HEQEP Logo Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP)
A project of
University Grants Commission of Bangladesh
Ministry of Education, Bangladesh
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FAQ
FAQ 1: How to do the strategic analysis (SWOT) for preparing a sub-project proposal as required in both PP and CP.
Answer: The concept of strategic analysis or SWOT analysis has been taken from management. It is required for doing long term strategic planning for achieving targets of an institution or firm. The following four quadrants constitute the SWOT matrix.

Internal External
Strength Weakness
Opportunity Threats

For a Department of an university the SWOT analysis can be as follows:

Strength (existing)
Qualified/competent academic staff
Talented students
Updated curricula incorporating latest subjects
Good lecture theaters/study rooms
Eagerness among the faculty staff to do research
Eagerness of students in participating academic programs
Weakness (existing)
Skewed teacher-student ratio
Absence of strategic plan
Absence of good interpersonal relationship among the teaching staff
Lack of collective spirit among the faculty staff in formulating development project for the department
Factionalism among faculty staff
Low level of ICT skills among faculty members and students
Session congestion
Deadline failure in submission of score-sheets of exams by faculty members
Deadline failure in publishing exam results
Strained teacher-students relationship
Gender discrimination
Absence of skilled and trained technicians for operation of lab equipment
Lack of interest among faculty staff to undertake advanced research on emerging subjects
Lack of books and journals in library
Absence of high performance broadband connectivity
Opportunities (future)

Recruitment of talented academic staff
Availability of external funding for research
Joint academic exchange/research programs with renowned foreign universities
Improvement of facilities
Improvement of academic infrastructure
Expanded intake capacity
Availability of high performance broadband connectivity
Threats (future)

Political unrest
Hooliganism by external/non-academic actors on the campus
Worsening factional fighting among the faculty staff
Low level of public funding on campus development
Hike in tuition fee
Overcrowded lecture rooms
Inability to respond correctly to labor market demands

The above matrix is indicative and would vary from one institution to other in respect of SWOT description. The proposal writers can take suggestions from it to produce their own department/entity specific analysis. Please remember that this analysis should identify the issues/problems that the sub-project would address. Since most public universities don’t have a strategic plan or/and quality assurance program, the sub-project may consider the Mid-term Budgetary Framework (MTBF) for the tertiary education proposed by the government and the university’s mission statement as the point of reference for the analysis. The MTBF is available on Finance Division website: www.mof.gov.bd
FAQ 2: What is Self-assessment exercise ? How to do it?
Answer: (i) Self-assessment is a systematic process of gathering, reviewing and using important quantitative and qualitative data and information from multiple and diverse sources about academic programs, for the purpose of improving student learning, and evaluating whether academic and learning standards are being met. The exercise concludes when assessment results are used to improve student learning.

(ii) The objectives of self-assessment are to:
Maintain and continuously improve academic standard
Enhance students’ learning
Verify that the existing programs meet their objectives and institutional goals
Provide feedback for quality assurance of academic programs
Prepare the academic program for review by university management

(iii) Self-assessment Criteria:
Criterion 1: Program Mission, Objectives and Outcomes
(Example: To produce graduates by inculcating knowledge, skills and ethical values, and to make them fully competent to face the challenges globalization and knowledge economy and meet the demands of the labor market)
Criterion 2: Curriculum Design and Organization
(Example: The curriculum must be designed and organized to achieve the academic program’s objectives and outcomes)
Criterion 3: Academic Infrastructure, Logistics, Laboratories and Computing Facilities
(Example: Classrooms, lecture theaters, seminar rooms, teaching-learning aides, laboratories and computing facilities must be adequately available to faculty members and students to support teaching and research activities)
Criterion 4: Student Support and Advising
(Example: Students must have adequate support to complete the program by stipulated time and must have ample opportunity to interact with their instructors and receive timely advice about program requirements and career alternatives)
Criterion 5: Process Control
(Example: The processes by which major functions are delivered must be in place, controlled, periodically reviewed, evaluated and continuously improved.)
Criterion 6: Faculty
(Example: Faculty members must be updated and active in their discipline and have the necessary technical depth and breadth to support the program. There must be enough faculty members to provide continuity and stability, to cover the curriculum adequately, and to allow for scholarly activities.)
Criterion 7: Institutional Facilities
(Example: Institutional facilities, including library, classrooms and offices must be adequate to support the objective of the program.)
Criterion 8: Institutional Support
(Example: The institution’s support and the financial resources for the program must be sufficient to provide an environment in which the program can achieve its objectives and maintain its strength.) [Ref: Self-assessment Manual available on Higher Education Commission of Pakistan website: www.hec.gov.pk ]

