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LAHORE: HEC’s newly announced ranking may stir controversy

By Arsalan Haider, Daily Times

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Thursday announced ranking of Pakistani universities, which may stir a controversy due to significant changes in the positions of different universities as compared to those in the last ranking.

According to the ranking, two public-sector universities belonging to Lahore and two private-sector universities were placed in the top 10 list. The University of Punjab was placed on the fifth position. In private sector universities, the COMSATS University was on the ninth and the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) on the 10th position.

According to the latest ranking, The University of Punjab was at the top in General Universities (Large) category, which was on the second position in the previous ranking. In General Universities (Other) category, Government College University (GCU) was on the second position. In Business Education, LUMS retained its top position, and National College of Business Administration and Economics (NCBAE) was on the fifth position. In Agriculture and Veterinary category, the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) improved its position and was ranked third; the National College of Arts (NCA) remained at the top in Arts and Design category.

In Computer Sciences and IT, Engineering and Technology category, none of the Lahore’s universities made it to top 10. The University of Engineering and Technology (UET) was on the fourth position in Engineering and Technology category in the last ranking announced in 2010, but was unable to retain its position in the latest ranking.

The universities were ranked according to the student intake as well as graduates produced at BS, MS and PhD levels, number of qualified faculty members, student-teacher ratio, quality of research produced and published in journals of international repute, physical and technological infrastructure, international collaborations, resource generation and sports facilities.

The assessment procedure had 60 marks for quality assurance and enhancement, 18 marks for implementation of quality assurance criteria, 42 marks for teaching quality and 40 marks for research.

Talking to Daily Times, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha said the HEC had tried its best to raise the standard of higher education in Pakistan. Explaining the importance of ranking, he said that it had been witnessed that students preferred the universities or institutions that had better ranking, therefore, the HEC ranking would prove a milestone for future of higher education in the country.

He added that he was completely satisfied with the criteria of the HEC, because it had asked all the universities to set up Quality Enhancement Cells (QEC) for making their syllabus, research, qualification of faculty and infrastructure better, adding that strong and effective QECs had improved the ranking of different universities. On performance of the UVAS, he said that it was much appreciable that the university in a very short term had made its place in the top universities of Pakistan, especially in Agriculture and Veterinary category. While answering a question about ranking of Pakistani universities in the world, he said the HEC ranking was the first step towards international standards, but more budget and resources were needed for higher education in the country.

It is pertinent to mention here that UET Vice Chancellor Gen (r) Muhammad Akram refused to talk about the issue, saying he was still not aware of the ranking criteria and methodology.

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