HEC to be renamed as CSHE: Senate informed

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ISLAMABAD :The government finally came up with the concrete decision on Friday to devolve the Higher Education Commission (HEC), renaming it as Commission for Standard Higher Education (CSHE) by bringing it in the ambit of 18th Constitutional Amendment. Taking the upper house of the parliament into confidence on the development, Chairman Implementation Commission on 18th Constitutional Amendment, Mian Raza Rabbani said that the government will replace the HEC with similar devolved functions by the CSHE.

He informed the Senate that the Commission headed by him had summoned a delegation of HEC that also comprised vice chancellors of 12 universities who were told that after the 18th Amendment, the HEC would have not much different role than the present institution. He said that the commission gave an assurance to the delegation that it would recognise the role of HEC whatsoever under the 18th Amendment.

Rabbani said that the Constitution provides for the establishment of system for the standard higher education in the country, adding that all the members of delegation were well aware of the fate of the HEC after the 18th amendment. He dispelled the impression to what he said that some vested interests were behind spreading fear among HEC funded foreign scholars that the government was going to stop funding their education and there would be no foreign funding with the devolution of the HEC. He clarified that the existing HEC scholarships would not be affected by the decision and the federal government would continue funding till completion of their education abroad.

The government is funding the scholarships and it can designate executing agency for the utilisation of foreign funds, he said, adding that the USAID has already given clarification that it was not going to stop its funds. He further said that currently the HEC was not generating any fund.

He reiterated that nothing worse would happen to the scholarships and foreign funds if the HEC is devolved to the provinces, adding that standard of the higher education and accreditation would remain at the same level as it is today. He further said that the concerned provinces will allocate the amount to the universities according to the National Financial Commission. Rabbani also rejected the impression as wrong that the devolution of the HEC would affect the degrees of Pakistan.

Earlier, taking part in the debate on the presidential address to the joint sitting, Senator Abdur Rahim Mandokhel appreciated President Asif Ali Zardari for his decision to surrender his powers under the 18th Constitutional Amendment. He said the role of the President in passage of the constitutional amendment was commendable as under his leadership the Parliament reached consensus to restore 1973 constitution besides giving autonomy to the provinces. He said it was now moral obligation of all political parties to join hands to overcome extremism, terrorism, unemployment and crimes besides improving national economy.

Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Professor Ibrahim called upon the government to implement a comprehensive socio-economic development project. He further stressed the need for passing a joint resolution by the Parliament to condemn desecration of Holy Quran by an American pastor as urged by President Asif Ali Zardari in his address to the Parliament.

He also called upon the government to implement its announcement for amendments in the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) to improve law and order in the tribal areas. Sajid Hussain Zaidi of the PML-F said it was obligation of all political parties to rise above politics and work for socio-economic development of the country. He opined that there was a need to take concrete measures to overcome target killing and lawlessness, which is on the rise. He said rule of law and provision of justice were of vital importance to ensure peace.

Chaudhry Naeem Hussain Chattha of the PML-Q criticised the government for its policies and said it has failed to deliver and solve the problems being faced by the people. He said without shifting its responsibilities to others the government should work with full dedication to improve economy and solve the problems being faced by common man. He also asked the government to bring the real culprits involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto to the justice instead of reopening the case of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The House was later adjourned sine die without winding up the debate on the presidential address to the joint sitting of the Parliament.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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