ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary panel was informed on Thursday that Higher Education Commission (HEC) has been released only Rs 5.890 billion (32 per cent) out of allocated amount of Rs 18.490 billion development grant and the Commission has received no grant for the third quarter that will end on March 31.A meeting of the Sub-Committee of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Training and Standards in Higher Education was held here at HEC.The members of the sub-committee included Dr Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti, Ch Hamid Hameed, Shaista Pervaiz and Shahida Rehmani. Engr Syed Imtiaz Gilani, Chairman HEC, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Executive Director HEC, and senior management of the commission were present on the occasion.Dr Mukhtar Ahmed gave an elaborate and detailed briefing on Higher Education Commission mechanism for allocation of grants and scholarships to universities as well as other initiatives of the Commission. Dr Mukhtar informed the committee about mechanism for allocation of grants and scholarships to universities. He said that 88 per cent of the recurring grant is directly transferred to the universities while 10.7 per cent grant is allocated for national level programmes while a mere 1.3 per cent is allocated for Higher Education Commission secretariat. Dr Mukhtar informed the sub-committee that out of allocated amount of Rs 18.490 billion development grant, only Rs 5.890 (32 per cent of total amount) have been released, adding that Higher Education Commission has received no grant from the third quarter that will end on March 31, 2014. The executive director said that since inception of Higher Education Commission in 2002, a total of 931 development projects have been approved, of which 799 projects have been successfully completed.He further explained that the grants directly given to the universities are categorised as 65 per cent base grant, which is calculated on the basis of enrolment of students in BS, MS and PhD programmes and university’s area of specialisation, 20 per cent need grant, based on impact of completed development projects, implementation of new initiatives, regional backwardness and income disparity compensation, and 15 per cent performance grant on the basis of PhD faculty strength, research output, competitive research grants obtained, establishment of Quality Enhancement Cell, compliance with Commission’s policies, and evaluation by professional bodies at national and international levels.He said that the total recurring grant allocated for Higher Education Commission for financial year 2013-14 was Rs 39 billion. “Though there is an increase of nine per cent in recurring grant as compared to previous year but grant per student has been decreasing due to inflation, increase in salary of university employees and other expenditure of the universities.” The executive director said that at the time of Higher Education Commission’s establishment in 2002, there were only 59 universities while the number has reached 156 at present in both public and private sector, and the student enrolment in this time period has grown from 276,274 to 1,230,000.Talking about the development grant, he said that from 2002-03 to 2009-10, there was a continuous rise in allocation of development grant for higher education sector but it decreased enormously in the following years though the current Government in the last budget has again increased PSDP allocation for universities. He said that PSDP grant has been categorised as 45 per cent for human resource development, 38 per cent for improving access and 16.9 per cent for learning and research support.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 07-Mar-2014 here.