Autonomy of universities, quality assurance highlighted

152

Inter-University Consortium for the Promotion of Social Sciences (IUCPSS), along with its partner higher education institutes, has initiated a lecture series entitled “Sharing Best Academic Practices.”
Other organizations like Global Academic Leaders Academy, the National Skills University Islamabad and University of Lahore will also be partnering with this program. Higher Education Institutes worldwide are facing unprecedented challenges due to the current pandemic the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In this connection, the inaugural keynote lecture was delivered by renowned international higher education expert, Prof. Dr. Sohail Naqvi, Rector University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and former Executive Director Higher Education Commission Pakistan.
The title of his presentation was “Defining and Devising Excellence in Higher Education During & Post COVID-19 Era. Academic leaders, vice chancellors, rectors, faculty across the country participated in this lecture delivered via Zoom. According to Professor Naqvi, no doubt the COVID-19 virus has posed multiple challenges in academia; however, at the same time, it gives opportunities for digitalizing universities across the world through learning from one another’s experience and best international and regional practices.
Prof. Naqvi discussed four important avenues related to university governance i. e autonomy and accountability; structure of university governance and management; strong and independent quality assurance system, and sistance/digital education. Professor Naqvi characterized these four pillars necessary for making a world-class university.
He specifically gave an overview of the Bologna process that guarantees coherence in qualification framework to the higher education system across Europe, and comparing it with the North American system mentioned that both these systems have several commonalities. In defining the guiding principle of the European higher education setup, he highlighted three-cycle higher education system, including bachelor’s masters and doctoral studies which was also adopted by Higher Education Commission Pakistan to bring Pakistani higher education qualification framework at par with international standards and requirements. Every institution in Europe and North America has this system that has portability and interchangeability in case the learner (student) change institution during studies.
He also highlighted importance of autonomy of universities for promoting culture of creativity, innovation and research. He was of the view that without independent quality assurance system.—INP