HEC dissolution: Who’s to say they’re not fake?

Published: April 4, 2011
Experts believe transfer of HEC’s functions to new commission may render degrees unauthentic.

Experts believe transfer of HEC’s functions to new commission may render degrees unauthentic.


Following the government’s decision to dissolve the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the core functions of degree recognition, equivalence and attestation are to be shifted to a new commission which will be constituted under the cabinet division, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The federal government has decided to constitute a separate division under the cabinet division to deal with all federal departments. The proposed commission would also have the power to recognise the new universities mushrooming all over the country. The move could allow universities that do not presently meet the existing criteria to get themselves recognised and accredited. Already, many such cases have been blocked by the HEC as the institutes lack the required faculty, libraries, internet connectivity and are housed in a few rooms.

It is generally believed that by granting recognition to such institutes, the degrees granted by all universities in Pakistan would become suspect.

Some sources were of the view that the shift of HEC degree recognition and attestation functions to the cabinet division has little to do with devolution and everything to do with parliamentarians who hold fake degrees.

The HEC attests more than 200,000 educational documents each year and every Pakistani going for work abroad must have their degrees attested by the HEC, which is recognised by the entire world as a fair and impartial body. The HEC is a board member of the Asia Pacific Quality Network and is a member of Quality Assurance Agencies of the World. These memberships have to be earned and are not transferable.

Some experts believe that due to the creation of a new commission, all degrees issued by Pakistani institutions would not be internationally accepted at face value despite any ‘stamp’ issued by the new body. This is because the world is carefully following the fake degree scandal of Pakistani parliamentarians and can see what the HEC’s dissolution entails.

The HEC is an autonomous body that reports directly to the prime minister (PM) instead of a division. Two-thirds of its members are appointed by the PM from a panel of eminent academics. These members are appointed for terms spanning four years and may not be removed, save on proven charges of corruption, inefficiency or permanent disability. This structure is what gives the HEC autonomy and allows it to pursue its function with merit and rule of law as the only arbiters.

The autonomous nature of the HEC was the reason that allowed the it to defy pressure to verify degrees of parliamentarians that did not meet the strict standards of verification set by the commission.

Sources said that without autonomy, a new commission would then, presumably, rapidly clear the backlog of unverified degrees.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Dr. Hamid Mukhtar
    Apr 4, 2011 - 11:36AM

    HEC has played a vital role in standardizing processes in higher education in Pakistan. The remarkable efforts of Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman will be remembered for several generations and will have a long-lasting effects for prosperity of this country. Somehow, the current government is full of incapable politicians and bureaucrats that had led to the poor decision of dissolution of HEC.

    It’s very pity that media is lethargic in playing its role regarding this issue of public interest. I request CJP to take a serious notice of such matters which are important for the nation in the long term.Recommend

  • Syed
    Apr 4, 2011 - 11:42AM

    This Government is Pathetic!!!!!!:@ Recommend

  • Jahil
    Apr 4, 2011 - 1:48PM

    All this because, this ruling class is Mentlly ill. Jagirdars Ghundey, Badmash tolla with a name of Political Parties have become guradian and rulers of this nation.

    They hatered the education and this country foundations, they like us to be beggers standing outside their doors and in their villages asking for two time rooti. They having grown up in that mindset want to reverse the wheel. These jahil Jagirdars,Sardars have such cruel heads, as inherited by their jahil forefathers and jagirdars that educated people are hard to control. So that they never encourage and like educations for the masses except their harami olad.

    They hate education and think it as a threat for their Elite culture (and bander bant) control over their population.

    They try all and every way and now fatal attack on HEC and other education resarch/phd programs in the covering of Democracy and parlimantry reforms and Na-Pak Army is with them, altogether protecting and supporting this elite class.

    Their heads and their supporters heads should be off from their shoulders and this Compagine Title should be

    “Take-off the heads of this Nation Enemies”Recommend

  • Apr 4, 2011 - 2:47PM

    What a pile of rubbish. These high standards that the HEC claims to have set, does it have the authority to go to Bahria, Air, NUST, NDU or NUML to implement these said standards? How have all these retired Army officers suddenly become assistant professors? Where is the quality control there? How is it that retired Army officers employed as Administrators can physically abuse students and staff and the HEC remains silent? The governments intentions towards the HEC may not be sound, by please stop making the HEC Gods gift to Pakistan. Everyones passions some to be inflamed over this issue, if only everyone gave so much attention to primary and secondary education we wouldnt be in this mess that we are in today. Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Apr 4, 2011 - 3:31PM

