HEC devolution & 18th amendment
No constitutional provision to dissolve, devolve HEC
Islamabad, April 05: Though
preparations for burial of Higher Education Commission are almost complete the
serious question being asked is if HEC's functions have been covered in the
Federal Legislative list then why it was being devolved.
Higher Education Commission along with the Vice-chancellors of various
universities have given a presentation to Mian Raza Rabbani and his committee
giving a clear picture of HEC's status but of no avail.
"They do not
give any reason but only say that they are devolving HEC", said one source privy
to the recent developments regarding HEC.
Chairman HEC Javed Leghari had
written to Mian Raza Rabbani on March 30, 2011 saying: "HEC fully supports the
18th Amendment and the devolution process. We believe that items 16, 17 and 32,
in Part-I of the Federal Legislative List, and items 6, 7, 11, 12, and 13 in
Part-II of the Federal Legislative List fully support the current functions of
HEC, including higher education, research, scientific and technical
institutions, regulatory role, planning, professional education and
inter-provincial matters. To implement the 18th Amendment, the way forward would
be to jointly review the current functions of the HEC, and how they relate to
the Federal Legislative List, and maintain the current status of HEC as a
The HEC and the vice-chancellors' representatives
would be glad to meet the implementation committee anytime so that the 18th
Amendment is implemented in its true spirit and key functions of the HEC, as
defined in the 18th amendment including, but not limited to, higher education
policy and planning, standards, accreditation, quality assurance, knowledge
sharing, university-industry linkages, linkages with international educational
and research organisations, research, foreign students and federal universities
and retained with HEC."
Sources in HEC say what the government was going
to do was not devolution but segmentation of HEC as key functions of HEC would
be gifted to various federal ministries. Chairman HEC when approached said that
HEC supports 18th amendment but the function that are covered in the Federal
Legislative List should remain with HEC. A recent cabinet meeting has decided to
pass on the HEC's functions to the Cabinet Division, Islamabad Capital Territory
(ICT), Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination and Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, documents available reveal.
More importantly, no
roadmap has been devised how to step into the shoes of the HEC dealing with
academic matters of significant nature, especially when the departments being
assigned this task have no experience of dealing with education.
affairs relating to the equivalence of degrees, verification of degrees,
standard of doctorate etc will be dealt with by Cabinet Division.
Likewise, the universities situated in Islamabad and its vicinity would
be looked after by Islamabad Capital Territory for the first time in history.
Foreign scholarships will now be administered by the Ministry of
Inter-Provincial Coordination. By this way the process of degree verification of
lawmakers and public servants will now be handled by the cabinet division.
Former chairman of the HEC, Prof Attaur Rahman, says corrupt
politicians, having their eyes on Rs40 billion annual budget of the HEC and on
prime lands worth billions, are out to destroy it (HEC), but Punjab and Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa are against its dissolution. Well-placed government sources said that all HEC research functions would cease to exist including
some 1,000 research projects on the most important issues confronting Pakistan.
The Foreign scholarship programme for nearly 5,000 scholars in 28 countries
would be moved to the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination.
tracks every foreign scholar and provides him one-year employment in any
university of his choice, along with a start-up research grant. After
dissolution, graduating PhD students from all over the world would have no
entity to coordinate return and placement in local universities. Nearly 5,000
Indigenous Scholarship programmes would be transferred to the provinces in a
manner yet to be determined. New desks in some provincial ministries would
perhaps be created to deal with financing and management of PhD scholarships.
The Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN) providing high-speed
10 GB connectivity among universities would also stop. The Digital Library
Programme would also come to an end. This programme provides access to 45,000
e-books and 23,000 e-journals to all scholars in Pakistan. More than 1,000
scholars per year would be deprived of the opportunity to travel abroad to
present research papers. All programmes for linking research activities among
Pakistani universities and for improving pedagogical skills of teachers in
universities would cease. Nearly 5,000 teachers have already benefited from this
The recently approved US$ 300 million World Bank loan to
government for improving education, it is feared, would be withdrawn or at best
re-negotiated. The USAID Plan for US$250 million for supporting higher education
sector in Pakistan, which is now in an advanced stage, would go back to the
The sources reminded that the HEC is an autonomous body
reporting directly to the prime minister and not to any division. Two-third of
its members are appointed by the prime minister (from a panel of three) for
four-year term and may not be removed, save on proven charges of corruption,
inefficiency or permanent disability. This structure gives HEC the much-needed
autonomy and allows it to pursue its function independently. This is what
allowed the HEC to defy pressure and not verify degrees that did not meet the
strict standards of verification set by the Commission. Following its
dissolution the core function of degree recognition, equivalence and attestation
will be shifted to a new commission to be constituted under the Cabinet
Without autonomy, the new commission will neither have local
nor international credibility. The new commission would also have the power to
recognise new universities being formed all over the country that do not meet
the existing criteria for a university. Already, many such universities have
been denied recognition by HEC since they do not have proper teaching faculty,
libraries and Internet connectivity and are housed in a few rooms.
