ISLAMABAD – The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has awarded Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) the highest rank under an assessment released by its Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), a body working to monitor the standard of higher education in Pakistan.Professors and educational experts believe that this mechanism of ranking introduced by HEC will trigger a healthy competition among both the public and private sector universities as they will strive to outclass each other and this will drastically boost the quality of higher education in the country.The QAA has ranked SZABIST in category “W” as Quality Enhancement Cell of the university met 90 per cent of the quality benchmarks in terms of research, faculty development, industry-academia linkages, academic freedom, ensuring standardized syllabi across all sections of a course, streamlining processes across campuses according to International standards and ensuring compliance of HEC guidelines.HEC has developed Quality Enhancement Cells (QEC) in different public and private sector universities. These cells collaborate with the commission in terms of monitoring and evaluation of the broad range of parameters set by HEC to gauge the development or decline of the standard of higher education in their respective institutions.All these Quality Enhancement Cells are regulated and facilitated by the Quality Assurance Agency established at HEC according to provisions under the “Ordinance of HEC 2002, Section 10 (e). These cells also work to foster Institutional Effectiveness (IE) to support research, planning, policy formation, streamlining processes, decision-making and critical academic initiatives of strategic importance in the institutes. The QEC department has to provide an absolutely unbiased judgment to HEC by-annually about their institution’s students, faculty, staff, curriculum, course offerings, and learning outcomes.SZABIST university is very delighted over being ranked highest by the QAA assessment and has attributed this academic success to the vigorous and persistent efforts of its management and faculty members.