Tag Archives: Centralisation

Not much is going to change in Pakistan – same hopelessness, where only mighty will prevail and prosper

Stback on HEC devolution is a sign that not much is going to change in Pakistan

By Khalid Hashmani

It quite disappointing that the present Government surrendered to the pressure from vested interests and decided not to implement an important provisions of Pakistan’s constitution.  As I explained in my last e-mail on this subject, the constitution does not allow the central government to have any role in education (Higher or lower) matters except to be involved in standards for higher education, research and technical institutions and foreign ministry related matters pertaining to foreign students in Pakistan and Pakistani students in foreign countries. 

I had thought that there was a chance that return of democracy and parliamentary rule will lead to a negotiated end of denial of rights of Sindh, Balochistan and others. But, this is not to be and I am sure many of us who fought for the return of democracy are wondering what should be done next? The undue pressure from the un-elected and those who benefited from the current faulty Higher Education Commission (HEC) system joined hands to force the Pakistani government in making this terrible decision. I have no doubt in my mind that this short sighted step is going to have long term repercussions as many would conclude that the vested interests are too strong to defeat no matter what.

I find an element of truth in what a friend said few years ago when I argued that Sindhis could get a fair deal. He said “There is no use to expect much good from an arrangement that has failed Sindhis for so many times.

Incidentally, it was claimed that Higher Education Commission (HEC) only gives scholarships to those who secure admission to world’s top 50 institutions. I took the list of 61 candidates who were approved for scholarships around November 10, 2010 http://www.hec.gov.pk/InsideHEC/Divisions/HRD/Scholarships/ForeignScholarships/ISSIP/Pages/results_16_meeting.aspx) and compared it to top 100 schools listed on (http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/). I found that a substantial majority of those approved did not have admission in any of the top 100 universities/colleges. Only the intended universities of 17 out of 60 (the intended university of one student is not listed) were on the top 100 list.

I feel that this setback on the HEC devolution is a sign that not much is going to change in Pakistan – same hopelessness, where only mighty will prevail and prosper and the weaker will continue to come on loosing end.

Sindh should follow Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s example and announce formation of Sindh HEC

By Khalid Hashmani

It is time for the Government of Sindh to immediately announce creation of a Higher Education Commission of Sindh (HECS) and appoint a suitable person to head the HECS. Too much time has already been wasted in trying to protect an institution that has failed Sindh, Balochistan and the rest of country. Any hesitation on the part of the remaining provinces to form their higher education bodies will simply prolong the delay in the implementation of 18th Amendment. The current managers of HEC should stop their delaying tactics and work for an orderly devolution of HEC in the larger interest of the country before people of small provinces loose their trust and hopes in the democratic process that allows vested interests to sabotage duly passed constitutional amendments. If the centralization of HEC is maintained, history will record it a violation similar to the tyrannical actions of General Zia-ul-Haq and General Musharraf who violated the constitution so violently.

Continue reading Sindh should follow Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s example and announce formation of Sindh HEC

Provincial Higher Education Commission to be formed in Sindh’

SINDH – KARACHI: Preparations have started for the formation of a provincial Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Sindh. Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq stated this here on Thursday. He was of the view that it would be run in an effective manner and on the pattern of the “ Higher Education Commission (HEC).” Pir Mazhar said that eminent educationalists of Sindh would be made members of the provincial Higher Education Commission.

Courtesy: Daily Times

Devolution of HEC: Which model should we follow?

by Azhar Ali Shah

According to some HEC officials and other educationists, though the Western model of devolved higher education system is good but it may not be suitable for us to follow and that we should look at our neighbors China, Saudi, Iran and India for developing our system! One wonders whom our neighboring countries are going to follow? And the answer is the West!

Take for example China’s experience with higher education as described by Xin-Ran Duan [1]. Though initially based on the ideas of Confucius, China’s higher education adopted western (US) model with the establishment of Peiyang University in 1895 (changed its name to Tianjin University in 1951).

On becoming the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China changed its system of higher education from Western to Soviet Union. The difference between these two being that Western model was based on devolution in terms of management and common comprehensive university (one university for all disciplines) in terms of structure; while the Soviet model was based on over centralization of management and discipline specific universities in terms of structure (e.g., University of Engineering, University of Agriculture, University of Art and Literature etc.).

After the fall of Soviet Union in 1990s, China adopted open door-policy and started both devolving the power and management and merging the discipline specific universities into truly comprehensive universities following the advanced Western model again.

In order to describe how China’s over centralized system is going to devolve, I would like to present following excerpt from an article [1]:

One major change in governance has been the introduction of the “two-level education provision system,” in which the central government (Minister of Education) shares responsibility for educational governance with local governments (provincial bureaus of education). The provincial bureaus of education have been assigned greater responsibilities and now directly administer most common universities and colleges. The chief executive officer of a university is the president, who is usually appointed by the government. In the past, appointments were made without public hearings, interviews, or competition among candidates. The introduction of these processes has had a positive effect [1].

