PESHAWAR: The universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa may be on top of the hit-list of terrorists but none of these could make it to the top ten list of Higher Education Commission’s newly released ranking of 129 universities of country for the year 2015.
Not only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but universities in Balochistan also failed to make it to the top of ranking in either general or any specific category including business, engineering , science and technology, agriculture, medical and arts.
There are around 19 public sector universities in the province, some more than sixty years old and some as young as five years but they could not find place in the list of top ten universities of the country, according to the ranking of HEC.
Teachers say educational institutions in the province neglected by govt
The HEC finalised the ranking on the basis of quality assurance, teaching quality, research, finance and facilities, social integration and community development, according to the chairman of HEC, who recently announced the ranking.
Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad (QAU) has topped the ranking whereas Balcohistan higher education institutions could not get any decent rank in any of the categories.
The professors based in Peshawar say that it is not surprising that universities of Islamabad and Punjab got good place in the ranking. “The universities in Islamabad and Punjab are in focus and get enough funding for research and other facilities from HEC. These are the important factors to get a good position in the ranking too,” said a university teacher.
Dr Mohamamd Shakoor, a teacher at University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, which was ranked seventh in the list of seven universities under the ‘engineering category’ of higher education institutions, said that universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were neglected by both federal and provincial governments. He alleged whether it was availability of funds for research and facilities or creating conducive environment for learning, none of the governments cared about it. The security situation was also discouraging scholars and donors from getting engaged with the universities in research projects, said Dr Shakoor, who is also president of Engineering University Teachers’ Association.
“Those universities, which are in Islamabad or are in Punjab, where government is investing in higher education, are facilitated by HEC more as compared to those in far-flung areas of Pakistan,” he said.
Dr Shakoor said that they had raised those problems and concerns with HEC during their meetings from time to time. Yet all is not that gloomy as some higher education institutions are trying to compete. Institute of Management Sciences (IMS) Peshawar, a business school of repute, has been ranked fourth in the list of 10 ‘business category’ of higher education institutions. It has improved its rank from fifth to fourth.
“Unfortunately due to lack of financial and human resources in the province, higher education institutions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are not on top of the HEC list,” said director of IMS Dr Mohammad Mohsin.
He said that research, facilities and quality of education were bases for the ranking but unluckily the province was looked upon as an insecure place where international conferences could not be held. The process of getting funds is very competitive. Good teachers also leave the province due to security concerns if they find a better option.
“Situation in Khyber Pakthunkhwa and Balochistan is really challenging for higher education institutions to fulfil the requisites to improve their ranking with HEC,” he said.
Agricultural University Peshawar was ranked third among the five best ‘agriculture category’ of Higher Education Institutions. Khyber Medical University ranked fourth among the eight ‘medical category’ of higher education institutions of the country.
Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Science Engineering and Technology in Topi relatively ranked better than other universities of the province as it stood third in the ranking of seven higher education institutions in the category of ‘engineering’.
From University of Peshawar, being the oldest and mother institution of higher learning in the province, to the new universities facing terror threats like that of Bacha Khan University, public sector universities in the province have to go a long way to go to reach to the top.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2016