HEC attests more than 200,000 educational documents each year. Every Pakistani
going for work abroad must have his degrees attested by the HEC, which is
recognised by the entire world to be a fair and impartial body whose attestation
is accepted. The HEC has membership of the Asia Pacific Quality Network and the
Network of Quality Assurance Agencies of the World. This membership has to be
earned and is not transferable. The world has faith in the degrees of Pakistani
universities because of HEC. By creating a new commission, all degrees issued by
Pakistani institutions will not be accepted at face. The world is carefully
following the fake degrees scandal in Pakistan and can see what the dissolution
of HEC entails, the sources added. The news
Post your comments
USAID puts $250m project on hold
Islamabad: Showing its deep concerns over the devolution of Higher Education
Commission (HEC), the USAID has put $250 million project on hold, while the
World Bank, another international donor, has threatened of scraping its $300
Sources informed that USAID officials called on HEC
Chairman Dr Javaid Laghari in his office and discussed the current scenario in
the wake of the transfer of key functions of the commission to different federal
and provincial institutions.
The sources said that the USAID was supposed to
provide first instalment for the project of "Financial Assistant and Development
Programme" which has been put on hold and the rest of the funding has also been
frozen till the situation is not cleared about the roll of the HEC in future.
It has been learnt that the World Bank has also showed concern on the
transfer of key functions of HEC to other ministries and institutes. It is very
likely that the proposed devolution may deprive the HEC of $300 million soft
loan to run its various programmes for three years.
According to the
officials of the commission, confusion exists at the moment as no person in the
government has officially spoken to any HEC officer about any plan and discussed
the role of the commission in the future. The reality is that 80 per cent of the
programmes actually being executed by the HEC are related to the federation, as
they are defined in the Federal List Part I or Part II of the Constitution of
Pakistan. They are of the view that there is no legal compulsion to devolve HEC
under the 18th Amendment.
It is feared that if the HEC is devolved and a new
commission, working under a government ministry, is created without autonomy, it
will never be able to have the credibility that HEC enjoys, which will
jeopardise the value of degrees issued by all institutions of Pakistan. Besides,
that, the question does come to mind as to what kind of devolution is to be done
with the moving degree recognition authority. It certainly does not happen
anywhere else in the world, and this move will certainly diminish the
credibility of degrees of all Pakistani institutions.
Scientists, vice chancellors, professors, university students have been showing
their concerns against the decision through different means including press
conferences, Facebook, blogs, print media and protests.
Dr NM Butt,
Scientist Emeritus Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, former chief
scientist/D.G, PINSTECH, former chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) and
former chairman of Pakistan National Commission on Nano Science and Technology
(NCNST) in a letter has appealed to the President and the Prime Minister, in the
interest of nuclear security and progress of Pakistan to intervene and reverse
any HEC dissolution steps.
He maintained that HEC dissolution would be a
huge setback for Pakistan and high quality human resource is a fundamental
requirement of the nuclear programme of Pakistan, whose destruction has long
been a wish of the enemies.
The PhD scholars at the University of Oxford have
also written a letter to High Commissioner of Pakistan Wajid Shamsul Hasan to
urge the government to reconsider the decision to devolve the HEC fearing that
the devolution would left scholars stranded in the middle of their programmes
and will have numerous negative consequences for the country as well.
requested him to voice their concerns to the Government of Pakistan on the
devolution of the HEC to help minimise any negative implications of this
immensely consequential restructuring.
Post your comments
HEC rendered toothless
Islamabad: The federal government has stripped the Higher Education
Commission (HEC) of its key functions including verification of MPs'
degrees and transferred these responsibilities to other federal
departments, sources said on Saturday.
