Government to Release Rs. 29 Billion for Development of Universities

Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mahmood has stated that the government will soon release Rs. 29 billion for the development of universities under different programs.

Addressing Vice-Chancellors’ Conference in Islamabad, he said his ministry is devising a plan to make universities generate revenue on their own.

The meeting was presided by Chairman VCs’ Committee Dr. Muhammad Ali and attended by Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri and the heads of all public and private universities. The meeting aimed to reflect upon academic, administrative, and financial issues facing the higher education institutions in the country.

He said that the Prime Minister is sympathetic to the situation created by financial constraints. HEC had requested Rs. 20 billion to help ease the difficulty and the Finance Division has already approved Rs. 5 billion. The moot appreciated the government’s Rs. 5 billion grant for higher education institutions facing dire financial difficulties in the preceding months.

The Minister said fifty thousand scholarships will be awarded to deserving students in the Undergraduate Scholarship Program in one year and the number of scholarships will be increased gradually. Highlighting the responsibility on the shoulders of VCs, he urged them to play their role to take Pakistan forward.

Intensive measures are required to improve the quality of higher education so that the graduates are skilled enough for employability, said the minister.

Mahmood said there is a need to ensure that the faculty is qualified and the curriculum is up-to-date. He also stressed the relevance of education to make the graduates skilled for employability.

He also emphasized taking urgent measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) which has turned into a worldwide epidemic. He said HEC has issued its guidelines related to the safety of students, adding that tangible measures are required to safeguard students and provide them with a safe and productive environment.

Chairman Vice-Chancellors Committee Dr. Muhammad Ali said it is obligatory upon the university heads to sensitize students and create awareness about COVID-19. He said harassment is a very sensitive issue and all the Vice-Chancellors are on board regarding the need for steps to address it.

He observed that the authorities dealing with harassment issues must be very careful of false allegations while ensuring punishment to the real culprits. He thanked the government for allocating an additional amount for universities.