|Students chant slogans during protest
demonstration at HEC building.
One of the victims of this democratic move is an organization which not only created several hundred Ph.Ds for Pakistan but also earned international repute and esteem for the country. The decision of the government to dissolve the Higher Education Commission (HEC) thus generated perplexity and uncertainty not only among intellectuals but also in the civil and social society of the country.
The protesters chanting the slogans ‘Save HEC, Save Education, Save the nation’ and ‘Stop disintegration of HEC’, recalled the words of renowned scientist Dr A.Q. Khan who has also vigorously opposed the move and called it “a sure recipe for disaster” aimed at (in his words) ‘destruction of the country’s highest forum (the Higher Education Commission) that guaranteed for quality of education’.
“A multiplicity of standards and regulations would be disastrous and that is why the world over, including in India, higher education planning and funding is done centrally, even though universities are located in the provinces, he argued but failed to convince the democrats.
Although, there has been criticism on Prof. Rahman, for spending billions of rupees without any visible impact on quality and performance of universities but “those who have closely watched the development and have been involved in the programmes in the past eight years can testify to the contrary as the progress made (by HEC) was breath-taking and has put Pakistan ahead of comparable countries in numerous aspects” stated Dr. Michael Rode, Chairman/European Coordinator of Network of European and Asian Universities (ASEA-UNINET).
It remains an undeniable fact the while Pakistani universities managed to produce nearly the same number of PhDs in the last 8 years (3280) in 55 years, HEC produced a record of 3000 Ph.Ds during a short span of time. Since the inception of HEC, research output has also grown six-folds since 2002 (from 815 in 2002 to 5068 in 2010).