LAHORE: The University of Management and Technology (UMT) has reacted strongly on the recent controversy which said that its certain degree programmes and faculties were not accredited by the concerned bodies.
Giving their reaction in a statement, UMT said, "The news has thrown cold water on the aspirations and expectations of academia and the government, jeopardising the future of hundreds of thousands of students who are going through a tense situation resulting from misunderstanding between Higher Education Department (HED) of Punjab and the private sector universities."
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The statement came after a meeting was called by UMT Rector Dr Muhammad Aslam where Director General Abid Shirwani, registrar and other officials concerned were part of the meeting. According to the statement, "UMT management strongly condemns the news leaking prior to the minutes of the meeting that took place on September 14 participated by vice chancellors and rectors of the private-sector universities. The HED meeting aimed at discussing various accreditation issues and resolving concerns of the private varsities but before it could give any warning to its key stakeholders, the news was published in the print media."
Dr Muhammad Aslam said that HED officials admitted that Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) and Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) were the major authorities to grant accreditation to the faculty, curriculum and degree programmes of both public and private institutions. He said that only private-sector universities were targeted despite the fact that there were several drawbacks and low-quality education in the public sector. This was not a good gesture to carry out the work smoothly and in accordance with the law, he added.
"All our degree programmes from business to engineering, computer sciences and architecture and their curriculum are formally approved by all professional bodies. We never start a degree programme without getting prior approval from the accreditation bodies," UMT Rector Dr Muhammad Aslam said.
We had just started to work on the directive of HED to remove deficiencies and respond to their observations when the news was published in the press which made us disappointed, he added.
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Referring to the issue of long-delays in granting accreditation to varsities' faculties and degree programmes, UMT Director General Abid Shirwani said that the university and other private-sector universities were helping the government to carry out its agenda of eradicating illiteracy and spreading education but some efforts were made to damage the ties between academia and the government.
He said that a notification had been issued by HED untimely that could not allow the universities to do away with deficiencies pointed out in the September 14th meeting.
Sherwani said that UMT had fulfilled all formalities and requirements formulated by the accreditation bodies and councils. He said that UMT had its own process where programmes were developed and later on approved by the accreditation bodies.
"There are government representatives in UMT's Academic Council and the programmes ge tting approval therein are discussed in the Board of Governors that also consist of representatives from the government, including HEC and others," he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2017.
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