With the government set to devolve education, some vice-chancellors (VCs) of public sector universities believe that the higher education system in the country would collapse if its control is shifted to the provinces.
Reacting to the federal government’s decision to devolve the Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) duties pertaining to funding and controlling the higher education system, a majority of the VCs expressed little hope in the new measure.
“The HEC is a success story. Since its formation eight years ago, the commission has produced more PhD scholars than created over the past 60 years,” said Dr Masoom Yasinzai, Vice-Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University.
Dr Yazdani said that Pakistan needs at least 10,000 PhD professionals over the next 10 years, which is possible only if there is a comprehensive higher education policy. He also pointed out how some provinces have failed to handle education affairs at even the level of schools and colleges.
Dr Bushra Mateen, former vice-chancellor of the Lahore College for Women University said the government never consulted educationists before making policies related to education and pointed out that the slots of vice-chancellors for six universities of Punjab are lying vacant for the past several months, which speaks volumes about the province’s attitude regarding the matter. Dr Fatah Muhammad Malik, Rector of the Islamic International University, however, favoured the decision, saying that devolution would help reduce heavy expenses being incurred by the HEC.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 01st, 2011.