A special package worth Rs 285 million has been allocated for universities in Balochistan, FATA and Gilgit Baltistan over and above their normal allocation for the upcoming financial year 2020-21, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has said. In a statement released on Wednesday, HEC said funding for FATA University had also been prioritized and its allocation had been tripled.
The funding for all universities has been increased strictly on the basis of their performance, as indicated by the number of research publications by their faculty members, the number and amounts of the research grants received, the bandwidth utilized for access to digital libraries and Internet resources, the amount spent on conferences and professional travel, and the number of PhD faculty and PhD students.
Meanwhile, due to paucity of funds compared with the requirement, a principle decision has been taken by HEC regarding newly established universities. During the next year, no new university will be added to recurring grant stream of HEC.
Almost 20 newly established universities have approached HEC for funding from the next year. The inclusion of new universities would have resulted in a reduction of the allocations to older universities.
The Higher Education Commission had requested the federal government to allocate Rs 104.789 billion as recurring grant for FY 2020-21. The requirement includes funds for universities as well as for pursuing the HEC research agenda, the start of several new initiatives (NAHE, ETC, HEMIS, PERU, and P-15 Research Universities), funding for the Tenure Track Faculty, funding for the Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN), and the resources needed to meet COVID-19 related challenges.
Despite resource constraints to the federal exchequer, the Federal Government has allocated Rs 70.00 billion to HEC as recurring grant for the next year 2020-21, which represents an increase of only 9.2 per cent in comparison with the current year’s (2019-20) funding of Rs 64.100 billion.
However, considering inadequacy of funding for next year, HEC has requested the Prime Minister to consider enhancement in the budgetary allocation to HEC. In two separate letters, the HEC chairman apprised the Federal Minister for Federal Education & Professional Training, and Adviser on Finance and Revenues, of the enormously deleterious consequences of inadequate allocation to higher education. Both offices have been requested to intervene at this critical movement and enhance HEC’s budgetary allocation for next year.
Meanwhile, HEC has carried out a rigorous exercise for allocation of funds amongst HEC National Research Program, different type of universities / HEIs considering their needs and availability of overall funding, and HEC secretariat expenses, etc. which constitute less than one percent of the total allocated funds.