Stories about HEC

Bahria University: Arsalan Bilal’s hunger for justice

Ask the administrators of Bahria University Islamabad, who have reportedly expelled Arsalan Bilal from the University for threatening staff members by forwarding a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. It appears irrelevant to the administrators that the same e-mail was forwarded to his friends, class fellows and family members. Yet, Faiz’s poetry is a reason good enough to warrant expulsion if a teacher is added to the mailing list. Bahria University has also declared Arsalan Bilal “psychologically unstable,” even though they are no experts in psychiatry. If so, the university appears to have ...

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What our HEC can learn from India

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has made significant contributions since its inception in 2002, however the strategies used by the commission have room for improvement. Statistics clearly show that the quantitative results of the HEC are plausible, with drastically increased university enrollment and a huge army of PhDs in the making on scholarships. The quality of students on the other hand, does not seem too impressive. It is hard to challenge the fact that knowledge is not being produced in the country, and this raises a question: What exactly do we want to achieve with this enormous number of ...

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Budget cuts mar higher education

Heads of the public sector universities have warned the government of protest if the finance division fails to provide an additional Rs8 billion to the cash-starved Higher Education Commission (HEC). The university heads and HEC officials say that without the additional funds, the commission will not be in a position to ensure payment of 65% salary raises for employees of the 70 public sector universities under its domain. Cuts in the commission’s budget have already affected research and development projects, when a major chunk is being diverted towards the employees’ salaries. Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh in Friday’s meeting gave ...

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Campus diary : Uncertainty surrounds HEC, yet agait

The officials of Higher Education Commission (HEC) are in the state of anxiety over reports that the commission is going to be placed under the control of a new ministry, which was created last week in an apparent attempt to accommodate political allies. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani created four new ministries last week under the justification that they would handle departments which have been left with the centre after the devolution of key ministries including education, health, environment, culture, food, etc. For now, the ministry of heritage and national integration portfolio is with former PPP minister Sameena Khalid Gorki ...

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Choose democracy, not the HEC

Criticism of the government’s decisions is becoming more of a habit than a reformative concern among our so called experts. As far as media campaigns to save the Higher Education Commission (HEC) are concerned, some would even suggest that democracy is being slaughtered at the altar of activism. Since the federal government’s announcement to devolve HEC, there has been a plethora of articles, blogs, letters, and comments, most of them supportive of the commission’s authority in matters relating to higher education. Few, if any, have bothered to objectively and critically weigh the HEC’s success against its failures as a central ...

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The (not so) long arm of the HEC

The Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) devolution has pulled emotions and inflamed passions for the past couple of weeks. We are told that the future of Pakistan and the future of higher education are at stake. However, I for one do not believe that the HEC is a barometer of the state of education in Pakistan. On the contrary, the case of Qamar Riaz Mamitkhel, a lecturer at Bahria University Islamabad points to how inadequate the provision of education in our country is. If we ever needed a snapshot of where we stand, look no further. Mr Qamar Riaz Mamitkhel had the audacity to ...

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HEC devolved at the altar of politics

Like the Federal Education Ministry before it, now the Higher Education Commission (HEC) is being devolved to the provinces. The very ingredient that strengthens the fabric of a society — education– is being adulterated through a planned strategy. Some portfolios are to be held by the federal government due to the nature of their strategic importance. For instance, letting provinces have independent foreign policies would be suicidal. Similarly, while provincial governments should manage the education infrastructure in their respective jurisdiction–which they were already doing–they should not have any control over the curriculum being taught. Every school in every province should ...

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Don’t devolve the HEC

The government’s plan to devolve the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to the provinces as a consequence of the 18th Amendment has come in for widespread criticism. The government’s justification is that since education already comes under the purview of the provinces, there is no contradiction in this planned measure. To that end, the chairman of the implementation committee of the 18th amendment, Senator Raza Rabbani, recently said that the ordinance which gave birth to the HEC would be redrafted and that all its powers save a few policy matters would be devolved to the provinces. He also said that the provinces would ...

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SOS call for higher education

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has functioned brilliantly in recent years. It had numerous achievements, but one of the more tangible ones was the significant improvement in the quality and quantity of the research work undertaken in universities across the country. The present government has announced that it will devolve the HEC to the provinces, while stating that this was required under the 18th Amendment, and that education will now be the sole domain of the provinces. HEC officials however dismissed the proposed devolution under the 18th amendment, while maintaining that the commission was an independent institution that was functioning directly ...

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Pakistan’s hungry children: The struggle to survive

On a recent visit to the house of my aunt’s friend this week, I realised the severity of helplessness some of us are subjected to as Pakistanis. Being a university teacher and living in a respectable neighbourhood, I assumed – rather took for granted – that my host lived a comfortable life like many of us do. However, what I witnessed in reality was far from my initial judgement. During the visit I couldn’t help but notice that her sons who had just returned from school would not eat lunch; rather they stayed away from the dining room completely. Her two daughters, ...

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