ISLAMABAD-Higher Education Commission budget has been drastically reduced to around Rs29 billion in Public Sector Development Programme for the next fiscal year, The Nation learnt on Tuesday.

Higher educational institutions are likely going to face tough financial situation in the upcoming fiscal year as the government has reduced around 17percent of the allocations compared with the previous allocation made in budget of 2018-19.

The previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had initially allocated Rs46.67995 billion in budget 2018-19. Later, the allocation was reduced to Rs35 billion.

However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after coming into power had further reduced the HEC budget to Rs21.265billion in revised budget of 2018-19.

Officials sources said that the HEC had still not been released the total allocated amount of above Rs21 billion of previous fiscal year of 2018-19.

Meanwhile, the government defying its tall claims of promoting higher education further reduced the HEC allocations to Rs29.046882 billion for the next fiscal year of 2019-20.

As per the budgetary documents, 17 new schemes have been added in the PSDP for HEC in next fiscal year for which Rs4.159782 billion have been allocated.

Four new schemes included in PSDP2019-20 are still unapproved, while six schemes are under process of approval. Last year, 43 new schemes were included in HEC projects. Meanwhile, Rs24.8871 have been allocated for 120 ongoing projects.

The foreign aid for the ongoing and new schemes is Rs360 million separately.

Out of total 17 new schemes of HEC, 5 projects will be initiated in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 2 in Balochistan and 1 each in Sindh and Punjab provinces.

The new schemes include construction of hostels/sports facilities at Karakoram International University, construction of University of Mines and Minerals in Naukandi and development and extension of Bolan University of Health Sciences, Quetta.

Establishment of Federal Institute at Hyderabad, establishment of National Center for GIS and Space Application, establishment of National Center for nano-sciences and nano-technology, establishment of new campus of University of Technology have also been allocated funds.

New schemes also include establishment of Pak-China National Research Center on Earth Sciences at Quaid-e-Azam University, establishment of Woman Campus of Kohat University of Science and Technology, establishment of Woman Sub Campus at Batkhela, University of Malakand, and Higher Education Development Program of Pakistan. 

Other new schemes in upcoming fiscal years include Live stock Sector Development through Capacity Building, Applied Research and Technology Transfer, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pak-UK Gateway-HEC, provision of Academic and Research Facilities and Girls Hostel at Quaid-e-Azam University, strengthening and Development of Physical and Technological infrastructure at the university of Haripur, up-gradation and capacity building of Pakistan Academy of Sciences and uplifting of Academic and Infrastructure Facilities at Hazara University , Manshera.

Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training   

The ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (FE&PT) has also received a share of Rs4.797 billion for the upcoming fiscal year of 2019-20.

Though the functions of the ministry of FE&PT were limited up to federal territory only, however, the education departments and public sector schools and colleges are facing financial crises due to non-availability of funds.

In previous fiscal year, Rs3.439 billion were allocated which were also not sufficient for up-gradation of education in the federal city.

As per the budget documents   21 new schemes have been introduced for the next fiscal year of 2019-20 for which Rs2425.101million have been allocated.

Meanwhile, Rs2121.661 has been allocated for 11 ongoing schemes under the ministry of FE&PT. In the new schemes, 2 projects are still unapproved and 8 are under process of approval.

Interestingly, no budget allocation has been made for religious seminaries, though government had announced regulating the madrassas with the ministry of FE&PT.

According to the budget documents, 7 new model colleges will be established including 4 for boys and 3 for girls.