Press Releases



Universities All Set to Gradual Resumption of Operations from 15thUniversities All Set to Gradual Resumption of Operations from 15th<p style="text-align:justify;">​<strong>Chairman HEC Rebuts News About 'Single Policy for All Universities' </strong><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, September 11, 2020: Committed to upholding the  Standard Operating Procedures and guidelines shared by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the universities countrywide are all set to start a phase-wise reopening procedure, resuming their operations as per the Government's instructions  on September 15.    <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This was stated by Chairman HEC while addressing the 32nd Vice Chancellors (VCs) Committee meeting. More than 150 VCs, Rectors, or Presidents of universities participated in the meeting to discuss in detail the reopening plans and procedures.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Addressing the university heads, Mr. Banuri said the HEC as well as the government have full confidence in the VCs, that they will be able to adopt all measures needed for protection of the campus community without compromising the quality and delivery of education. He said COVID-19 has rendered almost all the academic operations harder, so it required the dedicated personal leadership of the Vice Chancellors to inspire both faculty and students, and ensure that educational standards are maintained and anti-Covid SOPs are strictly enforced. "I call upon all of you to resist any attempts to lower the quality of education," he emphasised.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Chairman HEC affirmed that the universities will follow the HEC's guidelines -- available at HEC website -- to contain the spread of COVID-19 and will firmly implement their respective reopening policies. These guidelines include the permission to open universities on 15 September, measures to screen out potentially infected individuals, and the minimum SOPs to be followed on campus. These measures are to wear face masks in public places, maintain social distance, and undertake strict monitoring to identify and isolate any incidence of the disease. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Within these guidelines, universities have to adopt suitable policies regarding rotation of courses or other measures to ensure proper social distancing and manage population density.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He strongly rebutted the news circulating in a section of press that HEC has directed all universities to adopt a 'single policy for rotation of courses or managing social density.  He said the universities should adopt the policies and measures that suit their respective circumstances, and in line with their local needs. "The most important responsibility of the Vice Chancellors is to announce clear and unambiguous policies, assign responsibilities to various key personnel (both faculty and staff members), establish proper lines of communication, refrain from arbitrary or ad hoc policy changes, and remain in personnel command of the evolving situation". He said that they must maintain total vigilance to prevent and control any incidents of virus recurrence, including through active surveillance of health conditions, earmarking isolation facilities, and facilitating access to medical and isolation facilities.   <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He advised university leaders to keep in close touch with district administration officials, health departments, and medical universities in their vicinities to seek support in case of any need. He said that the government and health departments have assured of providing assistance all-possible assistance to universities, and that HEC was available to provide advice or ensure timely liaison with government entities.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Convener of the VC Committee, Dr. Muhammad Ali, VC of Quaid e Azam University, assured the HEC Chairman that universities are committed to complying with the government instructions, following all possible precautions, and implementing the safety protocols prescribed by HEC, even though he would personally have preferred a single policy in order to reduce the decision making burden on VCs. He proposed that a follow-up meeting be held in the near future to review progress. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">On the occasion, a number of universities provided details of the policies they had already announced and publicised. These include Punjab University, GIK Institute, Sukkur IBA; Women's University of Swabi; Karakoram International University, GCWU Sialkot, and others. Some VCs shared the unique challenges they faced, and asked for support to resolve them. A handful of universities hadn't yet announced their reopening plans or policies, but they promised to do so forthwith.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Chairman HEC appreciated all the universities that had demonstrated due diligence in adopting and publicising their reopening plans, and stressed upon the few remaining universities to do so immediately.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> <span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;">===============</span></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong><br></strong></p>12-09-2020 10:37:54<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
