Islamabad: The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has approved six projects for higher education sector worth Rs. 8 billion approximately in a meeting held the other day with Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal in the chair.
The projects sanctioned for promotion of higher education in the country include establishment of a Technology Development Fund for HEC scholars returning after completion of PhD in order to introduce new technologies; establishment of the University of Sibi, Balochistan; provision of necessary operational facilities for King Abdullah Campus, University of AJK, Muzaffarabad; development of Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, Campus II, Phase-2; subsidy to scholars abroad under Culture Exchange Programme of HEC, Phase II; and provision of higher education opportunities to students of Balochistan and FATA, Phase-II.
The establishment of a Technology Development Fund for HEC scholars will cost Rs. 3792.532 million to be financed from PSDP allocation of HEC. The project, designed for five years, is likely to continue as a recurring activity after successful implementation of the PSDP project. The project will help enhance capacity to increase the knowledge capital. This enhanced research activity will result in innovation and development of processes which will eventually boost the national economy. It was felt that scholars after they complete their postgraduate/ PhD studies need to be supported by a fund that could help realize innovative ideas, commercialization of unique process and promote innovation.
The second project envisages establishment of the University of Sibi by providing necessary facilities to commence academic activities. The University will provide higher education opportunities to the students of Sibi district in various disciplines including Business Administration, Compute Science, Law, Education, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology, etc. The University will be established at a cost of Rs. 583.585 million in front of Bolan Pass on 250 acres of land allotted by the Provincial Government. The project will be completed in three years.
HEC carried out a feasibility study in 2007 to identify potential areas for establishing new higher education institutions or sub campuses of existing universities in Balochistan. All the 27 districts of Balochistan were examined by dividing them into various groups on the basis of geographical limitations, ethnic conditions and connectivity in order to assess demand of the area. In the feasibility report, Sibi district was ranked highly potential district for establishment of a university. The University will enrol around 1000 students annually in six academic programmes at BS level. Five teaching laboratories will be established for 1000 students. The establishment of university will also create job opportunities for qualified faculty and administrative staff.
The project for provision of necessary operational facilities for King Abdullah Campus (KAC), University of AJK envisages provision of the missing facilities and operational needs of the campus. The main campus of the University, established in 1980, would be shifted to KAC after its completion. The operational needs include construction of a multipurpose hall, a boundary wall, installation of water supply line and a treatment plant, and installation of 11KV feeder for provision of electricity along with other infrastructure and transport facilities.
The development of Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi Campus II, Phase-2, which will cost Rs. 961.447 million, will help meeting the growing demand of the University. The project, covering 177660 square feet area, encompasses different departments including Biotechnology, Botany, Physics, Electronics Engineering, Law and Commerce and will be completed in three years.
Under another project, HEC scholars abroad will be extended subsidy under the Culture Exchange Programme of HEC (Phase II). The project, which will cost Rs. 709.218 million, will be completed in seven years. The project aims at extending subsidy to students under the culture and education exchange agreements signed with various countries. It helps globalizing the student population and establish linkages for promotion of academic cooperation with foreign countries. The scheme will be implemented by HEC under the overall policy guidelines of National Scholarship Management Committee. Under the project, 200 PhD scholars and 300 MS scholars will be extended subsidy. Besides paying subsidy to scholars, a one-time return ticket will also be provided to them.
The CDWP has also approved Phase-II of Provision of Higher Education Opportunities to Students of Balochistan and FATA with a cost of Rs. 2983.698 million. It will provide access of higher education to around 4000 students. Scholarships under the projects will be equally distributed among students in accordance with a quota system. The scheme will help promote higher education in far-flung areas of the country and will ensure equitable accessibility to quality education.