islamabad -  Higher Education Commission (HEC) Tuesday conferred the ‘Best Teacher Award of year 2015’ to academicians providing higher education in the universities of the country.

The ceremony was held at HEC secretariat while Minister of State for Federal Education, Baligh-ur-Rehman was the chief guest.

Around 47 teachers from different universities including federal and provincial were given Best Teacher Award along with Rs 100,000 for their encouragement.

Selection of the teachers was made on the basis of their performance after fulfilment of the specific criteria.

As per criteria teachers have to fill the form of HEC best teacher which is initially scrutinized by the university committee and forwards it to HEC committee for the final selection.

The program was launched to encourage the outstanding university teachers to acknowledge their services while for selection the academic performance and overall contribution for the betterment of the education in the institution are judged by both committees.

The minister said on this occasion that government has increased the higher education budget remarkably, adding that the figures have reached Rs 91 billion this year.

“Last year Rs 81 billion were released to HEC to support higher education,” said the minister. He said the schemes of laptops distribution and fee reimbursement were also initiated for the students from neglected areas of the country.

The minister also suggested that for the awards of best teacher selection should be made from all fields including social and applied sciences and along with this a best national teacher award category must be included.

“Rs 2 million should be given to best teacher and Rs 0.5 million must be given to the teacher who contributes extraordinary in its relevant academic field,” said minister. He also said that government is heading toward turning the country into a knowledge economy.

Meanwhile Chairman HEC Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said on this occasion Best University Teacher Award ceremony every year to recognize the performance and services of teachers, adding that merit is strictly followed in the selection of awardees.

“It provides monetary as well as self-esteemed incentives to the teachers of universities and DAIs through awards, mementos and certificates,” he said.

Out of 47 nominated teachers, eight were selected from federal capital universities, 12 from Punjab, 11 from Sindh, 12 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), two from Baluchistan and two were from Azad Jammu&Kashmir.

Talking to The Nation award winning academician Dr Muhammad Arslan from University of Lasbela Marine sciences department said that the selection was made following a procedure which was scrutinized by university administration and HEC.

“Such programs are positive for teachers because it also creates competition amongst faculty members,” he said.

Dr Abdul Salam Lodhi from Baluchistan University of Information and Technology said that their province lacks the opportunities of higher education as compare to rest of the provinces and such encouragement leaves positive impact on the higher education activities in Baluchistan.

He said for the selection of best teacher, the academic performance in the department, research papers and overall performance is overlooked by the committee.