The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education Professional Training, National Heritage and Culture was held on Tuesday at Parliament House.
Chaired by Senator Irfan-ul-Haq Siddiqui, the meeting was attended by Senator Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Falak Naz, Senator Fawzia Arshad, Senator Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar, Senator Ejaz Ahed Chaudhary, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, Senator Mushtq Ahmed Khan, Senator Molvi Faiz Muhmmad, Senator Ahmed Khan and senior officers of the Ministry of Federal Education Professional Training, National Heritage and Culture, Higher Education Commission (HEC), along with all concerned. Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, National Heritage and Culture, Mr. Shafqat Mehmood was present as well.
The agenda entailed consideration of Bills titled, The Al-Karam International Bill, 2021; The Ibadat International University Islamabad, Bill 2021; The Hyderabad Institute of Technical and Management Sciences Bill 2021; The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021;The Pakistan Academy of Letters (Amendment) Bill 2021 and The National College of Arts Institute Bill 2021. All Bills were passed by the Committee unanimously.
In addition starred question regarding detail of policy for PhD Degree Programs 2021 issued by HEC and the criteria for 18 years education being reduced to sixteen years raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed was taken up. The inquiry report on the murder of Syed Tufail-ur- Rehman a student of the International Islamic University and an on-campus rape case were discussed in detail.
While reviewing the Bills that were related to private Universities seeking Charter, the Committee was informed by the Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, National Heritage and Culture, Mr. Shafqat Mehmood that the HEC had created a stringent system of evaluation of all such bills; which minimizes the load of the Ministry. He termed essential for all universities vying for the Charter to meet the standard .set by the HEC The Committee while reviewing The Al-Karam International Bill, 2021 and The Ibadat International University Islamabad, Bill 2021 showed concern regarding the ‘haves’ to ‘have-not’ ratio access to quality education and stressed the need for a minimum 10 percent quota that would provide access to students hailing from remote areas of Pakistan. Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, Mr. Shafqat Mehmood, acknowledging the issue and assuring the Committee of his support said that ensuring that universities comply would require developing general legislation for this purpose.
Taking up the Hyderabad Institute of Technical and Management Sciences Bill 2021, the Committee acknowledged the need for a comprehensive Institute for technical education in Sindh. The Committee was informed that the University plans to pursue the education policy as enunciated in vision 2025. This is deemed to be a valuable addition to private sector education in Pakistan.
Reviewing The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021; the Committee was told that this was a comprehensive law that provided board functions to vocational and technical education and training. The Bill seeks to ensure that functions of similar Institution do not overlap. It also provides a framework to merge the National Training Bureau with the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission.
Deliberating over Starred Question regarding detail of policy for PhD Degree Programs 2021 issued by HEC thereby reducing number of years of education for eligibility to enroll, the Committee was informed that the new PhD Policy has transformational changes over existing practices and guidelines. Due to concerns raised by different Universities, a Vice Chancellors Committee has been formed that convened on 27 July, 2021. Based on the recommendations of the Vice Chancellors Committee, the Commission has deferred implementation of the PhD Policy until fall 2022.
Discussing the inquiry report on the murder of Syed Tufail-ur- Rehman a student of the International Islamic University and rape case that occurred on campus;, the Committee decided to constitute a sub-Committee to probe the issue in detail after which a report will be submitted. Chairman Committee, Senator Irfan-ul-Haq Siddiqui will later determine the sub-Committee members and convener.