Islamabad: Balochistan has been ignored in Federal budget for Higher Education as it will only get 3 new projects worth Rs. 400 million which make up 4.35% of total allocations.
According to the budget documents, federal government has allocated Rs 35.662 billion for the Higher Education Commission for the fiscal year 2017-18 in the Public Sector Development Programme as compared to 21.487 billion from last year. Development budget is spent on new infrastructure projects, new campuses, strengthening of existing facilities, scholarships etc. for 108 public sector universities with 79 countrywide campuses.
A total amount of Rs. 9.188 billion has been earmarked for the 62 new schemes in higher education sector. Majority of the projects which are 26 have been approved for the commission’s own schemes. Like previous years, out of total 62 new projects, only 4 projects are approved. According to the higher education experts, in this case, it is not sure that all the allocated funds may be utilized.
Out of the total allocated amount for development schemes, federal universities will get 12.406% share while Sindh would receive only 9.685%, Punjab 20.733%, Balochistan 4.353% and KP would get 8.053%. Around 44.768% allocations of PSDP budget were made for HEC’s own supervised projects.
The federal capital and AJK with 30 public sector universities will get 7 new projects worth Rs. 1140 million while Punjab with 28 universities and 34 sub campuses will get only 13 new projects worth Rs. 1905.021 million. The province of Sindh has 21 public universities with 6 sub campuses and it will get only 6 new projects worth Rs. 890 million under PSDP 2017-18. Balochistan’s universities will get three projects as compared to eight new projects last year worth Rs. 400 million while HEC will get 4113.63 million for its 26 new schemes.
In spite of presence of four campuses/medical College at Narowal, a small district, 200 million have been included in PSDP for new university “University of Narowal”. Narowal is the home district of Federal Minister for Planning and Development and Reforms, Dr. Ahsan Iqbal
During last three financial years 2014-16, 149 new projects worth billions rupees were reflected in federal PSDP, out of which, only 66 projects (44.3%) were approved but remaining 83 (55.7%) could not be approved.
Like the previous year, major share of development budget for higher education has been allocated to Higher Education Commission (HEC) itself and federal universities while 43% of the development funds have been allocated for 83 provincial public sector universities with 45 campuses in all four provinces which seem insufficient for meeting the growing needs of public sector universities.
Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPAUSA) Statement:
FAPAUSA has criticized the allocation of higher education budget for Balochistan. President of FAPAUSA has said in a press statement that meager amount of resources have been allocated for 7 Universities and 3 sub-campuses of Balochistan which tantamount to a joke with backward province like Balochistan.
“Billions of rupees in higher education sector are lost by Balochistan due to the fact that provincial HEC is not constituted,” he said.
Read also: HEC Chairman Should Immediately Resign Over Poor Performance: Federal Academic Staff Association
Dr. Shehzad Ashraf Chaudhry, President FAPUASA Islamabad Chapter, in a separate statement said that national conference on HEC Vision 2025 is mere useless exercise and wastage of resources. The key stakeholders university faculty and provincial governments in higher education sector have been ignored, said the statement. He further added that After 18th Constitutional Amendment and recent decision of Lahore High Court, HEC cannot organize such conferences where future planning of higher education is being debated.
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