Punjab, KP against HEC's abolition
Professor Atta reveals Punjab, KP against HEC's abolition
Islamabad, March 04: The former Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (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
"This will be a national disaster of horrendous
magnitude that will push Pakistan back by 40-50 years. We have already
seen the mess in the provinces at school level education through the
multiplicity of standards and multiplicity of boards of education. The
same is now happening at the higher education level," the eminent
professor said when his views were elicited on the planned
disbandment of the HEC and its devolution to the provinces.
said the HEC was the baby of the prime minister, who appointed its
chairman and its governing body members. He appealed to him to intervene
and save this wonderful organization rather than allowing it to be
carved up into little pieces and handed over to the provinces.
president and the prime minister need to personally intervene and stop
this tragic development.Prof Attaur Rahman asked if HEC's dissolution
was not contempt of the Supreme Court, what it was. "In its landmark
judgment, the court had asked the Election Commission to get MPs'
degrees verified by the HEC.
The HEC's dissolution and movement
of its core function of degree recognition and maintenance of standards
under the Cabinet Division means the government would now have direct
control on whose degree to recognize and whose to not recognize. The
shift of the HEC degree recognition and attestation function to the
Cabinet Division has nothing to do with devolution and everything to do
with MPs with fake degrees."
He said that the 18th Amendment
changed the 4th Schedule of the Constitution and added key provisions,
having links to higher education, to the Federal Legislative List: All
regulatory authorities established under a Federal law; national
planning and national economic coordination, including planning and
coordination of scientific and technological research; legal, medical
and other professions; standards in institutions for higher education
and research, scientific and technical institutions; and
inter-provincial matters and coordination.
According to him, all
powers and functions of the HEC defined under its legislation are
covered and protected in these five provisions of the 18th Amendment
through the 4th Schedule (Article 70(4) Federal Legislative Lists Part-I
and Part-II). Moreover, the 18th Amendment fully supports and protects
the HEC's current powers and functions from devolution and specifically
mentions higher education and research as federal subjects.
Attaur Rahman said all the Vice Chancellors of public sector
universities unanimously resolved in November 2010 that the HEC
functionality should not be changed and the status quo be maintained
since the HEC has performed exceptionally well and it is completely
covered under the 18th amendment.
He said that discussions with
the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments have made it clear that
they did not desire the devolution of higher education to the provinces
since it is believed that higher education is part of the Federal List
in the 18th Amendment. These provinces are extremely satisfied with the
Prof Attaur Rahman said that an impartial
analysis of the constitutional, strategic, functional and operational
impact of the 18th Amendment on higher education leads to the clear
conclusion that the HEC legislation should not be modified, and the
status quo of operation of the HEC should be maintained.
that the Pakistan government has successfully negotiated a $300 million
Tertiary Education Support Programme with the World Bank that would
provide budgetary support to the Finance Ministry so that the HEC medium
term development framework 2011-16 focused on universities building
economies, communities and leadership. It requires that the HEC legal
structure should not be unilaterally altered by the government.
Essentially, the HEC has the credibility and confidence of the
international development agencies and were the HEC to be changed, and
the World Bank funding would no longer be available, he feared.
Attaur Rahman said that the HEC was 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. They are nominated for a four-year term and may
not be removed, save on proven charges of corruption, inefficiency,
permanent disability. This structure is what gives the HEC autonomy and
allows it to pursue its function with merit and rule of law as the only
arbiters. This is what permitted the HEC to defy every pressure and not
verify degrees of the MPs that did not meet its set strict standards of
verification. Without autonomy, a new commission will then presumably
rapidly clear the backlog of unverified degrees of MPs, he said.
said the new commission would also have the power to recognize new
universities being formed all over Pakistan that are substandard and did
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 few room structures. By granting recognition to such
entities, the degrees of all Pakistani universities will become suspect,
Prof Attaur Rahman said the HEC attests more
than 200,000 educational documents each year. Every Pakistani going for
work abroad must have their degrees attested by the HEC which is
recognized by the entire world to be a fair and impartial body whose
attestation is accepted at face value. The HEC is a Board Member of the
Asia Pacific Quality Network and is a member of 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 the HEC. By creating a new commission, all
degrees issued by Pakistani institutions will not be accepted at face
value despite any stamp that any new commission may issue. The world is
carefully following the fake degree scandal of Pakistani MPs and can see
what the dissolution of HEC entails, he said.
