HEC billions and evil designs
The HEC, its 44 billion and evil designs
Islamabad, April 16: Education is an issue that has been least addressed for years now. Before we
would not see further development, but unfortunately our "leaders" now want to
set new benchmarks by actually reversing progress that has been made. The Higher
Education Commission (HEC) is one of the few institutions that we can be proud
of. It is one of the few institutions which have delivered its objectives. It
has changed the higher education landscape in the country. It has been pivotal
in making 6 of Pakistan's Universities ranked amongst the best 600 in the world.
It has established 66 new institutions since its inception. It has increased
higher education from a mere 276,274 to 803,507 as of last year. It has awarded
more than 8,000 PhD scholarships. It has worked to improve teaching standards
and improve quality across the country's universities. Now repeatedly we are
seeing attempts to change this, because it has also been responsible to uphold
values and point out fake degree holders and ensure the sanctity of our
country's academic institutions.
A few days ago, a private "HEC Amendment" Bill was introduced in parliament.
It proposes the following changes.
1. Removal of power of the 17-member HEC Board (Including one member
nominated by each Province) to "Allocate" funds to universities. This power
would then be transferred to the Secretary of the Division with which HEC would
2. Removal of power of the 17-member HEC Board (Including one member
nominated by each Province) to approve and provide recurring and development
funds to universities. It would now become a "Recommending" body to the
Secretary of the attached Ministry.
3. Removal of status of Chairman HEC as Federal Minister.
What does this mean?
Essentially it takes all financial powers away from the HEC. The HEC has
already undergone cuts over the past few years which not only affected many
programmes but also stifled development and scholarships. Now there is an
attempt to take away control of the funds that the HEC still has.
Currently, the control over funds lies with the HEC Commission made of 17
members which is chaired by the Chairman HEC. All policymaking and Financial
Policy Powers are with this 17-Member Board which consists of Provincial
Representatives, Vice Chancellors, Federal Secretaries and eminent Academics. No
one person has "control" over this body and the Chairman HEC himself or herself
is "not executive".
Under this proposed amendment the control of the proposed 44 Billion funds
for HEC in FY 2012/13 will be taken away from the HEC Commission and given to a
Federal Secretary. Thus, power of allocation of funds will be taken away from
the Provinces previously whose representatives were part of the Commission, and
be subject to the same red tape-ism, corruption and political pressures we see
so many of our institutions plagued by.
Firstly it would put the funds in the control of one person. It would become
very easy to appoint a "crony" who would allocate funds as asked, and give a
tool to exert political pressure on the academic system. All Vice Chancellors
would be forced to pursue the Ministry to which HEC would be attached for
allocation and disbursal of all funds. Prior to formation of HEC, the VC used to
sit in offices of Section Officers to get files cleared. The dignity of the
higher education sector would be destroyed. This could give the minister of the
Federal Secretary yet another tool. Demands could be made for non-merit
admissions before the release of funds.
It would severely disrupt the HEC's developmental projects and the more than
10,000 scholarships which the HEC is currently handling. It would have a
negative impact on many research programmes and grants. Support for new
innovation such as incubation centers and different student programmes will
cease. The HEC is also the project implementing body for the US$ 300 Million
World Bank Loan for uplifting the state of higher education in Pakistan. Without
the ability to allocate and distribute funds, entire operation of HEC would
essentially come to a halt and the HEC would be forced to withdraw from this
programme resulting in huge loss of a concessional loan for the higher education
sector of Pakistan.
The Evil Design
To mislead the media and the people the 18th Amendment card is being used.
There is a claim that this is part of transferring powers to the provinces.
Whereas in fact it is not only absolutely false as the power still remains with
federal government but also the opposite of that by removing provincial
representation by taking away authority from the commission which has provincial
It is time that we step up, and especially those in power who have a love for
education, raise their voices against this. We all collectively already saved
HEC before, and now the time has come for us to do it again. We can bear with
load shedding, we can bear with inflation and corruption - we have been. But,
what we cannot bear with is a mockery of our education system which will
essentially destroy not our future but the future of our children and our
(The writer is Youth Ambassador of Geo and Jang Group. Email:
email@example.com Facebook: facebook.com/ali.moeen.nawazish Twitter:
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Islamabad: Riphah Youth Festival-2012 organised by Riphah International University
concluded at its Rawalpindi and Islamabad campuses on Saturday. The event was
organised to bring together people from different walks of life including
students, teachers, parents, corporate sector, multinational companies and
general public. The youth festival-2012 included games, competitions, poster
exhibition and a social evening. The games and competitions for female students
were held at Al-Mizan campus, Rawalpindi while for male students these were held
at the main campus in I-14 sector Islamabad. The event concluded with a grand
spring gala organised by female students at Al-Mizan campus. Prizes and awards
were distributed among the winners. The news
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New school year brings extra burden for parents
Islamabad: A large number of private schools in the twin cities
have increased their tuition fee with the start of the new academic year,
perturbing the parents already worried owing to price-hike, increase in
electricity and miscellaneous charges at educational institutions.
may be some rules and legal provisions for monitoring the affairs of private
educational institutions, but students and their parents have been unable to get
The administrations of private schools always take decisions
on their own and increase tuition fee, security and other charges, putting extra
burden on parents every year, said the mother of a student, who was forced to
pull her son out of school in view of enhanced fee.
She said that several
parents had been forced to look for other options, as a number of private
educational institutions had increased their fees.
"Parents are not
satisfied with schools. The managements have been demanding monthly tuition fees
in advance. Now they are asking for payment of tuition and other fees under the
new and revised charges," said Khalid Iqbal, the father of a
Private schools go for unilateral 20 to 40 percent increase in
tuition fees every year, in addition to the charges under various heads, but the
regulatory authority never seemed taking action against them.
Be it the
collection of fees, observance of academic calendar or holidays, measures by
most private schools appear to be a mockery of government rules, said a couple
of parents perturbed over the demand by schools that even monthly fees during
the summer vacations be paid in advance, otherwise, students would not be
allowed to sit in exams or their results would be withheld.
A group of
parents said that some renowned private educational institutional of the twin
cities had also increased admission fee, despite enhancement in the tuition
On the other hand, admission in good public-sector educational
institutions has also become a daunting task for parents. They called for
setting up a check-and-balance system to save the future of an estimated 150,000
students, who were getting education in the private schools in the two cities.
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Five-day National Book Festival begins
Islamabad: The Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) will hold the
National Book Festival from today (Monday) to revive the diminishing trend of
book reading, providing a variety of books on almost every
Addressing a press conference, PAL Chairman Abdul Hameed said
that the book fair would be arranged in connection with the National Book Day
and the International Book and Copyright Day to fall on April 22 and 23,
respectively. The event will showcase a number of other activities, like
mushairas, folk music and seminars to enhance the atmosphere of the festivity.
Some leading non-governmental organisations will also set up their
stalls at the fair to avail the opportunity to reach a large gathering of
educated public from all age groups under one roof. The mushaira will be held
tomorrow (Tuesday). The PAL, in collaboration with the Punjabi Adabi Parchar,
will hold a folk music event on April 18. app
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