HEC about to go defunct
By Kashif Abbasi (Daily Pakistan Today, April 2- 2011)
The Higher Education Commission (HEC), after doing wonders in its short span of life of nine years, is going to expire leaving behind serious concerns and questions over the future of higher education in the country as the 18th Amendment implementation commission is not ready to budge an inch from its stance over devolution of HEC to the provinces.
After the proposed devolution of the HEC to provinces, the country’s most important educational institution will have no role to play in promoting higher education in the country. According to a notification of the 18th Amendment Implementation Commission, which is still to be received by the HEC, the HEC’s plans, proposals and programmes cannot be implemented.
Similarly, after the proposed devolution of the HEC, all scholarships and foreign studies affairs would be decided by the Inter Provincial Coordination Board. Under the devolution plan, the Cabinet Division would likely deal with the external examinations and equivalence of degrees and diplomas. The HEC time and again claimed that the implementation commission was all set to devolve the HEC to provinces despite being part of the Federal Legislative List (FFL).
Dr Atta ur Rehman had called the devolution of HEC a national disaster as it would take the country 40 years back. The issue was also echoed in the Senate on Tuesday when Senators Azam Swati, Dr Khalid Soomro, former education minister Javid Ashraf Qazi and leader of opposition Wasim Sajjad strongly opposed the devolution.
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, who was a member of the constitutional reforms committee, had also opposed the idea to devolve HEC.
Similarly, 11 VCs that included the names of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) VC Dr. Nazir A Sangi, Behria University VC Vice Admiral (r) Mohammad Haroon, KP University of Engineering and Technology VC Engineer Imtiaz Hussain Gillani, University of Balochistan VC Professor Dr Abdul Nabi, Gomal University VC Professor Dr Mansoor Akbar Kundi, Hazara University VC Professor Dr Sakhawat Shah, Kohat University of Science and Technology VC Professor Dr Nasir Jamal Khattak, KPK Agriculture University VC Professor Dr Khan Bahadar Marwat, Government College University Faisalabad Dr Zakir Hussain, Sarhad University of Science and Information Technology VC Dr Salimur Rehman, Isra University VC Dr Ghulam Qadi have passed a resolution against the HEC devolution to province.