- President, PM give go ahead
* Amendments to HEC Ordinance in progress
By Irfan Ghauri
ISLAMABAD: The Education Ministry is likely to get back the administrative control of Higher Education Commission (HEC), it’s learnt.
Currently, necessary amendments to the HEC Ordinance, 2002, which places the commission under the prime minister’s administrative control, are being made for the purpose, the Education Ministry sources told Daily Times on Sunday.
They said President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had already approved the proposal to bring the HEC back to the Education Ministry’s folds during Education Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani’s meetings with them.
The HEC had come into being through a presidential ordinance in 2002.
Dr Attaur Rehman was its first chairman having a federal minister’s status. He stayed put until a few weeks ago when he resigned. Since then, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Welfare Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali has been temporarily holding the office and she will continue in the same till the appointment of the HEC chairman.
Rehman had headed the HEC for over six years in violation of the Ordinance under which the tenure of the commission chairman is four years time and he/she can’t be reappointed for more than one similar term.
The previous government had injected billions of rupees to enhance the quality of higher education in the country.
However, the present government massively cut the HEC developmental projects and didn’t release recurring funds, which halted many ongoing projects, including scholarship scheme and establishment of foreign universities in the country.
Since its establishment six years ago, the HEC has awarded thousands of students indigenous and foreign scholarships.
An Education Ministry official told Daily Times that the minister should have some say in the HEC affairs so that he could effectively respond to the members’ quarries in parliament.
He said the HEC officials had formally briefed Bijarani on the commission affairs soon after he assumed the charge but the lacking briefing disappointed him.
He said the HEC provided the minister with a brief about its activities for parliamentary sessions including question hour.