Friday, February 24, 2012

HEC University Ranking Criteria. Is that Correct?

HEC Pakistan has recently published the list of universities based on their ranking. The criteria and weights through which universities have been compared are highly debatable.  Let us try to dig deeper to investigate that does this criteria really reflect the true outcome of university through which they can be compared.

The highest criteria mentioned is the teaching quality, that is 42%. This is good but the question is how the teaching quality will be judged.  The most common method that HEC has provided to universities is the student satisfaction with the teachers. During and after the semesters, students are required to fulfil their satisfaction about the teacher and his/her quality. This criteria seems good as the students can be the real judge about the teacher but here we have also seen some irregularities which affects these results.  These lengthy surveys come as a burden on student usually as start-up screens on university portal logins and they try to fill with speed to get rid of them. As a result these surveys do not reflect student real judgement about the teacher.  Apart from this, it has also been seen that the teacher who try to cover most of the syllabus become bad in the eyes of the students whereas the teacher who teaches less and give more marks to student  get good outcome in these surveys. As a university teacher make and check his own paper, so he can also lower the quality of the paper to give more marks and become good in the eyes of the student. So in conclusion this method does not reflect the real quality of teaching.

Another criteria for judging the teaching quality is the teacher student ratio. This is a very positive point. If their will be more number of teachers in the university, result would be that each teacher will have to be associated with less number of students and he/she can give more quality time to his/her students. Judging universities on  this basis is highly appreciable.

Implementation status of quality assurance is given 18% according to HEC. One may wonder what it is.  It is actually the paper dumping work in the physical folder that the teacher carries daily in his class. Paper dump includes daily lecture slides printout, previous quizzes, assignments and question papers. This is good but most of the universities have their online portals as well for sharing of these materials with the students but HEC only counts the paper work which affect negatively as the teachers have to do the dual work. Apart from dumping work, this implementation status also includes the in timely display of results which is good enforcement. These criteria can be used to judge and compare different universities but the percentage given to this is too low.

Assets possessed by the university that could be the laboratories, number of classrooms and playing facilities  also come under "status of quality assurance". As all of these assets plays an important role in the learning environment of a student. Still its value counts along with the daily paper work, only about 18%. This should be increased.

Worldwide and by HEC paper publication was given too much importance although they have nothing to do with the teaching within the universities. HEC has given 40% weight to paper publication.  IT has been seen numerous times within different universities of Pakistan that teachers who focus on paper publication do not give their whole hearted effort in teaching in the class and student of that teacher suffer more. This is due to the fact that the teacher who focuses on his research work normally has less time to prepare the lectures and quality tests for the students. His attention mostly remains toward his own benefit and number of papers. This should be given less weight but worldwide this is normally considered as the most import factor for university ranking. In foreign countries, researcher only focus on research and not teaching whereas in Pakistan teacher have to do both the work, have to do the research and teach at the same time.

In conclusion, I would say that HEC criteria do not reflect 100% true outcome of universities. At least this is good that they have published it openly and so it can be made a topic of debate. Hopefully with passage of time and constructive debate, criteria will evolve and inshallah will represent the true outcome in the near future.

All above is based on my assumption, i don't have contact with any person at HEC or with higher end personal who really plays important role in judging quality assurance in the University. Being at the lower end only as a teacher, all my analysis is based on assumption so that could be totally wrong. But still i believe that  criteira should be debated so that the real assets ( students of Pakistan) improve overall.

As soon as HEC has update his site for the criteria and provided as more detail criteria.  I have decided it to have a look  it again.
For quality teaching they have provided the criteria mentioned below
Teaching Quality                             weight                  =42

  • Student Teacher ratio (12)
  • Ratio of PhD faculty to total faculty (9)
  • Total PhD output for 2010 (5)
  • Selectivity (5)
  • Computers(4)
  • Library books (4)
  • Full time PhD faculty (3)

Looking at the above criteria, selectivity, computers and library books are considered as criteria for quality teaching. It is really hard to understand how these things become part of quality teaching. These should come in the “Status of quality assurance”. Secondly how having PhD faculty improves the teaching quality.  These are also the assets of the university not criteria. It is wrong to assume that PhD teacher can teach better than a teacher with a master degree.

The criteria given by HEC for implementation of status of Quality assurance is given as

  • Plagiarism Policy Implementation (6)
  • Eligibility Criteria for appointments of faculty members (4)
  • Criteria for M.Phil./Ms & PhD programs(4)
  • Quality Enhancement Cell (04)

All except criteria for M.Phil/Ms & PhD programs are clear and straight forward. Criteria for M.Phil/MS & PhD programs are set by HEC and not by individual university so what is the purpose of putting this in the list.

Again in conclusion, almost all the criteria is debatable.


  1. Nice analysis. Now lets see how HEC prove their ranking to be all fair n square

  2. But one thing's for sure... HEC has got to justify their ranking!!!

  3. I don't see any sense in the criteria for the ''Quality teaching''. It is not valid at all, because determinant of quality teaching should be student 'performance or calibre'. It is senseless to assume that since independent variables seems better (student Teacher ratio, Ratio of PhD faculty to total faculty, Total PhD output for 2010, Selectivity, Computers, Library books, Full time PhD faculty), therefore dependant variable ''Student performance or calibre'' will be high. This assumption is totally wrong, that is why it is no longer valid, until dependant variable measured with significance.

    We can not replicate ''the approved global criteria'', since our Universities International ranking is not that good and still we are struggling in faculty placement on merit and other related issues, how possibly we can set criteria on global assumptions. we need customised and clear-cut checks, otherwise we will end up with wrong conclusions. Teaching quality should be based on student performance or calibre and market absorption, difficult to measure though, but at least will be valid enough to depict real picture. If this will be the case then you can expect drastic difference in ranking.

  4. There is no sniff of wisdom in the ranking. I challenge Mr. Javaid Laghari on validity of results and so called adaptation of global criteria, viewing our ground realities. I challenge him to write five pages on "how results are valid" and in response I will write five pages on "why results are invalid" and then let people decide. Only I need is to have access on data.


  6. Its really interesting to read about the details of criteria for judging the rank. I've been in K.E for three years now but I never get to fill any survey to assess student satisfaction . When it comes to student-satisfaction , I can state one fact for sure i.e students of K.E are far more satisfied than those of UHS. Still K.E stands in seventh number and UHS on second ! Ridiculous !

  7. :) True. More paper work, more rank :)
    I have no idea how both actually operate, but from website it seems that UHS focus is on post graduate education along with undergraduate. With PhD and master awarding degrees and research of course they will get more rank. From KE website it is not clear.

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