HEC devolution & parliament legislation
HEC 'storm in a teacup' spills over in NA
Islamabad, April 14: Pre-emptive politics. Conspiracy against provincial autonomy. Attempt to degrade parliament.
angry comments came from lawmakers as what Senator Raza Rabbani saw as
only "a storm in a teacup" over mainly the financial devolution of the
Higher Education Commission (HEC) to provinces spilled over in the
National Assembly on Tuesday.
And when he received an apparently
incomplete information during his speech in the lower house that the
Supreme Court had issued a stay order against the planned devolution, Mr
Rabbani, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination and Chairman of the
Parliamentary Commission for the Implementation of the Eighteenth
Amendment, remarked: "Probably we are writing a new history to stop
parliament from legislation."
It later emerged that a three-judge
Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry,
had only issued an interim order on a challenge to the devolution plan
that the HEC's present status would continue unless altered by a new
legislation – a course Mr Rabbani said was already in the works to meet
the requirements of the Eighteenth Amendment.
The senator said he
was ready to face a detailed house debate over what he described as "a
storm in a teacup" he blamed on unspecified opponents of provincial
autonomy, though he clearly accused the present HEC chairman and some
university vice-chancellors of playing "pre-emptive politics" after his
commission had explained to their delegation the necessity of the
devolution and the plan to form a new "standards of higher education
commission" as an autonomous body by amending the existing Musharraf-era
He said the commission had assured the delegation
members they would be consulted again before bringing the amending law
to parliament. "But instead of waiting, they resorted to pre-emptive
politics and tried to create confusion and a fear factor that (foreign)
scholarships (awarded by the HEC) would be terminated."
assured the house the present scholarships would not be hit, whatever
their duration and explained that the funding of the universities now
done through the HEC would, under the new plan, be done by the provinces
- already having administrative control of most of the country's
universities - from their share of finances received through the
National Finance Commission.
He also rejected fears about any
adverse affect on foreign funding, which he said is actually made to the
Pakistani government and is given to a government-designated
institution, though he said he would not say anything at the time about
funding by the World Bank.
And Mr Rabbani had a stern warning for
those campaigning against the devolution plan. "If things escalate, and a
situation arises, it would become necessary to inform this house and
the Senate of factors working to create hurdles in the way of provincial
autonomy."Contours of new commision
informed the house of what he called "broad contours" his implementation
commission had prepared for the new commission that will be replace the
HEC. These are:
- Cause evaluation of the performance of institutions.
Prescribe conditions under which institutions for higher and technical
education, including those that are not part of the state educational
system, may be opened and operated.
- Set up national and regional
evaluation councils or authorise any existing council or similar body
to carry out accreditation of institutions, faculties and disciplines by
giving them appropriate ratings.
- Cause to be set up testing bodies or designate any existing body for the purpose.
Determine the equivalence and recognition of degrees, diplomas and
certificates of higher education awarded by institutions within the
country and abroad.
- Develop guidelines by evaluation of performance of faculty members and institutions.
- Collect information and statistics on higher education and institutions.
- Perform such other functions consistent with the provisions of the new law.
a PML-N member, Khurram Dastagir, accused the government of "confusing
the issue" while, he said, a cabinet decision in the matter did not
stipulate transfer of any of HEC function to the provinces – a charge
rejected by Mr Rabbani - an angry ANP member, Advocate Pervaiz Khan,
accused "vested interests" of conspiring against provincial autonomy as
he said was being done also against devolution of culture ministry, and
added that there was no need for the HEC or even another commission
after education had been devolved to provinces under the 18th Amendment.
said despite being part of the coalition government, his party did not
agree with guidelines cited by Mr Rabbani for a new commission.
another ANP member, Bushra Gohar, called for reposing confidence in
what the implementation commission was doing while blaming what she
called "thekedars (contractors) sitting in the HEC" for initiating a
"conspiracy" against provincial autonomy.
Minister Naveed Qamar said that like administrative control, the
financial control of universities was rightly being transferred to the
provinces, while another PPP member, Nawab Mohamad Yousuf Talpur, said
he thought the anti-devolution campaign was a conspiracy against the
18th Amendment that he feared could also hit devolution of other
Former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, who
heads his PPP-S faction, saw in the controversy "an attempt to degrade
our parliament" and asked why some members have opposed the HEC's
financial devolution while their parties had not even given a dissenting
note on the issue when the 18th Amendment was drafted by an all-party
PML-Q's president for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
province, Amir Muqam, also supported the HEC devolution plan and said
there would be no use of parliament or its committees if their decisions
were stayed by courts.
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HEC to keep functioning till new legislation, SC says
Islamabad: The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the Higher Education Commission would continue to discharge its functions
till the time the government introduced a legislation spelling out its
"The status of the HEC assigned to it under the HEC
Ordinance 2002 with its functions covered by constitutional provisions
namely entries at serial number 16 and 17 of the Part I and serial 7, 11
and 12 of the Part II of the Federal Legislative List shall remain
intact unless the same is not changed by promulgating some legislation
in this respect," a three-judge SC bench said in an order after Attorney
General Maulvi Anwarul Haq informed it that a draft law was being
prepared and before its finalisation all stakeholders, including HEC
representatives and vice-chancellors of universities, would be invited.
bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice
Mohammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani has taken up petitions
challenging the government's plan to devolve the HEC to the provinces.
petitions have been filed by Rector of the Rippah International
University Professor G.A. Miana, Director General (Islamabad Campus) of
the University of Lahore Brig Mohammad Ajaeb and parliamentarians Marvi
Memon of the PML-Q and Azam Swati of the JUI-F.
chairman Professor Attaur Rehman has moved an application requesting the
court to intervene in the controversy to protect the higher education
The order said the March 31 notification of devolving the
HEC to the provinces would have no effect on the functioning of the
commission in view of the attorney general's statement that the
notification had no nexus with the ordinance.
