Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed on Monday opposed a proposal for sharing data of students with law enforcement agencies, saying institutes of higher learning should not be brought to disrepute for individual acts of a few misguided students.
Addressing a press conference on the eve of HEC`s 15th anniversary celebrations, Dr Ahmed said there were talks about sharing the date of students of Karachi University (KU) with law enforcement agencies.He was referring to reports after one of KU`s former student, Karim Sarosh Siddiqui, was allegedly found involved in a recent attack on MQM leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan.
`We have over three million students in our universities and the affiliated colleges and there are only few misguided students. So don`t doubt on our universities,` he said, adding it was the responsibility of the KU to have a check on its students.
`The student was enrolled in a fouryear BS programme but he could not complete the course even after seven years.
Why the university did not check if the student was attending the university for seven years? I would also request all parents and teachers to remain vigilant and have proper check on the students,` he said.
Accompanied by Dr Arshad Ali, the HEC executive director, and Dr Masoom Yasinzai, the rector of the International Islamic University Islamabad, who is also the head of vice chancellors` committee, Dr Ahmed said the country`s higher edu-cation sector was on the right track. He said during the last 15 years, the HEC achievedlots ofsuccesses.
`We are progressing but I do agree there is the issue of quality of education and universities have been asked to pay special focus on this highly important aspect.` He said in 2002 the HEC started its journey with only 59 universities in the country, 2.6pc gross enrolment, 800 publications and 3,110 PhDs. The number of higher education institutions has now increased to 188 with nine per cent gross enrolment, 12,000 publications and 11,960 PhDs.
He said 32pc female enrolment had now reached 48pc as the HEC was promoting equal opportunities of higher education to maintain gender equity.
Dr Ahmed said the commission wanted to take full benefit from CPEC and had planned to set up research centres along its route worth around Rs100 billion subject to approval from the government.
`HEC wants to ensure one institution in each district by 2019 without any compromise on the quality of education,he added.
In reply to a question, the chairman HEC and Dr Yasinzai acknowledged that there were some issues in research in the past but now the HEC and universities had started focusing on relevant research works having an impact in society.
`So far, the HEC has awarded over 251,000 scholarships to students, including indigenous, overseas and need-based scholarships as well as the prime minister`s fee reimbursement scheme,` Dr Ahmed added.
Meanwhile, fresh PhD doctors association in a press release said the HEC funded a large number of PhD students but could not help them get jobs.
It said there were 380 jobless PhDs in the country but the commission was not helping them. The PhD degree holders also supported the devolution of the HEC.
However, Dr Ahmed said it was not the responsibility of the HEC to provide jobs to those who completed their PhDs on scholarships provided by the commission.