Islamabad - Higher Education Commission failed to execute its plan of establishing six public libraries in the city despite having land for the scheme for the last ten years, sources said on Monday.

The project was announced around ten years ago under which six libraries were to be established in various sectors of the federal capital. However, till now, the commission has not taken practical steps to realise the plan, thus putting the project in doldrums.

The project was aimed at providing better academic facilities and encouraging readership habit among the citizens. The libraries were to be provided with books, journals, newspapers, magazines and other reading material. However, the commission could not establish a single library on the six plots it has for the purpose.

Documents available with The Nation confirmed that in 2008, the idea was floated by then chairman HEC and six plots were demanded from the Capital Development Authority (CDA). The areas where plots for the libraries were allocated include G-9 Markaz, G-11, F-11, F-8/2, I-8/3 and I-8/4.

The commission despite paying premium to the CDA and acquiring possession of the plots shelved the project by taking no serious measures to start building the libraries. The documents said that the possession of G-9 Markaz plot was not given to the HEC as the post office was operating on the same site. The commission requested the CDA to allot a replacement of equal size plot at another site, but the request is still pending with the authority.

Also, the size of another plot was reduced after a road was constructed through it. Though taking the possession, the commission did not step forward except laying foundations and left unattended. The plot of I-8/3 has also not been demarcated with boundary wall. A source added that HEC had also paid the rent to the CDA but not initiated the work on the project.

Chairman HEC Dr Mukhtar Ahmed while talking to The Nation said that the project had been shelved during the tenure of the previous government. He said that the commission had initiated work for revival of the project and to materialise the same as soon as possible. The chairman said that the issue of possession was resolved except for one plot.

He also added that the area of the plots was not very large and the commission had planned to utilise the property for multiple purposes for the benefit of the public. He said that initial work had been initiated for building the libraries and the issue would be taken up with the government in the upcoming fiscal year.

Already there is shortage of libraries in the city and libraries under Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) in different sectors of the city have lost their charm due to negligence of the officials.

The CADD was also handed over two mobile libraries by the USAID to engage citizens in readership. However, all official departments involved in building and maintaining the libraries failed in paying attention to the libraries of the city.

Meanwhile, the HEC will start its month-long Master Trainers-Faculty Professional Development Programme (MT-FPDP) today, APP reported. The Master Trainers-Faculty Professional Development Programme is an eight-week in-service certified professional development programme designed to equip the higher education teaching faculty with the principles of professional teaching and research skills, according to the latest trends.

The faculty members developed as master trainers disseminate similar training in their respective institutions either as resource person or as coordinator, an official said.

The HEC Learning Innovation Division so far organised 33 batches of the programme and awarded professional certificates to 954 faculty members of different public and HEC-funded private sector universities.

The official said that the programme would help expand teaching skills of the faculty members from conventional teaching, promote knowledge of curriculum development and its right implementation in classroom settings and enable teachers to select, construct and use assessment strategies for monitoring student learning.

It will also enable teachers enhance their management skills and utilise them in teaching learning situations, develop their research skills and strengthen teacher’s communication skills, the official added.