ISLAMABAD: Eight of the total 21 members of the Higher Education Commission (HEC)’s governing board are going to retire next month after completing their tenures.
The commission’s governing body takes policy decisions about the higher education sector of the country.
Officials of the HEC said for effective decision making, the process of appointing new members should be started earlier so that within a few days after the retirement of the eight members the commission could get their replacement.
According to rules, the commission members are appointed by the prime minister.
Govt to fill seats on time to ensure continuity of decision-making process, says official
Meanwhile, sources said in the upcoming meeting of the commission, which is tentatively planned for August 28, the commission will get updates on plagiarism, distance learning, undergraduate and PhD programme policies.
Talking about the plagiarism policy, the sources said that the existing policy had some loopholes and in the past, instead of improving creative writing, this policy was in many cases,used for victimisation.
They said the HEC wanted to bring an improvement in the policy and the draft of the amended policy was also shared with the universities recently.
The sources said the HEC wanted to give more power to universities in dealing with plagiarism cases.
The commission, after getting feedback from vice chancellors and the HEC, will make decisions on the undergraduate and PhD policies.
These two policies were introduced during the tenure of the previous HEC chairman Dr Tariq Banuri in December 2020 and January 2021.
However, after receiving concerns from vice chancellors, the HEC deferred the implementation of both the policies until September this year.
Last year, during a VCs committee meeting held in Mureee, majority of the VCs had rejected these policies. They were of the view that without getting any input from universities, the HEC had finalised the policies which were not feasible for implementation in the current forms.
When contacted, an officer of the ministry of education said that the ministry was cognizant of the retirement of some commission members next month, adding the government would fill the seats on time.
Meanwhile, when approached by Dawn, newly-appointed HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said he would take all stakeholders such as the VC on board before reviewing any policy.
Asked about the proposed changes to the plagiarism policy, he said: “Since I joined HEC some days ago so I am not updated about proposed changes on plagiarism policy, but let me make it clear, we will propose, review and finalise policies after getting input from all relevant stakeholders for effective implementations.”
The chairman said after deliberation and feedback from universities, the policies would be placed before the commission.
The commission has 21 members, including the chairman HEC, secretaries of the ministries of education, science and technology, higher education departments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and members from public and private sectors. Other members include Prof Dr Attaur Rahman, Prof Dr Sarosh Hashmat Lodhi, Shams Kassim Lakha, Asif Mumtaz Sukhera, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Prof Bhawani Shankar Chowdhry, Dr Naveed A. Malik, Prof Dr Javed Iqbal, Engr Ahemd Farooq Bazai, Dr Faisal Bari, Abdul Saboor Kakar, retired Lt Gen Mohammad Asghar, Dr Mohammad Akram Sheikh, Nadira Panjwani, Dr Arif Nazir and the HEC executive director Dr Shaista Sohail.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2022