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ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan has stopped four universities from admitting students in any degree programme owing to academic irregularities, mismanagement and non-compliance.

The institutions include Preston Institute of Management Sciences and Technology (PIMSAT) Karachi, Imperial College of Business Studies, Lahore, Global Institute, Lahore and Al-Khair University AJK.

The action was taken after the institutions had been sent constant reminders, asking them to overcome ‘deficiencies’ but without success.

In addition to the main campuses, sub-campuses of the universities, branches or affiliated colleges have also been asked to not admit students at any level in any programme.

The HEC Review Panels, in compliance with the directive of the prime minister, visited universities across the country last year to review quality assurance and governance practices.

Universities that had failed to fulfil the criteria set by the HEC were given a deadline by which to overcome deficiencies.

“However, the educational institutions have still not complied (with the directives) despite reminders and, therefore, have been asked to stop admitting students in all of their academic programmes,” a HEC notification said.

It says: “As a practice, the HEC regularly issues parent and student alerts in national and regional newspapers as well as through social media, warning the public to check from the HEC website the list of recognised institutions as well as accredited programmes.

“The students are continuously warned that the HEC will not attest degrees or certificates obtained from such universities or institutes claiming their affiliation.”

The HEC has posted lists of recognised as well as non-recognised higher education institutions on its websites wherefrom parents and students can check the status of an institution they consider for admission. The list may be accessed through hec.gov.pk/site/HEIs.

Besides, HEC website also has a list of accreditation councils which are responsible for accreditation of respective degree programmes including the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Pakistan Council for Architects and Town Planners (PCATP), Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC), Pakistan Nursing Council (PNC), Pakistan Pharmacy Council (PCP), Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council (PVMC), National Council for Homoeopathy (NCH), National Council for Tibb (NCT), National Accreditation Council for Teachers Education (NACTE), National Agricultural Education Accreditation Council (NAEAC), National Computing Education Accreditation Council (NCEAC), and National Business Education Accreditation Council (NBEAC).

The HEC is also developing the Pakistan Qualification Register (PQR), which is an online database containing a list of approved degree programmes of the HEC recognised public and private sector universities — including their sub campuses and affiliated as well as constituent colleges.

The PQR is aimed to provide clearly-defined levels of knowledge, skills and competencies to be acquired by every graduate. The register is being linked to various HEC programmes and initiatives including attestation of degrees, local and overseas scholarships, appointment of the HEC-approved supervisors, award of national research grants, thematic research grants for social sciences, etc.

“Though the majority of universities have provided the information, some universities that have been slow in responding to the notices are being advised to enter their degree programmes in PQR at the earliest so as to streamline above-mentioned processes,” the notification said.