Minorities’ varsity seats left vacant in Punjab

Govt varsities in Punjab admit 246 students against quota of 1,211

Adnan Lodhi March 16, 2024


The Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) has failed to implement the minority students’ admission quota in 30 public sector universities in the province.

According to sources, a large number of students from the religious minorities could not get admission on their allocated two per cent quota.

The source said 246 students from then minorities were given admission in the government universities despite 1,211 seats having bene allocated for them.

Commenting on the situation, a non-government organization (NGO) suggested the formation of a monitoring committee to ensure implementation of the quota by the PHEC during admissions.

The sources said a large number of Christian, Sikh, Hindu, Kalash and Ahmadi students could not get admission to the government universities in the province during the past year because of lack of adequate efforts by the PHEC and the administrations of the educational institutions to fulfill the quota allocated for the minorities.

A PHEC official said the 2% quota in admissions had not been filled during the past couple of years.

"There are hundreds of departments in the big public sector universities of Punjab and at all of them have 2% quota for the minorities, but it was not implemented. It is the responsibility of the PHEC and the vice chancellors of the universities to look into the matter as hundreds of seats were not filled under the quote during the past year,” the official added.

A report compiled by an NGO working for minorities’ right, Burgad, states that there are 1,211 seats for the minorities, but 246 of the were filled during the admissions by 113 male and 133 female students on the quota.

Aa per the report, 208 Christian, five Sikh, six Ahmadi and 27 Hindu students were given admissions, while 965 of the allocated seats remained vacant.

"There are multiple reasons why the quota system is not being effectively implemented. For example, the community is not properly informed about the quota, universities do not advertise it adequately on their websites and even enrolled students have no idea about the quota. Additionally, the PHEC and other stakeholders have not finalized any formula regarding the seats,” the report added.

It recommended awareness sessions in high schools and colleges to inform the students about the quota.

“Additionally, we should share the details of scholarships available for religious minority students, which are provided by the Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department. This will assist students financially and provide them with the necessary resources to pursue their education. I think there should be a monitoring committee which may be led by the PHEC or the minorities affairs department to closely work on the implementation of the quota,” said Burgad Programme Coordinator Rabiya Dar.

"Public sector universities don’t mention details regarding the minorities’ seats in their prospectus,” said policy analyst and researcher Peter Jacob.

He said the government should also allocate a quota for then minorities at the school level so that the literacy rate among the communities might improve.

PHEC spokesman Dr Tanveer Qasim, when contacted, said any student who thought he had not been given admission on the quota in a government university despite deserving it should inform the commission about the matter. “We will contact the university administration concerned in connection with the admission,” he added.

An official of the Punjab Higher Educational Department expressed apprehension that admission of ineligible students to fill the allocated seats could involve corruption.

He said the government should form an inquiry committee to look into depriving the students from the minorities of the university seats allocated for them.


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