LAHORE: The Punjab government on Wednesday transferred additional secretary of the Higher Education Department (HED) who was conducting inquiries into ‘illegal’ sub-campuses of private universities in the province.

Usman Khalid Khan was working as additional secretary (universities) in the higher education department. He was tasked with conducting inquiries into the case of private universities running sub-campuses in the province.

During the probe, he found that most of the sub-campuses were not only working without approval of the chancellor/governor but also failed to fulfil the minimum criteria of the federal and provincial higher education commissions.

The inquiry committee in March 2020 declared 23 sub-campuses illegal and stopped further intake of students in these sub-campuses for functioning without approval of the chancellor and also failing to meet the basic criterion of establishing a sub-campus.

The private universities owners had [later] established an association and started putting pressure on the higher education officials through political and other circles.

Earlier, the government had established an accreditation committee to further probe the matter in August 2020 and it had also suggested forensic audit of these sub-campuses.

However, in the latest development the government has transferred Mr Khan.

“Usman Khalid Khan, additional secretary, higher education department, is hereby transferred, with immediate effect and directed to report Services and General Administration Department for further orders,” a notification of the Punjab government reads.

The current Punjab government has changed 17 secretaries of the higher education department during the last three years.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2020