Chaudhry Ahsan Premee
Associated Press Service
ISLAMABAD:Nov 24,2015-Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training in its meeting found Al-Khair university to be awarding engineering degrees without accreditation of Pakistan Engineering Council. The committee demanded penal action against the university to set a precedent.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Rahila Magsi here at the Parliament House on Tuesday. The committee considered and discussed a public petition of a former student of Al-Khair University pertaining to degree registration issue. Representative from Pakistan Engineering Council told the meeting that the issue rose up because the student acquired engineering degree from the university while the programme was not accredited with PEC. Therefore, the degree could not be registered and the student had to lose his job.
Chairman HEC told the meeting that Al-Khair university’s functioning was suspended for two years in 2009 because standards were found to be compromised. It was also stated that the university had over 160 small campuses across Pakistan, though it does not have permission to operate in areas other than AJ&K.
The committee members said that unfortunately higher education has become the easiest way of making money. It demanded severe penalties for the culprits and asked HEC to take penal action. Chairman HEC, however, said that HEC only has advisory powers and law needs to be amended to give it powers to take action against such institutions.
The committee also discussed other public petitions relating to education sector. It was informed that National Technology Council will become functional by 31st
December and will address all degree problems which earlier created confusion between engineering and technology programmes. The formation of this council will now register the technology programmes and engineering degrees will continue to be registered with Pakistan Engineering Council.
the committee asked for strict action against those private investors and the university administration, who on the pretext of being affiliated with Bahauddin Zakaria University started various degree programmes and left large number of students in a limbo as their degrees are not accredited and their valuable educational years have been wasted. Remedial proposals for students were also discussed.
The members, after the briefing of Chairman HEC regarding percentage of GDP allocated for higher and elementary education, also recommended gradual increase to 4% by in next three years.
During the meeting, Senator Kamran raised the issue of higher education in FATA. She stated that education was the foundation-stone for progress and development, and that no long-term or sustainable change could be wrought in the region without bringing in education and related infrastructural reforms. In this regard, she suggested the need to establish a University in FATA at the earliest, and reiterated that bringing education to the region must be part of the rehabilitation process. Senator Kamran welcomed the Vice Chancellor of Baha-ud-din Zakariya University (BZU), Prof Dr Tahir Amin, and hailed his appointment as VC, terming the decision as a step in the right direction. She stated that Dr Tahir Amin was a highly respected veteran scholar and an ‘institution unto himself’, and the University was fortunate to have him on board. During discussions regarding the future of the BZU campuses established in Punjab, the Senator stressed the importance of prioritizing the futures of the students, and proposed that the campuses remain functional under the supervision of BZU. However, the private partners, as well as any individuals involved in the policy violations that led to the current situation must be penalized accordingly.
The meeting was attended among others by Senator Azam Swati, Senator Javed Abbasi, Senator Malik Najmul Hassan, Senator Dr Ashok Kumar, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, Senator Sehar Kamran, Senator Gul Bashra, Chairman HEC and Vice Chancellor Bahauddin Zakaria University.