ISLAMABAD-Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain on Friday urged that the quality of higher education and research must benefit society.

He was addressing the closing ceremony of two-day International Conference on Quality Assurance System, Standards and Policies: Issues and Challenges organised by HEC in collaboration with USEFP.

Dr. Ishrat Husain appreciated HEC’s initiative to open an international discourse on the much-needed subject of quality in higher education. He stressed that the ideas should now be translated into action, and researchers should be encouraged to find solutions to national problems.

He said that the best scientists, especially Nobel Prize winners, received the recognition because of contribution they made to society. “They used their knowledge and expertise to address the larger issues of public interest.”

He said that quality assurance processes, by HEC and others should result in the enhancement of both quality and relevance.

On the one hand, research outputs should display more academic rigour, and on the other hand, they should benefit society.

Dr. Hussain also stressed the need to translate the ideas from the conference into action and implementation.

These ideas should help the country in addressing the major gaps in quality assurance systems, including such issues as plagiarism, misrepresentation of research findings, and poor quality of journals. “This is high time for us to reflect upon and overcome these problems.”

Dr. Hussain congratulated HEC on establishing the National Academy of Higher Education. “We have been talking about this for a long time.”

He hoped that NAHE would fill in the intellectual disconnect between teaching and research. He said that students need qualified teachers, but they also want teachers to interact with them, respond to their questions, and have interactive dialogues with them.

In his remarks, HEC Chairman Tariq Banuri said that HEC intended to compile the lessons and recommendations of the conference for the benefit of the main programs of the institutions, namely improving the quality of regulatory policies, ensuring that HEC financing resulted in greater success of the universities, and the enhancement of the quality and relevance of education and research, and that HEC’s capacity building efforts were targeted at emerging needs. There was a need to link the research and teaching frameworks to the financing framework.