The federal government has decided to formally take control of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and end its autonomy. HEC will now function under the control of the Ministry of Education. All future decisions of the HEC will now be approved by the Ministry of Education.
According to the ordinance, HEC Chairperson will be appointed for two year while its members will be appointed for a period of four years. The HEC was established in 2002 as an autonomous institution to ensure the promotion of quality education without any political interference.
The federal government’s move to amend the Ordinance of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to curtail its autonomy and control its functions has sent shockwaves across the higher education sector in the country. Although many had criticized HEC's policies over the past year, it still functioned without political pressure.
HEC may have a million flaws, but a lot of great work has been done due to its lack of political influence. Thousands of children from poor and backward families were awarded local and foreign scholarships on merit. Funds utilized for Research and development in the country. In addition, it was the HEC that stood up against the mafias who planned to seize the university lands.
Because of its autonomous status, HEC was able to take some good decisions. It also stood against certain political agendas. One example was when HEC rejected the PPP regime's pressure by refusing to compromise on the issue of fake degrees of parliamentarians. After the HEC's independence in 2002, neither PPP nor PMLN went to the extent of amending the HEC Ordinance to suit their political interests but PTI has decided to take control of it.
This decision will open doors for influential people to take advantage of HEC's funds. Near and dear ones of the political leaders will be selected for prestigious foreign scholarships and no one will dare to ask about merit lists or merit positions. Universities will be pressurized to issue degrees to political leaders. Universities' lands will be used for commercial purposes and much more.
It is our responsibility to raise our voices against it as much as possible and increase the pressure on the government to reverse this decision. Use your contacts to reach the political leaders and warn them. Raise your voice; knock on the door of the courts or run a campaign on social media.