Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training, National Heritage & Culture was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Irfan-ul-Haq Siddiqui here at Parliament House today.
Meeting commenced with the detailed briefing/presentation on the steps taken by the Ministry/HEC for recognition of educational degrees and skills in the fields of Engineering, Medical, Law, I.T and Technicians.
Chairman Committee questioned as to what has been done by HEC for recognition and accreditation of Medical Degrees of Pakistani Students internationally and in Pakistan. To which HEC officials apprised the committee members that commission’s responsibility is to facilitate the students and at the same time maintain quality and uphold the standards. HEC ensures entry of qualification into UNESCO database so that graduates from Pakistan are able to serve overseas. HEC also refers to this database for accreditation and recognition of foreign degrees in Pakistan.
Chairman Committee expressed his reservation regarding unauthorized institutions offering degree programs in Pakistan without approval of HEC or any other regulatory body. Chairman Committee said “what HEC has done to stop this practice and save future of students”. HEC officials replied that commission has published list of approved institutions on its website and student or parents should go through the list before applying for admission. Commission also issues parents alerts and advisories from time to time and blacklists the institutions which do not fulfill the criteria set for accreditation and recognition of degree programs. Chairman committee expressed his disconcert on the performance of HEC in this regard and suggested that more should be done to stop these unauthorized institutions from ruining future of Pakistani students. “It is very disappointing that in presence of FIA and other investigative agencies action is not taken against such organizations. More needs to be done and HEC should take a leading role in order to discourage such practices. There is lack of coordination between Pakistani public institutions and students are suffering due to this. Supervision and oversight is responsibility of HEC”. Said the Chairman Irfan ul Haq Siddiqui.
HEC officials informed the committee that Pakistan students going abroad for studies take admission on their own and there is so mechanism to stop them from taking admission in unrecognized foreign universities and medical colleges.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan commented that a system should be developed to register students going abroad for education.
Committee moved onto agenda item number two regarding service structure of the technologists in the country. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan briefed the committee members about the history of this case. “There is no service structure for technologists. Every year about 10 thousand degree holders are passing out and there is uncertainty regarding their future. This issue has been raised multiple times in different standing committee meetings and nothing has been done so far. Taskforces and committees were established to solve the issue but to no avail. Technologists have been suffering due to this since inception of State of Pakistan. Pakistan Engineering Council has played a negative role in this regard. National Technology Commission Act should be passed as soon as possible. Equivalence accorded to Technologists bringing them at par with engineers should be reinstated which was cancelled unilaterally by former Chairman HEC without any proper consultation or deliberation”. Said Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan.
Representatives of Young Engineering Technologist Association also presented their point of view in-front of the committee members. Chairman Committee lamented the delay in resolution of this important matter and directed the HEC/Ministry officials to present details about the procedure and justification of withdrawal of equivalence accorded to technology degree holders.
Committee members recommended that equivalence should be restored as an interim relief until the issue of separate service structure for technologists is resolved.
Ministry officials gave a detailed briefing/presentation to committee members on Single National Curriculum. After the presentation committee members came up with question on different issues facing implementation of Single National Curriculum. Chairman Committee questioned the officials about taking all the provinces on board to which officials replied that all the province have been taken onboard except province of Sindh. 400 experts from all over the country from different school of thoughts have prepared this curriculum. Chairman Committee sought details regarding examination system. Officials told the committee that there is no plan to introduce uniform examination system keeping in view the diversity and lack of facilities for students of far flung areas of Pakistan. Chairman Committee commented that how can an introduction of same book for all the students provide same environment for students. Students of public schools lack basic facilities than how can they compete with students of elite private schools. Ministry officials replied that single book is not being introduced. Guidelines have been brought in to make curriculum more inclusive keeping in mind the diversity of Pakistani society. Chairman committee directed the officials to present the model book sets to all the committee members before next committee meeting.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan commented that “If Something is better for the country, we will support it beyond party lines”.
Senator Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar presented his view point regarding Sindh government’s education policy. He said that whole political spectrum should be taken on board.
At the end Chairman Committee deferred the discussion on the matter for next meeting and asked Senator Jaam Mehtab Dahar to coordinate with Sindh government regarding their reservations on the implementation of Single National Curriculum.
Meeting was attended by Senators, Prof. Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Ejaz Ahmed Choudhary, Falak Naz, Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar, Engr Rukhsana Zuberi, Dr. Sikandar Mandhro, Shaheen Khalid Butt. Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Molvi Faiz Muhammad, Parliamentary Secretary Federal Education & Professional Training, Ms. Wajiha Qamar, Officials from Federal Education and Professional Training, National Heritage & Culture and HEC.