The job of verifying legislators’ degrees is to be handed over to a high-powered commission headed by Federal Education Minister Sardar Assef Ali which the government has decided to set up soon.
The commission will also include the federal education secretary, a top official of the law ministry, an Election Commission representative, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) chairman and executive director.
Sources said that the federal education minister has been asked to play a key role in the bogus degree affair. He has been tasked to set up a high-powered commission to review the fake degree cases and ensure submission of HEC’s final report in the matter to the law ministry first before it is presented to the NA standing comittee on education.
He has also been asked to take the entire record concerning the phony degrees in his custody. It has been learnt that top government functionaries have expressed anger at the minister’s so-far inactive role in the whole saga.
The federal minister has declared the HEC as a subordinate organ of the ministry and the verification process launched by it as illegal. It may be recalled that a former education minister, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, had also attempted to place the HEC under the education ministry but to no avail.
Now Sardar Assef has been assigned to seek details of the progress so far made, take the record in his custody and establish the high-powered panel even while the HEC is in the middle of degrees’ verification.
Under the new scheme of things, the HEC will submit its report to the commission which, in turn, will send it to the law ministry. The report will be reviewed before being sent to the NA standing committee on education.
The sources said the government is using different tactics to halt the process of degrees’ verification. As the process continues unabated despite all the pressure exerted on the HEC chief, top government functionaries have asked the federal education minister to take matters in his hand.
Meanwhile, speaking at a seminar on education budget here on Thursday, Sardar Assef reiterated his view that the education sector should stay with the Centre as transfer of this sector to provinces will create many problems.
“Many ongoing projects remain incomplete because of funds shortage while the war on terror has also caused reduction in development money,” he remarked.
He said with the adoption of the 18th amendment by parliament, education has become a provincial subject while syllabus design has also been transferred to the federating units. “Different syllabi in all the provinces will create problems,” he said.
He said he will request chairman of the parliamentary committee on constitutional reforms Mian Raza Rabbani to let the task of curriculum preparation with the federation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