HEC's devolution opposition blasted
Hoti blasts opposition to HEC's devolution
Mardan, April 11: Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti on Sunday said that some
elements were making hue and cry over the devolution of the Higher
Education Commission as they were not happy over the empowerment of the
provinces under the 18th Amendment.
Talking to reporters at the
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House after administering oath to the newly elected
office-bearers of the Mardan Press Club here, he said that a committee
comprising officials of the provincial government and vice-chancellors
of public sector universities had been set up to submit a report on the
promotion of higher education within 15 days.
Hoti said there
should be a department at the federal level to maintain quality of
higher education and its chairman should be appointed from all the
provinces for a specific term.
About target killings in Karachi,
he said that all the political forces should join hands to unmask the
elements involved in the killing of innocent people. He said that
Karachi did not belong to a particular group and those resorting to
violence should be dealt with an iron hand.
To a question about
the reopening of Pakistan People's Party founder and former prime
minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's case, the chief minister said that nobody
should object to the reopening of the ZAB case as the PPP leaders had
termed his execution as a "judicial murder", so they have the right to
get the case reopened.
Hoti said no efforts would be spared to
resolve the problems of local journalists. He said construction work on
the Media Colony would start within one-and-a-half month while the newly
constructed building of the Press Club would be handed over to
journalists within 10 days.
"The devolution process of ministries is underway according to the 18th Amendment and the Implementation Commission is working on it in the right manner. The education ministry is also among the five ministries that have to be devolved in this phase. All the functions, including curriculum, planning, centres for excellence and implementation were on the concurrent list and have to be devolved to the provinces under the 18th amendment. After the 18th Amendment, the role of HEC has been completely changed and it would not have a monopoly over financial matters. A debate is underway on the devolution of HEC; some people are criticising it and others are supporting it. It is very shocking that PML-N has also joined the chorus and is singing against this step. On the other hand, PML-N is part of the devolution process of ministries under the18th Amendment. This devolution will not affect international funding and the teachers who are working in different colleges and universities would also not be affected. Educational institutions are expected to be more autonomous after this devolution. The ultimate beneficiaries will be the students. Through devolution, the provincial educational institutions will become autonomous, will get more foreign financial aid and we will get more opportunities. The government should also take strict measures to free education of the clutches of profiteers disguised as academicians."
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Participants of dialogue advocate HEC devolution
Peshawar: Participants of a dialogue here Sunday advocated devolution of the
Higher Education Commission (HEC) to the provinces.
resolved to resist any hurdle in the way of devolving power to the
federating units and said opposing the 18th Amendment was betrayal of
the Constitution as the amendment had been passed by the elected
Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) had
organised the dialogue on '18th Amendment and Institutional Arrangements
at Provincial Level after Devolution of Higher Education Commission'
attended by people from different walks of life including professors,
doctors, activists of NGOs and representatives of political parties.
speakers including Dr Khadim Hussain, managing director of the Baacha
Khan Trust Education Foundation, Dr Shafiq, former president of Peshawar
University Teachers Association, Prof Ijaz Khan, chairman of the
Department of International Relations UoP, Dr Said Alam Mahsud, leader
of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Idrees Kamal of PCSN, opined that the
devolution of HEC and constituting bodies for higher education at
provincial level would lift the education standard and create more
opportunities for higher studies.
Provinces can manage and
nominate students for PhD aboard according to their requirements in a
better way and research on local level would be more affective and
credible, they argued, adding that a research scholar on local level
would be more credible as compared to research done while sitting
hundreds of miles away.
"As far funds availability is concerned,
the provinces will get five times more funds than the present
allocations. The foreign scholarships would also increase," said one of
the speakers. He said the HEC had so far sent only 38 students from KP
out of 500 sent for PhD and the number would be three times high after
the devolution of the HEC.
The speakers were of the opinion that
devolving HEC and making bodies on provincial level would enhance
academic capacity, access to research market besides reducing cost of
Regarding the propaganda by some elements that
HEC was punished for verification of parliamentarians' degrees, they
argued that the HEC played the role of just a post office as
verification was the domain of relevant institutions like universities
and not of HEC. They, however, called for accommodating stakeholders
like teachers and students in the consultation committee and autonomy of
the Higher Education Commission on provincial level.
Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the decision to devolve HEC was
final and no hurdle in devolving power under 18th amendment would be
tolerated. He said the amendment had been passed by the parliament after
hectic debate and homework and all political forces in the country were
taken on board.
