HEC chief counts political leadership role for higher education

ISLAMABAD: Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed on Wednesday said that there was a need for the political leadership to cooperate in ensuring quality and implementation of effective policies in higher education.

Briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training, he said that the highest burden on the higher education sector at present was the payment of pensions – around Rs500 billion annually – to the retired employees of the universities.

The meeting of the standing committee was held in Parliament House, and was presided by the committee Chairman Makhdoom Syed Samiul Hasan Gilani.

The committee was told by the HEC chairman that the letter written by the HEC to the vice chancellors of all public sector universities clarified that the work on the appointment of new vice chancellor should start six months before the post became vacant, so that the teaching and administrative affairs of the university were not affected.

It was a tragedy that currently the private as well as government sector universities across the country had made education a means of making money, Dr Mukhtar said.

Sargodha University at present had no vice chancellor, registrar or a treasurer. In a short span of ten years, the university had affiliated around 850 private colleges for the sole purpose of making money, he added.

The private colleges which have been affiliated are established in one room or in ten marla houses, he said.

On this occasion, the committee passed the International Institute of Technology, Cultural and Health Sciences Bill presented in the Lower House by Member National Assembly Qadir Khan Mandukhel by majority vote, while the rest of the bills on the agenda were postponed due to non-availability of movers.

Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) Director General Dr Ikram Ali Malik, while briefing the committee participants on the agenda item of the employees who were on deputation in the federal capital, said that at present a total of 328 people were serving on deputation in the FDE.

Among them, he said, there were 84 employees whose tenure as deputationists was less than five years, while 244 were those who had spent more than five years as assistants.

In the light of Islamabad High Court’s orders, 218 people have been issued orders to report to the parental department, which are still pending due to challenges in the court.

Committee Member Alia Kamran expressed dissatisfaction with the briefing given by the Director General FDE and raised a question that why no action had been taken against those who had been working in the FDE on deputation for 20 years, and what action had been taken against the government employees who caused the delay in that process.

The committee chairman directed the DG FDE to submit a detailed report containing complete facts regarding employees on deputation.

Additional Secretary Ministry of Education, representatives of Sargodha and Bhawalpur Universities and members of the committee participated in the meeting.

 

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