ISLAMABAD                 -            The public universities of the country are facing serious financial crisis and despite the worsening financial situation of public universities, the budget for education sector of the country is nearly half of what the HEC had demanded from the education ministry for year 2020.

According to sources, HEC had demanded Rs158 billion from the Ministry of Education for the development and maintenance of universities but the government has decided to allocate just Rs81 billion.

The budget is even less than what was allocated in the previous year.

While talking with The Nation, President of the Federation of All Pakistan University Academic Staff Association Dr Sohail Yousaf revealed that the educational sector of the country was facing acute shortage of funds by the government. 

Yousaf stressed that despite the crisis that the educational sector of Pakistan was facing, the government had fixed a budget for the universities which was far less than what they allocated in the previous year. “If compared with the last year, the budget fixed in this year is Rs21 billion less than what was fixed in the previous year,” said the incumbent.

On contacting, Higher Education Commission Project Manager for Social Sciences Murtaza Noor told this correspondent that despite of repeated requests to the education ministry for more funds, there was no help coming from the government.

Murtaza briefed that despite of working on new projects regarding the education, the government must correct the existing universities.

According to him, the situation of the public universities of country was worse than ever. He stressed that this year was the worst for educational sector that the country have ever experienced.  Explaining about the worsening situation of the educational sector, Murtaza briefed that there were 206 different universities all over the country, out of which 104 were public universities and needed government funds to function and operate smoothly. 

However, the official stated that the allocated funds, which the HEC is informed about, is half of what they had demanded.

Elaborating the case, Murtaza told that they had demanded 103 billion as reckoning funds, which are for the expenditures like salaries to faculty and staff, the research and lab costs etc. but the government decided to give Rs59 billion which is almost half.

Furthermore, the request for non-reckoning funds, which are for the development of the universities and campuses was Rs55 billion but the government has decided to give Rs22 billion for this matter.

Murtaza also told that lately, Quaid-e-Azam University had taken a loan of nearly Rs5 million from a private party owing to the financial crisis that almost every university is facing in the country.

But when this correspondent reached to the Vice Chancellor of QAU Muhammad Ali Shah and questioned the official regarding the loan, he explained that they had easily allocated the funds as they have a lot of resources and were not facing any sort of financial crisis.

The University of Peshawar have also informed the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa about their inability to pay salaries and pensions for this month January. The document available with The Nation states that the university is unable to pay salary and pension on 1st February 2020 due to the financial crunch and worsening situation of the university.