PESHAWAR: Over the past five years, the PTI-led government had claimed to have made education its top focus, including higher education and boasted how it had established nine universities in the province during their tenure.
Records of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), however, show that only four varsities were registered in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa over the past five years.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has repeated ad nauseam that over the five years they were in power, they undertook record works in the education sector at the elementary and secondary education providing basic facilities in schools, hiring more than 50,000 teachers on merit and bring about a change in the antiquated schooling system.
The party also claimed to have set up nine universities in different parts of the province including the Women University in Mardan, a women’s university in Swabi, Shuhada-e-Army Public School University of Technology in Nowshera, the Abbottabad University of Science and Technology (AUST), the University of Buner, the University of Chitral, University of Agricultural Dera Ismail Khan, a University of Engineering and Technology in Mardan, and the University of Science and Technology in Lakki Marwat.
However, the HEC says it recognises only four of these universities including the Women University in Mardan, the Women University in Swabi, the Shuhada-e-Army Public School University of Technology in Nowshera and the Abbottabad University of Science and Technology (AUST).
According to the HEC, there are currently 23 public-sector universities registered in K-P. These include UET Peshawar, Haripur University, Malakand University, Peshawar University, UST Bannu, Swabi University, Swat University, Khushal Khan Khattak University in Karak, Khyber Medical University in Peshawar, Kohat University of Science and Technology, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University of Upper Dir, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University in Peshawar, the University of Agriculture Peshawar, Women University Mardan, Women University in Swabi, Shuhada-e-Army Public School University of Technology, Nowshera, AUST, Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan, Bacha Khan University in Charsadda , Gomal University in Dera Ismail Khan, Hazara University in Mansehra, Institute of Management Sciences Peshawar and Islamia College University.
Talking to The Express Tribune, a senior K-P Higher Education Department official, who did wish to be named, shared that until 2002, there were just eight public sector universities in the province.
During the tenures of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and then the Awami National Party (ANP) in the subsequent 10 years, 11 universities were set up.
These included the upgrade of the Islamia College from a college to a full-fledged varsity. The Khyber Medical University Peshawar, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar, UST Bannu, the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan, the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, the Khushal Khan Khattak University in Karak, the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University in Upper Dir, Haripur University, Swabi University, and the University of Swat.
This means that only four universities were set up during the tenure of PTI.
The official shared that University of Buner and University of Chitral were originally campuses of the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan which had been handed the status of a university by the government but was not recognised by the HEC.
It was a similar story with UET Mardan which was originally a campus for UET Peshawar.
Of the other universities which the PTI claims to have built, the agricultural varsity in Dera Ismail Khan and UET Lakki Marwat, the HEC has yet to register them as separate varsities.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2018.