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HEC and PHECs should neither work in isolation nor in conflict: UoG VC Dr. Zia

By Shabbir Sarwar and Ali Arshad 

HEC and PHECs should neither work in isolation nor in conflict situation, as ultimately higher education sector is suffering, especially universities, said University of Gujarat Vice Chancellor Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum during an interview with The Educationist. “We should resolve these matters once for all. Now the case is in the Council of Common Interests’ subcommittee lead by Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal. There is no black and white situation. I have discussed with chairman PHEC your basic mandate is colleges now let’s do work on it. It’s a barren land for working,” he said. Following are the details:

The Educationist: Please tell us about your early life and education?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: Well, I born in Lahore in a middle class family. My primary education is from Multan and Lahore because my father was a government employee. I did my Master’s from BZU Multan and then PhD in computer science from Leads University England. In December 2014 I took charge as Vice Chancellor University of Gujrat. My mentor is Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad and I am lucky that I have worked with him.

The Educationist: How do you see establishment of Provincial HECs after the devolution of higher education?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: This is very controversial and difficult question to answer. I have seen the transition of University Grant Commission to HEC, I have seen that time when universities don’t have funding they had faced very bad financial issues. Now we have 150 plus public and private sector universities in the last 13 or 14 years of struggling of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and credit goes to HEC. Faculty development program was launched, more M.Phil and PhD programs were introduced. After this (achievement), the government starting to ask, what the ranking of the university is? What the university is contributing to society?
There is a need to complement efforts from one intuition to another for widening the higher education canvas in Pakistan. Important thing is two provinces have established provincial HECs so the post scenario is why two other provinces are not establishing their HECs. I have met with many VCs of KPK and Baluchistan they don’t want any provincial higher education commission. They are with HEC Pakistan. It should be decided that what is the role of HEC Pakistan and what should be the role of PHECS in operational forms. They should neither work in isolation nor in conflict situation. Ultimately higher education sector is suffering, especially universities are suffering. We should resolve these matters once for all. Now the case is in the Council of Common Interests’ subcommittee lead by Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal. There is no black and white situation. I have discussed with chairman PHEC your basic mandate is colleges now let’s do work on it. It’s a barren land for working.

The Educationist: Do the UoG take any benefits from PHEC like faculty development and traveling grants?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: A very meager kind proportionate figure (is there) in this regard. The chairman PHEC was the vice chancellor of our university so I am enjoying good relationship with him. I have analyses they don’t have enough fund for universities.

The Educationist: How we can produce quality research and applied research in our institutions?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: It’s a gradual process and primary component of this is qualified facility members and highly equipped infrastructure in terms of labs, access to literature and other helpful material around the world. In quite limited resources and funds universities’ teachers are producing quality research. When we don’t have any baseline that time we have few research papers now we have strong bas line in shape of HEC so we have 11000 around research papers. Almost 60 to 70 % funding would go to applied research where the industrial partner would be bound to accommodate that research in society benefits and pure research is also very important 30 to 40% funding would go to for pure research. I am cretic of ranking system of universities. I am working with HEC as focal person of National Research Program of Universities in domain of computer sciences.

We have 122 PhD faculty members in main campus Gujrat. 15,000 plus students are getting education in UoG. I am the person who

Dr. Ziaul Qayyum

believes on quality of education and work. This year we ARE starting four new PhD programs

The Educationist: Media reported some fake degrees issue during previous vice chancellor’s tenure. Is this true, if yes, what is the current status of the inquiry, which was allegedly stopped and why it was stopped?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: Inquiry has been never stopped it is continue. We need to establish whether someone has (committed) faults or not before he left. I have formed a high level fact finding committee, led by the senior most professor of UoG who serve as acting vice chancellor in my absence. There is no concrete recommendation against anybody. I have requested to the inquiry officer to complete this inquiry as early as possible. I am the person who believe in looking forward.

The Educationist: How many sub campuses you have? Are these HEC recognized?
HEC and PHECs should neither work in isolation nor in conflict situation, as ultimately higher education sector is suffering, especially universities, said University of Gujarat Vice Chancellor Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum during an interview with The Educationist. “We should resolve these matters once for all. Now the case is in the Council of Common Interests’ subcommittee lead by Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal. There is no black and white situation. I have discussed with chairman PHEC your basic mandate is colleges now let’s do work on it. It’s a barren land for working,” he said. Following are the details:

The Educationist: Please tell us about your early life and education?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: Well, I born in Lahore in a middle class family. My primary education is from Multan and Lahore because my father was a government employee. I did my Master’s from BZU Multan and then PhD in computer science from Leads University England. In December 2014 I took charge as Vice Chancellor University of Gujrat. My mentor is Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad and I am lucky that I have worked with him.

The Educationist: How do you see establishment of Provincial HECs after the devolution of higher education?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: This is very controversial and difficult question to answer. I have seen the transition of University Grant Commission to HEC, I have seen that time when universities don’t have funding they had faced very bad financial issues. Now we have 150 plus public and private sector universities in the last 13 or 14 years of struggling of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and credit goes to HEC. Faculty development program was launched, more M.Phil and PhD programs were introduced. After this (achievement), the government starting to ask, what the ranking of the university is? What the university is contributing to society?
There is a need to complement efforts from one intuition to another for widening the higher education canvas in Pakistan. Important thing is two provinces have established provincial HECs so the post scenario is why two other provinces are not establishing their HECs. I have met with many VCs of KPK and Baluchistan they don’t want any provincial higher education commission. They are with HEC Pakistan. It should be decided that what is the role of HEC Pakistan and what should be the role of PHECS in operational forms. They should neither work in isolation nor in conflict situation. Ultimately higher education sector is suffering, especially universities are suffering. We should resolve these matters once for all. Now the case is in the Council of Common Interests’ subcommittee lead by Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal. There is no black and white situation. I have discussed with chairman PHEC your basic mandate is colleges now let’s do work on it. It’s a barren land for working.

