Universities oppose devolution of HEC

Published: March 26, 2011

VCs of various public universities in K-P demand that HEC be allowed to function as an independent federal body.

Vice-Chancellors (VCs) of various public universities from across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) demanded that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) be allowed to function as an independent federal body, in-line with the nine-year old status quo. They voiced their request at a meeting held at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar on Friday.

They lamented the decision of the implementation commission to go ahead with the devolution of higher education to the provinces, which would result in the dissolution of HEC. They opined that the decision, if implemented, would reverse the progress and growth that the higher education sector has made over the years, with serious repercussions on smaller provinces, especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

They lauded the role that the HEC has played in the promotion and development of higher education and urged for its continuation. They said that during its eight years of existence, the HEC has contributed more to higher education in the country than any other body in the past 55 years.

This is not the first time the VCs have voiced these views. Earlier, on November 27, 2010, they resolved to maintain the status quo with no change in the commission’s functionality, which in their opinion, is completely covered in the 18th amendment. They reiterated their stance in a meeting held with the commission’s executive director, Dr Sohail Naqvi, via a video conference on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by the vice chancellors and representatives of UET Peshawar, Agriculture University Peshawar, Kohat University of Science and Technology and Gomal University, among others.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Critical Observor
    Mar 26, 2011 - 3:30PM

    Universities would never want HEC to be devolved because HEC is the backbone of corruption rampant in the universities. No progress has been made in any university in any province and the professor mafia is afraid that if the corrupt HEC is robbed of its power, what will these so-called educated villains do. Recommend

  • Kamran Ali
    Mar 27, 2011 - 3:08AM

    This is the begining of purging education from the country which was cleverly started from higher education. That will adversely eradiacte the think tanks from the society so as their input in policy making. The alleged President with a “remarkable” profile full of curroption, murder charges, drug cases etc actually wants to clear each and every hindrance that comes in the way to acheive his terrible objectives.
    The 21,000 federal employees are at the stake. Provincial Govts are not willing to absorb them. Majority of them will sink in the surplus pool. Devolution of power is good but not at the cost of increasing unemployement oppurtunities.
    @ Critical Observor: More than 8,000 Pakistani students are studying abroad to complete their Ph. Ds under the HEC scholarship programs. The enrollemnt in higher education is increasing every year. You can visit the HEC website for the acheivements that have been made by the universities during last few years. “Criticism is good but knowledge is better”.Recommend

  • Shaheen
    Mar 28, 2011 - 7:13AM

    Pakistani universities resemble more of bureaucratic institutions rather research and innovation centers. Vice Chancellors, Registrars and Deans are more bureaucratic in their approach and academia (Professor and teachers) are neglected in important matters. That is the apparent logic behind the support of Vice Chancellors for keeping the Higher Education Commission under the federal umbrella. Furthermore, it would be more counterproductive if we kept primary and secondary education at provincial and local level and Higher Education at Federal level. The provincial priorities may be misaligned among them and it would be difficult to track of the expenditure vis-à-vis the share of the provinces. Also, there is no evidence of or nexus between growth of higher education and innovation and place of Higher education commission at federal level. Rather, it is more productive, equitable and efficient if we devolve the Higher Education Commission to the provinces. The argument that provinces have no capacity to handle is misleading as in case of all provinces we have individuals and institutions to handle higher education in a more transparent and equitable manner. At least Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces are really well-placed to handle the higher education. Regarding Baluchistan, we can develop the institutional capacity in matter of months if not in years. The issue of lack of good governance is not confined to federal or a provincial government: no state institution is insulated from this. Present malaise and failure of as a viable state can be attributed to inefficient working of all state institutions. Recommend

  • Najia Minhas
    Mar 30, 2011 - 11:05AM

    HEC is performing very well and not its backbone of our educational system. it should not be dissolved at any any cost. we, as nation can never understand that y our instittions are so weak that politicans change their struture according to their will. atleast HEC is trying to maintain the same and qual standard through out the country and as nation it is very important to have HEC as independent governing body.Recommend

  • Naveed Shah
    Mar 31, 2011 - 1:04AM

    @Critical Observor:
    Dear last 8 years of HEC’s operation are witnessed of the progress if you don’t agree than please have a visit in any of the university of even a most remote area of the country. What it has been given during last fifty years to higher education. Thechapter you have indicated from the university, was it not there before HEC or will it be vanished after devolution of HEC.
    Be optimistic and honest ..Recommend

  • Zaman
    Mar 31, 2011 - 11:56AM

    I have been with the Higher Education sector for more than a dozen years now, and have witnessed part of pre-HEC (The UGC) and per-HEC eras. I am dreaded of a post-HEC era. Yes, it is perhaps easier to criticize, but this must not result in a prejudice that distates the achievements of the same. HEC did indeed put her foot down on most of the HE programs for standardization of content, delivery and outcomes, but it is a long way from a stage where it gets serlf perpetuating. Surely however, the path is not devolution to provincial level. What good will it do? Well, operational autonomy can be argued, but what is it costing the Federation? Once provincial, it will be more liable to petty politics and political pressures, bearuocratic manipulations, and resultant corruption. The worst hit will be the less privileged masses of smaller or less resourceful provinces… I will see it as another step to downsizing the higher education committments. Is it really what we are going to gift our next generation with?Recommend

  • Mar 31, 2011 - 3:34PM

    How can Mr. Critical Observer claim that ” No progress have been made in any university of any province”. seems like hes living on another planet with an out of order telescope. I bet he has never been to any local university and its lab otherwise he could not use the word NO in his claim. According to him there exists a “professor Mafia” in our universities that is hindering the progress…again a very negative and generalized perception:) I can bet Mr Observer is a pessimist who is viewing the world with dark glasses of fear aggony misery and pessimism… Mr. Observer please visit the universities, meet students and professors before claiming so high. Recommend

  • Zaman
    Mar 31, 2011 - 4:21PM

    I think Mr. Critical has had his fair share of the fall out. Lets focus the real issue. For the benefit of those who may be unaware, there is a ’cause’ created on the Face Book. It has a good 700 recruits by now. Those who are really serious about this issue, might want to share the news on their other social media profiles and post thier views vividly. Calling the students and parents into it might add weight! Knowing the national history, unless the masses take it very strongly, there is little hope! Recommend

  • Mustafa
    Apr 3, 2011 - 3:39AM

    Mr. Critical is probably one of those who couldnt pass the NTS test!Recommend

  • Apr 4, 2011 - 5:06PM

    Great, now that it is over, can we come together and make something better.
    All those interested please email me your ideas privately.

    Regards,

    Khawar NehalRecommend

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