ISLAMABAD: A senate panel on Tuesday asked ministries concerned to resolve issues of service structures of engineering technologists, as every year thousands of degree holders are graduating universities with an uncertain future.

Senate Standing Committee on Education, which met here with Senator Irfan-ul-Haq Siddiqui, besides other things, discussed this matter.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan briefed committee members about the history of this case.

“There is no service structure for technologists. Every year about 10,000 degree holders are passing out and there is uncertainty regarding their future. Task forces and committees were established to solve the issue but to no avail,” he said and added that National Technology Commission Act should be passed as soon as possible.

“Equivalence accorded to technologists, bringing them at par with engineers, should be reinstated which was cancelled unilaterally by former chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) without any proper consultation or deliberation,” Mr Khan said.

Representatives of the Young Engineering Technologist Association also presented their point of view in-front of committee members, who expressed dismay over the delay in resolution of this important matter.

They said that equivalence should be restored as an interim relief until the issue of separate service structure for technologists is resolved.

A presentation on steps taken by the Ministry of Education/HEC for recognition of educational degrees and skills in the fields of engineering, medical, law and IT was given to all those in attendance.

HEC officials apprised committee members that the commission’s responsibility is to facilitate students and at the same time maintain quality and uphold standards.

The commission ensures entry of qualifications into the Unesco database so that graduates from Pakistan are able to serve overseas, they said, adding HEC also refers to this database for accreditation and recognition of foreign degrees in Pakistan.

Chairman of the committee expressed his reservation regarding unauthorised institutions offering degree programmes in

Pakistan without approval of HEC or any other regulatory body. In response to this, HEC officials said that the commission has published a list of approved institutions on its website and student or parents should go through the list before applying for admission to universities.

The commission also issues alerts and advisories from time to time and blacklists institutions which do not fulfill the criteria set for accreditation and recognition of degree programmes.

Pakistani students going abroad for studies take admission on their own and there is so mechanism to stop them from taking admission in unrecognised foreign universities and medical colleges, HEC officials pointed out.

Meanwhile, ministry and national curriculum council officials also gave a briefing to committee members about the Single National Curriculum (SNC).

Except Sindh, all provinces are on board for implementation of SNC, committee members were told.

As many as 400 experts from all over the country from different schools of thought have prepared this curriculum, the officials

said, adding there is no plan to introduce a uniform examination system, keeping in view, lack of facilities for students of far flung areas of Pakistan.

“How can introduction of the same book for all the students provide the same environment for students?” chairman of the committee asked officials, adding students of public schools lack basic facilities and it will be extremely difficult for them to compete with students of elite private schools.

Ministry officials said guidelines have been made to make the curriculum more inclusive for all.

Senator Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar presented his view point regarding the Sindh government’s education policy and said that the whole political spectrum should be taken on board.

The committee chairman deferred discussion on the matter till the next meeting and asked Senator Dahar to coordinate with the Sindh government regarding their reservations on SNC.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2021

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