March 31, 2021-Islamabad – “The audit reports are part of regular
oversight and tend to improve processes. All the concerns of audit about the
Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) Project have been replied to.
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 HEC spokesperson,
in a statement issued here on Tuesday. HEDP
is assisting HEC in its various key higher education initiatives. It is a five-year
project (2019/20 – 2023/24) being implemented by 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
During the last FY 19-20 audit, a few observations were raised. HEC
has successfully replied to all observations. In foreign funded projects, donor
rules apply and HEDP project is running successfully complying with the World
Bank procedures. All consultants of HEDP were hired in compliance with the applicable
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. 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. HEDP is deploying latest Blockchain technology to address the challenges
of fake degrees and to smoothen the process of degree attestation /verification.
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.