HEC faces cut in uplift funds
HEC will not be able to undertake new projects
Islamabad, Apr 20: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) will be
facing a cut of over Rs4 billion in its development funds
notwithstanding repeated government assurances that there would not be
any reduction in budgetary allocations for the education sector.
Under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2009-2010, the HEC
was allocated Rs22.5 billion for its 358 development schemes which
included both the ongoing and new ones. However, according to reliable
sources, the government faced with economic crunch recently revised
HEC's funds from Rs22.5 billion to less than Rs18.5 billion.
As a result, the HEC will not be able to undertake new projects in
public sector universities for which the government committed funds in
the PSDP 2009-10 when budget for current financial year was announced.
Besides regular delays in release of funds, the new cut would seriously
affect HEC's overall development plan.
What the government
calls rationalising of the PSDP 2009-2010, a 45 per cent cut has been
imposed across the board on development schemes which were planned to
be undertaken during the current financial year.
approached, officials in the HEC said the cut in its budgetary
allocations meant there would be few new projects for development of
public sector universities both this as well as next year.
The HEC had planned 358 development schemes in the PSDP 2009-2010. Of
them, 230 were ongoing projects, 16 new approved, whereas 112 were new
Due to the paucity of funds, the HEC could only
initiate around 10 un-approved projects this year. "Hardly a day passes
when vice-chancellor of some university does not call us up and
inquires about status of development project concerning his/her
university, but unfortunately we don't have any answer to that," said
an HEC official.
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Supreme Court ruling: HEC can't stop scholars from finding jobs abroad
Islamabad: The Supreme Court on Monday pushed the Higher
Education Commission (HEC) on the back foot by ruling that it has no
right to prevent its scholarship holders from leaving the country in
search of better job.
The HEC's counsel prayed before the
apex court that after signing a bond, students who availed government
scholarships for higher studies in foreign universities were supposed
to stay and serve the country for a certain time.
As per the
agreement, a scholarship winner must serve the country for five years
after completing PhD and two years in case of master's abroad.
The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry in its order said since the HEC could not provide job
guarantee to the returning scholars, it had no right to stop them from
leaving the country in search of better future.
the validity of the HEC's direction in which it has asked the FIA to
put names of its 'defaulter scholars' on Exit Control List (ECL), Chief
Justice said, "if there is rule of law in the country you did a wrong
thing and if there is rule of jungle you did a right thing". The court
also ruled to take appropriate action against official of the HEC who
had written to the FIA for putting name of the students on the ECL.
Earlier, the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench, in its decision
allowed two HEC scholars, Sajid Ahmad and Shireen Khan to leave the
country. They had taken the stand that since they were jobless in
Pakistan, therefore, they should be allowed to proceed abroad for
Officials at the HEC said that they were
desperately trying to hold back students in whom they had heavily
invested in the form of scholarships. Roughly a PhD student cost HEC
over Rs10 million, a top official of the HEC observed.
of the developed countries are short of quality manpower in their
research and development organisations, and they offer better jobs to
Pakistanis besides scholarships for further studies.
Presently, the HEC has initiated cases against over 100 scholars who
have breached their contract. Some of them have left their studies half
way through, some after completing their studies didn't come back and
there are also cases in which they did come back, but left the country
quietly without serving mandatory time period.
"Yes, there is
huge demand of Pakistani researchers abroad, but we can't educate them
at government's expense to serve in other countries," the official
In response to a question, the official said under a
special programme the commission assured placement of returning
scholars in research and development organisations at a monthly salary
Moreover, the HEC provides them Rs500,000
research grant for improving their skills. However, the HEC could not
provide a written guarantee of job to the scholars while awarding them
scholarships. The HEC is undertaking an ambitious human resource
development programme and in this regard massive Rs10 billion would be
spent on various types of scholarships. Dawn
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Supreme Court directs action against HEC director
Islamabad: A three-member Supreme Court (SC) bench on Monday issued directions to
the authorities concerned to initiate legal action against the Higher
Education Commission (HEC) director for placing the names of students
on the Exit Control List (ECL) with the help of the Federal
Investigation Agency (FIA).
The bench – comprising Chief Justice
of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Ch Ijaz Ahmed and
Justice Ghulam Rabbani – issued the directions after taking up HEC's
appeals against a verdict of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi
bench in favour of Sajid Anwar and Shaireen Khan.
directed the HEC counsel to present any rules and regulations that
enabled HEC authorities to make requests for placing the names of
students on the ECL. When the counsel could not cite any such rules,
the CJP remarked that, "If there is rule of law in the country, then
you have done wrong and if there is the rule of jungle in Pakistan,
then you have done right."
Freedom of movement: The court
observed that HEC's action was against articles 14 and 15 of the
constitution, which pertained to the freedom of movement. Justice Ijaz
observed that, "If you do not give employment opportunities to the
highest degree holders, they will leave the country. It is because of
the treatment you accorded to them that the cream of the country
prefers to go abroad for work".
The HEC had filed appeals
against the LHC Rawalpindi bench's verdict, in which the court had
ordered the removal of students' names from the ECL. The court had
observed that when the HEC refused to provide employment opportunities
to students, it had no right to impose restrictions upon their movement.
