—HEC hasn’t published annual performance reports since last three years
—Annual reports regularly published under previous two HEC chairmen
ISLAMABAD: The Working Group on Higher Education Reforms, in its review of the ‘Annual Report of Higher Education Commission 2014-15’, has raised questions on the report’s authenticity, saying it does not reflect the true picture of the state of higher education for 2014-15 as important information is missing from the incomplete report.
According to the review prepared by higher education experts and academicians, including office bearers of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA), the government released Rs 24551.344 million for the execution of 192 development projects. But the report did not mention how the funds were utilised.
According to the report, during the fiscal year 2014-15, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) had failed to publish its annual performance report on a regular basis since the last three years.
Under HEC Ordinance 2002, it was mandatory to publish an annual performance report and submit it to the prime minister, who was the controlling authority of HEC. According to clause 14 (5) of HEC Ordinance 2002: “The Commission shall, after the end of every year, submit a report to the controlling authority on the state of higher education and its activities during that year.”
In violation of HEC Ordinance, and after a lapse of more than three years, the annual report for 2014-15 had been published recently in the ongoing year. Under the previous two Chairmen of HEC, the annual reports were published regularly. The commission had only failed to publish an annual report since the last three years under the current chairman.
Observers believed that the reports were kept under wraps for fear of disclosing the HEC’s bad performance before the prime minister, all stakeholders, and the public. The HEC website also had complete annual reports till the year 2013-14, and none beyond that.
According to the findings of the Working Group on Higher Education Reforms, the annual report did not provide any information about key departments of HEC, including Attestation and Accreditation, Statistics, Administration and Coordination, and Quality Assurance Division.
The Working Group on Higher Education Reforms Spokesman Syed Waqar Ali said, “The report did not reflect the overall state of higher education in the country as key information and data related to a number of recognised/unrecognised universities/campuses, enrollment (access to higher education), total number of faculty, total number of PhDs awarded and other data are missing,” the report reads.
He said the report did not indicate anything about the working of the Quality Assurance Division which dealt with very important matters related to plagiarism, the appointment of faculty on tenure track system, publication of recognised journals, criteria for appointment of faculty and undertaking of M.Phil/PhD studies.
The significant information about HEC governing body was also missing as the report remained silent on the total number of meetings and important decisions of HEC’s commission during the reporting period.
“After the passage of the 18th amendment, the report lacks any information about higher education allocations at the provincial levels, coordination of the federal HEC with the provincial governments, and implementation of the Federal Quota Policy in employment within HEC as required under article 38 (g) of the Constitution of Pakistan,” the report disclosed.
The report did not state anything about Pakistan’s position in various international higher education assessments, with special reference to international university rankings. The information related to the overall recurring budget of HEC and the total amount earned from degree attestation as a major source of income was also missing.
According to the report, around 1,779 research projects were received by HEC under the National Research Programme for Universities (NRPU). As far as the mentioned status of the research projects was concerned, only 24.42 per cent projects were recommended while the status of the major portion of the projects (65 per cent) was indicated as “in process”.
Out of the total 10 PhD foreign scholarships allocated for journalists belonging to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, only two scholarships were awarded because most journalists based in FATA did not meet the required edibility criteria, the report mentioned.