Private sector university charters are awarded without screening: Governor of Punjab

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LAHORE: Punjab Governor Muhammad Balighur Rehman said on Sunday that charters to private universities were granted hastily and without due diligence, which was detrimental to the quality of education.

In an interview with APP here, the Governor of Punjab spoke at length about good governance in universities, the poor academic standards of affiliated colleges, the role of academia in combating climate change and his justification for the return of climate change. government legislation.

Recalling his previous tenure as Minister of Education, he said private sector universities were granted a charter after detailed input from the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) and the Department of Higher Education (HED), adding unfortunately, the vetting process was partially and in some cases entirely circumvented to the detriment of education.

To a question, he said that the rules of the university were also not defined in time and that it hindered the performance of higher education institutions, adding that the same was true for Aitchison College and Lawrence College. where the rules have not been defined despite a time lapse of almost two years. .

Balighur Rehman expressed serious reservations about the failure of regular appointments to statutory positions in universities, adding that to ensure good governance, it was essential to have regular appointments to the positions of Registrar, Controller of Examinations, Deans , treasurer and vice-chancellors.

He said that since the absence of regular appointments had an impact on good governance, it was decided during the last term of Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, that a Vice Chancellor would be granted a six-month extension, if the administration could not process the new appointment, with only another three-month extension, and a new person would be assigned on an “acting load basis” in the event that no one was selected during those nine month. He said the Chief Minister of Punjab has been asked to follow the political decision in the appointments of Vice Chancellors.

On another question, Punjab Governor Muhammad Balighur Rehman said affiliated colleges compromising academic standards should be warned and then closed to protect students’ rights so that the quality of education is not compromised .

On climate change, the Governor of Punjab who was also Chancellor of Universities said, “I had floated the idea of ​​tackling climate change through universities long before the flash floods hit Pakistan.” , adding that it was necessary to mobilize academia in this regard.

Referring to the Vice-Chancellors’ conference in Murree recently, he said the Vice-Chancellors had been entrusted with the objective of coming up with short and long-term solutions to the climate challenge, adding that the University of Science Veterinarians and Animals (UVAS) had the best climate change experts.

The Governor of Punjab said there is a need for universities to offer market-oriented courses to keep pace with the modern world, adding that the world is facing a shortage of semiconductors during the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that only China and a few other countries were supplying for the needs.

Speaking on the reason for not signing some government bills instantly, he said the bills were riddled with errors and violated policies, adding that if the government benevolently reconsiders its bills, it would revise the bills. projects in the greater public interest.

He said the governor’s office has no bias towards government legislation, adding that 90% of day-to-day business gets its assent the same day.

“The opinion of the Department of Justice, the relevant department and the cabinet must be sought before a bill is sent to the governor’s office for approval, but the practice has been discontinued since 2021 and bills are forwarded directly to the governor’s office,” Balighur Rehman replied.

He said the Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) bill was returned without approval because its board did not include a single woman, despite the law requiring a board to give 5% of representation to women.

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