ISLAMABAD: The vice chancellors (VCs) of public sector universities of the country have unanimously opposed the proposed amendments to HEC Ordinance 2002 and demanded the government ensure the commission’s autonomy if it wants the higher education sector to continue playing its part in the economic stability and growth.
During the 48th Vice Chancellors’ Committee meeting chaired by Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan online, they said the development of higher education sector made in the past two decades can be consolidated only by strengthening HEC, says a press release issued on Friday.
They said that the proposed amendments, if materialised, will cause a severe dent to the higher education sector and will be tantamount to undoing the progress made so far.
The university heads also discussed the financial, governance and administrative issues of the higher education institutions.
They demanded of the provincial governments to share the burden of the federal government and contribute to the universities’ funding.
Ask provinces to share burden of federal govt by contributing to universities’ funding
The Ministry of Federal Education a couple of months ago had moved a summary to the federal government for making changes to the HEC’s ordinance.
The proposed changes also included re-composition of the HEC governing board and delegation of some powers to the education minster by the prime minister.
However, sources said the proposed amendments had not made part of the agenda of federal cabinet rather the education ministry was taking up the issue with the law ministry before moving ahead.
HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed also joined the online session and briefed the vice chancellors on the recent developments pertaining to the TTS and BPS models, HEC’s quality assurance measures and the repercussions of amendments to the ordinance.
He emphasised the need for strengthening national institutions and said different countries were now setting up higher education entities on the HEC model.
Referring to the financial crisis, the chairman said no new universities or campuses should be established unless there was economic stability in the country.
He urged the vice chancellors to ensure good financial and administrative governance at the higher education institutions.
Dr Ahmed said universities needed to strengthen themselves in such a manner that they were approached by the quarters concerned to play the role of think-tanks in policy making at the state level.
“Our youth have a great potential, however, we need to work on developing in them the skills relevant to the national and global market,” he added.
He said the HEC will soon ban affiliations as they compromised quality due to anomalies.
He also sought input from the vice chancellors on resolving the issues arising out of the TTS and BPS models.
He informed the university heads that the HEC was planning to set up ‘Seerat corners’ in the libraries of universities to promote the teachings of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).
The participants also discussed how search committees constituted for selection of vice chancellors can be made effective.
Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2023
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