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Promised not Fulfilled – HEC Budget sees a cut despite Promises

Promised not Fulfilled – HEC Budget sees a cut despite Promises

Sunday, July 2, 2017
Written By: M Osama Shahzad

Multan: Minister for Planning Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal who is from ruling party, PMLN, just a month ago on May, 30th hinted a rise for cash starved HEC. He announced this while addressing to National Consultative Conference on HEC vision 2025. He did golden promises of increasing HEC budget from Rs-/21.48 Billion in 2016-17 (That ended this June 30th) to Rs-/50 Billion. 
HEC current budget in year 2017-18 is Rs-/35.5 Billion. According to Ahsan Iqbal, PMLN entrusted HEC with every single penny and HEC authorities were free to spend that fund in the right direction. HEC initiated many new programs including Intra University Olympics to promote sportsmanship, training ERP to 100,000 students, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif disbursements for laptops, US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor and establishing multiple sub campuses of universities.
According to Ahsan Iqbal, current government of PMLN prioritizes education in Pakistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself is taking interest in making Pakistan great through education and working on Youth’s leadership skills.
Despite all these claims by the ruling party of PMLN, education in Pakistan is facing a constant downfall owning to the poor policies and constantly slashing of funds.
Recently they government failed to provide HEC with the allocated funds in the last facial year of 2016-17. The government didn’t even provide 50% of the decided budget which affected Higher Education Commission (HEC) pretty badly.
According to the released figures, out of allocated Rs-/21.8 Billion, only Rs-/8 Billions were released. Data shows that only Rs-/4.29 Billion were provided to HEC in first quarter and Rs-/3.68 during the second quarter. HEC was utterly neglected during the 3rd and 4th quarter. The remaining Rs-/11.73 billion were not released by government to HEC according to HEC’s Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) funds.
This hold on funds has already started putting harmful effects on several ongoing projects. The PM, Nawaz Sharif was done after some publicity and inauguration ceremonies of new university campuses, but no work was ever started because of recent slashing of HEC development funds.

PM announced universities and their sub campuses in each district of Pakistan in 2014 but time proved it to be just another pump and show and false promise. The designing of this program was planned and was in final stages. Universities were taken on board and work was about to commence when the government realized there was a better use of those funds which were to be invested on future of Pakistan. This non serious behavior of government disappointed many educationists and HEC officials now find it difficult to completely execute this project.
The US-Pak Knowledge Corridor program initiated by HEC and announced by Ahsan Iqbal in June, 2015. This program is to increase PhD’s and send as many as 10,000 students to complete their doctorate in United States. This budget cut hasn’t just affected HEC capability to carry on this project but also HEC's and Pakistan's reputation in international community. Similarly the ongoing plan to train 5,000 general graduates also has been stopped due to non availability of finances.
PSPD documents show that there were 122 projects, 83 ongoing and 23 new and all these projects are in uncertainty. Some new projects have been cancelled and HEC is struggling to continue with the on going projects too.
The current government of PMLN is not showing seriousness for education and playing with the future of this country’s Youth. The government is using up this fund allocated for the future of Pakistan for their own uncontrolled expenditures led my misguided priorities. Pakistani Youth’s future is in jeopardy and uncertainty due to poor planning and lack of seriousness by PMLN.

About Usama Shahzad

Usama Shahzad
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