It takes an average of 3 to 4 years to get professional recognition in Pakistan. For skill-based education where the candidate is awarded a certificate or a diploma, the time duration is shorter. In reality, things take longer in Pakistan when it comes to completing your documents and being truly done with it all. This is what I will be going through today.
To keep things simple, I am going to depict everything here as per the Higher Education Commission’s website. This way the readers can realize how, with HEC in the mix, the time taken to get recognition may vary. I shall not go into the details of the HEC websites functionality and they way it is designed. That is a topic for another day.
Lets get down to things.
Pakistan Universities: By the Numbers
There are 177 HEC recognized universities and institutes all across Pakistan. HEC further recognizes an additional 95 Campuses (Both Public and Private) for its certification.
In addition to these, the HEC website also lists the “Non – Recognized / Under Process” list of institutes that number 163 in total. Then there is another layer of recognition which reflects the number of institutes being affiliated by the HEC recognized Universities (see list here).
For foreign affiliation programs and getting those degrees attested, you can visit the website to get it done. Please note that without the HEC equivalence letter, you cannot move an inch. If your institute name is not in the list at the time of creating your record then select HEC as the board.
Degree Attestation: A Gold Mine?
The biggest part of HEC website is related to the degree attestation process. There are around one million graduates coming out every year, so you can just do the math here.
It’s not only the graduates who need to certify their degrees. For immigrations and getting job abroad, attestation is now mandatory. According to latest reports, each year 5 million passports are issued to the citizens of Pakistan. The number, coupled with the graduates one, is staggering.
Specially since you consider that HEC charges Rs. 800 for degree / Transcripts and 500/- for photocopies, as seen here on their website. You can estimate yourself how much money they’re earning via attestation services.
Why Do We Need to Get Our Degrees Certified?
We need to make ourselves very clear here, that due to certain factors in Pakistan, the HEC certifications has become mandatory for people applying for Government jobs, banking sector, or immigration.
If you are getting a job abroad, then you need to certify your documents from the respective Foreign Office of that country. In that case, HEC-certified papers can help since they are recognized abroad as well.
Over 5 million passports are issued every year in Pakistan and more than 1 million students graduate each year
In the case of medical graduates, things get more interesting where Pakistan Medical Council also has to play its role as an attestation destination. PMC has 98 medical institutes under their jurisdiction. So please check which ones are also recognized by HEC before going further.
For engineers, the Pakistan Engineering Council plays the same role as Medical Council. When I first tried to access their list of institutes the site crashed. You can however check it at your end. The home page is working, but its user interface is very challenging for users.
What Documents Do You Need?
People, who wish to process their certificates and degrees by HEC, need to take care of the following important things. This includes documentation, preparations, and above all, patience.
First of all, the most important document you need is your Intermediate certificate. Without this document, HEC will not take anything under consideration. So if you don’t have it, visit your Board of Intermediate Education, with your Admit Cards, Enrollment Card, CNIC, Marks Certificates and a fee of around Rs. 600/- and get it.
Be ready for long lines and waiting lists. In case, you don’t have the admit card with you. then you’ll have to visit the college and get one. The form for duplicate admit card is available from Board office. Rest is dependent on your college staff and their cooperation.
The other documents you need are:
- Original certificates/degrees from Matric onwards along with transcripts/DMCs
- Original matric certificate
- Original intermediate certificate
- Original degree
- Original transcripts/detail mark certificates (DMCs) showing date of admission and completion of program
- Copy of Computerized Identity Card
- Authority letter duly attested by a Grade 17 officer for the authorized person
- HEC Attests degrees/transcripts and diplomas awarded by the HEC Recognized Universities/Degree Awarding Institutions of Pakistan both in public and private sector.
Please keep in mind that you should not have plastic coated documents, since they will be rejected. Also make sure to attest all the copies from a gazette officer before coming for the submission.
The Most Important Factor
Now here is the catch.
It is clearly mentioned on the website that:
- Name of the Applicant must be same throughout his/her educational testimonials such as Matriculation, Intermediate, Bachelors and Masters onwards to PhD Degrees/Transcripts as well as on Computerized National Identity Card/ Passport; otherwise they would not be attested by HEC.
- The Applicant’s Father Name must match on the applicant’s CNIC, Matriculation, Intermediate, Bachelors and Masters onwards to PhD Degrees/ Transcripts; otherwise they would not be attested by HEC.
- Date of Birth of the applicant must match on the Applicant’s CNIC/Passport and Matriculation Certificate; otherwise they would not be attested by HEC.
- Both Degrees/ Transcripts issued on the same date, or overlapping semesters between an Undergraduate Degree and a Graduate Degree will not be recognized/ attested by HEC.
If you have any such anomalies with your CNIC in relation to educational documents, then my advice is to visit NADRA’s office and have your CNIC edited to the same name as per the degrees and certificates. In case of wrong printing of names on any of the educations documents, you’ll have to get ready for an ordeal that involves getting duplicates and documents from each of the your institutes.
Please take care of the above while you are still at your university and make sure that this kind of blunder does not happen.
The Online Registration
Now, coming to the point where everything is perfectly in order and now you need to register yourself to HEC records.
For this the site provides a simple step-by-step guide:
- Read the pre-requisites very clearly.
- You will need to sign-up with your details. In which the site will also enter your user name as your CNIC number and a password. Please be aware, the email address on which the password and user name is sent should be your own. As the email clearly states your user name and password without encrypting it.
- Once this is done, then you will need to enter all your education qualifications from Matric to the latest ones.
- In the next step you will select which degree or transcript you wish to get attested. Each will be selected and you will be shown the total amount on the screen. Edits are not possible here, so be careful or else you’ll have to start over again.
- You can also add Research Projects and Publications in the education section as well.
- For equivalence degree attestations visit here.
For the next step, the system shall display you selections regarding which Degree, Transcript and Provisional certificate you need to get attested. For each the fee is displayed and there is a quantity column for photocopies as well.
You can then select the “regional office” from where the degree will be attested and you shall present your documents to, alongside timings and other details.
After this, you can proceed to “form printing” where you can print the form alongside the details of Bank Payment Vouchers. This payment shall be made at the time of form submission, once the documents and form is verified.
Getting it Done
The timings for all this activity starts from 8:00 am, so you need to be there at least 30 minutes earlier to get in that queue. The objective here is to get a token number, which is limited to 220 people daily.
After this, your documents shall be checked and verified and in case of any anomalies, you will be asked to return back, because you will not have time to come back again.
The second queue will be for the bank, where the fee is submitted, as per the requested attestations.
It is important to mention that the attested documents are returned with the originals in 5 working days, but make it 10 for safe side. Keep in mind if you are visiting the HEC offices in Islamabad, you can get your documents back the very same day
Make sure to bring along fresh water and some eatables since its a long queue. Also, do not get frustrated or angry on employees because that is counter-productive and causes unnecessary delays. If there is an error or rejection then simply ask what to do, note it down and return back one more time. As cumbersome as it sounds, that’s how things get done here.
I wish you good luck with the process. Also, if I am missing something here, then do let the readers know in the comments below.