Rabbani, Dar differ on HEC dissolution | Pakistan Today

Rabbani, Dar differ on HEC dissolution

ISLAMABAD – The chairman of the implementation commission Mian Raza Rabbani on Wednesday blamed “some elements” for creating hurdles in the devolution of powers to the provinces by generating misunderstanding on the issue of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
However, all of Rabbani’s efforts backfired as he could not make a convincing argument and cut his speech short due to serious questioning by reporters. “Some elements with vested interests are out to fight a last ditch battle against devolution process by creating unrest amongst the students over the HEC issue,” he said while addressing a press conference at the Parliament House.
Flanked by PML-N’s Ishaq Dar, who is the deputy head of the commission, Water and Power Minister Naveed Qamar and ANP spokesman Zahid Khan, Rabbani said some people had created a useless controversy over HEC’s devolution. But tough questions raised by journalists over the confusing statements on HEC’s future compelled Rabbani to cut his speech short.
Although the press conference aimed at removing misunderstanding over the HEC issue, but the discourse further confused the matter as both Rabbani and Dar looked at odds on the issue. Rabbani said the commission was still making efforts to create a consensus on the HEC issue, although the HEC management was following preemptive politics which was uncalled for.
He said that no scholarships would be affected and all scholarship-holders would complete their course. Rabbani rejected fears about adverse affect on foreign funding, which he said was actually made to the government and was given to a government-designated institution. The reporters also grilled Dar, accusing his party of having two stances over the issue as his party colleagues were criticising the government on the issue, while he was convincing the media that everything was fine.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Dar said the commission was hell bent on devolving the HEC but he had made hectic behind-the-scene efforts to convince the commission not to do so. “Under the new decision taken by the commission today, the HEC would remain as an autonomous body and its ten functions would remain with it and none of its important powers will be withdrawn. Please help us to keep the PPP stick to this decision reached between us today,” he added.
He said per the new decision, he would try to only amend the HEC ordinance and would also try not to change its name as the institution had made significant success and was well known around the world. “There was a proposal to distribute some functions of HEC to other ministries but now we have agreed to keep the autonomous status of the HEC and its powers would also remain with it,” he added. Later, a press release said that the following powers would remain with the HEC.
a. Cause evaluation of the performance of institutions
b. Prescribe conditions under which institutions for higher and technical education, including those that are not part of the state educational system, may be opened and operated.
c. Set up national and regional evaluation councils or authorise any existing council or similar body to carry out accreditation of institutions, faculties and disciplines by giving them appropriate ratings.
d. Cause to be set up testing bodies or designate any existing body for the purpose.
e. Determine the equivalence and recognition of degrees, diplomas and certificates of higher education awarded by institutions within the country and abroad.
f. Develop guidelines by evaluation of performance of faculty members and institutions.
g. Collect information and statistics on higher education and institutions as it may deem fit and may get it published.
h. Perform such other functions consistent with the provisions of the ordinance as may be prescribed or as may be identical or consequential to the discharging of the aforesaid functions.

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