It has been more than 15 years since Higher Education Commission (HEC) was established yet the organization does not have a proper mechanism for the verification of degrees.
There are currently over 170 universities which are operating under the direct supervision of HEC.
Since there is no mechanism to verify attested degrees, HEC has banned varsities from attesting them. The decision was taken after HEC was informed that fake degrees are being attested on purpose.
Investigations are underway against a number of people who have been found involved in the illegal practice, HEC revealed.
Even though HEC has designated a separate department – Attestation & Accreditation (A&A) – for the purpose of attestations, the organization still does not have any automated system for the same. It still checks the credibility of the degrees manually. Furthermore, there is no online database either to crosscheck and verify degrees with the relevant universities.
According to local media reports, there are a number of universities in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Jammu and Kashmir which are issuing backdated degrees. Despite having the knowledge of this, HEC officials claim that they are helpless as there is no law that prohibits this and hence they can’t hold anyone accountable in this matter.
‘The top management has raided A&A Division every now and then. The management knows who are involved, but never lays a hand on them.’ – HEC official
Last year in August, an inquiry against the A&A director general Farmanullah Anjum was launched to resolve the matter of multiple fake degrees being issued to students of Newports Institute of Communications and Economics, Karachi.
Apart from that, there has been no real development in terms of inquires to hold such people accountable.
A software program was promised by the HEC, in collaboration with National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to counter this problem but there have been no updates on it thus far.
When HEC officials were confronted in public about this matter, they refused to take responsibility and said:
Our system is well in place and there are a number of parameters that are used to verify documents.
It is apparent that HEC is incapable of delivering on its promises and ensuring safety of the documents and degrees. It remains to be seen whether if the government takes timely notice.