The minister said the opposition to 18th
Amendment was tantamount to opposing the Constitution that could not be
tolerated and all political and progressive forces were behind Senator
Raza Rabbani and the committee he was heading.
satisfaction at Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti's meeting with
vice-chancellors of universities in the province and formation of a
committee for amicably resolving the issue and forming such a body at
the provincial level.
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HEC devolution 'to cause financial problems for provinces'
Islamabad: The devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC) would not only affect
higher education sector but also cause serious financial problems for
the provinces, which would not receive any extra funds in the
forthcoming fiscal budget to run public sector universities, sources
told this scribe here on Sunday.
Sources said that the statement
of Implementation Commission Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani in the Senate
has given weightage to rumours that the federal government would ask the
provinces to allocate funds for the public sector universities from
their share in the National Finance Commission (NFC) award as it would
not provide separate funds for this purpose after the HEC devolution.
said that the HEC devolution would transfer the financial burden of the
higher education sector to the provinces, which would be forced to
arrange some Rs24 billion annually for recurring budget in addition to
development budget that currently stands at Rs15.7 billion.
the provinces would be asked to arrange money for higher education
sector from the NFC Award then it would lead to the situation where
existence of many higher educational institutions would stand doubtful.
Given the financial constraints the provinces cannot be able to bear
financial burden that would also ruin chances of future scholarship
schemes for talented students," sources said.
that the finance minister, in his meeting with the HEC officials last
year, clearly said: "Forget about any future scholarships because we
don't have any money for such schemes."
They said that the
federal government is also going to establish the Commission for
Standard Higher Education under the Cabinet Division to run higher
education sector because if there is no central body at the federal
level the loan worth $300 million announced by the World Bank for the
HEC would stand terminated.
According to sources, there is a
clause in the agreement between the WB and HEC that any change in the
legal status of the HEC would end the agreement at once so the federal
government would set up a new commission to avoid termination of the
agreement. It is also believed that presence of any such commission
would enable the federal government to directly receive donations and
loans from foreign agencies.
Sources said that the
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab governments were quite hesitant and not
willing for devolution of the HEC but later they indicated go-ahead
after frequent visits by members of the Implementation Commission. But
now the PML-N has realised the intensity of the situation and clearly
stated that it is against devolution of the HEC because it believed that
the step would adversely affect the higher education sector.
senior official said that the finance minister used to say higher
education institutes in foreign countries often generated their own
funds through marketing of their research products but "he needs to know
that proper planning and investment for decades can enable the
universities to reach this stage. So if they want our universities to
achieve such standards then they should continue to provide them with
financial support and avoid devolving the HEC to save some money."
said despite the fact that many foreign universities generate their own
funds through their research products their respective governments are
constantly increasing allocations for the education sector in the annual
Talking to this scribe, former HEC chairman Dr.
Atta-ur-Rahman said the provinces would definitely face financial burden
after devolution of the HEC. He added: "The issue of degree
verification is the real cause so some political parties want to protect
their members holding fake degrees at any cost."
He said that
legal minds like S M Zafar and Waseem Sajjad have categorically stated
that devolution of the HEC would be a clear violation of the 18th
Amendment as its functions are fully protected in the Federal
Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman also submitted an
application requesting the court to take suo moto notice of the matter
to 'save' the higher education sector.
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'HEC devolution not to affect anyone'
Karachi: The devolution of the Higher Education Commission to the provinces will
neither affect the universities nor the students vis-a-vis funds and
This was stated by the head of the 18th Amendment
Implementation Committee, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, during a meeting
with the Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, at the Chief
Minister's House here on Sunday.
It was also decided at the
meeting that the Sindh government would soon call a meeting of all the
vice chancellors of the public-sector universities in the province to
address their concerns and anxieties over the devolution of the HEC.
and Shah also exchanged views on the devolution of other departments
and ministries and how to cope with the problems that might arise out of
the exercise, especially the ones pertaining to employees and assets.
who is also the federal minister for inter-provincial coordination,
informed the chief minister that 10 departments had so far been devolved
to the provinces, and others would be devolved after consultation with
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HEC devolution a test case for government
Karachi: Is Sindh or other provinces ready to attain complete provincial autonomy
that will be handed over to them by June 30, 2011? The answer will be
definitely no, for politicians and political parties are responsible for
this failure. They are yet to prepare themselves to take control of the
additional departments that are going to be devolved under the 18th
This amendment was passed by both the
National Assembly and Senate and all the political and religious parties
having representation in parliament had unanimously supported this
But these parties are now opposing the devolution plan
just for political scoring and the question arises as to whether they
did not understand the aims of the 18th Amendment when they signed the
document. They were supposed to understand as to what would come out of
the 18th Amendment for which they claimed credit and drew appreciation.
they are opposing this devolution plan. They must have understood that
the failure of devolution plan vis-‡-vis provincial autonomy would prove
disastrous and make political parties lose their credibility. And the
typical mindset interested to continue with the present system will take
advantage from such a situation. People of this country struggled more
than 60 years for provincial autonomy, and this was the main demand of
the former East Wing of the country. The actual demand of Bengalis was
provincial autonomy and Pakistan was divided when this demand was
refused by the then dictatorial regimes. Balochistan and former NWFP
were also making the same demand and both provinces suffered during the
struggle for autonomy.
