111 510 510 libonline@riphah.edu.pk Contact

No more federal funds for varsities in provinces

In a major policy decision, the federal government has decided not to fund universities, whose charters were approved by the provinces, in the upcoming fiscal year 2024-25. Currently, the federal government through the Higher Education Commission (HEC) provides funds to all public sector universities.

However, sources said the Apex Committee of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) meeting headed by caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, which was also attended by chief ministers and provincial secretaries, has decided that from the upcoming fiscal year, the federal government would not provide funds to the universities whose charters were approved by the provincial governments.

There are around 160 public sector universities in the country and most of them have charters issued to them by the provinces. Sources said that education was a devolved subject under the 18th Amendment and it was the responsibility of the provincial governments to fund their universities.

In the federal budget of 2023-24, the HEC’s budget witnessed a minor increase from Rs110 to Rs136 billion. For FY 2023-24, the government had earmarked Rs59.7 billion for 138 ongoing and 28 new development schemes. Furthermore, Rs10 billion had been allocated for the prime minister’s laptop scheme.

Official says decision taken by SIFC will have to be implemented

Rs66.3 billion had been allocated for the non-development budget, recurring grants for salaries and pensions for the HEC. According to documents, Rs69 million had been allocated for 28 new development schemes.

Sources said there were also discussions that provinces should be asked to provide funding to their universities from January 1, 2024. However, it was decided that the federal government would continue providing funds for the last two financial quarters. The federal government will continue providing funds to universities located in the federal capital and Gilgit-Baltistan. “The decision of no more funding for provincial universities has been made right on time, now, it is the responsibility of provincial governments to prepare budget proposals well on time for getting budget from their provinces from the upcoming fiscal year,” said a senior government official.

According to the official, the provinces “will have to implement the decision” since it was made by the SIFC. Sources said that the SIFC meeting was held last month and its minutes were issued just a few days ago.

Meanwhile, HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed confirmed the said decision made by SIFC and stated that provincial governments should take responsibility for providing funds to provincial universities. He said that only the Sindh government had been sharing funding for provincial universities.

He said that meetings for proper implementations would be held. He said that ideally, the decision was good but the federal government should continue to provide matching grants or some other financial help to universities for maintaining standards of education. “At the same time, I would say that the time has come, when provinces will have to take responsibility for providing funding to their universities,” he said.

Title : No more federal funds for varsities in provinces
Author : Daily Dawn
Type : News
Role Performer : Corporate Author
Subject : Federal government ends funding for provincially chartered universities in FY 2024-25.
Publisher : Daily Dawn
Publication Place : Islamabad
Date : 2024-02-07
Language : English