The COVID-19 crisis has affected many lives and disrupted all systems and institutions, including educational institutions, but the forced changes can be harnessed to bring about an increase in efficiency and quality of services at the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
This was stated by Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri while addressing HEC’s all-staff meeting held online on Wednesday. HEC is committed to using the crisis in order to automate its process and systems, simplifying application procedures for universities, faculty members, and students, and moving towards greater efficiency.
The Chairman directed all the HEC Divisions to take necessary steps for “re-engineering of all HEC operations and processes” as per the current requirements, ensuring transparency, clarity, and precision in them. He emphasized that all the lapses, in terms of quality in all HEC operations, must be identified and addressed.
He said that all HEC Divisions have been asked to ensure complete online readiness and online access, by taking advantage of other HEC programs, especially the Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS), the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE), and the Education Testing Council (ETC).
The HEMIS and Statistical Information Unit (SIU) have collected data on faculty members, and are compiling a complete database of staff and students. ETC has been asked to develop a hybrid system of evaluation and assessment, with more effective use of information technology.
Expressing satisfaction that the degree attestation system was able to continue to provide its services through online operations during the lockdown, he directed the Attestation Division to make its processes more effective in the future, and to save students from the hassle of traveling to HEC offices for attestation.
He said that the attestation and equivalence processes will be permanently provided online and through TCS to avoid hassle and make it easier for applicants to avail themselves of the services. He also highlighted the HEC’s steps to address the issues faced by faculty and Tenure Track System staff.
He congratulated the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE) for the successful design and operation of the National Faculty Development Programme 2020, which had to be conducted only due to the lockdown. “The feedback of the program from the participants is very good.” He directed NAHE to organize short duration trainings for HEC staff and others in essential Software services and other valuable skills. “NAHE should start a program to improve the gaps, help HEC standardize its ‘Style Manual’, and provide trainings to its staff about communication skills, IT skills, analytical skills, and legal skills etcetera.”
The Chairman condoled the deaths of family members of HEC and university staff due to COVID-19. He advised the HEC staff to follow precautionary measures strictly, including wearing masks in all public places, frequently washing hands and use sanitizer, and adopting social distancing. “We all must take all necessary precautions to protect ourselves, our families, neighbors, and colleagues.”
Expressing his sympathy for five HEC staff members who have also contracted the virus, he prayed for their early recovery. He said HEC will consider gradually calling back its employees to office as the government is easing restrictions, however, pursuance of proper Standard Operating Procedure will be a must.