ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) reviewed the progress of 171 universities and also received 198 complaints against various universities and academia, of them 60 were proved, 90 complaints were not proved while 38 faculty members’ degrees were found plagiarized. This was revealed by the HEC Chairperson, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, at a press conference here on Wednesday. Although the country’s higher education system had several flaws but since the last one and half year the HEC took several measures to streamline the system, he said, adding that for this purpose sometimes ‘out of box’ steps against violators became an obligation of the HEC.Dr.Ahmed claimed that out of a total of 198 complaints six cases could not be continued because they had been challenged in the various courts. He added that after Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Lahore sub-campus issue, “We (HEC) also started to strictly monitor the affiliated campuses of the varsities across the country under the public private partnership programme.” He added that for this purpose the establishment of a one quality enhancement cell in each varsity had been declared mandatory.Referring to the recent visits to various public and private sector universities, the chairperson added that a total of 293 PhD programmes and 57 MPhil programmes of 171 universities had been reviewed, adding that 31 PhD and 26 MPhil programmes of different varsities had been closed due to the lack of fulfilment of the minimum quality standards. Dr. Mukhtar further maintained that the HEC had stopped further intake in 56 PhD and 10 MPhil programmes in various institutions for the same reason. “During the review process, HEC teams primarily assessed whether or not the universities are complying with the Act on which they are operating”, he claimed.Regarding the opening of university campuses at the district level, he revealed that new campuses of various universities had been launched in 29 districts, including 11 in Balochistan, five in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six in Sindh and three in Gilgit-Baltistan, in the first phase while the Higher Education Department Punjab, would soon provide the list.He said about 90 districts of the country were devoid of any university campus, however the HEC would ensure the students’ access to higher education.