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LAHORE: Vice chancellors and rectors have been asked to give representation to the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) in the syndicate, Board of Governors (BoG) or Board of Management (BoM) of their respective public and private sector varsities in Punjab.

In a recent letter written by the PHEC’s chief operating officer, the commission sought that the VCs/Rectors of all varsities must follow the directions on priority.

“The recent meeting held under the chairmanship of honorable minister for higher education emphasised the need to establish better relation between the PHEC and the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Punjab. Since the meeting focused on the major qualitative issues being faced by the HEIs, the Minister put the onus on PHEC to address these issues on urgent basis. And this letter is the first step in that direction,” reads the PHEC letter.

It said the PHEC was established in 2015 through PHEC Act, 2014 for the improvement and promotion of higher education, research and development in the province. In short, the purpose of this commission is to ameliorate quality of education and research in HEIs– both public and private.

Amongst various powers being vested in the commission, Chapter IV, Clause 19 of the Act clearly states “Any law providing for the establishment or incorporation of an institution shall have effect as if it provided for the governing body of the institution consisting of a nominee, not below the rank of a whole time member, of the Commission in addition to the members of the governing body”. It implies that PHEC must be represented in the syndicates, Board of Governors (BoG) or Board of Management (BoM) of both public and private sector universities of Punjab. The purpose of its representation is to make quality of higher education better and culture of research consolidated together with management reforms.

“As public sector universities are facing problems of multifaceted nature ranging from academic to finance, the representation of PHEC can further help overcome their problems on urgent basis. Secondly, as the number of private universities and Degree Awarding Institutions (DAIs) has increased manifold in last one and a half decades, therefore their regulation also requires PHEC’s representation in their Syndicates/BoG/BoM,” the letter explains.

It says that being the supreme governing body of the HEIs in Punjab, the PHEC envisions introducing reformative package related to academic quality through creation of linkages between institutions and industry, as well as national and international organisations that support research and development in the higher education. It also ensures imparting marketable education and skills to the institutions and promotes self-employment through entrepreneurship of small and medium-sized enterprises. It will also formulate plan for public and private sector institutions to enhance the quality of both teaching and research.

“All these major plans can be implemented by its proximate relationship with HEIs of Punjab which can be actualised through PHEC’s representation in their Syndicate /BoG/BoM,” it reads, requesting the VCs/Rectors etc to study the PHEC Act, 2014 for any reference. It also sought detail about the upcoming meetings of syndicates, BoGs, BoMs of all institutions. “Kindly intimate us about your upcoming Syndicate/BOG meeting on time for PHEC’s representation,” seeks the letter.

Published in Dawn January 2nd, 2017