ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training on Thursday expressed concern over the delay in appointment of vice chancellors (VCs) of some universities.

The committee meeting held at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) secretariat under the chair of NA Standing Committee Chairman Amirullah Marwat expressed serious concerns over the non-compliance of quality assurance criterion in some universities.

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed also shared the process of appointing universities VCs. He mentioned the steps taken by the HEC to enhance the prestige of teachers by following a “one-grade-up policy” to have competent faculties in higher education institutions.

He informed the committee members about the plan to conduct an academic audit of all universities.

The committee directed for starting the academic audit of the University of Karachi and the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology, and called VCs of both the universities to attend the committee’s next meeting to be held in Karachi.  

Dr Ahmed said that the HEC follows a strong policy on plagiarism and it makes no exceptions in any plagiarism case. He said that the HEC has received 201 plagiarism cases since 2007 and of them, 45 cases have been proved, 65 complaints disposed of it incorrect and investigation in 41 other cases was under way. He said that the HEC recently conducted a review of 171 universities in terms of governance and quality. “Universities are certainly autonomous bodies, however, this autonomy accompanies strict accountability,” he stated.

The committee discussed various academic issues including a calling attention notice regarding withholding of salaries of more than 60 teachers and staff members of the Federal Urdu University, Islamabad; the Sir Syed (Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering) Institute of Technology, Islamabad Bill; the Technical Educational Institutions, Medial Educational Institutions and Universities (Regulation of Fee) Bill; the Prevention of Malpractices in Academia Bill, 2016; and implementation status of the recommendations made at the earlier standing committee meeting held at Abdul Wali Khan University.