The meeting of vice chancellors (VCs) on Tuesday at Higher Education Commission (HEC) Headquarters was a battlefield as all head of universities came hard on HEC management for allocation of funds and other affairs. On the other hand HEC Chairman Dr Javaid Laghari shrugged his shoulders by saying that HEC did not have more funds to allocate to universities.
According to sources, the HEC is likely to face the worst financial crisis again as Planning Commission (PC) has released only 14 percent of the total development budget during the first quarter of this fiscal year. Besides cutting down the budget allocations of varsities to 10 to 15%, bearing the brunt of these moves, their management is facing severe financial problems.
An official requesting not to be named said that the VCs of all universities were much concerned about that willful neglect on government and HEC’s part. It is also known that they exchanged heated arguments with HEC management as due to lack of funds not only their day-to-day affairs have been suffering but also it is difficult for them to pay the salaries.
Sources further told this scribe that in the meeting the HEC Chairman Dr Javaid Laghri clearly mentioned that HEC did not have any funds to run the affairs of universities. He said PC released every month Rs 97 million for HEC but the expenditure of universities educational projects were twice. The chairman said that financial crisis had also affected six new development projects.
The Federal Cabinet has allocated Rs 679.895 million for the six new schemes of HEC in the federal budget for 2011-12 under PSDP so all other development projects will have to go on hold for three months, he said.
Over 70 VCs and rectors of public sector universities from all over the country attended the meeting. The VC elected Engr Imtiaz Hussain Gilani, VC, UET Peshawar, Noshad Shaikh, VC, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro and Dr Mujahid Kamran as members of the VCs Committee.
The meeting was informed that many university employees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) have already begun protest to demand their 50 and 15 percent increase in salaries.
According to officials, the HEC was allotted the budget of about Rs 14 billion for the year 2011-2012 of which Rs 120 million rupees were fixed for scholarships but the current financial situation of HEC do not seem to provide scholarship funds due to which the student abroad have started complaints and demand for scholarship fund.
The VC’s showed concerned that educational institutes were facing difficulties to meet their administrative and other expenses. They also said the scholarship programs and the provision of tuition fee under HEC were affecting at a larger margin.
The VC and rectors of 72 public sector universities resolved unanimously that singling out university employees and denying them 50% salary increase last year and 15% this year was unjustified and discriminatory.
The VCs asked the government to provide additional grants to cover this shortfall before the simmering employees’ agitation turned out of control vitiating the peaceful educational environment causing irreparable loss to students and their studies.
Senate Standing Committee on Finance Member Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, Economic Affairs and Planning and Development said that education gave socio-economic uplift to the country and planning commission had released the funds of HEC in urgent basics.
He said the issue would also be discussed in the next meeting of the Finance and Planning Division. Daily times