to address these crucial matters. It is committed to strengthen existing assets and introduce new initiatives to bring higher education at par with modern needs. Increasing equitable access is a top priority of PHEC along with bringing improvement in academic standards, focusing on research relevant to the socio-economic needs of the province and introducing mandatory faculty development programs to improve teaching standards. PHEC also aims to support the province’s economic agenda by creating a job-ready and employable workforce through increased focus on imparting structural and technical skills.
BackgroundAfter the passing of 18th amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan and devolution of higher education to the provinces, the establishment of the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) was announced by the Chief Minister in February 2013. It was included in the Medium Term Development Framework (MTDF) 2014-17Following this, a five member Steering Committee comprising Vice Chancellors from leading universities of the Punjab was notified by the Chief Minister to put up recommendations for improvement of higher education in Punjab. After detailed deliberations, the committee prepared “Future Road Map of Higher Education” in which it endorsed the establishment of a provincial Higher Commission as an autonomous body. The PHEC Ordinance was approved in October 2014 and the “Punjab Higher Education Commission Act 2014” was passed in January 2015. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nizamuddin (SI) was appointed as the first Chairperson of PHEC which has now become functional and has as initiated work on formulating its 3-year strategic plan to bring higher education at par with modern needs.
Pakistan Research RepositoryPakistan Research Repository is a project of the Higher Education Commission to promote the international visibility of research originating out of institutes of higher education in Pakistan. The aim of this service is to maintain a digital archive of all PhD theses produced indigenously to promote the intellectual output of Pakistani institutions. It provides a free, single-entry access point to view the manuscript of research executed, and distribute this information as widely as possible. The repository which is currently being populated with content has already made the full-text of PhD theses available in high-quality digitized format, whilst a further theses are in process of digitization. Higher Education Commission has introduced a systematic mechanism for the collection and digitization of all the theses produced so far in Pakistan
Recognised UniversitiesThis section offers access to information on Higher Education Institutions of Pakistan recognized by HEC. It provides students, employers and other interested parties with access to authoritative and up-to-date information on the status of Higher Education Institutions.
- Public Universities/Institutes
- Private Universities/Institutes
University RankingThis section offers access to HEC's University Ranking finalised on basis of quality assurance, teaching quality, research, finance and facilities and social integration and community development.
- Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
- University of the Punjab, Lahore
- National University of Science & Technology (NUST)
- University of Agriculture, Faisalabad
- Aga Khan University
- COMSATS Institute of Information Technology
- Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), Islamabad
- University of Karachi
- University of Health Sciences, Lahore
- University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Lahore
FunctionsThe functions of PHEC defined per the Punjab Higher Education Commission Act 2014 are following:
- Coordinate with Higher Education Commission in a result oriented manner
- Formulate guidelines and recommend policies in line with national standards prepared by the Higher Education Commission under which public and private institutions may be opened and operated in the province
- Prescribe guidelines and conditions under which institutions, other than universities and degree awarding institutions, may offer qualifications in the higher education sector
- Cause monitoring and evaluation of the performance of the institutions and carry out accreditation of institutions including their sub-campuses, out posts, faculties, departments and disciplines through Accreditation Committee
- Provide guidelines to ensure good governance and management of institutions to maintain bewildering standards of higher education in the Punjab
- Assist and advise the Government in quality enhancement and quality assurance of colleges
- Cause third party performance audit of higher education institutions and furnish a copy of results to the concerned body for corrective measures and follow ups
- Cause ranking of the higher education institutions of the Punjab
- Submit precise grant in aid requirements of the institutions to the Government
- Allocate funds to public sector institutions out of bulk financial provision received from the Government and other sources for such purpose on performance and need basis
- Advise Institutions in raising funds from sources other than the Government
- Support in creating linkages between institutions and industry as well as national and international organizations that support research and development in the higher education
- Facilitate the introduction of educational and training programs that meet the needs of the market and promote the study in every field of national and international importance in the institutions
- Ensure imparting marketable education and skills in the institutions and promote self-employment through entrepreneurship and small & medium enterprises
- Advise institutions to ensure a proper balance between teaching and research
- Undertake various faculty development programs for improving the quality of teaching and research in the institutions
- Develop guidelines and facilitate the implementation of a system of quality assurance of institutions, based on the standards developed by the Higher Education Commission
- Encourage, support and facilitate training programs, workshops and symposia at provincial and regional levels in public and private sector institutions
- Prepare, in consultation with the institutions, plans for the development of higher education
- Promote formal links between institutions to make the most effective use of expertize and specialized equipment and promote provincial, national and international linkages with respect to knowledge sharing, collaborative research, personnel exchange and cost sharing
- Take measures, including allocation of funds, for award of fellowships, scholarships, travel and research grants
- Establish endowment funds for higher education with contributions from the Government as well as non-governmental national and international sources
- Collect such information and statistics on higher education and institutions as it may deem fit
- Set up various committees consisting of provincial, national and international experts to advise the Commission on its affairs
- Advise the institutions on framing of subordinate legislation; and
- Perform such other functions as may be prescribed or as may be incidental to the discharging of the above functions or as may be assigned to it by the Government.