    HEC was only good for producing a lot of low quality PhDs and creating new Universities and funding a few selected institutions like COMSTAS massively.Other than that per publication there was a 50000 reward for the supervisor of a PhD student only resulting in mass garbage publication business with one supervisor even having like a dozen PhD students.Recommend

  • Critical Observor
    Apr 4, 2011 - 3:45PM

    HEC has been a disaster. It’s good to see that it’s being neutered.Recommend

  • shahbaz ahmad
    Apr 4, 2011 - 5:33PM

    HEC provide such luminous aims to uplift the institutional level of education but unfortunately the dissolve decision of HEC will show disaster. We have to take some efforts to to retain the HEC other wise we have to face lot of troubles.Recommend

  • anyonymous
    Apr 4, 2011 - 8:56PM

    this is getting cheaper..day by day!!Recommend

  • Chalo Chalo Nishtar Park Chalo
    Apr 4, 2011 - 8:58PM

    The Higher Education Commission (HEC) finally paid the ultimate price for its involvement in the fake-degree saga. I remember clearly the HEC Chairman’ bold stance on this issue and not submitting to political pressure. First, the Government harassed his brother in Sindh and now it disbanded HEC to silence the chairperson. It hurts to see a ‘democratic’ government stoop so low and continue with existing witch-hunting exercises. Shame on the PPP for this cheap act of covering up the fake-degree scandal and firing the messenger instead of its corrupt ‘leaders’. It is quite obvious now that democracy is the best revenge!Recommend

  • Hassan
    Apr 4, 2011 - 10:11PM

    well all those who have criticized hec .. shud know that hec has just been here for 5 years.. not more then that .. and it takes alot ov time for an institution to develop and perform at its optimum level..

    and the back and the funding should also be kept in mind Recommend

  • saira
    Apr 5, 2011 - 8:52AM


    HEC is doing very good job in producing PHDs in all the field of education. Its not a duty of HEC to strong the basic level. IF you now the meaning of HEC(Higher Education Commission), duty of HEC is to strong Higher education.Recommend

  • XX
    Apr 5, 2011 - 9:09AM

    I agree with you completely, it’s great to finally see the HEC being neutered. After all, if/when the SC is to ask it to verify our leader the Hon. Zardari’s degree, and they untruthfully declare it to be fake, due to their venomous anti-democratic agenda – and if in consequence to that, Zardari is dismissed, then what we DO?? Our party would be out of the government – no more free money, mansions in Dubai, the good life.. we’d be out on the streets!
    But don’t worry, CriticalObserver. We will be dismissed sometime within the next two years. And when the time comes, we won’t be able to flee to our mansions in Dubai or where ever else. We will surely be sitting in a jail right here in Pakistan. There is no escaping it; so don’t worry, just enjoy what you still can right now, because there’s not point in trying to evade the inevitable.Recommend

  • waseem
    Apr 5, 2011 - 11:09AM

    This is rubbish decision, and government is killing the education of pakistan for sake of some people…….Recommend

  • ANUM
    Apr 5, 2011 - 11:24AM

    After HEC dissolving ,it will a great disaster of education.Our degrees will not acceptable at any place in world.Protest this stupid act of federal government.Recommend

  • mashaal
    Apr 5, 2011 - 12:23PM

    dissolotion of HEC is a great threat to studnts specialy the schollars on the verge of completion their degree as well great loss to the nation education.already we are poor in education HEC dissolotion wil further add degredation to education both quality and quqntity.Recommend

  • mashaal
    Apr 5, 2011 - 12:35PM

    its a great threat to educationRecommend

  • Apr 5, 2011 - 12:40PM

    Degree, Degree hoti hai, asli hoo ya nakli… a dream come true by dissolving HEC…

    yet another “gift” from Zardari…Recommend

  • S Khan
    Apr 5, 2011 - 12:58PM

    @TightDhoti: True, but it does not means HEC is failed. Definitely somehow everything is interlinked with the defense sector in Pakistan and they know how to corrupt system in no time. Still HEC manage to stand out of many other institutes. For you concern about primary and secondary education, I think you need to see the discussion of Dt Atta-ur-Rehman and current chairman, in GeoTV program jirga. I think you will find the right reply in their discussion. Recommend

