Delay in the release of allocated funds of Rs12 billion, including recurring and development budget, has brought most public sector universities on the verge of closure.
According to sources, as per budget allocations and commitment by the federal government for the financial year 2011-12, the last quarter installment of Rs12 billion could not be released by the Ministry of Finance so far. Only an amount of Rs25 million has been received by the HEC this week against the demand for Rs12 billion (Rs6 billion for recurring budget and Rs6 billion for development budget). The vice chancellors of public sector universities, especially of the newly established universities in far-flung areas, have shown great concern. They believe that they would not able to pay salaries of universities employees. Some public sector university representatives have said that their universities have even borrowed money from banks on the basis of the government commitment that funds would be released soon.
According to sources, the delay in the release of development budget has created adverse effects on more than 150 ongoing projects and about 6,000 scholars, both local and foreign. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has not paid salaries to more than 110 foreign professors, who have been hired by various public sector universities.
Talking to ‘The News,’ Vice Chancellors Committee Chairman Syed Imtiaz Gilani said that non-release of allocated funds would adversely affect the quality of teaching and research at higher education institutions all over the country. “If proper attention and serious thought are not given to this critical situation, it will lead towards a serious and ugly situation as universities are not in a position to pay salaries to their employees.”
He also informed that the major portion of recurring budget provided by the HEC goes to salaries. “If the staff is not getting salaries how will they perform their duties,” he said.
Another vice chancellor, on condition of anonymity, informed that they are facing a very difficult situation. “The non-availability of funds for salaries of university employees could create law and order situation for us and can lead to the closure of university,” he pointed out.
The Federation of All-Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has already announced to observe Black Day today (Monday) in all public sector universities against non-allocation of the required budget for public sector universities and for reinstatement of terminated teachers of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University. Associations will observe Black Day today and display banners carrying slogans for allocation of the required budget for universities and protest in front of press clubs.
Furthermore, the FAPUASA will hold a general body meeting on June 28 in Islamabad. Keeping in view the importance of the higher education and continuation of the ongoing and new research and development projects and also the adjustment for the 20% enhancement in salaries, the FAPUASA demanded of the federal government for allocation of budget as per requirement for recurring budget with no cuts on the development budget and immediate payment of the last quarter of the previous financial year, said the statement. The FAPUASA also took a stand that the present budget allocation for higher education of Rs15.8 billion for all public sector universities of the country is insufficient and do not fulfil the needs of universities, while the developmental budget, was also far less than the required budget.