Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology in its meeting has expressed strong displeasure on absence of the minister in the meeting and observed that the Committee has held 14 meetings since the beginning of new tenure of Senate in last one year and minister has not made it to even one meeting. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Mushtaq Ahmed here at the Parliament House on Wednesday and was attended among others by Senators Nuzhat Sadiq, Gianchand and Syed Sabir Shah.
Professor Dr. Raheel Qamar, Rector COMSATS University gave compliance report on the committee’s directions in previous meeting. He told the committee that the university is ranked 10th in the SAARC region and the nine universities above COMSATS are Indian institutes. He said the university aims to get at sixth position but that requires strengthening research and development expertise by more funding and projects. The Committee was told that there is some overlap between the jurisdiction of the parent ministry of university and Higher Education Commission. The Committee recommended that the two universities NUST and COMSATS should be purely under the ministry and their development projects should not have the need to be routed through HEC. Regarding the salary structure of lecturers it was suggested to bring it at par with other universities to attract better minds to science and technology universities and the proposal of having donor conferences annually was also discussed.
The Committee recommended restoring the PM scheme for financially supporting the students from poor backgrounds and decided to call HEC in next meeting. A list of defaulter students who went on scholarships and did not return to the country was also shared with the Committee. The Committee recommended devising a strategy to give incentives, research directions and other measures to prevent defaulting students. The work done by COMSATS in hybrid teaching techniques also came under discussion and the prospects of taking it to school level were discussed. Possibility of new campuses of COMSATS in Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was discussed and the Committee decided to call HEC in next meeting to see the availability of funding because HEC is said to have only 28 crores in head of development for the year. The Committee constituted a sub-committee to look into the issue of delay in award of dual-degree to some students of COMSATS despite repeated directions of the committee.
The meeting was told by PSQCA that the pending promotion cases will be completed by 30 June. Regarding pending inquiries the Committee members remarked that minor penalties and transfers will not serve the purpose and the committee had recommended suspensions. The secretary assured the committee that a report on the six inquiry cases will be shared within one week in addition to the other two issues.
The Committee nominated Pir Syed Sabir Shah for member of Board of Governor of Pakistan Halal Food Authority.