  • HEC-Benefeciary
    Apr 5, 2011 - 2:00PM

    Well it has always been a tragedy with us whenever we talk about something good we expect perfection. HEC is playing a tremendous role in providing the best quality education. If we continue with the same pace in the 2030 we will be having the maximum PhD, with respect to population, in the world!!!! Getting a PhD means becoming a scientist and it is the scientist who will help you in getting more food, medicine, dress, oil, car and everything you need on much cheaper prices. when we talk about progress we look to the west but they did? they invested on education… they invested on universities and produced scientists. Trust me we will move much ahead of the world if we allow HEC to perform its function. For those who can not relate progress with education please read this article of AQ Khan,



  • DR.Hasnat
    Apr 5, 2011 - 2:06PM

    Media should raise this issue so the CJP take a noticeRecommend

  • Haris Farooq
    Apr 5, 2011 - 2:10PM

    HEC was becoming a threat to democracy, it was another non democratic authority, our so called democrats like “Jamshaid Dasti” will be happy to see its fate.Recommend

  • nazia
    Apr 5, 2011 - 3:14PM

    dissolution of HEC is a great threat not only for students but also for our country, as education is the right of each and every person either he/she belongs to a middle class family or a ELLETE class. i think this govt. wants to see the pakistani people as beggers. so stop the dissolution of HEC and protest this bad act of federal govt.Recommend

  • Dr. Abdul Jabbar
    Apr 5, 2011 - 3:20PM

    you are Right, There may be so many loop holes to be corrected but devolving HEC would creat a huge mess. There is always a room for improvementRecommend

  • Worst gov ever!!!
    Apr 5, 2011 - 4:44PM

    Although we lost everything because of this illiterate government the failed and worst government in history but the one hope left they are also losting it.Now they attacked on education the power for development of country.That enough now its time to kick off that government otherwise we lose our country as well if this government exists.Recommend

  • ali
    Apr 5, 2011 - 5:08PM

    Let their degrees be funded in Oxford by Government of Pakistan and let the poor studen be their loyal servants … shame shame shame … Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 5, 2011 - 5:34PM

    If the HEC is producing “garbage” and it funding rubbisgh universities, then why are Paksitan’s best academics including Asgar Qadir(Pakistan’s most renowned mathematician), AQ Khan, Samar Mubarkmand …. the list goes on… against it’s destruction.
    The HEC is the best Pakistan has managed so far. It may have flaws, but the provincial alternative would be hopeless.Recommend

  • umair
    Apr 5, 2011 - 6:42PM

    @TightDhoti: The universities u mention are among the leading educational institutions of this country. The retired army officers only become assistant professors when they have either a PhD and/or significant education/training experience in the relevant subject. Don’t let your bias against the army get the better of your good judgment. Regarding army officers being administrators, the universities you mention have managed to enforce adequate discipline and conducive learning environment as opposed to some other universities where the quality of discipline leaves much to be desired. Aren’t u aware of the student hooliganism, display of arms, teacher harassment, union fights etc. in some universities!!Recommend

  • Junaid Ahmed
    Apr 5, 2011 - 7:38PM

    Dissolution of HEC is just for saving fake degrees holder parliamentarian.Recommend

  • Clean Pakistan
    Apr 5, 2011 - 8:09PM

    I am truly ashamed of my own country… I am ashamed of being a Pakistani… We are all a bunch of losers, period.Recommend

  • Muhammad Awais
    Apr 6, 2011 - 12:43AM

    I wish Lord can send His Mercy unto us.I am really hurt today and feel embarrassed of being Pakistani.Recommend

  • Najeeb Ullah
    Apr 6, 2011 - 1:50PM

    It is a universal truth that only HEC is an institute which has got the trust of foreign agencies and countries due its strickness in following the merit. Due to this fact now a day the Pakistan is going ahead in research and education quality as compare to its past. But as the parlimentairians’ degree attestation case has made his future change and demolished all his efforts that this institute especially his founder Dr. Ata-ur-Rahman has carried out for developing the research and quality of the education in Pakistan. This means that we may not hope that Pakistan will develop instead of that very soon we will wash our hand from our holy Pakistan. Because here everyone is corrupt and supports only corrupts, nothing else. I may only pray that Allah might protect our holy country from every kind of corruption and make it free from such like every action and activity. AmeenRecommend

    Apr 6, 2011 - 9:19PM

    i totally agree with you. As a student of pakistan i strongly condemn the dissolution of HEC. I request media to take a firm stand on this issue. please educate the masses of pakistan about the importance of education. make the restoration of HEC possible so that the institution continues working with its great aims as media has made possible the restoration of free judiciary.
    THANK YOURecommend

  • Manee
    Apr 7, 2011 - 12:42PM

    @ saira . Well Said..

