According to Azhar Mashwani, the Focal Person to Chief Minister (CM) Punjab on Digital Media, the Punjab government has not outlawed co-education in BS (Hons) degree programmes in private colleges in the province.
Mashwani disputed rumours that the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) had notified a ban on co-education by posting screenshots of the reports on Twitter.
Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfaraz, Punjab Minister for Higher Education and Information Technology, has also highlighted that the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) has not issued any notification regarding co-education in private colleges in the province.
How it Started?
It all began when 24News reported that PHEC had tried to prohibit co-education in BS (Hons) degree programmes at private colleges across the province.
The issue was picked up by media sources and widely covered, drawing harsh condemnation from progressives of the provincial government.
As a result, the Chief Minister of Punjab’s Digital Media Focal Person and the Punjab Minister for Higher Education and Information Technology were forced to come forth and clarify the province government’s official position on the issue.
Standing by the Claim
On the other side, Akmal Soomro, the 24News reporter who first reported the storey, maintains his position. In fact, he has given a screenshot of the private college checklist to back up his claim.
The following is stated in the 28th row of the checklist:
Boys and girls have their own blocks. Affidavit for no co-education on stamp paper, attested by the Oath Commissioner, based on the sample provided in the booklet.
While the Punjab administration has dismissed the development as a hoax, the journalist who first brought the subject to light continues to stand by his assertion, generating widespread consternation.
It’s probable that the ban on co-education was in the works, based on the screenshot given by the journalist.
However, before any official statement, word got out, forcing the provincial government to hustle to save face by declaring the development to be false news.
Azhar Mashwani, speaking exclusively to ProPakistani, stated that the journalist’s checklist has been in place since 2008, and that the provincial government will release a thorough statement on the matter soon.
He claimed that the current Punjab government had not issued any new notifications allowing co-education in private colleges, but that a journalist had lately obtained one and created a storey out of it in order to cause confusion.
If this is the case, it raises the question of how private colleges in the province are permitted to function in violation of the PHEC’s criteria.