LAHORE - Punjab Minister for Education Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman has said that only financial and administrative autonomy is being awarded to 26 colleges where four years bachelor degree programme is being introduced from this year. He said that prestigious educational institutions were our national assets and brilliant chapters of our cultural history and they would never be privatized. He expressed these views while meeting a delegation of Muslim League workers on Sunday. He said that these steps have been taken to bridge the gap between the universities and the colleges. The Minister said that the 26 colleges would be managed by the board of governors which would comprise of 12 to 13 members including six officials and chosen members from local philanthropists including industrialists, social workers and educationists. He further stated that this is not privatization but only delegation of powers. The board of governors will not be authorized to increase any fee structure, as additional expenditure would be born by the Punjab government which would provide Rs 500 million additional grant to these colleges annually for providing quality education to students. The minister said that present fee structure would remain unchanged and every college will be provided a grant of Rs 20 million per year. These colleges will revamp their course outline according to the marketing needs and requirements and students will also be trained in the IT to equip themselves with the requirements of the modern world. In addition to that necessary requirements including modern IT labs, science laboratories and libraries and human resources would also be met and these colleges would be issued degrees by the universities to which they would be affiliated. The Minister observed that the purpose of this initiative was to bring the level of degree of these colleges equivalent to the level of the universities and enhance the opportunities to acquire higher education for the students from middle class on affordable fees.