The Self-assessment exercise would conclude with the validation of Internal Self-assessment Report (ISAR) prepared by the Self-assessment Committee (SAC) by an external peer. After that production of the Final Self-assessment Report (SAR) prepared by the Self-assessment Committee (SAC) the sub-project can be declared closed.

A sub-project can be designed on the basis of the findings of the Self-assessment Report under Window 1 for the improvement of academic program which can be submitted in the AIF second round. But that will not be another Self-assessment sub-project. (Ref: Annex 1 of AIFOM)
FAQ 3: When do I submit the CPs on Self-assessment and University-wide to UAIFS for evaluation.
Answer: Between June 15, 2010 and July 15, 2010. The CPs on Self-assessment and University-wide will be screened by UPSC before being forwarded to UGCAIFS on July 21, 2010 for evaluation by peer reviewers (ref: section 21.8 of AIFOM)
FAQ 4: Whether AIF grants received by the university/sub-project managers have to be returned to UGC/Government or pay interest on the received amount?
Answer: No. The disbursed AIF grants are not to be returned or/and no interest has to be paid back to anybody.
FAQ 5: Why grouping of universities have been included in AIF?
Answer: For ensuring equity in allocating AIF grants among universities of varied size and capacity (ref: section 9.2-9.3 of AIFOM)
FAQ 6: Can a research sub-project be based on a PhD course and funded under Window 2, or can a PhD research be submitted as a sub-project under Window 2?
Answer: No. A research project or a Ph D course itself cannot be submitted as a sub-project. However post-graduate program candidates like Master’s, M Phil and Ph D can be offered financial support from a research sub-project whose objective is to expand and develop the research infrastructure/capacity of the entity and enhance entity’s capacity for producing larger number of Ph Ds. Such research sub-projects may include activities that would assist undergrad and graduate students to improve their research skills or experiment with innovation as well as assist researches undertaken by the PhD candidates enrolled in the entity.
FAQ 7: Can a group of faculty members submit a research proposal without endorsement from the entity?
Answer: No. Proposals cannot be submitted by individuals or groups. Proposals can be submitted only by designated entities. However an individual or/and group of teachers may develop a proposal, hold consultation with the faculty members and submit it by following the stipulated AIFOM procedure.
FAQ 8: Can the non-teaching permanent staff of the department, faculty, institute, center, university be appointed as part time employee in the Sub-project Management Team (SPMT)?
Answer: Only in the instance if the service rules of the university allow the staff to take a job simultaneously outside his office or designated place of work. Please note that government service rules forbid permanent staff to work in external organizations or holding two jobs simultaneously for monetary benefits except under the terms and conditions of maintaining lien to the original post. Since public universities’ service rules are modeled on government service rules such part time appointments will be breach of rules and invite penal action.
FAQ 9: Can the provisionally appointed support staff in SPMT be considered as entity’s staff and later be absorbed in the university?
Answer: No. Their job will be strictly temporary and terminated with the completion of sub-project.
FAQ 10: How many faculty members can be inducted into the SPMT?
Answer: There is no limit but that would depend on the nature of sub-project. For sub-project under Window 2 several faculty members might be required to work on specific components of the sub-project. However since the maximum amount of incentives allowed to SPMT is Taka 6.0 lakh, the number of additional faculty members has to be adjusted within that amount.
FAQ 11: Why it is necessary to use economic codes in describing items of expenditures for preparing the estimated budget and detailed cost breakdown?
Answer: To bring discipline and uniformity in describing the heads of expenditure in budgets under public funding so that a common framework is available to the fund providers and auditors at the macro-level for the purpose of efficient fiscal management and expenditure control. Use of economic codes also make the budget making work easy for the project managers.
