ISLAMABAD - The Senate Standing Committee of Federal Education and Professional Training (FE&PT) on Friday directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to provide it the audit reports of public sector universities. Meeting of the senate body was held here under the chairmanship of Senator Irfan Siddiqui and attended by members of the committee, HEC officials and Vice Chancellors (VCs).
The agenda item regarding HEC income by sources and expenditure by the category, especially University of Balochistan, Quetta, University of Punjab, Lahore, University of Karachi, University of Peshawar, and Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad was discussed in detail in presence of the respective VCs of the universities.
Executive Director HEC Shaista Sohail apprised the committee that funds are distributed to all public sector universities according to a formula which is based on performance, ranking, enrollment, type and number of programmes introduced in a particular university.
She further explained that 32% of the funds are provided by the HEC, 8% by respective provincial governments and 60% of the funds are generated by universities on their own.
Chairman Committee Senator Irfan Siddiqui enquired whether there is any system employed by HEC in order to monitor and regulate standards working, recruitments, promotions and research output of the universities in the country.
To which officials replied that the Commission is involved at every stage of decision-making through representation of HEC officials in Senate, syndicate and selection boards of the universities.
The Commission also conducts performance audits of the universities randomly and performance audits of 30 universities were done last year and 40 more such audits will be completed this year. Chairman Committee directed to provide reports of the said audits to the committee members.
Officials further informed that in order to keep check on the performance and standard, Quality Enhancement Cells (QEC) have been established in universities and Director QEC’s salary is being paid by HEC.
The VCs informed the committee members of the problems faced by them in running day to day matters of the universities. Vice Chancellor University of Peshawar informed the committee that financial issues have been plaguing the institution for many years now. Pension and establishment expenses have swollen and around Rs1 billion are dispersed for pension.
Vice Chancellor University of Balochistan informed the committee that the university has not increased tuition fee for the last 10 years and the financial situation is quite bad. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan commented that additional funds should be provided to HEC for bailing out such prestigious institutions which are struggling to manage their finances for various reasons.
HEC officials were of the view that universities should appoint qualified financial experts as treasurers for better management of financial resources.
Chairman Committee Senator Irfan Siddiqui apprised the members that a new sub-committee will be formed to look into research journals and publications of the universities. The Sub-Committee will assess the process of research article submission, evaluation and categorisation of research journals.
Chairman Committee also informed that the committee will also visit universities of all four provinces in order to assess the ground situation of the problems faced by students and faculty.
Chairman Committee further commented that the committee will facilitate educational institutions in resolving the issues faced by them which are hindering provision of quality education to the young generation.
The HEC presented a report on the implementation status of the Senate Standing Committee meeting’s recommendation on 7th September, 2021.
Committee had previously recommended that a mechanism be devised for the registration of the students going abroad for study on a self-finance basis.
Officials informed the committee members that there is no mechanism in place for the registration of the students going abroad for study on self-finance basis.