ISLAMABAD – The Higher Education Commission (HEC) received the notification Wednesday issued by the Cabinet Division placing it under the Ministry of Professional and Technical Training but the officials are optimistic enough, considering that it will not affect the autonomy of the Commission.
HEC Chairman Dr Javaid Laghari, when contacted, opined that ‘there is no change in the autonomy of the HEC and the ministry is just an interface to the Parliament. I’m sure the government will honour the sanctity of HEC.”
The officials were of the view that, earlier, too the Rules of Business 1973 were changed and the Commission was attached to Ministry of Education to represent it in the Cabinet and the Parliament. But after the devolution of the Education Ministry there was no representation of the Commission in the Parliament and the Cabinet that caused many issues.
To make it directly representable in the Cabinet and the Parliament it has been attached with the Ministry of Professional and Technical Training that will loudly represent the Commission in the Parliament and Cabinet and help solve issues, especially, related to funds.
However, in a press statement issued on June 11, the Ministry of Professional and Technical Training had said that ‘the two prestigious institutions namely Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Pakistan National Commission for UNESCO (PNCU) have been given under the administrative-cum-financial control of Ministry of Professional and Technical Training. The notification of devolution of both these departments has been issued today’.
But the officials also fear if any changes are made in the rules of business, it will be a contempt of court as law of the Commission cannot be changed through a notification as it requires a legislation from the Parliament as per court orders. The Supreme Court had given the directives when the government was about to devolve the Commission in 2011. One of the officials requesting anonymity maintained ‘no notification could violate the law of the Commission. And if it happens all the development in higher education sector would go down the drain. You can’t tie a F-16 behind a cart’.