Islamabad:Terming it an effort of anti-state elements to weaken the country by attacking the growth of education, Higher Education Commission (HEC) former chairperson and Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) President Dr Atta-ur-Rehman has appealed to President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to stop the process of devolution of HEC.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman said that the negative forces in the country were always at work and this time they have attacked the education system of the country. “If some forces want to break down the country, they need to attack the education system of that country first,” he maintained.
He said that the progress of HEC over the past few years have even threatened the neighbouring countries, which could easily been guessed from an editorial published in ‘Hindustan Times’. “The editorial titled ‘Pak threat to Indian science’ clearly indicates that the tremendous growth in education sector is potential threat for the neighbouring countries,” he said while referring to a news story regarding the request of Advisor to Indian PM on science and technology who had asked Indian PM Manmohan Singh to carry out similar reforms in India.
He, however, didn’t rule out the possibility of devolution as a result of degree verification of the parliamentarians. “Probably HEC is bearing the brunt for its stand taken while the verification of degrees of parliamentarians,” he said.
Claiming it inevitable to have a central role of HEC for the growth, he said there were several matters that could not be controlled by the provinces. “It is not as simple as the distribution of funds, but HEC look for the number of enrolment of institution and also the quality of education being imparted while funding some institution,” he said.
He said that according to his knowledge HEC lies in Federal Legislative List (FLL) part (ii) according to which it could not be devolved under 18th Amendment. He, however, maintained even if it lies in concurrent list, it should be stopped from devolution. “Whatever we have gained during last eight years would go in waste if HEC would be devolved,” he said.
While answering a question regarding the possible option of court to challenge the decision of Implementation Commission, he said that there were several options, but they want PM and president to interfere and play their role for the larger interest of the country.
Preston Institute of Nano Science and Technology Chairman Dr N M Butt said that the nuclear Programme of Pakistan could also face danger if we are unable to produce talented scientists and professors. “Quality scientists are need of the time. If we are unable to produce good scientists, our nuclear programme could face a downfall,” he maintained.
Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Vice Chancellor Dr Masoom Yasin Zai said that a university was not merely a name of a building, but of quality education and faculty. “We have seen what has happened to the schools and colleges that are under control of provinces. They have buildings but neither the staff nor the quality education is there,” he maintained.
He said that there was a need to understand the work HEC was doing to develop and enforce uniform curriculum and ensure quality. “What would happen when each province would be having its own standards of education and also the different standards to evaluate degrees,” he inquired.
Islamic World Academy of Sciences, Vice President Professor Dr. Misbah-ul-Din Shami said that it was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who has conceived the idea of University Grants Commission (UGC) and executed it, but Pakistan People’s Party was undoing what its leader had done. “Bhutto has conceived the idea of UGC as he was aware of the dire need of research work in the country. It is however, something unfortunate that the PPP is the one that is ending it by breaking HEC into pieces,” he said.
Kohat University VC Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwar said that it was something insane to transfer the powers to provinces when they don’t have capacity to handle it. “We have done nothing in 50 years. Whatever we have done in 10 years is also on the verge of destruction as provinces are not eligible to handle higher education sector,” he said.
He said that first government should strive to build capacity in provinces and then transfer powers to them.The news