Universities Preparing for Reopening of CampusesUniversities Preparing for Reopening of Campuses<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, September 2, 2020: Universities nationwide are developing policies and procedures in expectation of a governmental decision to reopen campuses from September 15, 2020, and in the light of guidance provided by HEC.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The 31<sup>st</sup> Vice Chancellors Committee Meeting was held online, and attended by over 150 Vice Chancellors and Rectors from across the country. The meeting considered various options on related issues, including staggering of courses, hybrid classes, class attendance, opening of hostels, management of transport services, health monitoring on campus, and SOPs for student safety.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri advised the university heads to announce their policy well in time, in a clear and unambiguous manner, and share it proactively with faculty members and students.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">A number of Vice Chancellors, including UVAS, KEMU, Sucker IBA, KFUEIT, KIU, FJWU, PIFD, SBBWU, informed the meeting about the actions they had already taken in accordance with the HEC guidelines. Others urged that VCs should be given flexibility in choosing the model that best suits the conditions on their campuses. Chairman HEC expressed appreciation for the actions already taken. He also assured the participants that the HEC policies are based on a recognition of the diversity of conditions, saying: "You are the captains of your ships, and we have full confidence in you. We hope that under your leadership, our universities will ensure both the safety of students and faculty and the effective delivery of educational content." He said all universities must maintain total vigilance to prevent and control any incidents of virus recurrence, including through active surveillance of health conditions, earmarking isolation facilities, and facilitating access to medical and isolation facilities.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">There was an active discussion about two major issues, opening up of hostels and organizing transportation with proper safety protocols. It was agreed that while a single policy might not work in all conditions, most universities would have to reduce the number of students to be accommodated in hostels. Depending on their situation, universities may have to restrict residencies to students with higher needs, e.g., final year students, students facing internet connectivity issues at home, students needing practical work, or first year students. On the other hand, universities with entirely residential setups may need to limit the interaction of their resident students with outsiders.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Regarding transportation issues, universities may publicize appropriate SOPs, and organize training sessions for drivers and conductors to sensitize them to precautionary practices.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Chairman informed the Vice Chancellors that HEC is in contact with the National Command Operation Centre, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Education to intimate them about the universities strategies. The committee agreed to reconvene after a month to review progress and adapt the strategy to the evolving situation.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p>02-09-2020 11:40:27<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
HEC Alerts Students about Fake News on EducationHEC Alerts Students about Fake News on Education<p>​<strong style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;">Islamabad, June 15, 2020</strong><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;">: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has alerted students and faculty members about false information being circulated by anti-education groups through WhatsApp and social media forums. Students are advised to verify HEC-related information from its website </span><a href=""></a><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;">.</span></p><p>HEC has clarified that contrary to some news report, the HEC website has not been hacked. The fake information consists simply of crude photoshop images designed by some persons pushing anti-education agendas and circulated by them through their WhatsApp and social media links. These images pretend to be screenshots of the HEC website, but are just manipulations of other downloaded content from the website. They pertain to a variety of topics, but their common aim is to advocate a lowering of educational standards in Pakistan, e.g., by canceling exams, canceling all educational activities including online education, or disrupting admissions or scholarship processes. <br></p><p>While there have been cyber-attacks on the HEC website, which appear have originated from servers outside the country, HEC technical teams have been working round the clock to ward off these attacks. <br></p><p>Students, academic and research community as well as public, availing or inquiring about HEC programmes and services, are requested to exercise vigilance and trust no other resource except the HEC website, and authentic social media pages that are linked to it. Should they need any confirmation, it is advised to reach out to the respective focal person of HEC. <br></p><p>All these activities have also been reported to the cybercrime unit of the Federal Investigation Agency.<br></p><p>===============<br></p><p><br></p>15-06-2020 16:22:17<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
Press Release: 36th Commission Meeting of HECPress Release: 36th Commission Meeting of HEC<p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Commission Denounces Cut in Higher Education Budget </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Approves Funding policy for FY 2020-21, Revises Tenure Track Statutes, Appoints Chairperson ETC, Introduces New Policy against Sexual Harassment, and Regulations for Installation and Use of Security Cameras in Universities<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, June 13, 2020: The two-day 36<sup>th</sup> Meeting of the Commission, the governing body of Higher Education Commission, concluded on Saturday. Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri chaired the meeting, which was conducted online. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Commission unanimously deplored the sudden cut in the higher education budget by another Rs.5.90 billion from the committed Indicative Budget Ceiling of Rs.70.00 billion for FY 2020-21, and emphasized that the move will dismantle the country's higher education systems by forcing the shutdown of universities, which are already suffering from historically unprecedented budgetary shortfalls and the impact of the Covid crisis. The Members stressed upon the Government to reconsider its decision, and take immediate steps to appropriately fund the universities in order to protect access to and quality of higher education. The Commission stressed that without adequate investment on higher education, the youth of Pakistan will never acquire the competencies needed to develop and compete internationally. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Meanwhile, the Commission thoroughly reviewed HEC funding formula for universities, took into account various proposals, and decided that for FY 2020-21, the actual total allocation of FY 2019-20 will be treated as base plus need grants, accounting for 85 percent of the total allocation, while the remaining 15 percent will be treated as a performance grant, allocated on the basis of the number of publications, the number and amount of research grants received,  as well as number of PhD faculty and students. It was also agreed that for FY 2021-22 and beyond, a new funding methodology will be developed on the principles of equity, needs, and credit for performance. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Commission amended the Tenure Track Statutes by indexing TTS salaries to the comparable BPS scale plus a 35% TTS Premium, thus introducing automatic adjustments of future TTS salaries in line with increases in BPS salary scales. Consistent with the international practice, the Commission increased the maximum time limit for the tenure decision from the current 6 years to 9 years, and endorsed collection of granular data of TTS faculty separately in HEMIS (Higher education Management Information System) to help universities and HEC maintain proper oversight over the progress of TTS faculty, and improve transparency and fairness of recruitment, promotion and tenure. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Commission appreciated the comprehensive work done by the HEC in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, to minimize academic disruption, develop and guide universities to acquire online readiness, provide supplementary resources of Rs.1.20 billion, deploy live dashboard to monitor quality of online delivery, build free online academic content and resources, and motivate students to continue learning. The Commission impressed upon the Government to support HEC initiatives viz. Taleem Bundle, University Support Package, etc., and advised HEC to resolve connectivity issues faced by students, and use platforms such as virtual think tanks to carve out imaginative solutions.   <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Commission also approved revised HEC Policy on Protection against Sexual Harassment in Higher Education Institutions 2020, which reflects significant improvement from its 2011 anti-sexual harassment guidelines in terms of enforcement, simplicity, scope, definition of prohibited conduct, consistency with national act for Protection of Women against harassment as work place, and appellate process. The Commission also adopted the "Safe Campus Acceptable Usage Policy 2020" to protect the privacy of students and avoid possibilities of harassment because of the installation, placement or use of security cameras within the universities and campuses. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Commission appointed Mr. Kamran Rasool, former Interior Secretary and former Chief Secretary Punjab in an honorary capacity as the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Education Testing Council (ETC) considering his professional eminence and implacable integrity. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Some items could not be taken up because of the shortage of time, and will be considered at the next meeting in July. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The meeting was attended by Mr. Mohyuddin Ahmad Wani, Additional Secretary, [representative of Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training], Dr. Tariq Masood, Joint Scientific Adviser [representative of Ministry of Science and Technology], Dr. Suhail Shahzad, Special Secretary [representative of the HED, Government of the Punjab], Prof. Dr. Shafiq ur Rehman, Adviser (QAP), [Representative of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa], Mr. Abdul Saboor Kakar, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, [Representative of the Government of Balochistan], Mr. Shamsh Kassim – Lakha, Former Federal Minister for Education and S&T, Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali, President, SZABIST Karachi, Prof. Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, Sukkur IBA University, Engr. Ahmed Farooq Bazai, Vice Chancellor, BUITEMS, Quetta, Prof. Dr. Javeid Iqbal, Former Vice Chancellor, University of Balochistan, Quetta, Dr. Naveed A. Malik, Former Rector, Virtual University of Pakistan, Lahore, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Asif Mumtaz Sukhera, Former Surgeon General, GHQ, Rawalpindi, Prof. Dr. Bhawani Shankar Chowdhry, Former Dean & Adviser, Faculty of Electrical, Electronics and Computer Engineering, MUET, Jamshoro, Dr. Faisal Bari, CEO and Senior Research Fellow (Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives), Associate Professor, LUMS, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Muhammad Asghar, Consultant (CPEC), HEC, and Dr. Fateh Muhammad Mari, Executive Director (Acting), HEC.<br></p><p style="text-align:center;">=====================<br></p><p><br></p>15-06-2020 16:17:32<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
HEC addressing students’ concerns regarding online classes & examsHEC addressing students’ concerns regarding online classes & exams<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, June 3, 2020: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has assured the students to solve problems, being faced by some of them, regarding internet connectivity and quality of lectures in their online classes as well as subsequent examinations.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">On Wednesday, a few students gathered in front of HEC Secretariat Islamabad to raise their concerns. They were told that HEC is in contact with the vice chancellors to resolve all such issues being faced by students. They were, however, categorically informed that promoting students without examination was out of question.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">They were told that the purpose of the whole activity is to save their semester, avoid disruption in academic calendar, and let the learning process continue. HEC has circulated prudential guidelines on exams in order to ensure that the students' concerns are not ignored and every attempt is made to ensure quality of education.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Also, efforts are afoot to address some of the connectivity issues faced by students through collaboration with PTA and the Telecoms.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Regarding their concern for fee being charged by the universities, students were told to inform HEC about any specific issue that will be taken up with the respective university.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is pertinent to mention here that during a meeting with the Vice Chancellors just before Eid, the Chairman HEC had also asked the Vice Chancellors to take steps to resolve the problems facing the graduating students on urgent basis, in addition to making decisions about new admissions, thesis research and use of laboratories. HEC has also shared its guidelines with the universities about thesis defense, allowing it to be online.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Chairman also urged the Vice Chancellors to supervise and assist their faculty to streamline the labour intensive work, helping them render the online learning management system a success. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"All the complaints need to be taken seriously." He informed the VCs that an appellate procedure will soon be set up to look into the complaints.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p>05-06-2020 14:50:26<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
COVID-19 Crisis to Enable HEC Enhance Efficiency: ChairmanCOVID-19 Crisis to Enable HEC Enhance Efficiency: Chairman<p style="text-align:justify;">​<span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;">I</span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;">slamabad, June 3, 2020: The COVID-19 crisis has affected many lives and disrupted all systems and institutions, including educational institutions, but the forced changes can be harnessed to bring about an increase in efficiency and quality of services at the Higher Education Commission (HEC). </span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This was stated by Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri while addressing HEC's all-staff meeting held online on Wednesday. HEC is committed to using the crisis in order to automate its process and systems, simplifying application procedures for universities, faculty members, and students, and moving towards greater efficiency.     <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Chairman directed all the HEC Divisions to take necessary steps for "re-engineering of all HEC operations and processes" as per the current requirements, ensuring transparency, clarity, and precision in them. He emphasised that all the lapses, in terms of quality in all HEC operations, must be identified and addressed. He said all HEC Divisions have been asked to ensure complete online readiness and online access, including by taking advantage of other HEC programs, especially the Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS), the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE), and the Education Testing Council (ETC). The HEMIS and Statistical Information Unit (SIU) have collected data on faculty members, and are compiling a complete database of staff and students. ETC has been asked to develop a hybrid system of evaluation and assessment, with a more effective use of information technology. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Expressing satisfaction that the degree attestation system was able to continue to provide its services through online operations during the lockdown, he directed the Attestation Division to make its processes more effective in the future, and to save students from the hassle of traveling to HEC offices for attestation. He said that the attestation and equivalence processes will be permanently provided online and through TCS to avoid hassle and make it easier for applicants to avail themselves of the services. He also highlighted the HEC's steps to address the issues faced by faculty and Tenure Track System staff.