HEC amendment bill government urged to initiate national dialogue


DN Report

ISLAMABAD- The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Javaid R. Laghari the other day urged Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to initiate a national dialogue on HEC Amendment Bill 2012, it has been learnt.

Dr Laghari, through a letter to the prime minister, stated that before passing the bill, the government should get inputs of all the stakeholders.

“If the bill is passed by the Parliament in haste, it will hamper the growth and progress of the higher education sector”, he held.

The private members’ HEC Amendment Bill moved by two MNAs, Yasmeen Rehman and Nafisa Shah, was discussed in the NA Standing Committee on Education and Training, and was okayed.

The amendment bill, if passed, will do away will the autonomy of the HEC and place it under the Ministry of Education and Training as a division.

Dr Laghari told the prime minister that the HEC Ordinance 2002 was created following a year-long intense review and debate by a 17-member Task Force on Higher Education consisting of eminent educationists and personalities from across the country.

The autonomy of the HEC, as envisaged by the Task Force, was in line with higher education commissions functioning in other fast developing countries.

The HEC chairman further said that, after 10 years, it was time to review the functioning of the HEC as the world has moved considerably forward.

In this regard, the Prime Minister had already established a high  powered committee, consisting of four federal ministers and five federal secretaries.

The committee had agreed to the HEC proposal to establish a task force on Higher Education and Research for a national dialogue, and had asked the HEC to suggest names for it.

Dr Laghari said if the HEC Ordinance was to be amended, then it should not be done on two private members input, which will leave a long term impact on the youth and the higher education sector.

“Let there be a national dialogue, and let the Task Force, to which the high powered committee had already agreed, meet the stakeholders and then propose amendment in the interest of the education sector and of the nation”, he said.

The proposed task force on higher education and research would meet various stakeholders, including the universities, provincial government functionaries, chancellors, etc., and give its input which should be incorporated in the bill, he added.

The universities vice-chancellors, faculty associations and various professional bodies have already rejected the amendment bill, the HEC chairman informed the prime minister.

Mean while, legal expert SM Zafar said that any bill to amend the HEC ordinance has to be considered by Council of Common Interests (CCI).

February 16, 2013

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