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Mass production of 'unrecognised' PhDs opposed

ISLAMABAD, April 16(The News): Minister of State for Information and Technology Ishaq Khakwani has urged the federal cabinet in its recent meeting to substantially curtail the budget and role of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), saying that just churning out of hundreds of PhDs is inconsequential.

"There is no use of spending a huge money on producing multitudes of PhDs every year when their degrees are not recognised by any foreign country," the minister said referring to his remarks about HEC Chairman Dr Ataur Rehman's presentation on his commission's performance to the cabinet. "When I concluded my comment on the presentation, Premier Shaukat Aziz thanked me. We were not there to praise whatever is stated there," Khakwani said.

In his observations, he demanded that the HEC's funding should be significantly cut. The HEC has an annual budget of Rs 28 billion (both development and revenue), while the federal education ministry has just over Rs 9 billion, he said, adding that it is pointless to spend "colossal" money on a small percentage.

Khakwani said huge funds to be made available through cuts in the HEC budget could be diverted to schools across Pakistan to benefit poor students. He said the federal education minister recently told the cabinet that thousands of schools do not even have necessities like toilets and laboratories.

At present, Khakwani said ten different ministries, departments and private organisations are looking after the education side. These include the federal education ministry, special education ministry, technical education, labour ministry, provincial education departments, health ministry (medical and dental colleges), 13,000 Madaris (religious seminaries) and private entrepreneurs. He said that just to match the number of PhDs with those of neighbouring countries, mass production of PhDs would have no utility.
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