The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has left the practice of ranking universities owing to the lack of accurate data, incompatibility and professional incapacity of the existing method.
So far HEC has conducted ranking of the country’s universities three times in 2013, 2015 and 2016, but every time it did the rankings it was badly criticised for promoting one university at the cost of other and having inaccurate data for the process.
In the past few years, the news regarding the ranking of the universities of Pakistan at international level has also been not that encouraging, that has placed HEC on a back foot at the national and parliamentary forum.
As per sources in the HEC, it has now taken the decision to halt the plans for conducting any further ranking process.
HEC officials sharing in regarding the development said that the problems range from a lack of capacity to conduct transparent and non-controversial ranking, along with a lack of professional expertise for the collection and analysis of data.
The HEC’s Statistics Division Director General—Ahmed Yahya Khan was also disregarded in various meetings and then was later transferred for his suspected poor management and non-steady affairs.
The previous rankings conducted in 2013 was based on the data of 2010, the second ranking was conducted in 2015 was based on the figures collected in the year of 2012-13 and the last published rankings in 2016 was based on the data of 2014-15.
Once it was learnt that the collected data was old, the executive director instructed halting the idea of ranking on such data. Since the last year, the executive director is also entangled in the charges of plagiarism.
The HEC is engaged on the working of a software to get the first-hand information from the universities relating the faculty, enrolment of students, etc. but, it seems that it is struggling to convince the universities for sharing the real-time data, other than facing technical glitches.
Presently, HEC has got no proper system of having upgraded and transparent statistics from universities owing to the lack of authority over universities and inflexibility of institution is sharing the fresh data.
The Executive Director told that the ranking has become an international business and it is not indicative of the universities performance or position. He added that Europe has got no such concept of university rankings.
He added that its even better not to have the ranking at all as comparing weak universities with the strong ones is not the appropriate way. Rankings should highlight strength of the universities rather than their weaknesses with the present set of indicators.
He further mentioned that altogether the ranking process has not been left however, we are looking for an actual picture of the higher education institutions.
Dr Mukhtar Ahmed—Outgoing HEC chairperson also affirmed that the process of ranking is a different yet risky task. He added that ranking is not a real indicator in his views, indicators need to be improved and work is under process.
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