The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has dismissed Dr. Tariq Banuri’s claims that public universities are given preferential treatment while receiving funds.
While a recent television interview, Dr. Banuri alleged that in his absence, the set criteria for funding allocation was not followed and that some universities were chosen over others.
The HEC, on the other hand, stated in an official statement that Dr. Banuri attempted to portray the special supplementary grant given to financially distressed universities, which was provided after Peshawar High Court (PHC) orders and all necessary approvals, as favouritism toward these institutions.
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“It is crucial to emphasise that the amount of Rs. 6 billion supplemental grant, cited by Mr. Banuri in the television show, is not correct,” the statement said. The ECC awarded a Rs. 2 billion technical supplemental grant for financially challenged universities in response to a court order, not as a favour to any institution.”
According to the HEC, funds given by the federal government to public sector universities have been distributed according to the authorised financing formula.
The HEC claimed that the decision was made after consultation with the Vice-Chancellors of all public institutions, as mandated by the PHC, and that it was made following consultation with the Vice-Chancellors of all public universities.
“In accordance with the court decision, an online meeting was held on March 17, 2021, with representatives from the Ministry of Federal Education, the Ministry of Finance, and selected VCs from all provinces, where short, medium, and long-term solutions were suggested,” the statement said. The conference was followed by a second session on March 19, 2021, during which it was discovered that four state universities in Peshawar have a significant pension liability of Rs. 1.95 billion. The University of Peshawar, the University of Engineering and Technology (UET), the University of Agriculture, and Islamia University, Peshawar are among these institutions.”
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“During the discussion, it was agreed that the aforementioned universities will submit their restructuring/reform plan to ECC, whose implementation will be supported by the issuance of a bailout package,” the press release continued. As a result, HEC requested an additional allocation from the Ministry of Federal Education for 11 troubled universities in the provinces of KP, Sindh, and Baluchistan.”
According to HEC, a Rs. 2 billion technical supplemental grant was awarded with the condition that funds not be used for pension purposes. In the presence of the federal Ministers of Education and Finance, as well as the Vice-Chancellors of these universities, the funds were disbursed to the seven most distressed universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan at the agreed amount for each institution based on the analysis of financial data.
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The University of Peshawar received Rs. 520 million, Islamia College University, Peshawar Rs. 204 million, University of Agriculture, Peshawar Rs. 284 million, UET Peshawar Rs. 292 million, University of Balochistan, Quetta Rs. 350 million, BUITEMS, Quetta Rs. 300 million, and Bolan University of Medical and Health Sciences, Quetta Rs. 50 million as part of the grant.