AchievementsThe creation of HEC has had a positive on higher education in Pakistan.
- Established the finest Digital Library in Pakistan: Every student in every public sector university today has access to 45,000 textbooks research monographs from 220 international publishers as well as to 25,000 international research journals - regarded as one of the best digital libraries anywhere in the world.
- Tripled University enrollment from 135,000 in the year 2003 to 400,000 in 2008.
- Promoted research, resulting in huge expansion of international research publications from Pakistan from only 600 research papers /yr in 2003 to 4300 research papers in 2008.
- During the 56-year period (1947–2003) not a single Pakistani university could be ranked among the top 600 universities in the world. Today 2 Pakistani universities ranked among top 200 World’s Technology Universities.
- Four year undergraduate program introduced so that our degrees are internationally recognized.
- About 5000 Ph.D. level scholarships awarded for study in technologically advanced countries (largest program in developing world) and some 3,000 indigenous Ph.D. scholarships have been awarded. The world’s largest Fulbright Scholarship program (US $150 million) launched with joint funding (HEC/USAID).
- Fifty one new universities and degree awarding institutes and 18 campuses of existing universities established during (2003–2008).
- Sending 1000 Pakistani students to study medicine in Cuba and doing their best to register their degrees by PMDC and soon will send a delegation of members of PMDC,HEC and MNAs
- Seven Pakistan universities became ranked for the first time among the top 250 universities of Asia according to QS World University Rankings 2013.
- Research output out of Pakistan increased by over 50% within two years, which was the second highest increase worldwide. According to Scimago world scientific database, if Pakistan continues at the same pace, its ranking will increase from 43 to 27 globally by 2017.
Availability of InternetThere was a considerable similarity of views about the availability of the internet facilities among administrators, the faculty and students. A significant percentage (about 15 percent) of students was uncertain about the availability of adequate internet facilities. Provision of internet facilities to the faculty and students is meant to equip them with the latest knowledge and technology. The availability of internet is not the only determinant of a good quality of education but there is also the level of its utilization. Internet has opened new avenues for sharing of knowledge with others the world over.The maximum utilization of internet facility by the faculty and students will enable them to have access to knowledge in their fields of study. It is possible only when the faculty and students have ready access to this facility. To facilitate access and use introductory short courses oninternet for teachers and students may also be arranged for the effective utilization of internet
Availability of JournalsA very significant majority of the senior management opined that an adequate number of latest journals were available in libraries to the faculty and students of their institutions. The faculty and administrators responses were similar to that of the senior management. But in contrast to those, only 52 percent of students agreed that an adequate number of journals were available to them. It is noticeable that 30 percent of students were uncertain about the availability of these journals. The findings of the study show that journals are available in the libraries of the sampled HE institutions but it does not show the level of utilization of journals by the faculty or students.Those who were uncertain, either they do not have an easy access to journals or the journals may not be covering their disciplines. On the basis of our evidence it is suggested that journals should cover all the subjects which are being taught in these institutions. Students need to be encouraged and informed by their teachers about the availability the journals. The effective utilization of journals will help students to equip them with the latest knowledge in their related area of education.
Physical FacilitiesPhysical facilities play an important role in the teaching/learning process. Institutions having better physical facilities may attract both teachers and students.
Governance in HECThe HEC is governed and chaired by the appointed chairman who is assisted by the secretaries of education, science and technology, telecommunications, and information technology. The Chairman and secretaries are assisted by the additional members who are appointed from the four provinces as well as university vice-chancellors. Other members are included from state and private-sector and executive director of the HEC. The Chairman of HEC is appointed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan for four tenured term based upon the requests and recommendations send by the Ministry of Education (MoEd).According to HEC Ordinance altered in Constitution, the Prime Minister is the controlling authority of the HEC and the shortlisted names are to be forwarded to Him for the final say. The Prime Minister reserves the right to re-appoint or give extension to the designated chairman.Though the executive director is the administrative head of the HEC, almost every decision in the commission is taken with the consent of the chairman
Budget 2013-14 Higher education gets attention finally
Digital LibraryEC National Digital Library (DL) is a programme to provide researchers within public and private universities in Pakistan and non-profit research and development organizations with access to international scholarly literature based on electronic (online) delivery, providing access to high quality, peer-reviewed journals, databases, articles and e-Books across a wide range of disciplines. The e-books support programme will allow researchers to access most of the important text and reference books electronically in a variety of subject areas. Around 75,000 number of electronic content has been made available through the Digital Library Programme
Financial SupportThe targeted HE institutions financially support their students in terms the scholarships, fee concession and loans. Concerning the financial support the following were the main findings:
- Fee Concession
- Students Loans
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