Dissolution of HEC a criminal act: Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri

Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri, president of Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s Federal Council, has said that the government’s decision to disband the Higher Education Commission is highly unwise and replete with ominous implications. He said that higher education must be the sole mandate of the federal government in order to ensure uniformity, compliance with standards and exercise oversight function over the universities. The HEC, he added, has already representation of provinces and hence there is no need to devolve its functions to the provinces under the 18th Constitutional Amendment. He further said that central bodies exist in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka that regulate higher education. He warned that provincialisation of education would further weaken federation and lead to politicization of education sector.

Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri expressed these views while talking to a delegation of university academics who called on him yesterday here. He said that provinces do not have the capacity and infrastructure to manage higher education. “With a number of ministries already transferred to provinces under the 18th Amendment, provinces would find it hard to cope up with the challenge of managing educational sector in view of their preoccupation with other departments. The state of education is already pathetic in Pakistan and this step would make matters even worse,” he added. He said that this decision of the government to dissolve the HEC has clear-cut political undertone as the latter refused to accept the pressure brought to bear upon the management of the HEC during the process of degree verification of parliamentarians. He said that the shifting of core functions of degree recognition, equivalence and attestation to a new body under the Cabinet Division would compromise the validity of entire process. The government would use new body to recognize new universities as political favours.

He said that the HEC is a board member of Asia Pacific Quality Network and is a member of Quality Assurance Agencies of the World. These places held by the HEC, he said, has been earned due to high standards and would not be transferred to newly proposed body. He warned that the degrees attested by the new organization would not be accepted internationally and would be suspect. He said that autonomous character of the HEC has gone a long way in improving the credibility of the Commission.

Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri said that if the government has any concern or issue, it needs to plug the loopholes through reforms in the Commission. He said that this government has already reduced the funding and has now taken upon itself the ‘responsibility’ of removing the HEC from its way. He said that education is a matter of life and death for Pakistan. “If the government is allowed to go ahead with its plan, it would be criminal. All right-thinking individuals and organizations need to put their act together to stop the government from doing this,” he concluded.