"In case of any
conflict or overlapping between the notification and the ordinance, the
latter will prevail. The interim application stands disposed of in view
of the statement," the order said.
Dr Attaur Rehman said Pakistan
was among a few countries where a student of any university had free
access to 45,000 textbooks and 25,000 journals because the HEC paid for
it. When the commission was not there, he added, no university in the
country had so much repository of knowledge.
The chief justice
acknowledged the fact that thousands of students getting education in
foreign universities would suffer and degrees awarded by Pakistani
universities would not be accepted abroad if the commission was
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Dar backs HEC devolution
Islamabad: Senator Ishaq Dar of the PML-N supported
devolution of Higher Education Commission to the provinces on
When asked repeatedly at a press conference
about disparity between his stance on the issue and that of the PML-N,
Mr Dar said: "I am not responsible for everybody in the party."
of the Parliamentary Commission on the Implementation of the 18th
Amendment Senator Raza Rabbani, Senator Zahid Khan of the ANP and
Federal Minister for Petroleum Naveed Qamar were present on the
In reply to a question, the PML leader said: "I was out
of the country since Feb 25 for personal reasons, but I am here to
categorically clear whatever Senator Raza Rabbani has said on devolution
of the HEC. I fully support that."
Parroting the statement made
at the outset of the press conference by Raza Rabbani, Senator Dar said
the only issue which people should understand was that the HEC was not
being devolved, but its functions were being redefined.
if his statement should be taken as a formal stand of the PML-N on the
HEC issue, Mr Dar sidestepped the question and said: "Whatever I am
saying is the position under the Constitution after the passage of the
18th Amendment." He criticised the media and certain political
commentators for politicising the HEC issue for no genuine reasons.
said the University Grants Commission, which was replaced by the HEC,
had a role like a post office in transferring funds to the universities.
However, the HEC had been given a much bigger role by the former
military regime and the implementation commission was reviewing that
role, Senator Dar said.
PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal has repeatedly
said that his party was opposing the HEC devolution on principles.
Interestingly on Tuesday, Mr Iqbal also forcefully denied the claim made
by some people that his party's Senator Ishaq Dar had supported the HEC
devolution in the meetings of the Parliamentary Commission on the
Implementation of the 18th Amendment. Dawn
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AIOU Spring Semester 2011 forms on website
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has finalised the first part of
admissions for the Spring Semester 2011 and placed complete information
of objectionable admission forms on its website. AIOU Director
Admissions Sohail Nazir Rana said that some admissions forms were found
incomplete during scrutinising so these have been placed on the website
(www.aiou.edu.pk) and students are advised to remove these objections
immediately. The students from Matriculation to Ph.D level in different
disciplines are asked to immediately contact the AIOU Admission
Department in Sector H-8. The news
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AIOU to teach national languages through Internet
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is planning to teach national language through Internet, said
AIOU Vice-Chancellor Nazir Ahmed Sangi.
'New generation of the
country who settled abroad should get in touch with national language
and culture of the country as its the basic need to maintain connection
with the motherland' Sangi said, while exchanging views with Pakistani
Educationist (settled in
UK), Dr. Zahoor Anwar Chaudhry who is the Educational Advisor of Birmingham Council.
Dr. Sangi said that as per suggestions of Dr. Zahoor Anwar, AIOU will
prepare a comprehensive programme of online teaching of national and
Dr. Sangi said that Urdu E-Learning and Urdu
Olive level programmes of the University in Computer Science Department,
which prepared under his own supervision will prove an important source
for the purpose.
Dr. Sangi appointed Chaudhry Bashir Ahmed,
Director Regional Campus Mirpur (AJK) as Coordinator for this
significant programme while Dr. Attush Durrani, Director Multi Media
(Urdu Electronic Learning) and Dr. Daud Khattak, Computer Science
Department are nominated as Technical Advisor of the Committee.
the occasion, Dr. Zahoor Anwar said that students from minimum one
thousand schools in the entire UK want to learn Urdu language but no
teacher is available to them. Daily times
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Students go to school without books
Islamabad: The new academic year in all the schools
run by Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) began last Monday but the
students are going to school without textbooks.
parents fear that their children will not be able to complete the
syllabus, if they are not provided books on time, whereas some others
are anxiously waiting for successful candidates list for Class-I
admissions, which was scheduled to be displayed on April 12.
will be difficult to complete the syllabus after the proposed two-day
weekly off likely to be announced by the government in a couple of
days," Nazia, a mother of two children, said.
An official of the
FDE said that the list of successful candidates for Class-I admissions
was not displayed as few more students were allowed to apply for
admission and appear in the test. The list would be displayed in the
next week after which the classes would be started.
About delay in
provision of textbooks, the official said that the delay was on the
part of National Book Foundation (NBF) which was responsible for
publishing and providing textbooks to the directorate. app
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