Govt slashes HEC’s development budget by half

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Govt slashes HEC’s development budget by half

The Higher Education Commission received around half of the amount it demanded from the government for the fiscal year 2019-20, chairman HEC said on Wednesday.

The HEC chairman Dr Tariq Banuri said in a press conference held here on the occasion of the launch of National Academy of Higher Education that the HEC had demanded Rs103.5 billion for fiscal year 2019-20. However, the government approved only Rs59 billion, including around Rs28 billion for development sector.

“The amount allocated is too low as compared with what we demanded,” he said.

He added that the HEC presented its case for the allocation of budget on every forum including ministry of finance and cabinet, but the government sought cooperation as the budget cuts were made on every department.

In continuation of its efforts to enable the country’s higher education sector to become more effective in academic excellence, management and problem-oriented research, HEC launched conference of the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE).

Dr Tariq Banuri said that the HEC was committed to mainstreaming quality and relevance into the higher education system, adding that NAHE was one of the instruments to ensure greater efficiency and transparency in the education system.

He added that initial approach towards quality was quantitative; asserting that establishment of NAHE was a testimony to HEC’s focus on quality. He elaborated that the NAHE would set norms for building of communities of excellence to determine quality standards. It will, he continued, build capacity of faculty, university leadership, and university staff, analyse areas and identify gaps required to be addressed, and set up a monitoring and evaluation system for higher education institutions.

The chairman said that the HEC facilitated higher education sector to analyse data and identify solutions to future academic challenges.

A statement issued by the HEC said that main objective of NAHE was to meet HEC’s mission of improving quality of teaching, learning and research in HEIs of Pakistan in addition to capacity building and promotion of academic and leadership competencies. It will offer generic as well as need-based capacity building services to enhance quality of teaching, research, and management in higher education institutions.

Being an apex learning body, the NAHE will institute and lead a broader national discourse around the purpose, perspective and policy in higher education and will help develop high quality human capital to achieve excellence in academic milieu.

In order to develop desirable high quality human capital, it will work as a centre of excellence for capacity building, skill development, and promotion of academic and leadership competencies through setting standards, cultivating academic quality, and advancing relevant research in collaboration with HEIs, industry and social sector.

The Academy will design programmes, i.e. certifications, workshops, seminars, conferences, and webinars for academic professionals, institutional leaders, university management and other academic leaders, the statement concluded.