Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr. Tariq Banuri while giving a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education and Professional Training, has warned the committee against proposed budget cuts in for higher educational institutions in Pakistan that doing so, would push these institutions towards a crisis. The standing committee’s meeting was chaired by MNA Mian Najeebud Din Awaisi and was held at the HEC Secretariat.
Dr. Banuri said that HEC had proposed a budget worth Rs. 103.55 billion for the higher education sector for the fiscal year 2019-20. However, the indicative budgetary ceilings (IBCs) showed that only Rs. 58.5 billion would be allocated for the sector.
He said that country’s education system is grossly under-funded and instead to increase educational institutes’ budget, the governments have been constantly neglecting it and it had remained unstable since the establishment of the HEC in 2002.
Dr. Banuri while elaborating his demand to increase HEC’s budget also said that Pakistan spends only 2.8% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on education, which must be at least four percent. Moreover, the higher education sector should be allocated at least one-fourth portion from the total education budget to improve the standards of University educations in the country, but unfortunately, the sector could only get a tenth of the allocated amount.
Chairman HEC also briefed the meeting participants about the institution’s efforts for the promotion of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector through the expansion of Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN). He added that the Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) is being executed to ensure transparency and efficiency in university operations.