He said that today
researchers from the Kohat University of Science and Technology publish
more papers in the world's leading research journals than many local
universities established decades ago; the University of Gujrat boasts as
the best Industrial Design department in Pakistan; Karakoram
International University, Gilgit, hosts the Rector of the University of
Bonn Germany to study climate change; Shah Abdul Latif University,
Khairpur, works with Egyptian biotechnologists for propagation of date
palms while researchers at the Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water
and Marine Sciences, are pioneering shrimp farming on the Balochistan
These, he said, are some glimpses into the accomplishments
of the universities that have been established during the past eight
years only while those that existed before have gone on to join the
ranks of the premier science and technology universities of the world,
such as the National University of Science and Technology ranked number
274 in the World in 2010 while the University of Engineering and
Technology, Lahore, is ranked 281 by QS World University Rankings. From
the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, to Cambridge
University in the UK, just about every leading university in the world
has close academic and research linkages with top Pakistani
universities, he said.
Prof Attaur Rahman said that the HEC, in
fact, was the regulatory body for higher education since it prescribed
conditions under which universities were opened and operated and also
has ultimate authority for recognition of degrees, diplomas and
certificates issued by the universities. He said that the subject of the
higher education has close, deep and multidimensional links to the
National Policy and Planning; Economic Growth; Scientific and Technical
Research; Defence Production; Industrial Growth and National Innovation
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HEC being devolved 'for its tough stand on degree verification'
Islamabad: The unexpected decision to devolve the Higher Education Commission (HEC)
has pushed the federal government into hot water in the face of
allegations being levelled by various quarters for victimising this
prestigious institution for its strict stance over degree verification
issue, said well-placed sources.
According to sources, the two
members of the Implementation Commission in their private discussion
opined that the HEC had lost favour of the government the day when it
refused to bow down before its demand to avoid speedy measures in
verification of degrees of lawmakers.
"The government has found
out a permanent solution of any possible threat of degree verification
in future by transferring core function of degree recognition,
equivalence and attestation to a new commission to be constituted under
the Cabinet Division," said a source.
He said that transferring
these key powers to the cabinet means that the government would have
strong influence on the process of degree verification and equivalence
in future which was not possible under the autonomous status of the HEC.
"Without autonomy, a new commission will presumably rapidly clear the
backlog of unverified degrees of parliamentarians," the source believed.
further revealed that the new commission working under the Cabinet
Division would also have the power to recognise new universities being
set up 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 refused recognition since they do not
have faculty, libraries, internet connectivity and are housed in a few
rooms. By granting recognition to such entities, the degrees of all
Pakistani universities will become suspect," he said.
said another member of the Implementation Commission, who is currently
abroad, clearly stated some time back that the HEC could not be devolved
because it had been fully protected in the 18th Amendment. They also
claimed that some influential quarters that also supported the HEC in
avoiding wrath of the government after initiation of degree verification
process could again influence the situation in favour of the HEC.
senior official said that the HEC is neither a federal ministry nor it
falls under any federal ministry as it is an independent institution
that directly comes under the prime minister. "Research and foreign
scholarships have been designated federal subjects in the 18th Amendment
that is why functions being performed by the HEC have been placed in
Part II of the Federal Legislative List (FLL)," he said.
pertinent to mention here that the Implementation Commission viewed that
the HEC falls in the concurrent list due to which it has been devolved
in favour of provinces. But there is a difference of opinion among
educationists and legal experts with some of them claiming that the 18th
Amendment provides legal cover to functions of the HEC.
Executive Director Dr. Sohail Naqvi told this correspondent that they
have been trying to approach the Implementation Commission to give
another presentation with an aim to highlight functions and achievements
of the commission.
To a question, he said that they were not
expecting devolution of the HEC and no one ever gave such impression to
them. "Personally speaking, we are really shocked over the news of
devolution of the HEC and now we are trying to come out from this
situation that would serve no purpose," he said.
Talking to this
scribe, HEC Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari said that the world has faith
in the degrees of Pakistani universities because of the HEC. "By
creating a new commission, all degrees issued by Pakistani institutions
will not be accepted at face value despite any stamp that any new
commission may issue. The world is carefully following the fake degree
scandal of Pakistani parliamentarians and can see what the dissolution
of the HEC entails," he said.
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Top professor fired for speaking up
Islamabad: After the infamous thrashing incident in an army-run university a year ago, a
professor of the Pakistan Navy-run Bahria University has not only been
roughed up but also terminated from service.
His guilt: Asking
questions about the regimental-style running of the university which has
the Naval Chief as its pro-chancellor and a retired admiral as rector.
When the professor signed a receipt on the register confirming his
termination, sent through a peon, he wrote the famous verse of Habib
Jalib: "Main nahi manta..."