HEC that stands defunct as a
result of the decision of the Implementation Commission on 18th
Amendment in the name of devolution, was created by the former military
ruler President General (r) Pervez Musharraf as a tool to promote
valuable higher education in the country.
The well-placed sources
told TheNation that four key functions have been transferred to
different divisions and ministries at the federal level. Sources further
said that if the functions remain with the federal government, it is
not a devolution at all and hence no reason to make fragments of the
As per reports, degree verification cell will be
transferred to Cabinet Division, universities established at the federal
level to ICT administration, students studying under the foreign
scholarship programme to Foreign Affairs Division and the welfare of
international students to Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry. It
has been decided that a body - Commission for Standards of Higher
Education – will be set up which will work under the Cabinet Division.
The core function of the degree recognition, equivalence and attestation
will be shifted to the new commission.
The HEC is an autonomous
body reporting directly to the Prime Minister and not any division.
Two-thirds of its members are appointed by the Prime Minister from a
panel of three names of eminent academics. These members are appointed
for a four-year term and may not be removed except on proven charges of
corruption, inefficiency, permanent disability. This gives the HEC an
autonomy and allows it to pursue its functions and goals on merit
observing rule of law as the only arbiters. This is what allowed the HEC
to defy every pressure and not verify degrees of parliamentarians that
did not meet the strict standards of verification set by the Commission.
Without autonomy, a new Commission will then presumably clear rapidly
the backlog of unverified degrees of parliamentarians.
Sources said it's a matter of interpretation as all the functions that
the HEC performs are protected and remain with the federal government in
the two Federal Legislative Lists in the amendment. And the amendment
devolving education to the provinces is not the higher education. The
commission's 80 per cent functions are already related to federal level
and the provincial universities are autonomous bodies and have
representation in the commission.
The new commission working under
the Cabinet Division will also have the power to recognise new
universities being formed all over the country that are substandard and
do not meet the existing Cabinet Criteria for a university. Already,
many such cases have been blocked by the HEC and not granted recognition
since they do not have faculty, libraries, internet connectivity and
are housed in a few rooms structures. By granting recognition to such
entities, the degrees of all Pakistani universities will become
HEC Chairman Javaid Laghari said he had requested the
prime minister, controlling authority of the Commission, to convene a
meeting with the HEC representatives, vice chancellors of the provincial
universities so that the actual status and situation of the Commission
could be clarified to him.
Source told TheNation that Planning
Commission had a meeting with vice chancellors of the provincial
universities wherein they had been asked to take up the projects run by
HEC. Regarding funding, they were told that they would get it from NFC
Award. But the provinces have no money to run these projects.
officials have been fearing that all the projects run by the provincial
universities with the financial support of the HEC will be halted and
about 1,200 students sent abroad by the provincial universities will
have to come back due to non-provision of funds.
experts, vice chancellors and HEC officials have already expressed their
reservations saying that the HEC is not attached to the Education
Ministry and the 18th Amendment, through the 4th Schedule (Article 70(4)
Federal Legislative Lists Part-I and Part-II, fully supports the
current powers and functions of the HEC, and includes higher education
and research as federal subjects.
Pakistan has invested more than Rs
97 billion for development of the universities since formation of the
HEC - a 12-fold increase over Rs 7.5 billion spent during the period
from 1978-2002 by the University Grants Commission.
If we compare
the worldwide densities of scientists and researchers, Pakistan has only
162 researchers and scientists per million population, which is among
the lowest in the region. Turkey has 562, China 926, South Korea 4,162
and USA has 4,651 scientists and researchers per million population.
Clearly, Pakistan needs a much larger science and technology workforce,
and research in critical areas.
According to experts we need to
increase the number of scientific and research personnel by at least
four times in the next 10 years if we are to become a regional leader.
Thus, for national integration and prosperity, it is essential that HEC
must continue to perform its functions which it has been doing
successfully for the last 8 years.
And the HEC is a role model
federal organisation which empowers equal and full participation of all
universities and provinces to facilitate higher education for the
socio-economic development of Pakistan. The nation
Post your comments
Bahria students stage demo as Naval Intelligence intervenes
Islamabad: As protests in Bahria University have erupted over the beating and termination of Professor
Qamar Riaz Mehmatkhel, the administration, instead of revising its decision, has
now fired his head of the department, a foreign qualified and the youngest PhD
in Pakistan, for speaking in defence of his sacked
Meanwhile, Dr. Shafqat has had his vehicle surrounded by two
cars in the F-8 Markaz on Monday by, what he said, were sleuths of the Naval
Intelligence who did not allow him to move an inch for hours, only releasing him
after the protest being carried out three kilometres away ended.
