ISLAMABAD  - Despite of facing budget constraints this year too, Higher Education Commission (HEC) is prioritizing provision of funds for the students studying abroad and in the country on scholarships to save them from any inconvenience.

This was stated by Executive Director HEC S. Sohail Naqvi in an interview with APP. HEC is facing financial issues as the budget approved this year was less according to the needs of higher education sector, however, the commission is doing its utmost efforts to facilitate the students. Sohail Naqvi said HEC first keep aside the funds for scholarship programmes and then spend the rest of amount on different projects. HEC is collaborating with Continental as well as European countries to send the students for scholarships due to the low tuition fee.

Around 5000 students are studying in different countries including Germany, France, Sweden and Austria while another 5000 are studying within the country on scholarships, he said. Recently, the commission has signed agreements with University of New Mexico and a University at New Zealand to send the students on scholarships.

Scholars from different countries are also interested to study in the universities of Pakistan and some foreign students have shown interest in the Pharmacy discipline of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) and other subjects in Baluchistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences (BUITMS), he said. “We want to invite and offer scholarship to the foreign students and expatriate Pakistanis but facing restraints due to security reasons, further he said. The listing of Pakistani universities in the international ranking significant achievement and HEC is paying more focus on eco system of higher education system to bring our universities in line with international standards, he clamed

Dr Sohail Naqvi said the purpose of HEC is not only improving the standard of universities but socio economic development of the country. It is the prime duty of higher education institutions to help the country in different crisis.

He said the universities have started zero period, on the directions of HEC, for the students of far flung areas and madrassas, to bring them at the level of the existing students and enabling them to qualify the entrance test of the universities.

The administrative and financial control of HEC cannot be given under any authority as it works as statutory department according to a law and Supreme Court’s clear decision. However it was attached with the Ministry of Education and Training just for enhancing coordination and collaboration among all levels of education, he added.

HEC has held meetings with provincial secretaries, federal education minister, state minister and federal secretary in detail in scenario of post 18th amendment.

We cannot treat hixample of Shaukat Khanam Cancer Hospital established by the fund raising, he said the universities must go for fund raising campaigns for improving the management and governance system of the universities. HEC has prepared a document bStandards for Operation of Universities and has evaluated 10 universities through its project.