Following the implementation on 18th
Amendment, more than 10 departments have been devolved and more
departments would follow the suit by 30th June, 2011, after which only
four subjects will remain with the federal government. In fact, Pakistan
will be a new federation after the end of this period. Provincial
governments will generate their revenue and use it independently. They
will also be empowered to make loan deals with foreign institutions as
well as controlling and exploring their natural resources and reserves,
and running the whole system at their own, including the education
system. But, unfortunately, neither Sindh nor other provincial
governments are mentally prepared to practically take over the
This was the main reason behind the
on-going debate on the devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC). A
hue and cry has been started in media, as the educationists have been
strongly opposing this devolution. The experts in the most respected
field of education are angry and defending the existing system. This
situation would not have arisen if the provincial government was
prepared for such development. There is no structure in the provinces to
take over the control of the higher education system. In fact, the
lower education system and its standard had been under question mark, as
the people have doubts that as to how the provincial governments would
control the higher education system. This impression led to the
criticism against the devolution plan. The provincial governments did
not have the ability to establish good governance, as the ruling parties
are engaged in political tussle and score settling. They were not
focusing to bring improvement in the administration as well as education
and health systems.
Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah
convened the meeting of vice chancellors of public sector universities
when the VCs from the whole country opposed devolution of the HEC. The
CM convinced the VCs of the public Sector universities of Sindh that the
system will not get disturbed.
Federal Minister for Provincial
Coordination, who is also the incharge of the implementation of the 18th
Amendment, Senator Raza Rabbani also briefed the VCs about the actual
plan of HEC devolution and assured them that the system will not get
disturbed, saying, HEC will remain intact with some other name and they
will have the powers only to make recommendations. He said that there
would be no financial crisis in the universities and the students
securing scholarships here and abroad would not be affected.
said that the concerned elements having particular mindset were
opposing this plan because they know that such development would hurt
their interests. He assured that in the coming days the implementation
committee of the 18th Amendment will talk to the educationists with
regard to bringing improvement in the system.
say that the political parties have no interest in improving the
education standard in the country as they are only interested to remain
in power. The devolution of HEC is a test case for the democratic
government since it is linked to the entire devolution plan vis-‡-vis
the provincial autonomy. Political tussle among the ruling PPP and
coalition partners in Sindh is the main reason behind the incompetence
and failure to deliver by the government, and if the provincial
government fails in this test case, the entire political system will
bear the impact of the events to follow. The news
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Islamabad: The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf Chairman, Imran Khan, on Sunday came down hard
on the government for what he charged taking a vindictive action against
the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for pursuing the case of
legislators' fake degrees.
In a statement, the PTI chief said
that a parliament and government formed on bogus votes with majority of
parliamentarians contesting elections on fake degrees was shamelessly
pursuing its agenda of controlling all state organisations, particularly
those that had the courage to question their illegitimacy.
said the government policies framed with malicious intent had proved
destructive even though on paper they appeared to promote consensus
issues such as devolution to the provinces. He said without building the
capacity of the provinces with appropriate resource allocations,
education and health institutions were being destroyed under the garb of
the 18th Amendment.
Imran Khan said the lack of proper planning
led to complete chaos at the federal and provincial levels. He said if
the present chaos was allowed to persist, vital foreign investment in
health, education, and energy development would be lost.
chaotic and corrupt governance by the PPP-led federal government was
fast transforming vast areas of the country, particularly in Balochistan
and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, into lawless areas without basic governing
structures leading to an Afghanistan-like situation. Such situation
would further breed extremism in the country, he added.
chairman said that a country that spent less than two percent of its GDP
on education could not afford the destruction of a body that promoted
higher education. He said the HEC was contributing to higher education
by establishing a digital library in Pakistan, tripling university
enrolment from 135,000 in the year 2003 to 400,000 in 2008, promoting
research, improving the educational standards of public sector
universities, and by supporting 5,000 PhD students by providing
scholarships in technologically advanced countries. The news
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