Pakistan Affairs

HEC for Promotion of Higher Education and Qualitative Research (CSS 2017)

Enumerate the measures adopted by HEC for promotion of higher education and qualitative research in Pakistan. (CSS-2017)


HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION (H E C)

HEC is an independent and autonomous institution which was established in 2002 through an amendment in the constitution. It is responsible for making higher education policy and accrediting academic degrees. It can develop new institutions as well as upgrade the old ones. It plays a leading role in building knowledge based economy in Pakistan. HEC is empowered to grant scholarships for higher education and research both at home and abroad. It is also authorized to upgrade colleges and universities via assessing the level of research and development and other academic activities in the institutions. It is the successor organization of University Grants Commission (UGC).

Higher Education Commission (HEC) is continued to improve access to quality higher education as a key element of its strategy to bring higher education revolution in the country. HEC is focused on creating the knowledge capital and technology required to enable Pakistan to join the ranks of the industrially advanced countries. With the continuous support of Government of Pakistan, HEC has provided access to quality education to masses, upgraded teaching and research labs, provided merit and need based home-grown and foreign scholarships to the talented youth and free access to scientific literature through digital library.

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Vision 2025

The government has formulated a long-term roadmap as the Vision 2025 for a developed and prosperous Pakistan addressing key sector of the country. The Vision 2025 stands on 7 Pillars. Pillar-I emphasized developing human and social capital. It seeks to bring human resource development to the top of national agenda by substantial expansion in levels of education as well as improvements in the quality of education. A larger share of the GDP, at least four per cent to education, would have to be allocated. Key goals under this pillar are:

• Universal primary education with 100 per cent net primary enrolment.
• Increase higher education coverage from seven per cent to 12 per cent.
• Increase number of PhDs from 7,000 to 15,000.

To realize the Vision, the 11th Five Year Plan presents a comprehensive approach for addressing human and social development gaps with an emphasis on developing human and social capital to take full advantage of Pakistan’s youth bulge. Pakistan has been projected to become the 5th populous country by 2030, with a population ranging between 230 and 260 million people. Large portion will be the youth. This dividend can be gained through higher productivity and a faster economic growth by providing quality education throughout the population.

The Higher Education Commission has taken numerous measures to address the above mentioned human resources needs by providing access to higher education to masses, providing opportunities to the youth to seek higher studies in the top world class university, provision of research and academic conducive environment to student and faculty.

Performance

Since the establishment of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), several headways have been made to improve the quality of education. However because of previous neglect for extended period of time on university education, Pakistan is still not in a very good position. To catch up with the high ranking countries in quality of university education, still much has been desired to make. The HEC has taken up the target as envisaged in Vision 2025 to enhance the enrolment in higher education institutions 12 per cent of the youth aged between 17-23 years.

Global visibility

The HEC tried to develop sustainable, dynamic and internationally competitive higher education sector in Pakistan that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge. Due to collective and concerted effort of HEC in coordination with the major stakeholders, the output in Higher Education Institutions of the country have shown tremendous improvements and Pakistan has been acknowledged as rising star by the international higher education community in a number of disciplines. Today many Pakistani universities are seen on the globe.

Human resource development

The youth is the real driving force towards a prosperous Pakistan; therefore, government has launched numerous initiatives to get the youth bulge dividend by developing human resources. Under the HEC, activities mainly focus on providing opportunities to access top universities of Pakistan and the world through various scholarships programs.

Scholarship schemes

HEC had completed 13 scholarship schemes while same numbers of programs are ongoing that contains around 28000 scholarships. Around 18000 scholarships have already been awarded and the rest 10,000 will be awarded. Beside this the phases-II of Fulbright program for 550 MS and 266 PhD and Phase-III of Overseas Scholarship Program for 2000 foreign MS leading to PhD scholarships were be launched in 2015-16.

Modern equipment

The HEC is also focusing to equip the universities and students with latest equipment. Almost all programs for strengthening of universities have provision of modern equipment. For students, under the PM scheme 100,000 laptops have been provided to talented students

Research and development

The HEC has been adopting a wholesome approach to ensure sustainable and progressive research culture in higher education institutions, ranging from personal development to strengthening of universities – through capacity development of human resource, exposure of faculty and researchers to international academia by establishing linkages with foreign universities, strengthening of research and teaching labs, and development of research incubators. Due to this, the research activities have enhanced in the public sector institutions resulting in more than 6 folds increase in research articles published in impact factor journals. Streamlined research, generated by strategic academic processes that build strong societies and economies has now entered a takeoff phase of commercialization. Business and Technology Incubators are being established in universities across Pakistan to promote university-industry collaboration. In order to sustain the trend and to expand the horizon of research activities in HEIs while reaping the benefits of research in real term of community impact and research commercialization, HEC focused on research activities those have direct impact on community wellbeing and economy of the country. About 30-32 per cent of the development funds have been allocated for provision of latest teaching and research lab equipment to expand and enhance the R&D infrastructure of the universities.

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International Linkages: Under Pak-US Joint Academic and Research Project, 78 Pak-US linkages of three years duration were established in six phases out of which 38 projects have been completed.

National Research Grants:

During the year 2016 one hundred ninety fife national research projects were funded under National Research Program for Universities with the maximum duration of three years. HEC spent 490 million on these projects.

Seminars/Conferences

HEC is spending huge amounts on conducting conferences and seminars to promote education via exchange of views and fresh ideas to boost up the educational standards.
Infrastructure development

Every project undertaken for either strengthening of old universities or establishing of new universities contains a major component of infrastructure development. Planning Commission is very keen in the designing and outlook of the façade and elevation of the buildings. A policy has been adopted where universities must develop the signature campuses matching with the local cultural heritage and their old historical buildings.

Programs

The HEC will continue to evaluate, improve and promote higher education by providing policies guidelines, improving standards and making investments for infrastructure and human resource development in Pakistan. Increasing the accessibility to higher education will be the main focus. Human resource development will continue through implementation of a number of initiatives like award of scholarships, provision of ICT infrastructure, state of the art Labs, laptops etc.

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Technology Development Fund for the HEC scholars returning from abroad

Since inception of the HEC, millions of rupees have been spent on the human resource development as a result thousands of PhD scholars have returned to the country. Now it is time to ask for the return on investment, therefore, government has set aside funds to help the industrial sector. A project titled Establishment of Technology Development Fund for HEC scholars returning after completion of PhD to introduce new technologies application in Pakistan has been proposed at a cost of Rs5 billion. Establishment of new universities

• University of Sibi, Balochistan
• Establishment of AJ&K Women University, Bagh, AJ & K
• Establishment of University of Baltistan
• Establishment of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture, Multan
• Establishment of FATA University

Strengthening of universities/ degree awarding institutions

Besides ongoing projects, several new activities for the strengthening of universities/ degree awarding institutions will be undertaken. Following are the new initiatives which will be funded afresh in PSDP 2015-16.

• Development of Fatima Jinnah Women University, Campus-II, Rawalpindi
• Establishment of National Science & Technology Park at Central Campus Islamabad
• Up gradation of National Institute of Science & Technical Education (NISTE) Islamabad into Skill University
• Strengthening & Expansion of Baluchistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences, Quetta
• Establishment of sub campus of Baluchistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences, Quetta at Muslim Bagh, Qila Saifullah
• Innovation Centre and Software Park at UET Sub-Campus Lahore
• Establishment of Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation University, to name only a few.

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