Varsities autonomy, academic freedom interlinked

LAHORE:Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri has said that autonomy of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) along with accountability and academic freedom can guarantee equitable access to quality education and better serve the needs of society.
He was speaking at a seminar “Challenges to Higher Education and Autonomy of Public Sector Universities” organised by the Punjab University’s Academic Staff Association (PUASA) here on Monday. A large number of faculty members attended the seminar. Dr Tariq Banuri said autonomy of universities and academic freedom were interlinked. He was of the view that discretion in funding ultimately leads towards compromise on academic freedom and autonomy of the institutions. He also stressed the need to strengthen the statutory bodies of the universities i.e. Syndicate and Senate.

Secretary PUASA Dr Amjad Magsi moderated the proceedings and highlighted the significance of the need of autonomy for the HEIs so that these may play their due role in the progress of the county. He also lamented the bureaucratic conspiracies to undermine the autonomy of the public sector universities on one pretext or the other. PUASA President Dr Azhar Naeem underscored the need to bring the teaching community on board while formulating the policies for research and development in higher education. He also said that there was an urgent need to end the conflict between BPS and TTS faculty. He criticised the increased interference of Higher Education Department (HED) in the working of the universities.