ISLAMABAD - A two-day workshop on 'quality awareness and self-assessment' was organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in collaboration with the University of Management and Technology, Lahore. Representatives of over 18 private universities attended the workshop, which was aimed at encouraging these institutions to adopt the quality assurance mechanism introduced by the HEC. The participants showed keen interest in the quality assurance procedure and expressed their desire to follow the public universities in its implementation. Universities have already agreed unanimously to adopt HEC's quality assurance mechanisms. This practice has already been introduced at 30 public sector universities and another 15 will start implementing the programme from July, 2008 onwards. Prof. Dr. Abdul Raouf, Chairman Quality Assurance Committee, Prof. Dr. Riaz Hussain Qureshi, Adviser Quality Assurance and Learning Innovation, HEC, Prof. Dr. Azam Ali Khwaja, MD, Quality Assurance Agency, HEC and Dr. Hassan Murad, Rector, University of Management and Technology, Lahore addressed the workshop. The speakers stressed the importance of quality in higher education and its implications. There was a consensus that the concept of quality assurance needs to be further propagated for providing a proper understanding of the mechanisms involved. The Commission has made it obligatory for higher education institutions to demonstrate the effectiveness of their academic programmes in providing quality education. For this purpose, methods for assessing the quality of academic programmes have been developed at HEC. It requires universities to conduct periodic self-assessment for their programmes in order to improve them and ensure high academic standards.