Likewise, the BU students were warned of expulsion in case they
participated in protests or expressed solidarity with the outspoken professor.
The BU main gate was closed to stop the students from going out. Nevertheless,
the bravos not only showed up in a reasonable strength but also resolved to do
so again on Tuesday when the sacked professors would deliver lectures on the
roadside on the issue of leadership. The BU Rector, vice admiral (retd) Haroon,
has meanwhile left for Hong Kong on vacation, as the situation grew tense in the
university. Registrar of the university, retired commodore Mumtaz Raza, was
called several times, messages were dropped, requesting for his version on the
conflicting situation but he did not return the calls.
Dr Shafqat who
earned doctorate in management sciences is only 32 years old but has authored
three books and 50 research articles in international journals. He returned to
Pakistan last year with a passion to serve his country after teaching in reputed
UK universities for eight years where he was inducted into the academic staff at
the age of 23 after earning distinctions in post-graduation.
Shafqat, who heads the department of Management Sciences, was expecting this
showdown for a long time as he confronted the university administration on a
number of occasions. Now when the administration decided to sack Professor Qamar
Riaz, the termination letter was to be served through him. And he refused.
Instead, he asked for a proper inquiry to establish Qamar Riaz's guilt.
It was not done and the professor was roughed up and later sacked. It followed
the termination of Dr. Shafqat. Interestingly, the sacked professors are regular
employees and no notice was served nor any inquiry ordered into their conduct.
As Dr Shafqat had to attend the protest rally on Monday, he was passing
through the F-8 Markaz for some business and was surrounded by two cars. "Do you
know who we are?" said the sleuths as they came out of the cars, Dr. Shafqat
said. "I got the point that they were 7-9 persons of Naval
Intelligence." They had him locked in there until the protest was over.
Dr. Shafqat has been at unease with the university's administration
since he joined it. First, he refused to keep three children of Navy officers in
MBA classes, as they did not fulfil the admission criteria. Dr Shafqat had
refused to take them notwithstanding the fact they were already granted
admission by the registrar's office, he said.
said we have to enrol the scions of Navy officers. I said, OK but you will have
to devise a policy. Then that was never done but the pressure always keeps
Likewise, Dr. Shafqat refused to take into the faculty a
female teacher, the daughter of a serving rear admiral, and he was then put on
warning: "You will face the consequences." He also faced the wrath of the
administration when he bluntly refused to comply with a wish list also including
a Naval officer who desired to be inducted into the faculty when he was already
taking classes at the same department. Dr. Shafqat said that he had also taken
up the issue of the harassment of female students by some officials of the
administration. The female students submitted a written application, naming the
officers who harassed them. "As I took up the issue, the administration
reprimanded me for doing this", Dr Shafqat said.
Post your comments
FDE to conduct class one admission tests on April 6
Islamabad: Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) will conduct placement tests for class one
admissions for the session 2011-12 in all the institutes on April 6.
Talking to APP, Director Colleges Tariq Masood said that the test will
be conducted in all the model colleges including the re-designated Islamabad
Model Schools on the same day.
The list of successful candidates is
scheduled to be displayed on April 12 while the classes will be commenced from
April 18, he said.
The centre institutions including Islamabad model
College for Girls (IMCG) Korang Town, Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB),
Bhimber Tarar, IMCB Humak, IMCG Rawat and Islamabad Model School (IMS) Sihala
will deal the admissions of the areas including Lohi Bher, Korang Town, Pind
Malakan, Bhimber Tarar, Herodogher, Rawat, Mohra Nagial, Mughal, Sihala and
The centres for the areas of Bhara Kahu, Chak Shehzad,
Noorpurshan, G-6, G-7, G-9, F-6, F-7, F-8, E-7, E-8 and E-9 include IMCB, Chak
Shehzad, IMS, Bhara Kahu, IMS, G-6/1-3, IMCG, G-7/2, IMS, F-7/2, IMS, G-8/4,
IMS, G-9/2, IMS, G-9/3, IMS, F-8, ICG, F-6/2, IMCG, F-6/2, IMCG, F-7/4, IMCG,
F-8/1, ICB, G-6/3, IMCB F-7/3 and IMCB F-8/4.
