Registering a university through HEC in Pakistan is an important step to gaining official recognition and accreditation. The HEC is the regulatory body that oversees higher education institutions in the country. Registering with HEC ensures that the university meets the necessary standards and provides quality education.
HEC registration is essential for setting up a reputable university in Pakistan that provides value to its students. The formal accreditation also builds public trust and confidence in the quality of education imparted by the institution.
Legal compliance required for registration
Before beginning the HEC registration process, the university must first fulfill certain legal formalities for establishing an academic institution in Pakistan. This involves registering the university under the appropriate regulatory law, which could be:
- Registering as a Section 42 company with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan
- Registering as a society with the local Registrar’s Office
- Registering as a trust with the Registrar Trust
Each option has its own set of requirements and implications in terms of organizational structure, membership, governance, and liabilities.
How to Register a University in Pakistan through HEC
The university promoters must choose the optimal legal structure aligned with their objectives and operations. However, public sector institutes established through government orders do not need to register under these laws.
Fulfilling the legal compliance is the first step before applying for HEC accreditation.
A university in Pakistan has to first register as a legal entity under the relevant law before applying for HEC accreditation.
- Companies Ordinance – This registers the university as a private limited company with the SECP. It defines the ownership structure, shareholder rights, organizational hierarchy, and financial liabilities. It is suitable for large universities with multiple stakeholders.
- Societies Registration Act – This establishes the university as a society registered with the local Registrar’s Office. It defines membership rules and organizational structure. It is suitable for small-scale non-profit universities.
- Trust Act – This registers the university as a public charitable trust with Registrar Trusts.
It is governed by the trust deed and suited for non-profit educational trusts. Each legal structure has its advantages and limitations in terms of control, taxation, fundraising, and compliance requirements.
The promoters should carefully evaluate the options before choosing the appropriate structure for registering their university legally.
Once the university is legally registered, the next step is to prepare a detailed feasibility report as per HEC requirements. This feasibility report is a comprehensive document that provides extensive information about the university’s proposed academic programs, infrastructure, facilities, faculty, governance structure, financial position, and other resources.
The report must follow the guidelines provided in the General Institutional Requirements Proforma (Form PU-01) prescribed by the HEC. It should convince the HEC that the university is capable of delivering high-quality education and meeting all operational parameters.
The feasibility report forms the basis for HEC to evaluate the university’s readiness before granting registration.
Once the feasibility report is submitted to the HEC, it undergoes intensive scrutiny by the Commission’s expert teams. The HEC reviews the application to assess if the proposed university meets the eligibility criteria and standards laid out in the HEC Ordinance 2002.
This involves a close examination of all details about the university’s facilities, resources, proposed programs, faculty strength, financial position, and capacity to impart quality education.
HEC officials may also request additional information or clarifications from the university during this process.
If the initial scrutiny of the feasibility report is satisfactory, the next step is a physical site visit by the HEC Inspection Committee. The HEC nominates a committee comprising 2 to 3 senior academics and subject experts for this purpose.
The site visit enables the Inspection Committee to validate the infrastructure, facilities, resources, and overall preparedness stated in the feasibility report using an on-site inspection.
This verification is essential to ensure the university can deliver what has been proposed on the ground. The inspection covers all aspects like land, buildings, classrooms, libraries, laboratories, IT facilities, safety provisions, hostels, etc.
The committee also interacts with the university management to assess their competencies in executing the academic programs and operations.
Provincial Government Approval
After the HEC evaluation is completed, the university must obtain an NOC from the respective Provincial Education Department to proceed further. Public and private sector universities have to apply for the NOC from the Education Department in their province.
Universities in Sindh would apply to the Education Department, Government of Sindh. Similarly, universities in Punjab would find the NOC from the Education Department, the Government of Punjab, and so on.
For universities in Islamabad, the NOC has to be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan.
Registering a new university in Pakistan through the Higher Education Commission is a rigorous and systematic process. It requires fulfilling legal requirements, submitting a feasibility report, undergoing evaluations and inspections by HEC teams and experts, obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the Provincial Education Department, and aligning with criteria set by multiple stakeholders. The HEC registration opens the gateway for the university to be formally recognized as a credible institution of higher learning in Pakistan.