PTI govt’s higher education stats don’t hold up to scrutiny


The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has once become the subject of criticism over the propagation of false official statistics after discrepancies between the province’s Higher Education Department and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) were brought to light.

At least five institutions listed as universities in a recent report released in July by the provincial government’s Higher Education Management Information Sector (HEMIS) cell, are not recognised by the HEC, Pakistan Today has learnt. Meanwhile, one of the three that have been chartered on their watch is a simple case of upgrading an existing sub campus.   

The HEMIS report has claimed that under the PTI-led government, nine public sector universities were made. However, the HEC has confirmed to Pakistan Today that only three universities have been given charters in the past four years. The other five added in the list are either developing into, or are not universities at all.

The ninth university (Swabi Women’s University) being claimed by the PTI, was made during the preceding ANP-PPP government in 2012, as per HEC.

Meanwhile, the five other ‘universities’ mentioned in the HEMIS cell report are all either managed by a project director with no vice chancellor, or are simply sub campuses of older universities established many years ago.

The PTI, however, has been touting their government’s supposed ‘achievements’ with nearly all of their official twitter accounts, including the main party twitter handle, posting pictures of the HEMIS report claiming that they have established nine universities rather than the four sanctioned by the HEC.

The claims seem to be a last ditch effort to somehow surpass the Awami National Party’s (ANP) record tally of eight universities receiving charters in their government, especially in the backdrop of media reports of the PTI government having built none of the 29 degree colleges that it had approved since 2013.

According to HEC details, current list of public universities in the KP is comprised of 25 universities. Out of these, the ones given charters and officialised as universities in their own right include the Abbottabad University of Science & Technology, Abbottabad (2015), Women University Swabi (2015), Shuhada-e-Army Public School University of Technology, Nowshera (2016) and the Women University Mardan (2016).

On the other hand, the list produced by the HEMIS cell cites a total of 29 universities, adding around five to the supposed tally of ‘universities founded’ during the PTI’s tenure in KP. These include University of Buner, University of Chitral, University of Agriculture, D.I.Khan, University of Engineering & Technology, Mardan and University of Science & Technology, Lakki Marwat.

While it is true that the KP government has indeed given charters to the first four universities in the list, both the University of Buner and the University of Chitral have only been hinted at being given charters and are not officially universities. They are currently under the supervision of a director heading a committee which is still in the process of hiring staff and setting up the necessities.

The Agricultural University Dera Ismail Khan does not even exist, and is only a department inside Dera Ismail Khan’s Gomal University, and not even a sub-campus. UET Mardan is also nothing more than a sub campus of UET Peshawar and the same is the case with University of Science and Technology, Lakki Marwat which is a sub campus of the Bannu based university.

At this point, it is pertinent to note that of the other universities that actually have been given charter by the current government, the Abbottabad University of Science and Technology was established in 2008 as a sub-campus of Hazara University.. For them to try and take credit for changing the name of a campus already established and giving it a university charter is a misrepresentation just as is the credit ANP takes for establishing the Islamia College University, which was already one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the country.