LAHORE: The Punjab Higher Education Department (PHED) has initiated a move to introduce a uniform higher education policy by next month.
The department has constituted six groups comprising top academics to give recommendations to Punjab Higher Education Minister Raja Yassir Humayun Sarfraz by Nov 19.
The groups started holding consultative meetings from Nov 4 and the final draft will be sent to Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for approval next month.
Punjab Higher Education Secretary Sarah Saeed told Dawn that the government was working to devise its first higher education policy and groups comprising education experts had been established for consultations on different agendas.
The groups were asked to hold meetings to develop recommendations for the department to help devise the new policy.
The secretary said the objectives of these groups were to suggest reforms in the higher education sector for bringing about improvement in the quality of education.
She said the groups were tasked with furnishing their recommendations to overcome shortcomings in the sector, including reforming college education, qualifications, courses and curricula standardisation, faculty development for better learning and research outcomes, fostering research, innovation and developing partnerships with businesses and examinations and assessment systems.
According to a PHED notification available with Dawn: “In order to carry out focused deliberations on the key parameters of the upcoming Provincial Higher Education Policy for Punjab and to subsequently present their recommendations to the Higher Education Department Punjab, the working groups have been constituted along with the TOR.”
One group is tasked with exploring access, equity and affordability in the higher education sector with Lums Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Ahsan Rana as its focal person.
The second group will deliberate on reformation of college education, idea of community colleges and other approaches for better employability. Its focal person is Lums professor Dr Jamshed Hassan Khan.
The third group is tasked with working on qualifications, courses and curricula standardisation and comprises Lums Dr Tahir Andrabi as its focal person.
The job of the fourth group is to discuss faculty development for better learning and research outcomes and comprises Lums professor Dr Fareed Zaffar as its focal person.
The fifth group is tasked with suggesting ideas on fostering research, innovation and developing partnerships with businesses. Its focal person is Dr Arif Nazir Butt from Lums.
The sixth group is tasked with reviewing examinations and assessment systems and comprises Lums professor Dr Faisal Bari as the focal person.
The terms of reference of the groups state that the secretary of each group, in consultation with the focal person, will organise the first meeting not later than Nov 4.
All the groups were required to present their draft recommendations to the higher education minister in the week commencing from Nov 19 and, if needed, the focal persons of all the groups could engage any relevant stakeholders to be part of their deliberations.
Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2018