Government finally invites applications for HEC chairperson post
Islamabad, Jan 18: The federal government has finally decided to appoint regular chairperson of Higher Education Commission (HEC) through competitive process and applications have been invited from the persons of international eminence and proven ability till January 22, 2014.
As per advertisement published in leading newspapers on Sunday, the candidates should have at least 20 years of relevant experience and preferably with proven track record on internationally recognised contribution in the field of higher education.
Sources shared that the process of appointment of permanent HEC chief would be completed before February 12, 2014 in compliance with the orders of Islamabad High Court (IHC).
In his regard, under the chairmanship of Chairman Planning Commission Ahsan Iqbal, a search committee was constituted by the prime minister last week. The search committee would also take two scholars on board for suggesting names to the prime minister, controlling authority of the HEC. Sources said that two members are yet to be nominated.
A vice chancellor termed the decision very timely and hoped that it would lead towards end of ad hocism in higher education sector and at HEC and permanent chairman of HEC would be in better position to take key decisions.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on January 6, 2014 directed the federal government to appoint permanent/regular HEC chairman till February 11, 2014 as prescribed under HEC Act in a transparent way. The single bench led by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddique remarked that office of chairman HEC is one of the important positions.
Renowned educationist, Founder Chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and President Pakistan Academy of Sciences Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman filed a writ petition on December 30, 2013 in Islamabad High Court for the appointment of permanent and regular HEC chairperson as per HEC Act, without any further delay through a transparent and merit based mechanism.
Advocate Umar Hanif Khichi, who appeared on behalf of Prof. Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman, stated that as per HEC Act, the federal government has to appoint regular chairman within 90 days. The office of permanent HEC chairman is still lying vacant even after lapse of four months which is negatively affecting the affairs of sole higher education regulatory authority of the country, he said.
Meanwhile, the appointment of permanent HEC chairman was also urged during meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Training and Standard in Higher Education that took place here on Monday January 6, 2014 with MNA Gulzar Khan in the chair.
The HEC, policymaking institution in higher sector of Pakistan, is working without a permanent chairman since August 26, 2013 when the first four-year term of Dr Javaid Laghari ended.
HEC Act regarding appointment of HEC chairman which says, 'The Controlling Authority shall appoint a person of international eminence and proven ability who has made significant contribution to higher education as teacher, researcher or administrator'.
The Supreme Court on November 27, 2013 directed the government to make appointment of regular HEC chairman within 15 days and the judges remarked that no acting appointment could be made on regular post.
The most of the chiefs of University Grants Commission (UGC) (1974-2002) and all chairmen of the HEC (2002-2013) were the eminent educationalists and researchers with highest qualification of PhD from leading foreign universities of the world.
The PhD holder chairmen of UGC include: founder Chairman of UGC Dr Mumtaz Ali Qazi and last serving chairman Dr AQ Mughal along with Dr Muhammad Afzal longest serving chairman UGC, Dr AQ Ansari, Dr UG Issani and Dr Naseer A Shakih. The founder chairman of HEC Dr Atta-ur-Rahman was also leading academician with PhD degree and same Dr Javaid R Laghari.
Two students denied honours because of humble background
Islamabad: Students from humble background are treated as children of lesser god by the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) despite topping in the SSC examinations among tens of thousands of pupils and the board has refused to accept their distinction.
The FBISE always claims to be the frontrunner among those boards that issue error-free results but in one case, at least two students have been denied their right to be declared the toppers in the Board and there is no apparent reason except their humble backgrounds.
The poor students were repeatedly assured by the chairperson that their distinction would be acknowledged but influential students managed to grab the top positions despite lower marks in the exams.
If that was not enough the two students who hardly managed to bear their expenses for continuing their studies were deprived of the scholarships as the board refused to recognize their top positions.
Earlier that Federal Board has also allegedly misled the Islamabad High Court in a case where the Federal Board deprived two students from the top position in 2013's 'Intermediate' results, the same Board has also deprived two poor students from their top position in the 'Matric' result.
The documents available with the News reveal that Ameer Hamza Roll No 175057 secured 953 out of 1050 marks in the annual 'Matric' results of the FBISE. Similarly the other student Hanifullah, Roll No 170049 secured 948 out 1050 marks in the same exams. Hence the board gazette shows that both the students were first and second respectively but they were deprived of their position as the board authorities claimed that they were repeaters and did not pass the exams in single attempt.
However the documents available with these students revealed that both the students passed the exams in single attempt and secured highest marks. According to these documents the students avail the 'Facility' option offered by the board. According to this 'facility option', the students have been given the concession of appearing in up to two papers of Part-1 along with Part-2 papers.
When contacted the Chairperson Federal Board Dr Shaheen Khan said that they already had won the case in IHC on this issue and they could not continue this policy which was wrong.
When asked why the Board continued this policy despite knowing this was flawed while the students were awarded top position by availing this option, she said she came to know about this policy very late after which she directed to withdraw this option. She said they have withdrawn the facility option. But the notifications in this regard have never been issued.
Interestingly, the toppers of annual exams of 2011 and 2012 have also availed the same option of 'Facility' and they were given awards.
Both the students were invited in the award distributing ceremony but their names were not announced. The Board chairperson then promised these students that they would be given their due rights and after sorting out this issue the Board would also announce their positions as well.
However, after getting the court's decision in their favor the Board refused to listen these students' appeal.
The same facility option was also being used by the students of intermediate and the toppers of previous exams had also used this option and were awarded with the top positions and scholarships but all of a sudden the Board changed its policy and deprived all those students from their positions who used this option.
Parents in trouble after educational institutions stop bus service for students
Islamabad: The decision of the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) to stop receiving all kinds of fees and charges from students has put the students of federal government educational institutions in trouble.
The students of most of the federal government educational institutions falling under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) would not be able to avail their respective institutions' bus service from the next month due to shortage of funds.
The students at various schools and colleges have been told by the managements to make their own transport arrangements, as they have no money for fuel of buses and they cannot continue the facility from first of February.
Similarly, a large number of temporary academic staff who have been teaching in schools and colleges for the last several years are also likely to be relieved from the next month as the managements would have no money to pay their monthly salaries from the students fund.
The parents of a number of students of different institutions who approached this correspondent said that they have been conveyed in categorical words that their children would not be able to avail bus service from the next month. "Previously we were paying Rs500 per month as bus charges to the school management as transport fee and now with the stoppage of bus service, we will have to pay at least Rs3000 for private pick and drop facility," father of a student said.
The principal of a model college, who also requested not to be named, admitted that they would stop the bus service if they are not allowed to charge transport fee from students or funds are not provided by the government.
He said that in future they would also be facing problems even to carry out minor maintenance and repair of the college building.
An official of the Ministry of CAD, however, said that the decision taken about two months back was in the light of an Article of the 18th Amendment in the constitution. The Article says that no charges or fees would be collected from the students, which could create hurdle in easy access to the education.
However, it seems that the officials of the Ministry of CAD while taking the decision failed to take the heads and management of the educational institutions into confidence. "As the parents themselves are ready to pay the transport fee then there is no question of any hurdle in the way of getting education for the students," another parent said.
The official of the Ministry of CAD further said they have requested the Ministry of Finance of to re-appropriate Rs30 million for the next four months to meet shortage of funds created due to the decision to stop receiving all kinds of charges and fee from students. The news