Number of universities, enrolment increase in Pakistan

The total number of universities in the country has been increased to 233 (Public Sector 141 and Private Sector 92) and the number of sub-campuses of these universities has also been expanded to 115 (Public Sector: 82 & Private Sector: 33). Ultimately, the total enrolment has also been increased to around 2.0 million.

Quality of Higher Education

HEC through its Ordinance has established Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) in 2005. The agency is a policymaking and monitoring body for enhancement and assurance of quality in Higher Education Institutions. It is involved in the systematic implementation of quality enhancement procedures/criteria to attain improved levels of international compatibility and competitiveness at the institutional and programme level.

Internal Quality Assurance [IQA]

The objective of IQA processes is to enhance and institutionalize the quality culture in institutions of higher learning. The major outcome of the IQA mechanism is to prepare an HEI for external evaluations. Currently, 227 QEC are functional in the HEIs across the country. The establishment of QEC is a requirement for every new university established in public as well as private sector HEIs.

During FY2022, new QECs have been established in 21 HEIs across Pakistan. Also progress review meetings and capacity building workshops of 227 QECs are conducted in all regions, across the country, i.e. Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi, Islamabad, Bahawalpur, Hyderabad, Quetta and Swat.

External Quality Assurance (EQA)

Institution Level [Institution Performance Evaluation (IPE) This is an umbrella activity that evaluates the performance of an HEI through a peer review process from all aspects, i.e. quality of teaching and learning, research, the effectiveness of leadership and governance. The main objective is to evaluate the overall performance of an HEI.

For this purpose, the QAA plans are administers the activities of IPE against eleven defined standards. The standards are namely, Mission Statement and Goals, Planning and Evaluation, Organization and Governance, Integrity, Faculty, Students, Institutional Resources, Academic Programmes and Curricula, Public Disclosure and Transparency, Assessment & Quality Assurance, and Student Support Service.

So far, 140 HEIs are reviewed across the country, which includes 22 HEIs in the FY2022. Also, capacity building and consultative sessions were held with the 227 HEIs across Pakistan.

Undergraduate-Level Programme

HEC has established five Accreditation Councils in the areas of Agriculture, Business, Computing, Teacher and Technology Education in addition to already existing nine professional Councils, i.e., Pakistan Council for Architects and Town Planners (PCATP), Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC), Pakistan Nursing Council (PNC), Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council (PVMC), National Council for Tibb (NCT), Pharmacy Council of Pakistan (PCP) and National Council for Homeopathy (NCH).

These Councils worked with universities for accreditation of undergraduate programme in the relevant fields and continuously engaged in improving the quality of programmes offered by them. HEC closely work with these Councils in improving their accreditation standards and processes, capacity building of programme evaluators through training workshops, etc.

So far 1800 professional programmes, across Pakistan, are accredited by the councils established by QAA-HEC.

Postgraduate-Level (Ph.D. & MS/MPhil) Programme

The review of MS/M.Phil./Ph.D. or equivalent Programme is one of the key initiatives of QAA. Under this programme, the Postgraduate programmes (i.e. levels 07 and 08) are reviewed through expert committees to assure the compliance of HEC’s minimum criteria/guidelines.

For this purpose, QAA reviews the MS/MPhil and Ph.D. Programmes of HEIs through expert committees to make them internationally compatible. So far, programmes of 121 universities have been reviewed covering more than 2500 MS/MPhil and Ph.D. programmes. Capacity building of reviewers is a regular feature of the programme. So far around 130 reviewers have benefited from QAA Programme Review training workshops.

International Liaison:

HEC Pakistan is experiencing a paradigm shift in terms of QAA aiming at excellence in teaching, learning and research. In order to incorporate international best practices in the context of quality assurance, a liaison has been developed with QAA-UK, international Networks on QA. Membership of the Asia Pacific Quality Network (APQN), CHEA, International Network of Quality Assurance in Higher Education (INQAAHE) and Quality Assurance Agencies of the Islamic World has been earned.

HEC’s officials have been participating in the annual conferences organized by International QA Networks from time to time. The learning outcomes of participation in these networks and exchange of ideas have been incorporated in the QA system of HE sector of Pakistan.

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