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HEC to undertake 40 new projects in next fiscal year

ISLAMABAD, June 11(Daily Times): The government has allocated Rs 14.8 billion for the 224 ongoing development projects of the Higher Educational Commission (HEC), in addition to allocating Rs 1.09 billion for 40 new projects, in the budget 2007-08.

The federal government had earmarked Rs 24.147 billion for the education sector for the next fiscal years, with a major chunk of Rs 17.28 billion going to the HEC for its development and non-development expenditures.

However, the allocations for some of the ongoing HEC mega projects were significantly reduced compared to those in last fiscal year: under the foreign faculty hiring project, Rs 500 million have been allocated for the next year while the figure was Rs 1,032 million in the outgoing fiscal year. The project's total cost is estimated at Rs 3,286 million.

The ongoing Rs 4.2 billion overseas scholarship scheme for MS/MPhil/PhD will get Rs 898 million in the next fiscal while it got Rs 1.55 billion during 2006-07.

For the ongoing Rs 2.09 billion project of establishing the institute of information technology and management sciences at NUST, the government has allocated Rs 200 million for the next year while it had received Rs 995 million during the outgoing year.

However, allocation for costly Rs 14.2 billion overseas scholarships scheme for MS/MPhil leading to PhD has been doubled to Rs 1.1 billion compared to outgoing year when it was Rs 500 million.

Other ongoing mega development projects of the HEC included development of the University of Balochistan, Quetta, at a cost of Rs 972 million. Rs 150 million have been allocated for the project for the next fiscal year.

Rs 338 million have been allocated for the establishment of an engineering university in collaboration with Sweden (University of Engineering Science and Technology, Sialkot). The project's total cost is estimated at Rs 488 million. The project was initiated last year with an allocation of Rs 150 million for the fiscal year 2006-07.

Under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), the government has approved HEC's 40 new projects that will cost another Rs 1.092 billion. However, 131 new projects proposed by the HEC were rejected in the PSDP.

Some of the important new HEC projects include Rs 865 million for provision of higher education opportunities to students of Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), for which Rs 20 million have been allocated in 2007-08.

The project of establishing an institute of biochemistry and biotechnology at the University of Arid Agriculture Rawalpindi will also start in the next fiscal year. The project costing Rs 400 million has been allocated Rs 20 million for the next fiscal year.
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