The Higher Education Commission (HEC) lacks an effective mechanism to maintain a check over universities that offer bogus courses to students.
An HEC official informed The Express Tribune that it is mandatory for every university to get the commission’s approval, after submitting a complete academic programme before it is established.
However, the HEC has yet to iron out a proper mechanism to oversee the activities of educational institutions after they have received accreditation.
“Some universities initially show various courses to the HEC when they apply for accreditation, but teach different subjects afterwards,” the official said.
The official admitted that a number of universities presently offer bogus programmes/courses while the HEC is kept in the dark and such degrees are not accepted by the concerned bodies later.
“HEC has made it mandatory for all the universities to offer three and a half-year BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) programmes, but some universities are still offering two-year BBA programmes,” noted the official.
Though the HEC has a monitoring and evaluation wing, it only monitors the commission’s research programmes and plays no effective role in monitoring the universities’ programmes or courses.
The ultimate losers, unfortunately, are the students, who have to later face serious problems. “The recent case of Hajvery University in Lahore speaks volumes as far as the inefficiency of the HEC is concerned,” said the official.
After spending three years at the university, the students came to know that the courses they studied were not accredited by the HEC.
Most of the courses on offer at some engineering schools are not recognized by the Pakistan Engineering Council. Likewise, some medical colleges and universities also offer programmes that are not accredited by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). But, students continue to enrol in these universities with the confidence that they are recognized by the HEC.
When contacted, HEC Director General Accreditation and Attestation Rahim Bux Chana admitted that the commission lacked a monitoring mechanism. He said that the HEC took action against institutions only when they receive a complaint.
“It is not possible for the HEC to permanently appoint a person in every university to monitor academic activities, especially as to how and what programmes are being offered,” he maintained.
He was of the opinion that people were well aware and would avoid such bogus universities and that the institutions would not survive in the long run.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2011.