- Smart University project proceeding well ahead of schedule: Higher Education Commission
Smart University Project Proceeding Well Ahead Of Schedule: Higher Education Commission
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Friday said the HEC Smart University project was proceeding well ahead of its schedule and within its approved budget
It was one of the fastest executed programmes in the Asia Pacific region and any allegation to the contrary was completely false and without foundation, an HEC press release said, rejecting the contents of a news item entitled "HEC project to equip varsities with WiFi yet to be completed" as being based on false and misleading information.
The HEC said the project was approved in 2015, at a total cost of Rs 2.4 billion. There was no change in the contract cost since then. Work on the project started in 2016, and was scheduled to be completed in eight years, i.e. 2024.
The allocation, it said, was to be spent in eight years, and not in the first two or three years of the project. However, the main deployment of the equipment (Phase-I of the project) would be completed in 2019, which was fully on schedule.
The HEC said the aim of the project was to equip university campuses with blanket WiFi coverage, in order to enable the deployment of other smart instruments as needed. The project had provided a suite of important services to thousands of students and faculty members across the country.
"This includes blanket Wifi coverage, student authentication, guest WiFi portals for visitors, and eduroam (a secure, world-wide roaming access service available in thousands of locations across over 100 countries worldwide," the press release added.
It said due to the overwhelming positive response from universities, the scope of coverage was expanded to include hostels as well. This was done before the launch of Phase-I, and with the consent of all stakeholders including a high level steering committee comprising vice chancellors, senior government officials, and higher management of the HEC.
"So far, a total of 63 universities have been facilitated with blanket Wi-Fi connectivity. This has been done with the fulfillment of all legal, codal, and procedural formalities for contracts and payments." The HEC said it had strict rules regarding compliance with legal provisions. No payments could be made without proper pre-audit and any delay in the execution resulted in the imposition of financial penalties on the providers as per contract.
The contractors were required to obtain acceptance certificates from universities on completion of installation, it added.
The allegations contained in the news were baseless and displayed no understanding of the quality or operation of the project, the HEC said.