PESHAWAR, Sept 7: The Higher Education Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, will hire internationally recognised and independent firm for financial audit and performance evaluation of public sector universities in the province, according to sources.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has granted about Rs10 billion to the different public sector universities during last few years, mostly to the newly-established universities, they said.
The firm would focus on the utilisation of billions of rupees granted by the provincial government and the academic outcome of these universities.
The sources said that through independent auditors, the HED wanted to check whether the granted funds had been spent properly or not.
The finance department has already agreed with the HED to financially and technically support it in hiring of an independent firm for performance evaluation and audit of the provincial grant.
Initially, audit of the previous five years would be conducted, the sources said, adding that its future continuation would depend on the availability of the funds and government’s will.
Asked about performance evaluation, the sources said that the firm would look into research publications of the faculties and their efficiencies.
It would also consider the number of graduates per year from these universities, they said.
The competency of graduating students would also be judged in the evaluation process to see whether the qualified graduates were employable or they had just achieved their degrees.
They said that the evaluation of universities would help the government in knowing about their real output.
Asked why audit firm of international repute was being involved in the performance evaluation and financial audit, an official of the education department told Dawn that the HED lacked such capacity to evaluate the performance and do financial audit of the universities.
He said that it would be for the first time in Pakistan that audit and performance evaluation of the universities would be done through an independent international firm.
He said that the advertisement for hiring of the audit firm would be published in newspapers in coming few days.
With devolution of the education to provinces following 18th amendment, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has increased financial grants to the public sector universities, the official said.
“After increasing the fund, the HED realised to do independent audit of the universities,” he said.
The official said that till recently the Higher Education Commission, which had its own monitoring and evaluation system, would give a major chunk of the budget to the universities.
He said that after 2015 the HEC would stop funding to the universities and the provincial government would be responsible to fully support the universities financially.
Most of the provincial grant has been paid to the new universities established during the previous Awami National Party-led government.
They include Islamia College University, Khushal Khan Khattak University Karak, University of Haripur, University of Swabi, Bacha Khan University Charsadda, Sheringal University Upper Dir, Swat University and Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan.