Our President who never went to school, Mamnoon Hussain, has given directions to Higher Education Commission (HEC) to execute a full audit of 170 universities across Pakistan. The purpose of such an audit is to minimize the incidence of corruption in academia. The orders by the President coincide with HEC’s own quality check of all undergraduate programs.
HEC Chairperson, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed has been ordered to audit various universities in the aftermath of complaints of irregularities at the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science & Technology (FUUAST) and Karakoram International University, Gilgit-Baltistan, and other federally-chartered universities. The HEC is said to be currently working to finalize the terms of reference (ToRs) for the audits of universities which mostly include the quality of research, publications, and its impact.
Education quality and standard in Pakistan, whether it is on the secondary level or higher education level, is getting worse with time, as the mere purpose of such institutions is to create students who are well versed with the books but don’t have any idea how the world works. Apart from a few universities in the country, the quality of education in the institutions has dropped significantly.
A month ago, the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan’s education regulatory body, shut down 31 Ph.D. and 26 MPhil programs in some universities across the country. Reportedly, the universities failed to meet the minimum quality criteria required of higher education institutions.
Whether it is a private or public university, problems like financial mismanagement, misapplication of authority, nepotism in hiring, and political interference are common and thriving. For decades, the government has ignored the Education sector thus worsening the standards of public universities in Pakistan. With the bad educational conditions in Public universities, the number of private institutions is on the rise to meet the growing demand and in turn, have virtually monopolized the education system, and there is no return on investment on education in the said institutions.
The government’s primary solution to all the problems in Pakistan is making roads, underpasses, and everything that has nothing to do with education or the welfare of citizens. It hasn’t shown any commitment to foster education at all levels and for everyone in the country. In July, the HEC discussed universities issues at the 6th meeting of all the Accreditation Councils but failed to come up with a solution.
The government of Punjab has recently launched the Integrated Project for Elimination of Child Labour and Promotion of Decent Work, but such isolated projects are not enough to bolster education culture in Pakistan. There is a need for a more focused approach to the development of Human resources in the country as the badly educated people are also harmful to the country just like the rising rate of illiteracy.