Bill to establish varsity in PM House reaches Senate

Published February 2, 2022
Prime Minister House. — APP/File
Prime Minister House. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The bill seeking establishment of the much-trumpeted university at the Prime Minister House finally landed in the Senate on Tuesday when the PTI government has already entered its fourth year in office, implying Prime Minister Imran Khan may not be able to see his dream project completing during his tenure.

According to the bill, which has already been passed by the National Assembly, the project once started will take 72 months to complete.

However, sources said the government was making efforts to get the bill passed from Senate as soon as possible to make the university functional in any rented building for offering admissions in the upcoming spring session.

Last year, officials from the Higher Education Commission and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on the direction of the Prime Minister Office had visited Sir Syed Memorial Society building in G-5. The HEC and CDA had later shared a report with the PM office, stating the building was suitable for starting the university.

Once started, project will be completed in six years

However, the sources said the final decision regarding selection of any rented building was yet to be made.

The University of Engineering and Emerging Technology Bill 2022 was tabled in the Senate by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan on behalf of education minister Shafqat Mahmood.

Chairman Mohammad Sadiq Sanjrani referred the bill to the Senate Standing Committee on Education for consideration.

In October last year, the NA standing committee had approved the bill and last month the National Assembly passed it along the mini-budget and some other bills.

According to the working paper, which was presented before the NA committee last year, the university will have seven centres of excellence; three to be set up in the PM house and four in Kuri where government land was available. The committee was told that six years were required for completion of the project and the government had already earmarked Rs23 billion for it.

Asked about the delay of over three years in approval of the charter of the university, officials in the Ministry of Education told Dawn that earlier the ministry had nothing to do with the project rather the Ministry of Science and Technology was looking into it.

They said in October last year the project was referred to the Ministry of Education.

“Within one month after taking over the project, we got the bill approved from the National Assembly. And today, the bill was tabled in the Senate,” said an official of the education ministry. He said soon the Senate will also approve the bill.

Currently, there are 141 public sector universities and 15 of them are for engineering and technology. Public sector universities have been complaining of shortage of funds. However, the government is adamant at starting another university.

Recently, during a meeting of the Senate Standing on Education, vice chancellors of some universities stated that they had been facing shortage of funds. One of them said they had no fund even to purchase chemicals for the laboratory of the university.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2022

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