ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training, National Heritage and Culture on Friday recommended that the admission procedure in universities should be eased for international students.

The committee held a meeting with Senator Irfan Siddiqui in the chair.

In its previous meeting, the committee had directed the education ministry to provide details of foreign students studying in Pakistan.

Ministry officials told the committee that as per information shared by universities, the total number of foreign students was 5,248 from 70 countries. They are studying in different universities through various programmes like development projects, bilateral agreements or individually.

The chairman said a comprehensive list be provided showing the number of foreign students in each university along with their subjects and nationality.

5,248 students from 70 countries studying in Pakistan, HEC officials say; subcommittee’s report on IIUI rape case finalised...

Senator Engineer Rukhsana Zuberi informed the committee chairman that a report of the subcommittee formed to probe a rape case at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) had been finalised.

Higher Education Commission (HEC) officials presented a report on the implementation status of the committee’s recommendations of Sept 7.

The committee had recommended that a mechanism be devised for the registration of students going abroad for study on a self-finance basis. Officials informed the committee members that there was no mechanism in place for registration of such students.

Students from different regions of the country individually apply for admissions to foreign universities and get visa on their own. The HEC officials said an app would be launched soon to give information to parents and students about validly accredited programmes and institutions.

The committee chairman asked how many FIRs had been registered and whether any cases were sent to law enforcement agencies against those involved in malpractices.

The HEC officials informed the Senate panel that it should take prompt action against illegal institutions and campuses and quoted the example of Alkhair University.

The chairman criticised HEC’s role on the issue and directed that detail of actions taken against such institutions and individuals be presented in the next meeting of the committee.

The committee chairman expressed displeasure over non-compliance of recommendations by the HEC and directed the secretary of the ministry to seek an explanation on the matter from HEC and present it in the next meeting.

The National Technology Council (NTC) chairman informed the committee that the first draft of the National Technology Council Act had been finalised. However, further consultation with stakeholders, including the Ministry of Science and Technology, and its approval was required.

The HEC’s income from sources and expenditure by category, especially University of Balochistan, University of Punjab, University of Karachi, University of Peshawar and Quaid-i-Azam University, was discussed in the presence of their respective vice chancellors.

The HEC executive director said funds were distributed among public-sector universities according to a formula which was based on performance, ranking, enrollment, type and number of programmes.

The vice chancellors informed the committee about the problems faced by them in running day-to-day affairs of the universities.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan said additional funds should be provided to the HEC for bailing out such prestigious institutions which were struggling to manage their finances for various reasons.

The HEC officials were of the view that the universities should appoint qualified financial experts as treasurers for better management of financial resources.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2021

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