ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has said that the Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) Project activities are critical to its several initiatives and aims to uplift higher education across the Country.
“The audit reports are part of regular oversight and tend to improve processes. All the concerns of the audit about the HEDP project have been replied to. The HEDP/HEC is well equipped to take up project challenges and the team is committed to make this project a success, despite all odds,” said the HEC Spokesperson in a statement issued here on Tuesday.
The HEDP is assisting HEC in its various key higher education initiatives. It is a five-year project (2019/20 – 2023/24) being implemented by the HEC with support from the World Bank. It aims to support research excellence in strategic sectors of the economy, improve teaching and learning, and strengthen governance in higher education.
During the last FY 19-20 audit, a few observations were raised. The HEC has successfully replied to all observations. In foreign-funded projects, donor rules apply and the HEDP project is running successfully complying with the World Bank procedures.
All consultants of the HEDP were hired in compliance with the applicable regulations.
The HEDP comprises of some key initiatives to uplift the higher education in Pakistan. The research component includes variety of research grants to promote high quality research in public/private sector universities and affiliated colleges across the Country.
So far, three major grants have been launched with 10 Rapid Research Grants related to COVID-19 already awarded. Evaluation of proposals for three more grants – Grand Challenge Fund (GCF), Technology Transfer Support Fund (TTSF) and Local Challenge Fund (LCF) is already under way.
The project also aims to uplift the Offices of Research, Innovation & Commercialization (ORIC) and Business Incubation Centers (BIC) to bridge gap between academia and industry and generate/encourage significant economic activity. These grants will help contribute towards knowledge economy of the nation and uplift the research eco-system.
In addition, the project has contributed significantly towards building excellence in teaching and learning through enhancement of quality assurance cells and revamping of undergraduate curriculum.
To ensure the efficiency and transparency in the public sector universities and affiliated colleges, a major component of project focuses on the use of Information Technology (IT governance) in higher education sector.
The HEDP will implement new QA policy to monitor online education and provide latest Learning Management solution to all participating institutions to facilitate distance learning. Verification of degrees and other credentials is a worldwide issue.
The HEDP is deploying latest Blockchain technology to address the challenges of fake degrees and to smoothen the process of degree attestation /verification.
The HEDP is deploying scalable world-class ERP, Student Lifecycle Solutions and expanding the online research network. Interestingly, most of these initiatives have already been kicked off and in the process of roll out.