While the centres for the
sectors G-10, G-11, F-10, F-11, E-11 and Golra are IMS G-10/3, IMS G-11/2, IMS
F-10/2, IMCG Golra, IMCG F-10/2, IMCG F-10/3, IMCB F-11/1, IMCB F-11/3, IMCB
G-10/4, IMCB G-10/2 and IMCB G-11/1.
The centres for sector H-8, I-9,
I-10, Tarlai, Panjgran, Jhang Sydian are IMS I-8/1, IMS I-9/4, IMS I-10/4, IMCG
I-8/4, IMCG I-10/4, IMCB I-8/3, IMCB I-10/1, IMS Tarlai, IMCG Panjgran, IMS
To ensure uniformity in education system in islamabad
Capital Territory (ICT) institutes, the re-designated model schools/colleges
have been declared as English medium as per directives of Prime Minister Syed
Yusuf Raza Gilani. While the qualified teachers will be appointed and the fee
structure will be similar to the model colleges. The news
Post your comments
Partial strike in IIUI over students' clash
Islamabad: A strike was observed in the male campus of International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) on
Monday after a clash between Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT) and Pukhtun Student
Organisation (PSO) on arranging a musical night on Friday.
Noor-ul-Bashar, nazim IJT Islamabad, said the musical night violated the
norms of the university.
He said the musical night in the university premises on Friday night with
'dance and singing' was severe violation of the university's code of conduct and
However, President People's Student Federation (PSF) Waqas Ahmad Abbas said
the PSO arranged a traditional cultural programme with light dance (Athan) to
mark the annual celebration of renaming of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Around 200 students attended the cultural programme.
He said soon after the programme ended, the members of IJT came on motorbikes
and attacked around 45 students coming back from the programme. Waqas said
around 21 students have been injured.
Senior Secretary of PSO Aftab Alam said the cultural programme was held to
celebrate renaming of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the 18th amendment.
The university management is silent over this issue and the police are not
ready to register FIR, he said.
Rector IIUI Professor Fateh Mohammad Malik claimed that the matter has been
settled after negotiations with both the parties and the strike has been called
He said the outside elements were involved in provoking the students and
spoiling the image of the university.
He said it was a partial strike as mid term exams were held. The regular
classes will be held in the university on Tuesday, the rector said. app
Post your comments
Inter-university Qiraat, Naat competitions
Inter-University Qiraat and Naat, Arfana Kalaam and solo performance
competitions were held at the Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University
Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) here on Monday.
Eleven universities participated
in the competitions, including Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University
Rawalpindi, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, Federal Urdu University,
Islamabad, Foundation University, Government College University, Lahore, Islamia
University, Bahawalpur, University of Sindh, Jamshoro, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad, University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, University of
Peshawar, University of the Punjab and Quaid-i-Azam University.
Qiraat competition, Hafiz Muhammad Tayyab of Punjab University got first
position while Obaid Ullah of Government College University, Lahore, and Hafiz
M. Sohail Ahmad of Agriculture University, Faisalabad, obtained second and third
In Naat competition, Muhammad Sohail of
Agriculture University, Faisalabad, obtained first position, while Ansar Ali
Zahoori of Islamia University, Bahawalpur, and Anila Qamar of Fatima Jinnah
Women University, Rawalpindi, came second and third respectively.
judges for the Qiraat and Naat competitions were Qari Muhammad Shahzad, Hafiz
Muhammad Qasim and Qari Rehan Habib.
In solo performance, Muhammad Asim
of Punjab University, Lahore, got first prize, while Mansoor Hameed of
Agriculture University, Faisalabad, and Ahmad Najeeb of Federal Urdu University,
Islamabad, got second and third positions respectively.
In Arfana Kalaam,
M. Saad Farooq of Government College University, Lahore, Tayyab Manzoor of
Agriculture University, Faisalabad, and Hafiz Adnan Riaz of Islamia University,
Bahawalpur, got first, second and third positions, respectively.
judges for the solo performance and Arfana Kalaam competitions were Afzal
Lateefi, Ovais Niazi and Arshad Minhas.
Faculty members and a large
number of students were present on the occasion. The audience highly appreciated
the performance of the participants. The news
Post your comments