So having gone through this are we still going to follow China, India, Saudi and others who are themselves evolving to adopt advanced Western model! Our 1973 constitution placed some subjects on concurrent list only for 10 years (I repeat for 10 year only) so the country develops the resources at center and then devolves to strengthen the provinces. HEC has developed its capacity in 10 years and that is the maximum as per example of 1973 constitution which we need to transfer to provinces so they provide the same services even in a more efficient, fair and democratic way.

It is therefore, HEC officials along with educationists, experts and general public join the hands to start what we believe are good things developed by HEC and evolve it further with the participation of all of us. Why do HEC officials think that they could do this work while only sitting at Islamabad? What is the point? What if sub teams of these persons along some additional persons are provided the same setup and resources at provinces? Why they can’t work there exactly in the same way as they are working in Islamabad?

It is in the light of the above that we request HEC officials along with our friends in the academia to kindly help our provinces in setting up the same bodies at provincial level and do away with the centralized HEC. These opportunities for change come once in a generation and should not be lost in the narrow mindedness of bureaucratic hurdles. In order to build a true Pakistan, we have to build our system at local level, which is fair, transparent, democratic, honest and trustworthy. This might require some personnel sacrifices but that is the way to go ahead if we are really sincere with our country as a whole!

PS: BTW, HEC still follows the outdated Soviet Model not only in terms of centralization but

Continue reading Devolution of HEC: Which model should we follow?

Devolution of HEC – the constitution must be respected

by Prof. Gul Agha

The constitution must be respected. The federal govt. can provide scholarships, research grants, coordination facilities, advisory boards, but it cannot control the administration of universities as it is against the federal nature of the state. This is how it is throughout the world in US, Canada, Germany and other democratic federal states. Educationists must respect and support constitutional rule.

Sindh has been robbed literally due to the “Policy of Centralization” in the name of Islam and Pakistan

HEC’s devolution to provinces opposed

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

In my opinion, the recent decision by the Pakistani Government to devolve HEC into provincial HECs is overdue and must be carried out. As a matter of fact, I recommend to Dr. Javaid Laghari to not only support this decision but also help to ensure that it is implemented fully and that he should assume the role of Sindh HEC and make it one the best educational institutions in Pakistan and in the world as he did with ZABIST.

I do not know of any federal-level powerful higher education authorities in any federal state in the world as we have in Pakistan. Using the name of Islam and Pakistan, the establishment of Pakistan has been imposing unnecessary and inefficient centralization on the provinces/ States/ Republics. The tool of “centralization” has been used to discriminate and exploit smaller provinces and usurp resources of Sindh and Balochistan for the benefit of other provinces. Neither Canada has a federal HEC nor USA and other democratic and federal countries have created such institutions. In other countries where a federal-level commissions exist, their role is very limited and constrained to advise on standards.

The reason that Sindh’s Education Ministry is inefficient has no relevance whether or not Pakistan’s HEC should be devolved. The federal Education Ministry and HEC both have history of discrimination against Sindhis and denying due share in educational opportunities in Pakistan. The same rational of inefficiency is given for centralized control of Sindh’s resource industries such as coal, oil, gas, and ports.

The fact that few Vice Chancellors and educationalists from Sindh do not support devolution of HEC is the same as some pro one-unit establishment organs gave when the people of Sindh, Balochistan, and Pakhtunkhwa demanded dissolution of one unit. Such pronouncement did not succeed then and they will not stop devolution of HEC and other federal agencies and departments returning them into their provincial jurisdictions.

As a highly super centralized state, Pakistan is increasingly failing and is now considered one of worse countries on most human development factors. It is time that it’s setup is reorganized on the basis of the 1940 Resolutions, which is the fundamental principle for various provinces/ States/ Republics to join Pakistan.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, March 27, 2011.

Poor People in Resource Rich Sindh!

Khalid Hashmani

By: Khalid Hashmani, USA
About the author: Khalid Hashmani is a veteran human rights activist in Washington DC. He is the founding President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and Chief coordinator of Sindhi Excellence Team (SET) that participates in advocacy activities on behalf of rural Sindhis. He can be reached at khashmani@hotmail.com
Rich with Oil and Gas but most backward area in Asia, the province of Sindh is the largest producer of oil and gas in Pakistan and yet it suffers one of the worst poverty levels in Asia. It produces 71 per cent of gas and 61 per cent of oil production in Pakistan. The daily production of oil and gas in Sindh is about 67,140 barrels and 3.99 billion cubic feet respectively. Yet most reports by organizations such as the World Bank call the rural areas of Sindh as most under-developed and deprived. A New York Times book review of a titled “A New Deal in Pakistan” by William Dalrymple (http://www.nybooks. com/articles/ 21194) says the following about Sindh:
“.. in fact, it is one of the most backward areas in all of Asia. Whatever index of development you choose to dwell on-literacy, health care provision, daily income, or numbers living below the poverty line-rural Sindh comes bumping along close to the bottom”.
Over-Centralization in Pakistan denies provincial rights
The plight of Sindh is due to over-centralization and exploitative policies of the central Pakistani government. The central government of Pakistan has usurped all revenue and income resources of the country including almost all forms of taxes and income earned from natural resources such as oil, gas, and coal.

Continue reading Poor People in Resource Rich Sindh!