The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly adopted the K-P Universities Act 2012 on Friday, meant to improve governance by ensuring transparency and giving representation to all stakeholders in the decision-making process of public sector universities in the province.
Minister for Higher Education Qazi Asad presented the bill before the house and said that the act shall apply to all public sector universities after its commencement, with the exception of the University of Peshawar. Asad said that ordinances have already been issued for Charsadda and Haripur Universities.
MPA Israrulllah Gandapur pointed out legal lacunas in the act. However, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) parliamentary leader Abdullah Akbar Khan said that once these universities are protected in the model act, the ordinances will be repealed.
Gandapur remained adamant about his amendments but after discussions, the treasury benches rejected all four amendments he proposed.
Meanwhile, Saqibullah Chamkani withdrew his amendment, while another amendment from Sikandar Irfan was approved by the house.
Speaking on a point of order, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam ( JUI-F) lawmaker Mufti Syed Janan pointed out changes made to the fifth class Social Studies textbook and read some portions from it. He demanded that the speaker hand over this issue to the committee.
Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Sardar Hussain Babak told the house that an issue was being made of it, as no one had bothered to contact the government when it published ads in the newspaper soliciting a public response.
He said that the government was organising, not deleting verses and hadiths from the Holy Quran curriculum. Babak said that all changes will be made after consultation. However, Mufti Janan said the books were published without proper research and investigation and therefore insisted that a committee should be formed to investigate the matter.
Pakistan Peoples Party-Sherpao (PPP-S) lawmaker Sikandar Sherpao also criticised the government and said that three months of the academic year have already passed, while the remaining time will be spent in review.
Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that no changes have been made to the syllabus. He said that it was necessary to teach children those verses of the Holy Quran related to tolerance and love of the land.
The assembly session was adjourned till Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.