LAHORE, April 10: The proposed devolution of Higher Education Commission to provinces will increase political interference in higher education sector. “The decision if implemented will result in lowering the education standard and international education will become a dream for new generation,” academician Prof. Dr Chaudhry Abdul Rehman said in a statement on Sunday.

He said the USAID could stop $250 million for scholarships and the World Bank had given a signal to stop $300 million loan to HEC.

“Under the controversial decision every province will have its own curriculum standardisations which can fan provincialism by rejecting degrees of institutes from other provinces,” he said.

Prof Rehman said the commission’s main purpose was to upgrade the universities of Pakistan to be centres of education, research and development.

“The monitoring and regulations of universities with special emphasis on quality assurance has raised Pakistan’s standing among international universities. Faculty development, curriculum revision, education infrastructure development, scholarship, industry and university research collaboration have created a competitive environment among universities,” he said.

During HEC’s 10 years, he said a noticeable increase (600 per cent) in scientific publications in international journals had introduced new Pakistani scholars to the world. The university enrollment was 135,000 in 2003 which rose to 400,000 today because of HEC’s efforts. Some 51 new universities and degree awarding institutes and 18 campuses of existing universities were established during the HEC tenure.

Prof Rehman said the achievement of the commission had made India re-strategise its educational policy. “We believe that retaining HEC is the only route to a superior Pakistan,” he added.