FAQ 12: Is it necessary to consult the various guidelines published by the Finance Division while initiating procurement and payments to suppliers/contractors?
Answer: Yes. Since AIF grants are public funds allocated by the government, relevant financial guidelines must be followed in cases of procurement of goods, services and works. In case of AIF the relevant guidelines will be Delegation of Financial Powers for Development Projects, 2004 together with the Public Procurement Rules 2008. Both are available respectively on Finance Division’s website: www.mof.gov.bd and CPTU website: www.cptu.gov.bd.
FAQ 13: From whom sub-project managers will get assistance for procurement and financial management?
Answer: From UAIFS and if some cases are beyond the capacity of the UAIFS staff then assistance will be available from the HEQEPU professionals and consultants. The prospective sub-project managers will receive training on procurement and project management arranged by HEQEPU after the submission of PPs.
FAQ 14: Can sub-project managers pay for the services provided by the entity’s permanent staff from the sub-project budget?
Answer: No. Any sort of overhead or allowance to entity staff for doing sub-project related work will be ineligible expenditure. Sub-project managers can appoint required support staff provisionally without recourse to seeking assistance from the entity’s permanent staff. The sub-project management team should be fully self-sufficient in respect of professional services without depending on the entity staff for sub-project related activities/tasks.
FAQ 15: Can sub-project managers involve the students in executing certain tasks under the sub-projects?
Answer: Yes. It may be convenient to engage students in data collection, testing of questionnaires or as enumerators and for data entry job. The student may themselves be subject of study or research for sub-projects under Window 1( teaching learning). The expenditure for this can be charged under the Revenue Head “economic code 4757 internee/probationer” or/and “economic code 4829 research expenses” or/and “economic code 4874 consultancy”. Please refer to Annex 24 of AIFOM and consult the concerned fiduciary staff of the UAIFS who are conversant with institution’s budget making.(Ref: Annex 24 of AIFOM)
FAQ 16: How to distinguish/separate sub-project budget into “Revenue” and “Capital” heads?
Answer: The rule of thumb is recurring expenditure and establishment costs are put under the “Revenue” head whereas “Capital” head includes procurement of assets/equipment or expenditures that are made only once, i.e., non-recurring. In AIF Window sub-projects major expenditures is expected to be under “Capital” head because except SPMT expenses and some other related items, procurement of goods will form the bulk of spending. (Ref: Annex 24 of AIFOM)
FAQ 17: How SPMT will be constituted/organized?
Answer: The proposal submitting entity should constitute the SPMT through consensus among the faculty members. The entity should designate the SPM and alternate SPM and other associate managers by carefully reviewing all aspects of its activities, manpower requirement, ability of staff to act as sub-project managers (different from teaching and research job) etc. and consulting all faculty members to instill the feeling of shared responsibility. Institution’s collective interest should kept ahead of personal wishes and sentiments.
FAQ 18: Can procurement under AIF sub-project be done without following the Public Procurement Rules 2008 and World Bank’s procurement guidelines?
Answer: No. Sub-project managers are advised to strictly follow the instructions given in the “section 44 Procurement” of the AIFOM. Any deviation from the PPR and World Bank’s guidelines in respect of procurement will cause suspension of the sub-project and penal action by UGC/Ministry of Education.
FAQ 19: How to determine the physical and financial progress of the sub-project in percentages as required under the quarterly financial progress reporting format ?(Annex 20 of AIFOM)
Answer: To determine the physical percentage of items you have to apply the following formula:

