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HEC’s financial problems hit fresh scholars hard

February 15, 2013

A view of the University of Karachi. — File photo

ISLAMABAD, Feb 15: Despite assurance by Higher Education Commission (HEC) for job and a research grant, 420 scholars are yet to get this facility.

Besides, another 266 students who will complete their PhDs during current years will also require jobs and research grant. So it will become a test case for cash-starved HEC to ensure that scholars would not go abroad.

According to an HEC official since 2009 through HEC’s Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs (IPFP) Programme, 1193 Pakistani PhDs have been placed as Assistant Professors at public sector and leading private sector universities across the country.

“These scholars have been initially employed for a period of one year on a handsome salary package (around Rs100,000 per moth). They may be hired on permanent basis on completion of their tenure through the normal selection process of the host institution,” he said.

“HEC also offers a startup research grant of Rs0.5 million upon joining the host institutions.

“So far, the IPFP programme has processed around 1,613 applications while another 266 applicants are at the different stages of placement,” he said.

“At the moment universities are demanding funds because developmental activities have been stopped but we are also worried about the fresh scholars because if they will not get jobs in Pakistan HEC will have no moral grounds to force them to stay in the country,” he said.

“On the other hand foreign universities and departments are ready to appoint fresh scholars,” he said.

Media coordinator of HEC Murtaza Noor said that availability of funds is major concern for HEC.

“No doubt there are a lot of opportunities for scholars in other countries but HEC wants to assure that scholars would serve Pakistan. We will try our best to deal with the upcoming problem,” he said.