What’s happening at the Higher Education Commission in Islamabad? Here are the issues:
1) The PTI government is trying to dismantle an autonomous organization (HEC), which was established to protect the higher education sector from political interference and erosion of standard.
2) So Govt has readied amendment to HEC Ordinance to remove Chairman & all members prematurely, reduce terms of future members from 4 yrs to 2 yrs (thus rendering them ineffective) & transferring authority to government-appointed ED, who could be changed arbitrarily.
3) This will also have the impact of damaging the growing cooperation with provinces notwithstanding the 18th Amendment; note that HEC is not a federal body, since 4 of the 18 commission members represent the provinces while 2 represent the federation.
4) A major point of contention is HEC’s refusal to tolerate or ignore the government’s patently biased action of giving Rs. 30 billion to a private citizen who happens to be a close confidante of the Prime Minister
5) This gent has submitted several so-called projects costing tens of billions of rupees each, with hugely padded budgets, little justifications, and total lack of accountability, and the PM Office has actively intimidated and hectored government officials to accord approval.
6) Simultaneously, HEC was directed by the PM Office to exempt Attaur Rahman’s institutions (HEJ, etc.) from accountability systems, and to keep funding them without asking for any performance standards.
7) This regime is the most anti-education government in Pakistan history; it has slashed funds for higher education, appointed corrupt and unprofessional persons to statutory positions in universities and undertaken and assaulted the autonomy of educational institutions, esp HEC