● Weight of each item = Estimated cost of each respective item / Total cost of all physical item(s)

● Physical percentage of item = (Quantity or number targeted in each year / Total quantity or number of respective item for whole project period) × 100

● Physical percentage of total project = Weight of each item × % of each item

● Financial progress percentage = (Expenditure made on each item/Total cost of all items) × 100

Faculty members are advised to take assistance of the UAIFS’s concerned staff conversant with submission of progress reports in planning Commission’s ADP project’s implementation reporting formats and procedure.
FAQ 20: Can a sub-project be designed for implementation in two phases and submitted respectively for round 1 and round 2 at the same time?
Answer: No. Because that would violate the rule on duration of sub-project in a single round (ref: section 42 of AIFOM). Sub-projects should be designed in such a way that its objectives can be achieved within the stipulated implementation period. However a sub-project can be designed for continuing the activities implemented in round 1 and be submitted in round 2 as a new proposal. But there is no guarantee that it will pass the evaluation test by peer reviewers and finally selected by UGCBAIF in the next round.
FAQ 21: Can the compulsory periodic report submission be waived/relaxed?
Answer: No. The periodic reports are needed for monitoring the progress of sub-project according to pre-set performance indicators and ensuring steady fund flow. No organized time bound activity like a project can be implemented without proper documentation of the work done in stages over a stipulated time period.
FAQ 22: In case of a collaborative/joint sub-project by two or three universities how many faculty members from each participating university can be inducted in the SPMT?
Answer: There is no ceiling on the number of associate sub-project managers in the SPMT. In case of jointly owned/collaborative sub-project involving two or three universities, each participating university can designate one faculty member as associate manager for the SPMT who will be responsible for the component to be implemented by his/her university. However there should be one sub-project manager who will be solely responsible for the management of whole sub-project according to his/her role as delineated in Performance Contract. Please note that associate managers in SPMT cannot be engaged as researcher under Window 2 sub-projects and receive allowances. (Ref: section 33.3 footnote 11of AIFOM)
FAQ 23: If a sub-project manager reaches LPR can s/he continue in the same position until the completion of sub-project?
Answer: No. His/her appointment as SPM shall cease on the day his/her LPR begins. The entity may replace him/her with a new sub-project manager or the alternate SPM may take over if the entity decides to designate him/her for the position.
FAQ 24: Can the duration of a sub-project be less than the stipulated period mentioned in section 42 of AIFOM?
Answer: Yes. The duration of a sub-project will depend on its scope of work. If there is large volume of work then it’d take more time to complete all the various activities mentioned for achieving sub-project’s stated objectives. A sub-project with limited goals and work plan would take less time compared to a sub-project with extended activities.
FAQ 25: Can the estimated cost of a sub-project be below the indicative size of grants mentioned in Table 2 of AIFOM?
Answer: Yes. The cost of a sub-project will depend upon its scope of work as well as on its type. A sub-project with very a small volume of activities would cost less than a sub-project with large volume of activities. A sub-project which would propose to procure expensive equipment and instruments for developing research capacity would cost much more than sub-project which has the objective of updating curricula of an academic program.
FAQ 26: Can an faculty member be paid honorarium for attending the UPSC meeting on invitation as an expert?
Answer: Yes. If invited by UPSC for providing expert opinion in connection with screening of a PP. S/he would be entitled to the same amount of sitting allowance admissible to UPSC members.
FAQ 27: Can UPSC screen the CPs on Self-assessment and University-wide before forwarding them to UGCAIFS?
Answer: Yes. In order to check whether there are any inconsistencies and deficiencies in the design, work plan and budget, UPSC should screen the CPs on Self-assessment and University-wide according to the evaluation criteria for ARPs before forwarding them to UGCAIFS.


   
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