islamabad - The Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) has compromised on the quality and standard of the education as its Quality Assurance Department (QAD) has been handed over to the official who himself faced interdepartmental inquires, said an official on Tuesday.

The official said that earlier the section was being run on ad-hoc basis and the charge has now been given to the official who had faced three inquires at HEC. He further said that the key administrative positions in QA department have been vacated since 2014.

Talking to The Nation, an official said that the most important position to maintain the access and quality of the higher education in the universities has been neglected by the commission.

 “Running the QA section is a technical job which requires expertise, but the department is deprived of top level professionals who can run it efficently,” said the official.

The official said that last decade in higher education sector was declared as the ‘quality in higher education’ but HEC didn’t set its focus on most important part in the higher education section.

The HEC’s QA section was established to develop a quality higher education system relevant to national needs and compatible to International QA Standards that enables HEIs to demonstrate excellence in teaching, learning and research.

An official said that earlier HEC hired a consultant on the top position and now the department has been handed over to another official who was facing the interdepartmental inquiries for misconduct.

 Ex-Chairman HEC Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman talking to The Nation said that HEC’s QA section needs to be revitalizing as rankings of the Pakistani universities have not improved and not a single university is in top 200 universities now.

He said that QA is a specialized field for which the officials are trained to work and maintain the quality in the universities.

“Unsuitable candidate cannot run this technical position,” he said.

He said that the QA section matches international standards in higher education which cannot be compromised.

Dr. Atta said that although HEC did not have the experts in the beginning, it trained a number of officials to strengthen the section.

An official said that the sitting Director General (DG) QA Farmanullah Anjum was given the charge after the retirement of ex-chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed.

The appointment was made by Executive Director (ED) HEC Dr. Arshad Ali who himself was facing inquiry for publishing a plagiarized research paper.

The official said that the sitting DG himself faced three interdepartmental inquires including attending a conference of scientists, issuing a letter in COMSASTS dual degree program and misconduct in attestations.

The official said that the consultant hired on ad-hoc basis Dr. Ismail has been also cornered in the new HEC administration being run by ED Dr. Arshad Ali.  Ex-Chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed talking to The Nation said that QA is a technical field and therefore HEC had hired a specialized consultant to run the affairs of the section.

He said that the replaced DG QA was charged with a number of allegations.

ED Dr. Arshad Ali was approached for his comments regarding appointments and role of QA section in HEC but declined to comment.  Director media HEC Aayesha Ikram said that she cannot give any statement yet.