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Government’ decision not to provide funds for HEC condemned 

17 September 2010 09:20:29 nm

Government’ decision not to provide funds for HEC condemned

The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has taken serious exception to government’s decision not to provide funds to public sector universities.

According to a press release issued by the CDPI here on Friday, what is even more deplorable is government’s flimsy excuse for not providing funds to cash-strapped public sector universities. Federal Minister for Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh reportedly stated in an emergency meeting with the members of vice chancellors committee in the HEC premises held on Thursday that the government had more compelling commitments than higher education sector. Granted that country is coping with the aftermath of worst floods in its living memory but it should not mean existing resources cannot be put to use in an imaginative manner. The Benazir Monument plan should be shelved; elitist development projects like Zero Point Interchange, Faisalabad-Multan Motorway and other such projects should be postponed and the funds for these projects should be diverted to the education sector, says the press release.

According to it, the education sector spending has been abysmally low and the government committed through Education Policy 2009 that education sector spending will be raised to seven per cent of GDP by 2015. It is worrying to note that education sector witnessed cuts in the budget for financial year 2010-11. Major chunk of resources were diverted from education sector in the wake of recent floods. If these cuts are any guide, education sector does not seem to be priority for the government and it will not be able to achieve its own target of raising education sector spending up to seven per cent of GDP. It is ironic that these budgetary cuts have been introduced at a time when some of the public sector universities have started showing resilience and their performance has witnessed an upward trend.

If government sticks to its decision, apart from jeopardising academic careers of 4,000 students studying in foreign universities on funds provided by Higher Education (HEC), ongoing projects launched by the HEC will also go down the drain.

The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has urged the government to accord respect to education sector it deserves, tighten its belt, divert funds from elitist mega projects and make them available to education sector