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He congratulated National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE) for the successful design and operation of the National Faculty Development Programme 2020, which had to be conducted only due to the lock down. "The feedback of the programme from the participants is very good." He directed NAHE to organize short duration trainings for HEC staff and others in essential Software services and other valuable skills. "NAHE should start a programme to improve the gaps, help HEC standardise its 'Style Manual', and provide trainings to its staff about communication skills, IT skills, analytical skills, and legal skills etcetera."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Chairman condoled the deaths of family members of HEC and universities staff due to COVID-19. He advised the HEC staff to follow precautionary measures strictly, including wearing masks in all public places, frequently washing hands and use sanitizer, and adopting social distancing. "We all must take all necessary precautions to protect ourselves, our families, neighbours, and colleagues." Expressing his sympathy for five HEC staff members who have also contracted the virus, he prayed for their early recovery. He said HEC will consider gradually calling back its employees to office as the government is easing restrictions, however pursuance of proper Standard Operating Procedure will be a must.    <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p>05-06-2020 14:47:36<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
Supporting research projects with multiples partners, grant aims to resolve key issues of national interestSupporting research projects with multiples partners, grant aims to resolve key issues of national interest<p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>More than 700 applications received for mega GCF grant launched by HEC</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, May 22, 2020:  More than 700 applications have been received in the Grand Challenge Fund (GCF) launched by HEC in February 2020. Supported by The World Bank-funded Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) project, GCF is a unique research programme. Its aim is to encourage university professors to help solve the pressing problems facing the country.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"For too long HEC funded research projects without asking whether they had any impact. GCF is different; its very ethos is to assess the quality of research on how it will contribute to socio-economic development in Pakistan, how it will help solve the problems that confront us, and how it will support our communities, our businesses, our farmers, and our government agencies in making decisions that improve the lives of ordinary citizens. GCF is a very competitive grant. The success rate is no more than 3 or 4 per cent. Grants will go through a peer-reviewed evaluation by high-level committees. We do expect papers to be published in the best journals. But we also expect to see results on the ground," said Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri in a statement issued here in Islamabad.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In Phase-I (year 20-21), 25<strong> </strong>proposals will be selected out of over 700 submissions. The maximum duration of each grant project is three years, and the maximum grant amount is Rs. 150 million. In this phase, the challenge statements (i.e., problems to be solved) have been kept relatively broad. These are in nine thematic areas, namely Food Security; Water Management and Sustainability; Sustainable Energy; Sociology and Philosophy; Development Economics; Urban Planning; Climate Change and Environment; Information Technology and Telecom; and Innovative Governance and Reforms.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">To ensure high quality of research, 32 research intensive universities from across the Pakistan are identified by HEC, who will be the key partners in GCF. Faculty members from these universities have been asked to collaborate with faculty members from other universities, both within and outside Pakistan, as needed. The proposals will go through a rigorous cycle of evaluation and review by specialized panels of experts. To ensure the transparency of the evaluation process, the reviewers have been asked to declare any potential conflict of interest. Anyone who has a potential conflict of interest has to recuse themselves from the panel. Also, in keeping with best practice internationally, the detailed comments will be kept in confidence. Both accepted and rejected proposal applicants will be intimated by HEC.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">HEC has funded thousands of research projects in the past, and this has led to a 15-fold number of research articles published in recognized journals every year, in addition to some industry agreements and new startups. However, the impact on the ground is very limited. With GCF, a new system of selection as well as monitoring and evaluation has been introduced to orient researchers towards achieving more concrete outcomes, such as higher productivity and efficiency, more equitable allocation systems, better health systems, and more exports.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) is a five-year project (2019/20 – 2023/24) being implemented by HEC, with support from the World Bank. It aims to support research excellence in strategic sectors of the economy, improve teaching and learning, and strengthening governance in higher education. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p>22-05-2020 12:56:56<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />





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