Public sector universities grapple with financial crunch

VCs urge government to restore universities fund in current fiscal year

Our Correspondent March 03, 2019

LAHORE: Vice chancellors of government universities said on Saturday they were facing financial emergency due to a deduction in the budget in the last three years.

The vice chancellors and the rectors of the public sector universities discussed the solution of the current financial crisis of higher education institutions in a two-day meeting of vice chancellors committee in High Education Commission Secretariat.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chancellors Committee Chairman Dr Masoom Yasinzai said the Higher Education Department was facing a loss of Rs26.9 billion in the recurring budget. He voiced hope that the government would support the varsities and help them steer out of the economic crisis.

He said the funding has been reduced while the registration of students has surged in public sector universities in the last three years. He said the financial crises have worsened due to an increase in salaries, pensions and the financial requirements of the new universities. He was of the views that the situation would affect the quality of education and some universities were facing difficulties in paying salaries and pension.

The estimate of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) fund was around Rs31 billion but only Rs14.083 billion were released so far.

The VCs voiced the hope that the government would restore the universities funding in the current fiscal year and would fulfill the requirement of the Higher Education Department which is Rs103.55 billion for the next fiscal year 2019-20. He also demanded of the government to provide adequate funds for the development budget of universities.

Addressing to the heads of the universities, the HEC chairman assured that he would convey their reservations to the federal and provincial governments. He said the HEC has formed a committee to review the budget formula regarding the provision of funds to the universities.

He urged the heads of universities to take steps to bring transparency and efficiency in the work of their respective institutions to raise funds.

He maintained that HEC was working to devise a strategy in order to generate more funds for the universities and in this regard, the academic week would be celebrated in December 2019.

He also directed the universities to try to generate their own resources to boost revenue to 20% apart from tuition fees.

The topics discussed in the meeting included the promotion of national unity and consensus, promotion of knowledge-based economy and promotion of a soft image of Pakistan. The HEC chairman informed the vice chancellors about the importance of complaints received through Prime Minister Complaint portal. “We must ensure that no compliant remains unaddressed on the portal,” he said.

The vice chancellors also discussed other issues including the establishment of a national academy for higher education, promotion of research related to the country’s needs and requirements, promotion of education at the college level and the success of Pakistan Education and Research Network Project.



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