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Only 65 billion rupees allocated in 5 years, the higher education sector is suffering from severe problems

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Only 65 billion rupees allocated in 5 years, the higher education sector is suffering from severe problems

Requested the federal government to give 126 billion rupees, Chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar – file photo

Lahore / Karachi: In 5 years, the budget of the Higher Education Commission was limited to a measly 65 billion rupees by the federal government.

As funding for the higher education sector has been reduced, it has become difficult to maintain and develop institutions across the country. The question has arisen that what will be the future of higher education in Pakistan in the context of educational institutions badly affected by the lack of cash and cuts in federal funds?

Whenever the country faces an economic downturn, the government easily initiates its austerity by reducing the resources allocated to higher education. The price of this ill-planned austerity is being paid by academics and academics who are already under-resourced in Pakistan. Or the development projects fall under this shortage of funds.

Although the recent recession has had a negative impact on all walks of life, the higher education sector has completely stagnated in the last five years due to this economic slowdown and will continue to do so in the near future in view of the recent funding cuts by the federal government. The sector seems to be headed for further decline.

The announcement of funding cuts in the recent inflation-driven crisis is a major blow to universities across the country, which are already grappling with problems such as lack of funds, non-appointment of vice-chancellors, non-payment of salaries, halting of research and development. are victims.

Speaking in this regard, Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said that it is not appropriate to leave the provincial universities to their own devices. How can these universities run their affairs if the provinces are not able to provide the budget and the federal government also restricts the funds. For the last five years, the federal government has allocated a very modest 65 billion rupees. We have requested the federation to provide 126 billion rupees during the next financial year but no decision could be taken.

Describing the poor conditions of government universities in Sindh and Balochistan, President of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) Kaleemullah Birch revealed that in December last year, the university teachers and staff did not pay their salaries. There was a sit-in for non-payment.

Professor of Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur and Central General Secretary of “FAPUASA” Dr. Akhtar Ghamro said that our university is currently facing the problem of overdraft of 20 crore rupees. Sindh University Jamshoro and Agri-Cultural University Tando Jam are also under payment pressure.

A VC of a government university in Sindh said, “We have increased tuition fees to a certain extent, but this is not a permanent solution to the financial deficit.” In this age of unemployment and poverty, raising fees will put an additional burden on parents.

According to data collected by the Express Tribune, there has been a major reduction in the allocations to the universities of Sindh in proportion to their annual budget over the past few years. For example, Federal Urdu University received 65% of the budget 14 years ago, but now it is receiving only 28% of its budget.

Similarly, the share of NED University has also decreased from 51% to 31% and the share of Karachi University has decreased from 48% to 30%. The story of educational decline is not different in Punjab.

According to the data of Higher Education Commission Punjab, 28 universities out of 36 public universities lack permanent vice-chancellors and due to this, research, development and policy making have been frozen. Punjab University, University of Home Economics, Lahore College Women. University, GC University, University of Faisalabad and Education University are among the universities which have not received grants from HEC since 2018.

Punjab University Academic Staff Association spokesperson Amjad Magsi said that no new research has been done in the universities nor any development work has been done. As a result, the academic and professional skills of the students have to be compromised. The conditions of higher education institutions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are also very bad.

The problem of providing meager resources to the provincial higher education sector becomes clear from the letter written by the Chairman of University Campus Coordination Committee and University of Agriculture Dr. Jahan Bakht to the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Islamia College Teachers Association Vice President Shah Nawaz Khan revealed that Islamia College does not have the capacity to pay the staff salaries for May and June.

The Express Tribune found out from sources in the Governor’s Secretariat that 34 universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are currently facing surplus deficit. Engineering University Peshawar is facing a loss of Rs 977 million, Peshawar University Rs 470 million, Gomal University Rs 434 million and Agriculture University Rs 188 million. Federal grant of Islamia College decreased from 447.318 million to 446.2 million rupees.

The former head of HEC Punjab Dr. Nazim has said that along with implementing education emergency in Punjab, there is also a need to provide technological development in schools, colleges and universities with the help of local and international educationists.

Talking to Express Tribune, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Higher Education Meena Khan Afridi said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is serious about solving the financial problems plaguing the universities. We will soon call a meeting to amend the Universities Act 2012.

Higher Education Sector

For more updates and exciting news, you can visit the ABC Express website.

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