Anwar, a student of MS in Engineering, had gone to South Korea to
pursue an M Phil degree after entering into an agreement with the HEC
to return within a specific time period, his counsel said. After two
years, the HEC asked him to return without completing practical
training there and refused to give him employment here, he said.
The counsel told the court that Anwar was surprised when he was told
that his name was placed on the ECL and he could not travel abroad for
pursuing education or employment. The court will also take up identical
cases of five other students today. Daily times
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Anti-polio teams disallowed in private schools, Red Zone
Islamabad: Fearing the re-emergence of polio disease in the
federal, the city fathers and health experts Monday expressed their
serious concerns over the impediments being faced by anti-polio
vaccination teams while entering into the private educational
institutes, high security zones as well as slums of the federal capital.
expressed their views in the maiden meeting of Polio Eradication
Committee of Islamabad, constituted by Capital Development Authority
(CDA) Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, on the pattern of all federating
units, to bring onboard all stakeholders to ensure concerted efforts
for city's deliverance from polio.
The meeting was duly
participated by the Unicef Country Director Martin Mogwanja, Country
Director Plan Haider Yaqoob, ICCI president, Islamabad Traffic Police
SSP, representatives of WHO, health ministry, Rotary International and
privates educational institutes. The meeting was held to review the
arrangements of the upcoming three-day anti-polio drive scheduled to be
held from April 26 to 28.
Director Health Services of CDA Dr
Hassan Arooj in his briefing to the committee highlighted the
prevailing situation vis-a-vis polio and the problems confronting the
vaccination teams while administering the anti-polio drops to the
The meeting was told that due to security measures, Red
Zone and some other high risk areas are inaccessible during the
anti-polio drive and the teams need security especially in urban slums.
the issue of refusal in schools, the representatives of the private
schools said every private school pursues its own policy and suggested
that every school has its own focal person to entertain the vaccinators.
informed the committee that even a chain of private schools has put a
ban on any vaccination within the school premises while on the other
hand some parents also ask the school administration not to let any one
vaccinate their child.
Representative of WHO told the meeting
that Islamabad is at high risk of polio due to importation of IDPs,
people from Fata and other areas, stressing to ensure that no child is
missed from vaccine.
He also suggested the dissemination of the
message regarding anti-polio vaccine to the students of public and
private sector in the assembly time, otherwise it is feared that polio
re-emerges in the federal capital.
CDA chairman, in his address,
said the committee would meet on regular basis; however he complained
about the poor management and lack of political commitment in the
efforts to eradicate polio.
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Young art graduates make their mark
Islamabad: Offering a fresh approach to art, a creative
exhibition of paintings and book art by four recent graduates of
Rawalpindi's National College of Arts (NCA) opened at Nomad here
The collection by Amen Sardar, Rabia Ghazal, Mahjabeen
Mirza and Manail Muneeb has aroused interest, as it is after a fairly
long time that Nomad has taken the initiative of exhibiting the works
of young artists.
Except for Rohtas, which has persistently
been encouraging and patronising fresh art graduates, most of the
galleries in the capital are seen to be promoting a particular brand of
well-established and renowned artists in order to maximise profits and
Director Nomad Nageen Hyat chose to give these
young artists a chance, as she found their art as being contemporary
and rich in language, scale and visual imagery. Moreover, she believes
that the artists have very powerfully expressed their respective
"I found in their respective expressions the urge to
explore from within and the passion to create art in spite of and
within the moods of the challenging and changing tempo of our society
as it exists today - an often volatile living culture where we adjust
to the cultural ethos and respond through creative expression," Nageen
explained at the exhibition's preview.
Amen Sardar's paintings
are dominated by 'fragile and pure' petals alongside zoomed images of
hands and feet. The artist sees a connection between the rose petals
and the human soul. "It is the vulnerability of the petals that appeals
to me," she mentions in a written statement and then refers to a poet,
who once said, "I would rather have roses on my table than diamonds on
"One has to look deep inside to search for it. I do
not need face expressions to convey my message. The movements of the
hands and feet are strong enough to tell their personal story. My
petals are whispering in my ears and have something to say. Hence, they
whisper through my paintings," Amen says.
Rabia Ghazal's work is
very personal in the sense that is reflects whatever comes to her mind
at a given time. "All the emotions, all that I feel, all that I cannot
talk about to anyone, I like to portray all of it through my work," she
says. The artist tends to draw her own portraits over and over again.
"That is probably because I am searching for my identity and also
because I feel I can give the best expression, which I want to paint,"
she explains. Rabia says she does try to put on the canvas what lies in
front of her but tries to "create something which is, in itself, a
Mahjabeen's work is about celebrating fashion,
which has always inspired her. "I am interested in how fashion conquers
people's hearts and minds, eventually changing their lifestyles and
perceptions of their surroundings. I am experiencing it myself and
trying to explore this within," she says. The artist finds it charming
to experiment with backgrounds. She has also related fashion with
gender through the use of accessories which men and women use.
Muneeb has contributed book art to the exhibition. "You cannot judge a
book by its cover. This artwork is a pictorial story, unfolding into
layers and depths in visual rather than verbal form. Bringing back
outdated academic textbooks to the shelf, this is an attempt to add a
twist to the discovery of a book. Let books now be re-discovered,
viewed and appreciated," she says. The exhibition, which has a
refreshing quality to it, will remain open till May 10. The news
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