Recently, under 18th amendment Higher Education Commission (HEC) is being devolved to the provinces. I must appreciate government’s approach of strengthening provincial governments which will certainly bring multifold benefits. But the matter of HEC is totally different. Many people have shown their concerns regarding the verification of degrees, distribution of foreign grants and government funding. Although these aspects are importent but the issue of HEC is more than that. To me, the role of HEC towards the prosperity and compatibility of Pakistan is more crucial than any other institution. Particularly, in today’s Knowledge Revolution, this role has become more decisive. Pakistan needs a centralized body responsible of devising & executing national educational strategies so that knowledge workers of international standards could be produced. The production of such knowledge workers will be the guarantee of Pakistan’s prosperity in forthcoming knowledge economies.
Since its inception, HEC has been playing very pivotal role towards the promotion of educational standards. Promotion of research culture, introduction of educational standards for quality assurance, foreign scholarships for human resource development, making higher education more accessible through opening new educational institutions are some of HEC initiatives which have revolutionized Pakistani higher education. Few people may have their apprehension about the role of HEC, but Rome never built in one day. The whole credit goes to Dr. Lagari, Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman, Dr. Sohail Naqvee and their dedicated & competent team who worked day-n-night for the promotion of higher education and research in Pakistan. I pay my special tributes from the core of my heart to these three dignitaries whose visionary approach and competency brought higher education up to this level.
Now-a-days, Pakistan is facing the most crucial challenge of it survival. It is globally accepted that quality education, stat-of-the-art technology and cheap energy are the most important pillars of today’s knowledge economy. Pakistan has already failed to grasp the benefits of Information Revolution. Today’s political instability & cultural alienation that is fostering political, ethnic, ideological, and religious extremism is the result of this failure. The challenges of 21st century’s knowledge revolution demands Pakistan to make its human resource base as one of its core competency. For this we need to give right education to our youth and place them in intellectually challenging environments so that they can excel themselves in all areas of today’s knowledge Economy. From the day first, HEC is working in this direction and producing encouraging results which have brought a positive change in Pakistan. Therefore, the existing role of HEC is very crucial for Pakistan.
I have no doubt regarding the positive efforts of the current government towards the progress of Pakistan. Politicians are just like us and they are trying their level best to make Pakistan prosperous. Unfortunately, they cannot foresee the challenges of 21st century’s knowledge revolution as this is not their area of expertise. They need to realize that the country is already facing a sever scarcity of visionary & competent educationist. The very few available are working at HEC day and night. They are not only devising strategies to raise the standards of higher education but also promoting research activities in universities all over Pakistan. Due to their untiring efforts Pakistan has started gaining its credibility among the international academic community. Devolving HEC to the provinces will essentially sabotage the whole process. Dr. Qadeer Khan rightly said that the destruction of HEC through its fragmentation will have devastating consequences for Pakistan. I wish the government could realize the importance of HEC and maintain its current status which is not only crucial but very essential for Pakistan. I am sure there are many people in this country who can convince President or Prime Minister that the issue of HEC is not only related to degree verification or distribution of foreign grants and government funding rather it is more important for the future of this nation. I am sure; their timely effort could save this country from a disaster.