Higher Education Working Group Submits Recommendations to Prime Minister on transparent appointment of new HEC Chief

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Islamabad: The Working Group on Higher Education Reforms has prepared recommendations on transparent and merit based appointment of new chairperson of federal Higher Education Commission (HEC) and sent to the Prime Minister, controlling authority of HEC, Federal Minister for Education and Training as well as members of Search committeeformed by Prime Minister to appoint new HEC head.
Through a letter addressed toPrime Minister of Pakistan signed by Dr. Shehzad Ashraf Chaudhry President Federationof All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) Islamabad andmember Working Group on Higher Education Reforms, he on the behalf of theworking group and FAPUASA Islamabad extended thanks to the Prime Minister forappointing apolitical search committee comprising of reputed academicians andexperts.

The letter states after wider countrywide consultations withthe concerned stakeholder, senior academicians and experts, a set of recommendations has been prepared which would be greatly helpful in transparent and merit based appointment of chairperson HEC. Working Group on Higher Education Reforms and FAPUASA would continue to extend any further cooperationin terms of any technical support and would monitor all key appointments inhigher education sector.

The 7-pages recommendations state that HEC is recognized as institution of the highest prestige in the country responsible for strategizing and regulating the Higher Education Sector and performing important functions pertaining to accreditation of new and existing HEIs The chief executive of this institution i.e Chairman HEC, therefore, needs to be an individual who-understands the sector, has a vision for its future, commands respect among all the major stakeholders and has the ability to steer this highly important sector to achieve comprehensive success for the nation. Regarding the appointment of HEC Chief, the HEC law
states:“The controlling authority [i.e. the prime minister] shall appoint a person ofinternational eminence and proven ability who has made significant
contributionto higher education as teacher, researcher or administrator, as chairperson onsuch terms and conditions as it may determine.” Under this section, the search committee is supposed to evaluate the candidates on the basis of their“international eminence” and “proven ability” measured in terms of “significant contribution to higher education as a teacher, researcher or administrator”.

The recommendations also include overview of previous appointments of heads of HEC and University Grants Commission (1974-2002), references of judgments, guidelines and principles directed by Supreme Court of Pakistan for transparent appointment of heads of autonomous bodies, parameters and case study on flaws in previous appointments in higher education sector which resulted in ligation at various courts of Pakistan.

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