The Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) is all set to expand the community college program in more colleges across Punjab.

This was told by Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid, Chairman PHEC, while presiding over an interactive session with the principals of potential colleges today here at PHEC Head office, Arfa Software Technology Park, Lahore. The moot that was aimed at identifying 27 public sector colleges, where the program was to be launched, attended by Jahangir Ahmad, Director Public Instructions (DPI) Colleges, Lahore, and principals of 54 colleges of Punjab.

Orientating the principals about the project, the Chairman PHEC briefed that in the wake of phasing out of two-year BA/BSc degrees, community Colleges program was launched, initially, in nine public sector colleges in Punjab with a PC-I of worth 96.228 million approved for the initiative. “After the successful evaluation of the first phase, the project is now being expanded to 27 more public sector colleges across Punjab with a total amount of 128.719 million as approved in PC-I” the chairman added. He maintained that all colleges under the project would be equipped with state-of-the-art smart classrooms. “A PC-I of worth Rs. 5.1 million per college has been approved for the project” Dr Fazal told.

Chairman PHEC further briefed that each of the 36 community colleges, nine existing and twenty-seven newly identified would also be provided Rahnumai Marakaz for the career-related counseling of the students. “Punjab Higher Education Commission has already got the approval of a PC-I of worth Rs. 95.6 million for the purpose,” he added. Chairman PHEC further said that the training workshops/refresher courses would also be organized for the principals, coordinators, and faculty of newly identified community colleges at PHEC Staff Development Academy.

Addressing the concerns of the principals, Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid dispelled the rumors of privatization of the public sector colleges, “As already clarified by the Minister for Higher Education Punjab, no college is being handed over to Board of Governors, or being privatized; only the nomenclature is changed” he emphasized.

Earlier, a separate meeting with the principals of already established 9 community colleges to review the performance was held under the chairmanship of Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid. The issues of the community colleges were addressed in the meeting. It was decided unanimously that the furniture items for the colleges would centrally be procured. However, a committee was constituted to oversee the procurement process and ensure transparency and quality. The committee would comprise of principals of community colleges at Govt. Township College Lahore, Govt. College Okara, Govt. College for Women, Faisalabad, Govt. College for Women Sargodha, and representatives from the procurement department of Information Technology University, Lahore, and University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore.

Chairman PHEC also briefed that the staff of community colleges was also being incentivized, a committee comprising of Director PHEC Zainab Siraj and Principal Govt. Township College Lahore, Prof Dr Ijaz Ahmad Butt was also constituted in this regard. “Principals, coordinators and 15 faculty members of the community colleges will be given an incentive of Rs. 50 thousand, 30 thousand, and 20 thousand respectively.” Dr Fazal said. He further added that a total of 22 people under the community college project will be sent to the United States of America (USA) for training in the current fiscal year. Principals were also told that the College Teaching Interns (CTIs) had also been hired for the colleges and PHEC was doing its utmost for the successful implementation of the project across Punjab.

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