Is Higher Education Priority Of KPK Government?‎

Since 1947, creation of Pakistan Education remained mostly as provincial subject till the Constitution of 1973. HEC was established by replacing UGC (University grant commission) through ordinance called Higher education commission ordinance, 2002 by President Pervez Musharraf. Higher education covers education from Bachelor to postgraduate, research and development activities. The most important task of HEC is to bring reforms in higher education, formulating policies for Socio-Economic development and research.The Eighteenth Amendment in constitution of 1973 transferred legal and administrative authorities from federal control to the provinces thereby enhancing provincial autonomy. Educational administration was transferred to provinces. Now, higher education is a provincial institution or subject. As consequence, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) has established a (HED) Higher Education Department. It Focuses on Promotion of quality of Higher Education, manages College & University Education, prepares   strategies related to Higher Education and harmonization education with the Federal Government policies and other Provinces. The Higher Education Regulatory Authority (HERA) for regulation, registration and supervision of private Higher Education Institutions/Universities also work under the department.

The KPK government publicized the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act 2015  in order to re-form and reorganize universities established by the Government of KPK to improve  their good governance system and management at advance level by ensuring accountability, meritocracy ,transparency and giving due representation to all stakeholders in decision making process of higher education. But there is mistrust between HED and universities, it has been clearly observed in Bacha Khan University incident, Abdul Wali Khan University incidents and corruption and sexual harassment cases in different Universities, because academicians are not ready to work directly under bureaucracy. So, there is balance of power crisis between universities and HED. The majority of the universities are unable to generate enough funds to manage their affairs. Only a few universities are able to cover more than 50% of their needs from their own resources. Usually the one major source of income is the fees collection from the students which is inadequate to meet the rising needs of universities, there is finical crisis in higher education. In order to meet their requirement universities in KPK have increased their fees, as a result strikes and demonstrations are seen around different universities of the province.

The federal Government has to facilitate provincial governments to establish their own HEC. Punjab and Sindh have established their own HEC while KPK remained unsuccessful to establish its own HEC either due to lack of capacity building or lack of interest in higher education. 85% Universities are chartered by provincial government in KPK while 15 % are chartered by federal government; hence it is prerequisite to established HEC in order to keep check and balance in universities’ standard of research and educational development.

In order to increase productivity in monitoring the attendance, leave records and over all working environment, the previous Government of CM Pervez Khattak has introduced biometric Based Attendance Monitoring System (BBAMS) in Government Colleges of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This enterprise is in connection with the Government of KPK policy of efficient and effective service delivery in the province. The new system was design to substitute the old mechanism of manual attendance and thus enabling the high ups to view the attendance of the individuals or groups by just a mouse click without having physical visit to the place. But colleges teachers community not cooperating and still colleges’ teachers running their private colleges and academies and not pay proper attention and concentration to government duties and responsibilities. So, it is need of time to strictly monitor and implement Biometric attendance system in order to ensure quality teaching and learning. Due to absence of teachers, learning process in colleges has been suffered as a result students go to private academies for coaching and tuitions. It is strange that these academies are operated by Government colleges’ teachers. Strict monitoring system to ensure physical presence of teachers in both Colleges as well as in classrooms to discriminate academic culture.

BS 4 year’s program was introduced in KPK College as a project under PMU (Project Management Unit) HED KPK. The major issue is lack of qualified teachers, who can teach to BS level students and who knows about research. As a consequences college teachers who are simple Master in their subject are teaching to BS, who even don’t have skills to teach at advance level, optional subjects and don’t know about research. Accordingly, how can be expected from such system?

Secondly, BS programs are running as a Project so there is no proper mechanism for salaries. The payment system is so slow and delay for years due to weak governance system and bureaucracy. I have personal experience, I taught one of the colleges and could not get my salary even after one year and four months, and I am still waiting for the payment. Therefore, due to absence of qualified teachers, payment issues and bureaucracy BS System is going towards failure in KPK. Government should review BS system and appoint M.Phil and PhD lecturers for BS, change the mode of payment to lectures and convert BS project into regular programme in order to benefit needy students of the society to get higher education at their doorsteps.

There is political based interference in the higher education through teachers’ wings of the political parties. It has been visible both in universities and colleges who work for their own colleagues interests. It is one of the biggest tasks faced by KP government but still no policy or reforms have been introduced in this regards.

There is Weak governance system in government institutions of higher education. Previous government of CM Pervez Khattak has introduced online admission in government colleges of KPK. It was a positive step for service delivery, accountability, meritocracy and transparency. All universities should introduce online admission system to discriminate political interference of Students organizations and discriminate bureaucratic role in process of admission. There is demand of the time to reforms bureaucracy culture and adopt new measures to bring effective system of governance and accountability in higher education institutions.

In previous term of PTI Government in KPK under CM Pervez Khattak initiated a plan of BOG (Board of Governors) in KPK colleges but KPK Colleges Lecturer and Professors opposed and brought students on the road to protest and pressurized government, so consequently KPK government withdrew the plan. There are a lot of obstacles in our teaching and learning processes. A teacher who cannot write a single paper for publication has no right to get promotion as associate and full professor, but sorry to say that due to political interference, pressure of teachers organizations there is monopoly of these teachers over colleges so how can change be expected in learning and teaching process in colleges, thus an accountability at all level is necessarily important for productivity and creativity. Government College should be under BOG to monitor the progress of teaching and learning processes.

It seems that current government of KPK under CM Mahmood Khan is not taking interest in higher education, which is proved that still no minister for higher education has been appointed. How can previous tasks expected to be done and new initiatives are expected to be launched in a ministry without Minister?

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