For the purpose of this research, due to various limitations, Qualitative Research Method along with case study approach is used to present a study that could lead to better understanding of the issue. The researcher has also used his personal experiences in the study being the student of these or neighboring institutions. Primary data is collected through personal and open-ended interviews with the Vice Chancellors, faculty and students of the sample institutions and secondary data is collected from various reports of HEC and Government of Pakistan, papers and web sites.
Organization of the Paper
After a brief introduction, the paper in its first section analyzes the context of the topic by introducing the sample and making some need and impact analysis. In the second section, the paper dilates upon international best practices through which quality of HEIs is measured along with the standards introduced by HEC for the purpose. The third section analyzes the sample and the data collected from various sources. The paper then concludes with concluding remarks in light of the data analysis followed by policy recommendations and bibliography.
Limitations of the Study
The area of research is new for Pakistan in general and for KP in particular because the universities under study are relatively new with no study material available on the subject. Quality standards are not yet fully developed so as to provide a solid referable base. HEC is still workings on developing quality standards, and those developed, are few. Besides this, time constraint was another major limitation of the study. The busy schedule at NIM, Islamabad and summer vocations in these institutions provided little room for collection of data and therefore, proper and exhaustive primary data could not be collected.
1.1 The Sample
In KP only three colleges have been upgraded to the level of Universities; Islamia College, Mardan College and Frontier Girls College. Some other colleges/institutions have received charters for universities like Qurtaba College Peshawar, Sarhad Institute of Science and Technology and CECOS etc., but their charters are for new Universities and not for upgradation. The three cases of upgradation is the sample for the study of this research paper. A brief of these is follows:
1.1.1 Islamia College, Peshawar (ICP)
When the Province of North-West Frontier was carved out from Punjab in 1901, there was only one, Edwards College in its capital city, Peshawar providing college level education. Sensing the need for a college in Public sector, ICP was established in 1913, a brainchild of Sir Sihibzada Abdul-Qayum and Sir George Roos Keppel, as a best example of endowment (Khyber 2012). “Being the breeding ground of the Pashtun intelligentsia this great seat of learning is the place, where diamonds are skimmed since 1913. Moreover, Islamia College Peshawar was destined to become mother institution of the three universities and several colleges on its campus” (Islamia College Peshawar 2012). ICP soon became the identity of the Province and a dream place for every inspiring student at the school level in the province. In 1950, Peshawar University was carved out from the college. It was in 2009 that the college was upgraded to the status of University through an Act of the Provincial Assembly with the name of Islamia College Peshawar. The college section became the affiliated college of the University along with other schools of the institution.
1.1.2 Shaheed Banazir Bhutto Woman University, Peshawar (SBBWU)
For the woman folk of the province, Government Frontier College for Woman, Peshawar was one of the few colleges imparting college level education. The government of KP, sensing the need to provide exclusive opportunity of higher education to the female students, upgraded the college to the status of a University by establishing Frontier Woman University, enacting the Frontier Woman University Act of 2004. Later the name of the University was changed to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Woman University through Frontier Women University (Amendment) Act, 2010.
1.1.3 Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan (AWKU)
The University is a result of upgradation of Postgraduate College Mardan, commonly known as Mardan College to the status of a University with the name of Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan by enacting Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan Act 2009.