Monday, 4 April 2011

HEC being devolved for its tough stand on degree verification

(By Noor Aftab, The News, April 4- 2011)


The unexpected decision to devolve the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has pushed the federal government into hot water in the face of allegations being levelled by various quarters for victimising this prestigious institution for its strict stance over degree verification issue, said well-placed sources.

According to sources, the two members of the Implementation Commission in their private discussion opined that the HEC had lost favour of the government the day when it refused to bow down before its demand to avoid speedy measures in verification of degrees of lawmakers.

“The government has found out a permanent solution of any possible threat of degree verification in future by transferring core function of degree recognition, equivalence and attestation to a new commission to be constituted under the Cabinet Division,” said a source.

He said that transferring these key powers to the cabinet means that the government would have strong influence on the process of degree verification and equivalence in future which was not possible under the autonomous status of the HEC. “Without autonomy, a new commission will presumably rapidly clear the backlog of unverified degrees of parliamentarians,” the source believed. He further revealed that the new commission working under the Cabinet Division would also have the power to recognise new universities being set up all over the country that are substandard and do not meet the existing Cabinet criteria for a university. “Already, many such cases have been blocked by the HEC and refused recognition since they do not have faculty, libraries, internet connectivity and are housed in a few rooms. By granting recognition to such entities, the degrees of all Pakistani universities will become suspect,” he said.

Sources said another member of the Implementation Commission, who is currently abroad, clearly stated some time back that the HEC could not be devolved because it had been fully protected in the 18th Amendment. They also claimed that some influential quarters that also supported the HEC in avoiding wrath of the government after initiation of degree verification process could again influence the situation in favour of the HEC.

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