A Senate Standing Committee has stated that the ‘rapid growth’ of universities is causing problems for the Higher Education Commission (HEC), which is already underfunded.
Senator Irfan Siddiqui made the above remark while presiding over a Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training meeting on Tuesday.
The Senator directed HEC to work with Chitral University and the provincial government to provide the necessary funds to the educational institutions that fall under its jurisdiction.
The Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Chitral University informed the committee that the institution is facing a funding shortage, stating that it was initially funded by the Annual Development Program (ADP) for the first three years, but that the federal and provincial governments are no longer willing to fund it.
Senator Siddiqui responded that funding educational institutions is the provinces’ responsibility.
During a discussion about the finances of Al Qadir University, Jhelum, it was revealed that the university is not even registered with HEC.
Rana Tanveer Hussain, the Federal Education Minister, confirmed that no such university exists in HEC records and that no funds have been directed toward it. The chair announced that further discussion on the subject would be postponed until the next meeting.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmed of Jamaat-e-Islami proposed a relief package for flood-affected students. Minister Hussain responded that fees for two semesters had been postponed and that scholarships would be provided to affected students.
The 2022 Federal University Amendment Bill was also discussed. Senator Seemee Ezdi, the bill’s sponsor, told the committee that the bill’s main goal is to make internships mandatory in all public and private institutions in the federal territory.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman of the Higher Education Commission, confirmed that the amendments will be incorporated into the Federal Universities Ordinance, which is currently being revised.
In response to Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi’s question about Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Law students facing examination problems, Minister Hussain stated that the matter is under the Supreme Court (SC), which has formed a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) committee to address the issue in the coming weeks. Senator Siddiqui postponed the matter until the Supreme Court rules.
To read our blog on “Aga Khan University Signs MoU for an Automated Laboratory System with Roche and Sysmex,” click here