Islamabad-The provincial higher education commissions and a representative body of the university teachers on Tuesday rejected upcoming vice chancellors meeting called to discuss devolution of the HEC, terming the step as unconstitutional.

The meeting has been called by the chair of the VCs Committee of the HEC to discuss devolution of the commission in light of the provisions of 18th amendment. The devolution of the HEC is pending before the Council of Common Interest as it was challenged in the court and was sent to the CCI to search a way for devolution of the commission.

The CCI later constituted a sub-committee to consider the matter and finally a task force was formed to hold further discussions on the issue. The provincial HECs including those of Sindh and Punjab had advocated for early devolution of the HEC, transferring the powers to the provincial HECs. However, under the court order, the provincial HECs were directed to form standards matching with the HEC before transferring the powers.

A number of meetings were held in this regard, attended by provincial education ministers, officials and representatives of the HECs. However, the VCs Committee, a body of the HEC comprising heads of higher education institutions called a meeting to discuss the devolution. The committee is headed by Rector International Islamic University (IIUI) Dr Masooom Yasinzai.

The details available with The Nation said that the meeting of the VCs has been called on January 04.

The documents read, “The matter of higher education sector’s governance in post 18th Amendment scenario is under consideration of the Sub-Committee of the CCI and proposal of the government of Punjab has been discussed by the Sub-Committee in its recent meeting. In this backdrop and to have deliberation on the subject, the Chair Vice Chancellors’ Committee Dr Masoom Yasinzai has desired to convene the next meeting of the VCs committee”.

A source said that strict directions had been issued for attending the meeting and all heads of the higher-education institutions had been asked to make sure their presence and if not possible, attend the moot through video link.

However, while talking to The Nation, President Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) Dr Kaleemullah Bareech said that the VCs moot was an unconstitutional step as it was not domain of the VCs to discuss the HEC devolution. He also said that devolution was being carried out by the Parliament and the matter in hand was pending before the CCI, so it must be left to them.

Chairman Punjab Higher Education Commission Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin while talking to The Nation said that the VCs conference was not a necessarily step as the matter was under discussion at the parliamentary forum. He said that the issue was pending before the CCI and it had the authority of making decisions in this regard.