A one-year cut in the tenure of the Higher Education Commission chairman and revocation of his status as a federal minister has been proposed.
The changes are in the final draft of the HEC (Amendment) Bill 2012, which was unanimously passed by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education and Training on Wednesday.
Moreover, Committee Chairman Sheikh Rohale Asghar sought complete details from the HEC by Tuesday on scholarships granted from 2008 to 2012. The demand came following allegations in the NA about the favours being given by HEC staff to bureaucrats and journalists.
The committee approved the removal of Section 5 sub-section 2 of the HEC Ordinance, which states that “the chairperson shall have the status of the federal minister.”
They recommended an amendment that in Section 6 sub-section 5, the chairperson shall hold the office for three years instead of four.
An HEC representative opposed the proposed cut and contended that a four-year term is within the executive framework. It stated that vice-chancellors, rectors, members of senate, members of the board of governors and even members of any commission enjoy four-year terms, but the committee felt that a three-year tenure was enough.
The mover of the bill, MNA Yasmeen Rehman, was of the view that rating, evaluation and funding of universities by HEC is objectionable. “How can such a huge public sector institution do these three jobs at once,” she said. Rehman felt that there must be an independent body for the rating of universities, which Minister Education and Training Sheikh Waqas Akram — who had accused the HEC of doling out favours — assured her is under consideration.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2013.