HED move to allow Punjab's private varsities to affiliate colleges riles HEC

Published July 9, 2021
The Punjab Higher Education Department has allowed affiliation of the public and private colleges with private universities without taking the Higher Education Commission on board. — Creative commons/File
The Punjab Higher Education Department has allowed affiliation of the public and private colleges with private universities without taking the Higher Education Commission on board. — Creative commons/File

LAHORE: The Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) has allowed affiliation of the public and private colleges with private universities without taking the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on board.

The provincial cabinet has approved the policy in violation of the directions of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The HEC had imposed a ban on private universities to affiliate any public and private college but the HED has allowed the affiliation.

According to documents available with Dawn, the HED has approved affiliation of public and private colleges with private universities of the province. The private universities have been allowed to affiliate any public and private college but they (universities) will have to get approval of the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC).

The private universities will have to give affiliations of the subjects approved by the Accreditation Committee and no objection certificate (NOC) from the departments concerned. The private universities have been allowed to get examinations of the students of the affiliated colleges.

Under the policy, the colleges will have to submit an application for getting affiliation six months before the start of the academic year and must have a minimum 0.5 acre or four-kanal land for setting up any institute or college.

That provision has been made for well stocked libraries and well equipped laboratory facilities and other practical work where affiliation is sought in any branch of experimental science.

“The library shall have at least 50 books per subject as reference books and at least 200 books per subject for supplementary reading. The institution should spend at least Rs. 50,000/- per annum for updating the library by adding new editions and titles. The institution should subscribe 10 daily newspapers and 5 weekly periodicals;

“The library shall have seating facility for minimum of 10 percent of the total number of students for that shift... Besides, the college must have internet connectivity with appropriate number of computers depending upon the student’s population and the subjects offered, should at least grant 10 percent of students fee exemptions and scholarships on need basis, should have at least 25 percent of the faculty with MS/M.Phil degrees, possess 50 percent of its teaching faculty employed on permanent basis with minimum prescribed qualifications as Master’s degree/Bachelor (Honors) from an accredited/chartered university in relevant subjects.

“One PhD and four permanent teachers are required for starting any BS programme while private universities are also allowed to give affiliation for a two years associate degree programme. The college/ institute would also have to set up a Rs 1 million endowment fund.

An educationist associated told Dawn on the condition of anonymity that the government had opened a Pandora’s box after allowing affiliation of colleges with private universities. He said the federal HEC was not taken on board while devising this affiliation policy.

“In the past, the HEC had strictly directed the PHEC and HED to remove affiliation clauses from private universities act as the private universities could not maintain quality in their main campuses so how could it maintain in affiliated colleges. This process will only provide an opportunity to mint money from the students without providing them quality education,” he said.

He said the government would have to set up a UHS type body to maintain the standard of the education in private colleges and universities. “A body should be set up to take examinations in these institutions and also it should be authorized to issue degrees etc,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2021

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