On the directions of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government, the provincial chapter of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has formed a working group to bring reforms in higher education.
An official of the HEC, requesting anonymity, told The Express Tribune on Tuesday that the purpose of the working group was to examine and advise the education ministry in formulating reforms in higher education and to contribute to the ‘sustainable development of society’.
He further said the group comprising 11 members has been tasked to conduct an ‘academic audit’ in all state-run universities in K-P.
Describing some ideas in the pipeline, the official said the annual performance of vice chancellors (VCs) of public universities would be evaluated. “Earlier, if the VCs wished to get an extension to their service they would contact senators, however, with the introduction of these reforms VCs will only be given an extension based on students’ feedback.”
Another feature is the Quality Evaluation Cell (QEC) which would evaluate the academic performance of each department and its head based on assessment forms filled out by the concerned department’s students.
“The QEC has been functioning since 2004. It consists of three members including the department dean who serves as the QEC director. However, because of favouritism, the cell always supports the director’s decision,” he alleged.
The HEC official further said under the new system vice chancellors will be asked to declare their asset details before their service starts and after it ends.
According to the officials, the reforms suggestions will be sent to the provincial planning and development department before August 31, which will table them before Chief Minister Pervez Khattak next month.
The working group will also be responsible to plan reforms in governance, research quality, the role of academicians in policy formulation, academic freedom, institutional freedom, accountability, faculty development and training.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.