Senate Standing Committee passes HEC Amendment Bill 2023 with proposed changes
By News Desk
August 3, 2023 06:58 PM
The Senate Standing Committee on Education Thursday successfully passed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Amendment Bill 2023 with certain amendments, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The committee's efforts aimed to bolster the higher education sector in the country and ensure quality education for all.
Federal Education Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain acknowledged and accepted the proposed amendments put forward by members Raza Rabbani and Mushtaq Ahmed, during the committee's deliberations.
Notably, the members recommended extending the term of appointment for the Chairman of HEC to four years. This amendment aims to provide stability and continuity in the leadership of the commission, facilitating long-term planning and implementation of policies.
Furthermore, the committee also suggested amendments to Sections 10 and 10A of the proposed Bill. These modifications seek to address concerns and enhance the overall effectiveness of the legislation.
During the discussions, committee members expressed apprehension regarding changing the status of the Federal Minister vis-a-vis the Chairman of HEC.
Some members raised concerns about historical precedents and emphasized the importance of strengthening the HEC to advance the cause of quality education in the country.
Jam Mahtab Hussain Daher, a member of the committee, highlighted the need to elevate the standards of higher education institutions and degree programs, stating that the nation has witnessed an influx of degrees and degree-issuing institutions.
The Federal Minister of Education, supporting the proposal for a four-year term for the Chairman of HEC, asserted that the move aligns with the government's efforts to grant institutions greater independence.
He underscored that the Prime Minister should not be burdened with the responsibility of appointing a Class IV employee, as it deviates from the core duties of the position.
Chairman of HEC, in defending the amendments, cited examples from other countries, mentioning that Saudi Arabia has bestowed vice-chancellors with positions equivalent to ministers of state. He also noted that these practices had already been implemented successfully in Punjab.
Despite the amendments being welcomed, there were some dissenting voices in the committee. Chairman HEC expressed reservations about certain aspects of the bill. He cautioned against centralizing power, advocating for more autonomy in the higher education sector.
He stressed the importance of involving academic representatives in decision-making processes and called for their inclusion in the Senate and Syndicate of Urdu University Bill.
During the discussions, concerns were raised about the bill's preparation process, with allegations of a lack of consultation and on-boarding. Members expressed the need for transparent and inclusive procedures to ensure the bill truly represents the interests and aspirations of all stakeholders.