The brutality and humiliation of
Professor Qamar Riaz Mahmitkhel, who teaches 'leadership', sent the
already weary students of the university into fury and a protest
demonstration is planned on Monday noon outside the Naval Headquarters
at Shaheen Chowk, situated at Margalla Road.
reaction of the Bahria University administration to the sacking of the
professor was not immediately available, but the protest demonstration
of the students on Monday will show how the officials react.
incident occurred on March 31 in the packed auditorium of the university
where chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr Javed Leghari
delivered a talk followed by a Q&A session.
Qamar asked what the real purpose of the university and that whether the
innovation and creativity could flourish in a regimental environment,
it was the breaking point that landed him in trouble. The students had
greeted the question with round of applause, said a participant.
question was addressed to the HEC chairman, but the Rector, Vice
Admiral (R) Muhammad Haroon, stood up to answer. Professor Qamar went on
blasting the university's administration for reducing the campus to a
A commando action followed this rumpus when the
director campus of the university, a retired commodore Muhammad Ali, led
his team and surrounded the blunt professor, forcing him out, roughing
up on resistance, the victim said. He was thrown into his
office, declaring it a kind of sub-jail as three staffers, presumably
intelligence persons, were posted as guards outside to scrutinize
visitors of the professors, Prof Qamar said.
The next day, April
1, Professor came to the university with his hands-cuffed and his mouth
gagged. He made a round of the campus especially the auditorium where he
was roughed up. The purpose of the exercise was to protest the
frustrating environment where nobody is allowed to speak freely,
including the academicians, he said.
He was delivered a
termination letter in the next couple of hours after the protest and
through a peon instead of routing it through the head of the department.
As he was asked to receive the letter, he instead wrote the famous
verse "main nahi manta...." of Habib Jalib.
The professor said he
had been receiving threatening calls urging him observe silence instead
of speaking out against the university's administration. But he is
determined to attend the protest being organised by the student
community today (Monday) in front of the Naval Headquarters at Shaheen
This incident is a second of its nature in armed
forces-run universities and within Islamabad as previously a civilian
professor, Tahir Malik of NUML was thrashed by a brigadier-registrar of
the university. The students had then went on strike for a week, finally
forcing the NUML administration to remove the brigadier.
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Australia launches Scholarships Alumni Association in Pakistan
Islamabad: The AusAID Scholarships Alumni-Pakistan (ASA-Pakistan) Association was
launched by the Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Tim George, at
an official event here on Friday, says a press release.
event was attended by alumni from all over Pakistan who have completed
their studies at Australian Universities in recent years. The
ASA-Pakistan aims to reconnect Pakistani alumni who have studied in
Australia since 1991 under various AusAID scholarship programmes.
Through the Association, AusAID alumni from the public and private
sectors as well as civil society will be able to build networks and
create professional opportunities that will contribute to Pakistan's
"The Australian Government regards
ASA-Pakistan as a very important new network that will make a valuable
contribution to Australia-Pakistan relations," said Mr George during his
address to alumni at the launch event.
"Many past AusAID
scholarship recipients have become leaders in government, the private
sector and non-government organisations in Pakistan. The skills they
acquire during their studies not only contribute to Pakistan's
development but also help to build mutually beneficial links between our
governments, non-government organisations, businesses and academia,"
said Mr George.
AusAID has provided more than 400 scholarships to
Pakistani students since 1991. In 2009 the scholarships programme was
redesigned in consultation with the Government of Pakistan to better
address Pakistan's key development priorities including maternal,
neonatal and child health, primary education, rural development, food
security and agriculture.
ASA-Pakistan is supported by AusAID and
managed by the Australian Development Scholarships (ADS) Office in
Islamabad. AusAID scholars are encouraged to register as members of the
AusAID Scholarships Alumni Association online on the ADS website:
Applications for the 2012 Masters
scholarship intake for study at Australian Universities under the
Australian Development Scholarships (ADS) programme are open until 8
April 2011. Further details on how to apply are available on the ADS
Contact: Charlotte Kennedy, Australian High Commission, Telephone: +92 51 835 5500.
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Admission forms for nursery
Islamabad: The admission form for nursery classes in all educational institution of
the federal capital will be issued from today (Monday). The classes will
start from May 2. According to the Federal Directorate of Education,
admission forms will be available from April 4 to 14. Examination test
will be held of April 21 and list to successful candidates will be
displayed on April 26. Eligible candidate's age should be above 4 years
and below 5 on March 31. Moreover, residents of federal capital and
government servants living in Rawalpindi are also eligible to apply for
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FBISE employees call off strike after demands met
Islamabad: The strike by the employees of Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary
Education (FBISE) have been called off after the successful negotiations
between the chairperson and administration that lead to the acceptance
of all demands of employees.
