Islamabad - The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to recognise and attest only local degrees and transcripts awarded to over 2,000 students by COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) under its dual degree programme.

A meeting of the governing body of the HEC also decided yesterday that the degrees of Lancaster University shall not be recognised and equated by HEC owing to insufficiency of necessary academic requirements. The COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) had launched a dual degree programme in collaboration with the Lancanster University UK, wherein hundreds of students were enrolled and charged fees in pounds. But the HEC and Pakistan Engineering Councils had refused to recognize the degrees of the students as the university had started the programme without seeking approval of the regulatory bodies. The HEC had objected that the programme had neither value addition nor any foreign faculty was hired for the programme.

The issue had been lingering on for a year and parliamentary bodies had directed the HEC to resolve the issue for the sake of the 2532 enrolled students.

On Tuesday in the meeting while considering recommendations of Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology and Public Accounts Committee, the governing body of the HEC authorised HEC to only recognise and attest local CIIT degrees with CIIT transcript awarded to 2532 students enrolled under CIIT-LU dual degree programme and that too after completion of degree requirements and accreditation by the respective professional council.

The governing body of the HEC also expressed its deep concern over commencement of programme by CIIT without completing academic and legal requirements including upfront approval of the Commission, and reiterated that no foreign programme in any manifestation should be launched by higher education institutions without seeking formal approval from the Commission.

The officials said the decision taken by the Commission is final and only local degree will be recognised by the HEC after accreditation by PEC and all the possibilities discussed at other forums are not binding on HEC.