Islamabad: HEC Accreditation Councils explore collaborative possibilities

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Accreditation Councils constituted by Higher Education Commission (HEC) that are mandated to accord accreditation of degree programmes being offered by Pakistani universities met here with the HEC representatives, says a press release.

The purpose of the meeting was to explore the possibilities of further enhancing collaboration and coordination amongst the 13 related Councils and with HEC to strengthen the common goal of quality assurance and enhancement.

Prof Sohail H Naqvi, Executive Director HEC, while chairing the meeting stated that institutional accreditation is being performed by HEC whereas programme accreditation is the responsibility of the respective Councils that have complete autonomy in such matters.

However, commonality of processes, objectives and increased globalisation of education requires a collective approach for meeting the challenges of quality assurance with improved levels of international compatibility and competitiveness.

HEC assured the meeting participants of full cooperation to the Councils in further strengthening their activities.

The key issues discussed in the meeting were the current international practices being followed by accreditation councils. A booklet ‘Good Practices for Quality Assurance for Accreditation Councils in Pakistan’ based on the guidelines of International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) was shared amongst the participants, so that the Councils may, if required, streamline their processes.

It was decided in the meeting that as the evaluators appointed by the Councils play a major role in determining the level and quality of programmes being accredited, their professionalism should be of great importance. As such, procedures and criteria for their selection might need revision considering the best international practices. Further, the Learning Innovation Division of HEC was directed to arrange training workshops for the evaluators.

As HEC is mandated to undertake the designing and revision of curricula of different programmes, it has established National Curriculum Revision Committees that recommend courses required for teaching in a particular programme. Common representatives of institutions of higher education and experts from user organisations form part of these committees. In all such committees, nominees of Accreditation Councils would also be included to further strengthening the process.

Other decisions taken in this committee to increase cooperation included formation of a sub-committee that would formulate requirements to be met by an institute for initiating a new programme, sharing of information by establishing linkages of the Council websites with that of HEC, and coordination of activities for increased sharing of information.

It was also decided in the meeting that the Accreditation Councils and Quality Assurance Agency at HEC would hold quarterly meetings to deliberate on issues of mutual interest.

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