What is happening to the HEC?
Government has drastically cut funding for education
Sept 14: The HEC is in a severe financial crunch that could force it to
suspend scholarships to over 8,000 PhD scholars studying in different
institutions, locally as well as abroad. The HEC is no more able to
provide sufficient funds to public sector universities due to which
their 203 ongoing development projects may come to a halt.
is happening to the Higher Education Commission (HEC)? One reads of
news reports that are, to say the least, very disturbing. A television
network has recently been running a scroll saying that scholarship
holders for higher studies overseas are not receiving their scholarships
and are being forced to beg for help in mosques in foreign countries! A
headline says, 'Congrats government, academicians have been made
If this is true, and there is no reason to have doubts,
then it is something to which the 'democratic' and 'popular' government
must pay immediate attention. It is said that the government has
drastically cut funding for education. Here are some figures:
2006-2007: Rs 33.4 billion.
2009-2010: Rs 18.5 billion (only 11 billion was released).
2010-2011: Rs 15.7 billion (not released to date).
to the chairman of the HEC, the situation is desperate. The HEC is in a
severe financial crunch that could force it to suspend scholarships to
over 8,000 PhD scholars studying in different institutions, locally as
well as abroad. The HEC Chairman Javaid R Laghari expressed these views
at a press conference recently. Giving a loud and clear message to the
federal government, he said that his organisation needed Rs 19 billion
immediately otherwise the development projects currently underway in all
universities across Pakistan would be shelved due to a lack of required
funds. In the press conference he pointed out that the HEC is no more
able to provide sufficient funds to public sector universities due to
which their 203 ongoing development projects may come to a halt in the
This is likely to mean that about Rs 86 billion
already invested, and the efforts of the last seven years for ongoing
projects, may go waste. Most disturbing is the fact that those in
trouble will be the bright scholars who are the future of the country.
Where will their bitterness direct its energies? Are these youngsters
going to be potential candidates for recruitment in the terror squads?
Is not the anger over the destruction of the future of these bright
scholars going to divert their energy into negativity? It is also likely
to affect the national economic growth when the country loses its
According to reports, for the financial year 2010-11,
only Rs 15.762 billion were allocated to the HEC against the agreed
amount of Rs 30 billion. Out of this allocation, the requirement of
scholarships for students already on board is around Rs 9.50 billion. As
many as 61 projects that are completing this year need around Rs 0.8
billion. Projects that have been completed 80-90 percent require an
additional Rs 3.5 billion for completion. In this financial year, there
are currently 203 active ongoing projects for different HEC
institutions. The ministry of finance and the World Bank had agreed upon
funding of Rs 28 billion to promote talent and intellect in the
country, but the Planning Commission applied a cut of Rs 5 billion and
only approved Rs 25 billion for the HEC during the ongoing fiscal year
Now the HEC is going to face another major cut in the
already approved Rs15.7 billion as the authorities are making the excuse
of the huge amount of money that they need to spend for the relief work
in the flood-affected areas. The Chairman of the HEC also smells a rat
in the procedure to be adopted by the finance division for funds to be
given to the HEC through the Kerry-Lugar Bill. It is a big challenge to
get those funds too as the finance division will try to include them in
the already approved Rs 15.7 billion while giving no extra money.
vice chancellors of public sector universities held an urgent meeting
in which they urged the government to restore the budget to its original
level of Rs 28 billion in the recurring budget and Rs 30 billion in the
development budget, as was agreed by the ministry of finance for the
fiscal year 2010-11. Addressing a press conference after the meeting,
the VCs said that under the current circumstances it would not be
possible for universities to provide the 50 percent ad hoc increase in
salaries, 15 percent increase in medical allowance and 15 to 20 percent
increase in pension to its employees.
Fatima Jinnah University,
Peshawar University, Punjab University and Balochistan University are
among the 70 universities in serious difficulty. Citing lack of
provision of funds, the vice chancellors and rectors of some 52 public
sector universities formally conveyed to the HEC that they were going to
abandon development projects as contractors had started threatening to
register cases against them in the courts due to non-payment.
Universities have no funds to even repair certain lab equipment as all
ongoing labs and construction are at a halt.
Dr Sohail Naqvi,
Director of the HEC, said that they had taken the budget consolidation
from all universities before handing over the HEC budget to the ministry
of finance. Meetings also took place with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza
Gilani, who also assured them that the budget allocation for the HEC
would be increased but that never happened. In any case, the budget has
been cut down, as reported by the HEC director.
The HEC is now
on the brink of bankruptcy - a disaster of huge magnitude - and this
time it concerns the future of the brightest brains in the nation.
agitated sympathiser with the students' plight says, "It is time for
thousands of public sector university students in Pakistan to come out
onto the streets and start a civil disobedience movement against this
criminal and shameless government. There is no way left for you.
Lawyers, the media and doctors are all hard hit and have strikes and
protests to get their desired results. It is time for you to come onto
the streets and burn down this government to get your rights. No other
way is left for you. Come and snatch with the blood and bones of the
Is this the kind of action that the government would like to have before it realises the gravity of the situation?
By Naeem Tahir. The writer is a culture and media management specialist, a researcher, author, director and actor
"Some Universities are still sending scholars for higher studies abroad ignoring the financial crises faced by HEC. I am also one of the affectees of HECs present funds crises. I was selected for PhD scholarship against advertisement published in 2008, and after completing all legal formalities i was to fly for higher studies in september 2010. But QUEST withdrawn my scholarship mentioning that they are facing funds problems, and meanwhile they continued that practice to send other scholars who were selected against advertisement published in 2009 Even HEC is facing financial constraints.I contacted HEC and they told that presently all projects are freezed and no more scholars will be going abroad. My question is why QUEST is still sending scholars abroad? and why dont they send on eqaulity basis? Why they are doing this all on favortism basis? is Quest is exempted from HEC rules and regulerations?"
City, Country:Sindh, Pakistan
"I think Government of Pakistan and HEC must take this issue seriously. Because this is great threat to future of Pakistan, as young scholars are the future of Pakistan. Looking into matter deeply, it is great concern to pakistani universities as still there is no pakistani university in top 500 universties of the world. The only way to acheive our universities Position among the top of the world is to produce more PhDs and improve the faculty of our universites acording to international standards. But looking into present senario it looks imposible Government should take serious measurements regarding the subject matter. I wish Pakistan and HEC best of luck and hope that it will be resolved quickley. At least Government should send those who have secured admissions and completed all formalities"
City, Country: karachi, Pakistan
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Universities to open from 15th
Islamabad: Universities in federal capital would open on September 15 after Eid holidays.
per details, International Islamic University, Quaid-e-Azam University,
Bahria University, Air University, National University of Science and
Technology, Iqra University, National University of Modern Languages,
Federal Urdu University, Preston University, Hamdard University,
Muhammad Ali Jinnah University, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of
Science and Technology, Foundation university, Allama Iqbal Open
university, National Institute of Textile, and Fasion Designing and
other high educational institutions would open from 15 September.
It is relevant to mention here that the universities were closed in connection with Eid-ul-Fitr holidays. Daily times
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