Better education for All

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Speaking at ground breaking ceremony of Air University South Campus Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed grave concern over the deterioration in standard of higher education. He recalled how Pakistani universities were recognized best institutions of learning in the decade of 1960s. But in the succeeding decades proper attention was not given to imparting quality education to the youth of country to bring out and refine their talent and it was the indifferent attitude of past rulers toward human resource development that country is now confronted with unfavorable conditions. The Prime emphasised that Pakistan can be benefited from this era of technological revolution only when it improves the standard of higher education. It was the feudal mindset that sowed the seed of deterioration in the education quality of the country. Introduction of carry on system of promotion of students to higher classes badly affected it at the secondary level form 1973 till its end in early 80s. The educative environment of universities was vitiated by the students unions affiliated with political parties. Imposition of ban on these unions brought some improvement in the environment and restored peace on campuses. It was the lack of acceptability of degrees of Pakistani universities abroad that President Musharraf government formed Higher Education Commission (HEC) to restore the lost prestige of degrees of higher education. The Commission achieved limited success in enhancing the quality of education. However, it facilitated grant of scholarships for doctoral programmes pursued by the talented student in foreign universities. It irked the political elite comprising feudal and mercantile classes and the last PPP coalition government took a decision of dissolving the HEC under 18th Amendment in 2010. In fact the constitutional amendment did not contain clear and specific provision for its dissolution. This politically motivated matter was challenged in the Supreme Court and the Apex Court in its verdict of April 12, 2011 declared the decision of the government HEC dissolution is illegal. The verdict said, “The HEC shall continue its function…until a fresh legislation is promulgated. In case of any conflict/ inconsistency HEC ordinance shall prevail. It is worth appreciation that Prime Minister is keen to bring improvement in formal and technical education. The matter was top agenda item in the meeting of Council of Common Interest that Prime Minister chaired on September 25, 2018. HEC had been directed to formalize workable recommendations within a month for countrywide uniform higher education. The Commission may have sent its recommendation to the quarter concerned but appropriate decision is yet to be taken. In that meeting HEC had been further directed to formulate a strategy for addressing the inefficiencies in in the institutions of higher education by establishing better coordination between the center and provinces.