Education Budget : Pakistan Economic Survey 2009-2010

Only 2pc of GDP spent on education
Islamabad, June 05: Describing education as the single-most important factor for alleviating poverty, the Pakistan Economic Survey 2009-2010 says that public expenditure in the sector declined to a paltry 2 per cent of the gross domestic product during the fiscal year from 2.5 per cent of the GDP in 2006-07.

The survey puts the average literacy rate at 57 per cent - 69 per cent for males and 45 per cent for females - compared to 56 per cent in the preceding year. It says the literacy rate in urban areas (at 74 per cent) remains much higher than in rural parts of the country (48 per cent).

Both Punjab and Sindh have a literacy rate of 59 per cent, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (50 per cent) and Balochistan (45 per cent).

Public expenditure on education in Pakistan, as a percentage of GDP, compares poorly with that of other countries of South Asia, says the report. According to figures, Pakistan allocated to the sector 2.5 per cent of the GDP in 2006-07, 2.47 per cent in 2007-08, 2.1 per cent in 2008-09 and 2 per cent in 2009-10.

According to Unesco's Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2009, the public sector expenditure on education in other countries of the region is: 2.6 per cent of the GDP in Bangladesh, 3.2 per cent in Nepal, 3.3 per cent in India, 5.2 per cent in Iran and 8.3 per cent in the Maldives.

The poor quality of the learning environment, the document says, is evident from the fact that a large number of schools lack basic infrastructure - 37.7 per cent of the schools up to the elementary level don't have boundary walls, 33.9 per cent lack drinking water facility, 37 per cent don't have latrines and 60 per cent are without electricity.

To enhance female enrolment among low-income households, the survey says, the schools should be provided with the necessary infrastructure, thus improving both the output and quality of education.The average school attendance, as measured by the Net Enrolment Rate, is 57 per cent for 2008-09, up from 55 per cent in 2007-08.

The report points out that since the inception of Higher Education Commission in 2002, spending in the higher education sector has generally increased. However, the impact of financial constraints of recent years has been felt in this sector as well.

Funding for non-developmental activities was curtailed in 2007-08. In 2008-09 the size of the recurring grant was similar to that of the preceding year. In 2009-10, however, Rs8 billion provided by the World Bank allowed the government to allocate Rs22.5 billion to the higher education sector.

However, only 60 per cent of the amount has so far been released, says the survey. Dawn

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Who should head NUML, president or COAS?
Islamabad: Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will decide whether to substitute his name with President Asif Ali Zardari as Chairman Board of Governors (BoG) of the National University of Modern Languages (NUML).

General Kayani heads the all powerful NUML BoG but the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Education has directed the NUML to put its house in order and notify the name of the president of Pakistan as chairman BoG and remove the name of the chief of the army staff. The name of COAS is being carried since the Musharraf era when he was occupying both the offices, the presidency and the Army chief.

NUML's Rector Brigadier (retd) Aziz Ahmad said he would forward the minutes of the NA Standing Committee's meeting to the BoG, which is headed by COAS or his nominee. He mentioned that Pervez Musharraf, being the president of Pakistan/chancellor of the university, had nominated the COAS as his nominee in NUML's BoG and that nomination is still there.

Aziz said that the NUML Ordinance 2000 was silent on the chairman BoG. However, at present, the Army chief heads the BoG. "I have not received the minutes of the meeting of the NA committee and as soon as I receive them, I will send them to the BoG, headed by COAS/nominee," said the rector.

The NUML Ordinance says the president of Pakistan will be the chancellor of the university and "shall preside over the convocations of the University and meetings at which business of the University is transacted."

Director General NUML Kamran Jahangir says that BoG is the only body where business of the university is transacted.

As far as the issue of presiding over the board of governors meeting, the ordinance has just mentioned the names of those who will be its members, including the Army chief/his nominee, the nominee of the chief justice of Pakistan, the rector himself, secretary defence/nominee, secretary education/nominee, secretary finance/nominee, foreign secretary/nominee, chairman HEC and senior professors of the university.

The ordinance does not mention that the Army chief or his nominee would preside over the meeting, yet his nominee inspector general Training and Evaluation, a lieutenant general, presides over the meeting since long. President Asif Zardari as chancellor had never been informed about the business transacted there until the Presidency itself disclosed it after taking notice of the thrashing event when a retired brigadier had beaten a teacher black and blue after he had commented on the NRO. Presidency's Additional Secretary Ishaq Lashari had confirmed in February this year that "The president has never been involved in the university's business."

