HEC mandatory body for certifying fake degrees

HEC only mandatory body 'for certifying degrees'
Islamabad, July 27: Noorjehan Bilgrami, Board Member of Higher Education Commission, has expressed her full support for the principled stand of the HEC on the fake degrees issue, which has become the centre of attention in the media as well as a matter of concern to the right minded citizens of the country.

In a statement on Monday, she said the HEC was the only mandatory body responsible for certifying the authenticity of post-secondary (i.e. university) degrees. She condemned the unethical arm-twisting being employed to pressurise the HEC's Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari.

"The HEC must follow the ruling of the Supreme Court, and act speedily and to the fullest extent. Fear of corruption or destruction of data, should lead to the immediate sealing of records, and help of external experts and civil society persons should be sought," she said. She said to reinforce its credibility, ensure transparency and avoid conflicting reports the HEC should henceforth consider posting updated details of its work on its website. The news

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Less funds force HEC to slash scholarships
Islamabad: It's official now. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) will be substantially curtailing its flagship human resource development programme, which it has been quite enthusiastically pursuing since its inception in 2002.

"This year the HEC would only be able to fund 15 to 20 per cent students against its various scholarship schemes. It is a major setback," HEC Human Resource Development Adviser Dr Riaz Qureshi said on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference, Dr Qureshi said due to regular cuts in HEC's development grants, it had left with no other option but to limit its scholarship schemes.

"At present, our main concern is to support scholars who are already studying in various national and international universities."

In response to a question, the official said it all depended upon government's future financial commitment towards the HEC because under current circumstances, the commission was hard pressed to spare any funds for its HRD programme.

It is worth mentioning here that during the tenure of HEC's founding chairman Dr Attaur Rehman, billions of rupees were spent on sending Pakistani students abroad for higher education.

During the 23rd meeting of the commission, a formal request was made to the government for financial help because "we are finding it difficult to carry on with our development schemes for public sector universities," said HEC Adviser Dr S.M. Raza, who was also present on the occasion.

According to an estimate, more than 250 ongoing development projects of public sector universities throughout the country have been adversely affected owing to the shortage of funds. Hardly any day passes when a vice-chancellor of some university does not formally ask for financial help, said an HEC official, who requested not to be named.

This year at the time of federal budget's announcement, the HEC suffered a major setback when the government allocated only Rs15.762 billion against the demand of Rs30 billion.Under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2010-11, the government has committed Rs15.762 billion for the HEC, showing a significant decline in last year's funding of Rs22.5 billion.The official said with this money (Rs15.76 billion) the commission would not be in a position to launch even a single development project.

In the PSDP 2009-10, the government committed Rs22.5 billion to the HEC but the figure was later revised to Rs18.5 billion for its 230 ongoing projects and 128 new projects.

The HEC needs more than Rs10 billion to support its ongoing HRD project under which it provides scholarships to around 9,000 students.

Around 4,000 students are in foreign universities on various scholarships PhD, MS, MSc, post doctoral, short courses, whereas rest of them are availing financial assistance to study in local universities.

"Our major focus will be to complete ongoing development projects which are into final stages, because with every passing day cost of civil work is rising. There are several projects which have already over shot their time limit," the HEC official said. Dawn

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HEC validates degrees of 224 lawmakers, 46 found fake
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Monday declared that the educational degrees of 224 parliamentarians were genuine, 46 were found to be fake, while 11 cases of the status of lawmakers' degrees were pending in courts.

Speaking at a press conference, Dr Syed Mahmood Raza, HEC adviser on quality assurance, said the commission had come up with the report in its 23rd biannual meeting, which was called to discuss various issues.

The meeting was told that the report on degrees was prepared in light of the information received from various universities. The meeting was informed that the report on the verification of degrees of parliamentarians had been presented to the HEC chairman.

Raza said the HEC gave a proforma to the universities to carry out the verification of degrees under a prescribed procedure. To a question, he said the HEC was supposed to submit its report on the matter to the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Education, but on the directives of the prime minister, the report would now be submitted to Education Minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali.

"The prime minister directed the HEC to submit its report to the education minister, not to any other institute. In line with the HEC's ordinance, we are to comply with the orders of the PM. So the initial report has been submitted to the education minister," Raza said,

He clarified that the HEC did not have the power to reveal the names of the parliamentarians whose degrees had been verified as genuine or fake.

To a question, he said a committee was looking into the authenticity of the educational degree of FDE Director General Shaheen Khan.

Raza declined to comment on the Election Commission of Pakistan's policy regarding proceedings against those involved in forgery, saying, "Our knowledge about the ECP's policy is limited to media reports, as the HEC has not received any document or request from the ECP to nominate a focal person," he said.

"In any case, the HEC is an autonomous body that has its own mandate," the adviser added. Daily times

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