ISLAMABAD             -         Vice Chancellors (VCs) of all public sector universities strongly criticised the recent cuts imposed by the Finance Ministry on the budget for higher education.

A statement released by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) said that a resolution passed by the university heads, after the Vice Chancellors Committee meeting held online on Tuesday, stated that Pakistani universities are already under enormous financial stress because of the squeezing of their budgets since last three years. Currently, the COVID-19 crisis has further exacerbated the situation, both by increasing costs, and by reducing the inflows of tuition fees.

The vice chancellors appealed to the Prime Minister, the Education Minister, and the SAPM for Finance to immediately reverse the cuts, and enhance the higher education budget to the levels needed by universities.

The resolution emphasised that future of the country depends critically on the future of education, especially higher education. If the funding cuts are not reversed, some universities will not be able to survive. It will force some universities to raise tuition fees at a time when students are unable or unwilling to pay regular tuition because of the virus pandemic.

The VCs asked Chairman HEC to arrange a meeting of a delegation of vice chancellors to call upon the honorable Prime Minister to apprise him of the difficulties faced by universities because of the repeated budget cuts over the last three years.

They also expressed their unequivocal opposition to the actions of some elements to change legal provisions and undermine the autonomy of universities, especially draft changes in the Public Sector Universities (Amendment) Act 2020.

Nowhere in the world has the quality of education improved without full autonomy of universities. The efforts to undermine the universities is not only against universities, it is also against Pakistan, the resolution stated.