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HEC loses autonomy

June 11, 2012


ISLAMABAD, June 11: The federal government has finally taken the decisive step in a bid to bring the Higher Education Commission (HEC), an autonomous body, under political influence, Dawn has learnt.

On Monday, a notification issued by the government announced not only the HEC but also the Pakistan National Commission for Unesco (PNCU) had been given under the administrative-cum-financial control of the Ministry of Professional and Technical Training.

According to sources, after the issue of politicians’ degree verification and the rejection of political influence in the award of scholarships, it was being feared that the HEC could be given under the control of some ministry to avoid that kind of resistance in future.

Reacting rather hastily, Federal Minister for Ministry of Professional and Technical Training Riaz Hussain Pirzada also received a briefing from the executive director of the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) that works under the PNCU on Monday.

The minister was told that the NAVTTC was working on 39 projects while 16 new projects were to be started as a budget worth Rs300 million had been approved.

The minister instructed the executive director to start training courses for convicted women and children in different jails and directed that they should be given training of handicrafts and other valuable skills so that after completing their conviction they could lead a successful life.

The other training course that was proposed by the federal minister was to train the girls with Matriculation and Intermediate qualification in nursing at Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital (BVH), Nishtar Hospital and during the six-month and-one-year courses offered to them, all the girls would be given stipends.

An official of the HEC requesting not to be named said “the decision will politicise the commission” and feared “in future all jobs and scholarships will be given on political basis rather than the merit”.

Despite making repeated attempts, Chairperson Higher Education Commission Dr Javaid Laghari was not available for comments over the development.