PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa higher education department has directed all government universities in the province to abolish pension for future employees to manage the growing financial crisis.
“To overcome the rising budget deficit, the public sector universities will delink pay scales from both basic pay scale scheme and pay scale based on defined contribution. Pension scheme having no pension liability for universities shall be implemented for all future recruitment,” read a letter issued by the department.
The letter was sent to the vice-chancellors and directors of all public sector universities and project directors of the universities being established in different parts of the province.
The government universities have long been asking the provincial government for grant to manage the severe financial crisis caused by limited funds provided by the Higher Education Commission and meagre revenue generated by them.
Dept also asks varsities to follow govt rules on house requisition, medical allowance
A senior staff member of the University of Peshawar told Dawn that issues in the payment of monthly pension to retired employees had been emerging off and on since 2017 as the historical educational institution lacked funds.
He said the university was struggling to pay pension to retired employees for two and three months.
The official said currently, the university was unable to pay pension to retired employees at the beginning of every month and that payment was made in the middle of the month.
He also said the retiring employees weren’t paid commutation at once and instead, it was paid in three installments after two or three months gap.
The official said the university’s annual pension budget totalled over Rs100 million.
In the letter, the higher education department also directed the universities to stop paying medical allowance to employees at the current rate and said that payment should be made at the provincial government’s notified rates.
Currently, the University of Peshawar pays medical allowance to its employees at the rate fixed by the federal government for its employees that is Rs5,000-Rs8,000 more than what is drawn by the provincial government’s employees.
According to the letter, the universities will pay also ‘house subsidy and requisition’ to its staff members at the provincial government’s rates.
A university staff member told Dawn that the universities either followed the federal government or formulated own mechanism for the payment of house subsidy and house requisition.
The letter also said the schools run by various universities would be reformed regarding fee structure and staff quotas to achieve financial breakeven and that it would be appropriate if a separate board of governors for the schools was constituted to achieve academic, financial and administrative efficiency.
It added that the BoG would work under the statutory framework prescribed by the universities for the purpose.
A senior UoP employee said majority of the students enrolled in the schools managed by universities paid nominal fees, so the funds for such schools were arranged from the funds meant for universities.
He complained that the HEC was not releasing funds for universities to handle financial matters of their constituent schools.
The higher education department’s letter said the universities would be assisted in the process of exploring new avenues of financial resources including renting out academic blocks to other institutions for academic purpose in the afternoon, increasing number of self-support seats in the academic programs with high market demand, the launch of new academic programs and diplomas on the market-based fee structure.
Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2021