The Higher Education Commission (HEC), formerly the University Grant Commission, is the primary regulator of higher education in Pakistan. It also facilitates the development of higher educational system in Pakistan Its main purpose is to upgrade the Universities of Pakistan to be world-class centres of education, research and development.
The HEC is also playing a leading role towards building a knowledge based economy in Pakistan by giving out hundreds of doctoral scholarships for education abroad every year.
HEC Programs and Projects
HEC main programs are following:
- Faculty development
- Curriculum revision
- Higher education infrastructure development
- Indigenous scholarships
- Foreign scholarships
- Patent filing support
- Conference travel grants
- Increase industry and university research collaboration
- Developing new technology parks
Information Technology Reforms
Primary focus of HEC is higher Education development however recently HEC has begun information technology reforms (called e-reforms) while it claims to improve situation of social sector primarily reduction in poverty and challenges of economic stability.
Main E-forms programs are following:
HEC projects have received criticism, although the government of Pakistan has allocated a significant amount of funds to the HEC and has increased its budget since its 2002 name-change.
Some of the reports:
In spite of the criticism of HEC, its creation has also had a positive impact on higher education in Pakistan. In their two year report for 2004 to 2006 it is mentioned that according to the Institute of Scientific Information, the total number of publications appearing in the 8,000 leading journals indexed in the web of Science arising out of Pakistan in 2005 was 1,259 articles, representing a 41% increase over the past two years and a 60% increase since the establishment of HEC in 2002. In addition the HEC digital library now provides access to over 20,000 leading research journals, covering about 75% of the world's peer reviewed scientific journals.
The HEC website also points to a 40% increase in enrollment in universities in Pakistan over the last two years, which it attributes to efforts on its part to encourage higher education in the country.