The NA Committee on Education had directed the NUML on May 25, 2010 to clarify the status of chairman board of governors, and issue a notification clearly mentioning the name of the president of Pakistan as the chairman and remove the name of chief of the Army staff as the chairman BoG.

Chairman of the Committee Abid Sher Ali after that meeting said that the NUML administration was hiding that the COAS was the chairman of its BoG because of Musharraf era practice and they were continuing with it while the ordinance had vested those poweors with the chancellor of the university.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) was asked the following questions through e-mail but it replied with "no comments".

1) According to NUML Ordinance 2000, it's a public sector university with president of Pakistan as its chancellor and federal education minister pro-chancellor. Its business transaction should be approved by the chancellor. However, currently it's being done by a board of governors headed by the representative of Army chief, namely inspector general training. The ordinance said that Army chief/his representative would be a member of the BoG like others, not the chairman as presently he is. Would the relevant authorities explain under what legal authority have they been granted this right?

2) The ordinance does not mention that Army chief/ his representative would be the chairman of BoG but this practice continues since the establishment of the university. Can it be explained how?

3) NUML receives budgetary grants from the allocation made for public sector universities, not by defence department or the GHQ. Then how the Army can claim it is running it?

4) NUML has virtually turned into a family enterprise with rector's kith and kin. If the GHQ is the caretaker of the university affairs, has any action been taken against those responsible?

5) NUML's rector, a retired brigadier, sent his daughter and son-in-law abroad for PhD and the university is paying their expenses. Their scholarships, monthly stipends and yearly tuition fees has been approved by IGT&E-headed board of governors. Can the IJT office explain what law allows it?.

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NUML specialises in degrees for cronies
Islamabad: The Rector of the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), who scandalously got his doctorate under the supervision of his own subordinates and awarded a degree to himself, also managed degrees for his team members by personally supervising the research of three of his directors.

A retired major general, who previously headed the Good Governance Department of NUML and now is a member of prestigious Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), also completed his degree under the rector's supervision, while being the head of the Governance Department.

Brig (retd) Aziz Ahmad undertook their supervision despite the fact that their degrees were about human resource development and the rector did his doctorate in English Literature. The rector has not only supervised research work of others not related to his own subject, he also has been teaching management sciences and good governance there.

A questionnaire was sent to the rector but he refused to answer the points raised. However, the dean of Faculty of Advance and Integrated Studies (FAIS), Dr Shazra, confirmed that the rector was the supervisor in, at least, four cases.

We also contacted Maj Gen (retd) Qureshi, who confirming being supervised by the rector, said it was not his fault and instead was the decision of the NUML management to have his work supervised by Brig (retd) Aziz Ahmad.

He said such finger-pointing had forced him to abandon plans of doing his PhD from the NUML. But Dr Shazra insisted Maj Gen (retd) Qureshi was the head of the Governance Department when he completed his Masters.

The directors of examination and finance also confirmed being supervised by the rector. The additional director of academic branch, however, was not available for comments. All these four cases stand out prominently since the candidates were under direct subordination of the rector serving on positions crucial for running the university's business.

Maj Gen (retd) Owais Mushtaq Qureshi, now member FPSC, did his MS in Management Sciences from the NUML when was heading the Good Governance Department and intriguingly, the rector was supervising his research.

Before Maj Gen (retd) Qureshi, it was the rector's daughter, Ayesha, heading the department and she was appointed visiting professor there that was declared unlawful by a team of auditors because it was done without advertising the slot.

As the rector sent her daughter Ayesha along with her husband, Waqas, to the UK for NUML-funded PhD, Maj Gen (retd) Qureshi was made the head of the department.

Now he has been appointed as an FPSC member with these credentials and would be assessing the competency of candidates for superior service jobs. He has been replaced in the Good Governance Department by another retired major general, Usman Shah, who had previously headed a committee selected the rector's daughter and son-in-law for the PhD scholarship.

Bashir Ahmad, director examination of the NUML, is second case in point besides Maj Gen (retd) Owais Qureshi supervised by the rector. He not only had himself enrolled for MS in Human Resource Development (HRD) in the university whose examination branch is headed by him, his thesis was supervised by the rector whose specialisation is in English, not HRD.

Tufail Khalil, director finance, is third in the row doing MS in HRD from the NUML and supervised by the rector. Jehangir Akhtar, additional director of academic branch of the NUML, also did his MS in HRD from the same university and research work supervised by the rector.

To a question whether rules were violated, an official said it is more about the academic ethics and conflict of interest than the rules. The official further questioned how a rector with doctorate in English can supervise the work of candidates doing MS in Human Resource Development and Management Sciences. The news

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