The Educationist: Do the UoG take any benefits from PHEC like faculty development and traveling grants?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: A very meager kind proportionate figure (is there) in this regard. The chairman PHEC was the vice chancellor of our university so I am enjoying good relationship with him. I have analyses they don’t have enough fund for universities.

The Educationist: How we can produce quality research and applied research in our institutions?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: It’s a gradual process and primary component of this is qualified facility members and highly equipped infrastructure in terms of labs, access to literature and other helpful material around the world. In quite limited resources and funds universities’ teachers are producing quality research. When we don’t have any baseline that time we have few research papers now we have strong bas line in shape of HEC so we have 11000 around research papers. Almost 60 to 70 % funding would go to applied research where the industrial partner would be bound to accommodate that research in society benefits and pure research is also very important 30 to 40% funding would go to for pure research. I am cretic of ranking system of universities. I am working with HEC as focal person of National Research Program of Universities in domain of computer sciences.

The Educationist: Media reported some fake degrees issue during previous vice chancellor’s tenure. Is this true, if yes, what is the current status of the inquiry, which was allegedly stopped and why it was stopped?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: Inquiry has been never stopped it is continue. We need to establish whether someone has (committed) faults or not before he left. I have formed a high level fact finding committee, led by the senior most professor of UoG who serve as acting vice chancellor in my absence. There is no concrete recommendation against anybody. I have requested to the inquiry officer to complete this inquiry as early as possible. I am the person who believe in looking forward.

The Educationist: How many sub campuses you have? Are these HEC recognized?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: University of Gujrat has four sub-campuses and they are all HEC recognized. Government can’t lead excel alone in expansion of higher education.

The Educationist: How many PhD faculty members are there in UoG?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: We have approximately 122 PhD faculty members in main campus Gujrat. 15,000 plus students are getting education in UoG. I am the person who believes on quality of education and work. This year we starting four new PhD programs.

The Educationist: What are your future plans for the university during next a few years?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: I am a technologist by profession, so I would like to empower my university more in technology and computer sciences and also in other fields. I am inducting new and qualified faculty members in university. Another initiative is Learning Management System. I have started use of latest technology for students. Quality of education and good learning of students with usage of latest technology is very important. HEC Pakistan is providing us funding.
Second initiative we are going to take is faculty performance evaluation, it would be also automatic system which is GIS based mapping of higher education. This software observes from top level management to lowest level staff. Third, I am going to announce this year for University of Gujrat as the year of productivity and innovation. We have fixed 40 million rupees for research and development in UoG and university will sponsor top ideas of research and innovation. I have announced best teacher, best mentor, best researcher and best innovator awards for appreciation of my faculty. Also special incentives for faculty members who will publish quality research papers in national or international journals. So, in the next two years my focus will be on expansion of my university in vertically and horizontally and I will be more focused on quality research in my university. I making efforts to provide the best academic environment to students, we have invested lots of money on co-curricular of extracurricular activities.

The Educationist: How do you see students and teachers involvement in politics?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: UoG is free from the element of student unions. I asked the previous govt why they didn’t implement their idea of restoration of students unions and why they want it now. The chairman Senate should see post 18th Amendment scenario. Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: University of Gujrat has four sub-campuses and they are all HEC recognized. Government can’t lead excel alone in expansion of higher education.

The Educationist: How many PhD faculty members are there in UoG?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: We have approximately 122 PhD faculty members in main campus Gujrat. 15,000 plus students are getting education in UoG. I am the person who believes on quality of education and work. This year we starting four new PhD programs.

The Educationist: What are your future plans for the university during next a few years?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: I am a technologist by profession, so I would like to empower my university more in technology and computer sciences and also in other fields. I am inducting new and qualified faculty members in university. Another initiative is Learning Management System. I have started use of latest technology for students. Quality of education and good learning of students with usage of latest technology is very important. HEC Pakistan is providing us funding.
Second initiative we are going to take is faculty performance evaluation, it would be also automatic system which is GIS based mapping of higher education. This software observes from top level management to lowest level staff. Third, I am going to announce this year for University of Gujrat as the year of productivity and innovation. We have fixed 40 million rupees for research and development in UoG and university will sponsor top ideas of research and innovation. I have announced best teacher, best mentor, best researcher and best innovator awards for appreciation of my faculty. Also special incentives for faculty members who will publish quality research papers in national or international journals. So, in the next two years my focus will be on expansion of my university in vertically and horizontally and I will be more focused on quality research in my university. I making efforts to provide the best academic environment to students, we have invested lots of money on co-curricular of extracurricular activities.

The Educationist: How do you see students and teachers involvement in politics?
Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum: UoG is free from the element of student unions. I asked the previous govt why they didn’t implement their idea of restoration of students unions and why they want it now. The chairman Senate should see post 18th Amendment scenario.

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