HEC budget cut may slow down higher education momentum

Islamabad:The Higher Education Commission (HEC) brought radical changes in the system and Pakistani universities started surfacing in the coveted list of worldwide ranking of universities. The budget cut of HEC would have a drastic affect, and the momentum gained to obtain higher education might slow down. These thoughts were expressed by Heavy Industries Taxila Education City (HITEC) University Vice Chancellor (VC) Brigadier Qamar uz Zaman during an exclusive interview with ‘The News’. He said that the HEC has introduced the culture of higher education, which resulted in a remarkable change. “A new trend of obtaining higher qualifications surged in the heart and mind of educationists, and was sustained due to substantial fund allocation to the HEC,” he said. He said that the university established its Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC) in 2009 and the HEC-formulated questionnaires are used. “The feedback from students is regularly obtained and analysed for improvement in quality of teaching. ‘The Faculty Feedback’ has also identified various areas of strength,” he added. Answering a question regarding establishment of linkages between universities and industries, he said that establishing linkages with industries is a challenging task. However, during the last two years the HITEC University has signed MoUs with the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Askari Cement, Heavy Electrical Complex, NRSP-Institute of Rural Management (N-IRM) and the National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC). “We are already involved in joint research projects with these organisations and it is expected that positive results will emerge in near future. Meanwhile, we are also looking forward to develop more linkages with the industry,” he said. Briefing on the future plans of the university, he said that universities are ranked according to their research output. Being aware of this fact, the faculty is encouraged to contribute positively towards this end, as is evident from our publications and research ranking attained in a short span of time. “The university has also embarked on doctorate level programmes in Engineering and Mathematics. In addition, students of undergraduate programmes are also encouraged to do creative work,” he said. He said that the university was also striving to induct a number of new disciplines in Engineering and Mathematics whereas launching of Computer and IT programmes is also in the offing. “To support the educational activities, equal priority to develop infrastructure of the university is also taken care of in parallel. It is our constant and continuous effort to achieve the best possible standards while promoting the educational environments of HITEC University and hope that in near future our effort will bring us in the line of one of the best education providers,” he added. He, however, said that there were certain areas that require attention that mainly include hiring and retention of experienced, well-qualified and dedicated faculty members with good teaching and research experience. “Although HITEC University is not engineering specific, however, it was appreciated that most of the students will register in our engineering programme, and hence all efforts to establish well equipped and excellent laboratory facilities capable of imparting practical training to the students. Presently, there are over 25 fully functional engineering/computer laboratories where students perform practical training. This is a major hallmark of HITEC University distinguishing it from others,” he said.The news.

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