According to the information, the
FBISE Chairperson Shaheen Khan immediately transferred the money back to
the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) after which the issue regarding
distribution of matriculation papers was also solved. "Half of the money
has already been transferred while the other half would be transferred
by Monday," said an insider.
The second demand was immediate
removal of Secretary Mudassar ul Hassan, who has been reappointed after
his retirement, has also been accepted. The employees of FBISE believed
that the corruption has increased manifold since Mudassar ul Hassan has
taken over the charge.
According to information, the employees
wanted Mumtaz Ali Khan to be the secretary, however, he himself has
refused and has nominated Controller Examination Mansoor Ahmed as
Secretary. "Mansoor Ali Khan has currently been given additional charge
of the secretary," the source said.
The other main demand of the
employees was the vacation of guesthouse being occupied by the FBISE
Chairperson Shaheen Khan. The employees were of the view that the
chairperson was illegally occupying the guesthouse of the board when she
has acquired a house in F-10 on hiring. It has been informed that the
chairperson would vacate the guesthouse within one week. The employees
also had objection on the ongoing housing project of the FBISE.
said that they didn't have any idea about the location and value of the
property. New project director Aleem Qureshi has been appointed for the
housing society who would bring out the facts in black and white.
has also been learnt that a committee has also been constituted to
probe into the alleged corruption in housing project and would look if
the project should be continued or not. "Most of the employees are
having suspicions about the project and want their money back," said an
The last demand of the employees was the
removal of assistant secretary finance. According to information, the
demand has also been accepted and the chairperson has pledged that she
would transfer the existing assistant secretary to the Ministry of
Education and would appoint new assistant secretary after getting
approval from the cabinet.
It is pertinent to mention that the
employees believe that it was the upcoming matriculation exams that have
forced the chairperson to accept the demands of employees. "She was
mindful that the distribution of papers and other matters could postpone
the upcoming matriculation exams so she acted promptly to accept the
demands of the employees," an insider said.
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Islamabad: A Pakistani student Amjad Mehmood has been awarded postgraduate degree in
Mass Communications with news industries, from University of
Bedfordshire, Luton, United Kingdom, says a press release. The major
areas of his research were Media and Cyberculture and Modern Approaches
in Journalism. He did his final project on the recent Music Reality TV
show between Indian and Pakistani kids 'Do Daishoun ki Eik Awaz' to
assess the political blend in entertainment television industry.
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AAUR's Students' Week activities continue
Rawalpindi: The third day of the Students' Week, an annual activity of the Pir Mehr Ali
Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) continued on
Different competitions, regional dress show, flower
arrangement and video games were held on the third day. In regional
dress show students of different departments in their respective
traditional dresses participated, which was held with an aim to give the
students an opportunity to interact with other cultures and hence
create an atmosphere of harmony and intercultural integration. As many
as 25 students represented cultural variety showcasing socio-culture
lifestyle of all provinces. The audience appreciated the efforts of the
participant for the wonderful show. Saifullah, Maqbool Ahmad and Sadia
got first position while Amna and Fahim got second and Maria stood third
in the regional dress show.
Video games competition was held
with an aim to increase mind ability of the students. It was a
competition among faculties on the virtual ground. In the competition
Muhammad Rashid (Student of Agriculture BSc Hons) stood 1st and
Kalimullah (Student of UIIT) stood 2nd.
In flower arrangements
competition, more than 20 students participated. In the fresh flower
arrangement Shalinee (Student of Agriculture Faculty) got first position
and Komal (Student of Veterinary Faculty) second. In the dry flower
arrangement, Sundas (Student of Agriculture Faculty) got first position
while Shumaila Ishaq (student of Science Faculty) got second positions.
and Fahim got second and Maria stood third in the regional dress show.
games competition was held with an aim to increase mind ability of the
students. It was a competition among faculties on the virtual ground. In
the competition Muhammad Rashid (Student of Agriculture BSc Hons) stood
1st and Kalimullah (Student of UIIT) stood 2nd.
arrangements competition, more than 20 students participated. In the
fresh flower arrangement Shalinee (Student of Agriculture Faculty) got
first position and Komal (Student of Veterinary Faculty) second. In the
dry flower arrangement, Sundas (Student of Agriculture Faculty) got
first position while Shumaila Ishaq (student of Science Faculty) got
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