ISLAMABAD - The vice chancellors have expressed serious concern over the non-release of funds for the fourth quarter of financial year 2011-12 including Rs 4.6 billion recurring and Rs 6.8 development funds.
A special meeting of vice chancellors from public universities held on Wednesday to discuss challenges being faced by the higher education sector in Pakistan. Engr Imtiaz Hussain Gilani, Chairperson Vice Chancellors’ Committee, presided over the meeting.
The remaining recurring budget of 4.6 billion will cater to the 50 per cent increase in salaries that was announced by the Prime Minster for outgoing financial year.
In this regard, the Finance Division had issued a letter to the HEC that the federal government would provide the additional Rs 4.6 billion to the universities during the fourth quarter. As a result the universities have incurred huge liabilities and had borrowed from banks and diverted funds from other budget heads to pay the salaries at the enhanced rate with the hope that the same would be provided by the federal government as per its promise.
Furthermore, thousands of scholars pursuing PhD abroad would be adversely affected as a result of non-release of development funds amounting to Rs. 6.8 billion for the last quarter of this financial year. It is feared that due to non-release of payment of tuition fee and stipend of these scholars will create huge embarrassment for the government of Pakistan across of the world.
Non-release of development funds will also adversely affect the ongoing development projects especially in the newly established and rural based universities established in the far-flung areas of Pakistan. The vice chancellors also informed that the provincial governments have also refused to extend financial support to the universities as they consider that it is the responsibility of federal government till 2014.
The Vice Chancellors hope that the education friendly democratic government will revisit this critical issue and ameliorate the financial crisis by taking corrective measures and honour their commitments to the education sector.
The VCs also expressed concern that funds, that include salaries for university employees, are not released in time and the situation can take a bad turn. During the meeting, it was further resolved that public sector universities will not be able to pay 20 percent increase in salaries proposed in new budget as the federal government of Pakistan has not yet released the previously increased 50 percent and 15 percent increase in salaries as per its promise.
Higher Education Commission has already apprised the ongoing financial crisis of higher education sector in Pakistan to the President, Prime Minister, Chairman Senate and Governor/Chancellors of respective provinces.