    And for the Ppl who are happy on dissolution, there is a Line for the *

    “Bandar kea janay Adrak ka sawad”


  • Apr 7, 2011 - 2:06PM

    Is there any intellectual person with prudent mind in the parliament? I think there is NO ONE…

    HEC is the only institution which shows hope of prosperity to all Pakistanis. no nation can think of progressing without excelling in higher education. instead of spreading higher education and bolstering the HEC our government has planned to reverse the wheel of progress by devolving the HEC. Shameful decision by the government.

    Students, teachers, professors, vice chancellors must come on streets to reverse this evil-natured decision. Recommend

  • maitre
    Apr 7, 2011 - 6:01PM

    That is what our fake degrees holders-politicians have planned to get back to their target seats in the highest legislatives assemblies. HEC is doing great to uphold the country’s education standard. But PPP has always allowed backdoor entrances into education. What the hell the new Commission will do? The new Commission is going to be selective; they will let pass numbers or black sheeps of ruling party in the assemblies as they degrees would not be challengeable despite being fake; they may even allow few more few-rooms universities to cater the demands of the present lot of politicians because as long as HEC is there, these fake degrees holders will never contest election. Look at the Indians standard in education, their education system is recognised internationally. They get equivalant from foreign universities where our universities standard can’t reach. How can we produce international standard researchers? All the present lot of this country’s politicians are illitrate in the large sense of the word including prime minister and president (graduation is the first university degree and not the maximum level of one’s knowledge. He should be ashamed of sitting and talking to much learned world political personalities. That’s the reason they can’t convince their counterparts). Let us get rid of them once for all. LONG LIVE HIGHER EDUCATION AND EDUCATED CLASS OF THE COUNTRY! Recommend

  • Apr 8, 2011 - 9:18AM

    The HEC was only needed in determining if Pakistani University degrees are real or not….and THAT only because the HEC never bothered to set up a proper database to access freely for confirmation.

    In EVERY country who has access to computers one of the very FIRST things to be computerized are the Universities. It takes one SIMPLE phone call and the persons name for whom you are confirming the degree of, and you will know within minutes if the degree is real and can even request a confirmation via email or fax of said degree confirmation.

    Pakistan and the HEC have purposly kept computers out of the record keeping role so as to aid the corruption and the fake degrees. HEC is corrupt and purposely ill equiped just as every government body is in this country.Recommend

  • Nur
    Apr 9, 2011 - 1:11AM

    HEC has played a vital role in standardizing our education system.
    Its projects and constructive incentives have inculcated a learning
    motivation among the students.
    It has surely serve as a backbone of our educational infrastructure.
    It is quite agonising to know that our government is taking a move
    to dissolve it.
    This act of government is completely horrendus and disreputable.
    As HEC is the only institution that has almost; abolished the
    multi-standardeducation system in our country. It seems like our
    government has completely become senseless and taking impudent
    actions to totally dismantle the foundations of this country.Recommend

  • Faiz
    Apr 10, 2011 - 6:16PM

    @ QuaranvsHadith HEC is there to verify degrees because at least I won’t be willing to believe a university confirm its student orally to me, I am sorry but do you suppose Pakistani universities can be believed in such a matter. Pakistani universities are expected to cheat, but the HEC does have a computerized system where each of the verified degree stamp has a unique identification number attached to it which a company or any foreign employer can confirm by calling the HEC.

    Your case about calling a university and finding out has a flawed approach, internationally if the university for example in U.S. is verified by the CHEA and the Education Department calling the university can help. The thing is that university is already guaranteed to be accredited by a proper federal body. If a fake university is involved calling them would not matter at the end of the day they would say yes to the students credentials but who is to say that university was accredited and whether their accreditation was listed in the CHEA or the ED? Internationally cross referencing is a must, in Pakistan accreditation and constant checks and balances are necessary thus at the end of the day I would prefer my degree verified from them rather then a University such as Preston, Greenwich or KASBIT!Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 13, 2011 - 7:52AM

    @Faiz why you need to verify your degree from kasbit and preston are you studing in these universities?Recommend

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