ISLAMABAD      -       Chairman Higher Education Commission on Thursday informed the Senate Committee on Federal Education that some of the public sector universities are on the verge of closure because of financial crunch.

Chairman HEC Prof. Dr Tariq Banuri said this during a briefing to the Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training (FE&P) chaired by Senator Rahila Magsi.

Discussing the issues of HEC on agenda, the chairman HEC remarked that some of the public sector universities are on the verge of closure because HEC does not have sufficient funds to support them.

Responding to the questions asked by Senator Usman Kakar, the chairman said that a public sector university spends Rs150,000 per student on his/her education while the government gives Rs50,000 only per student.

Though he didn’t mention the names of the public sector universities, which are on the verge of closure, yet informed the committee that soon some of the universities will be shut down because of non-availability of funds to run the expenses of the institutions.

To a question of Senator Muhammad Usman Kakar regarding number of PhDs from local and foreign universities, Chairman HEC Dr Tariq Banuri said that total of 11,991 students completed PhDs from local universities during last ten years. He said that out of the total number 7997 were males while 3994 were females.  Meanwhile, 2160 students completed PhD from foreign universities including 1767 male and 393 female students.

He said that from Balochistan region 54 students completed PhD locally and 91 from foreign universities.

Senator Usman Kakar remarked that Balochistan is contributing a major share in the development of the country while its share in higher education is very low.

He said that Balochistan universities are facing shortfall of 650 PhD scholars while special measures should be taken to encourage Baluchistan students for PhD. “Number of scholarships should be increased and the students should be given admissions in other provinces also,” he said.

The Chairman HEC responded that increasing PhD opportunities and scholarships for Baluchistan students is possible and HEC will provide this advantage to students of Baluchistan.

“If student got admission in university the HEC will support it,” he said. He said that HEC has shifted its focused towards producing quality PhDs instead of increasing number of degrees as there is need to improve the quality of education in the country.

He also added that it is a fact that social sciences were neglected in the past and there were weaknesses in the curriculum of higher education studies, which is now being revised. 

Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak while discussing the quality of the PhDs in the country recommended chairman HEC to trace out the scholars who completed PhD in different fields and now what they are producing.

He said that research work of the universities done by its PhDs has no relevancy with the industry and country is taking no benefit from their research and PhD. “75 per cent of the PhD research has no benefit to the country,” he said. Senator Muhammad Ali Khan remarked that HEC should improve its curriculum being taught in the universities especially in the field of social sciences.

While discussing the issue of National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) and Basic Education Community Schools (BECS) teachers, Senator Usman Kakar urged committee to recommend their regularisation.

However, Secretary FE&PT Arshad Mirza said that government needs these teachers to teach out of schools students in the country and the matter of regularisation will be discussed in Council of Common Interests (CCI).

He added that issue of release of the honorarium of these teachers has been addressed by the ministry.

The committee while listening to a public petition recommended HEC and University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar to give the university teacher Dr Quyyum Shah his due rights of awarding PhD degree allowance.