2019-2020 budget cuts fear to be aimed at research and development programs of HEC
- The government reduces the budget of HEC up to 18 billion rupees.
- HEC Chairman Dr. Tariq Buneri warns of no funding for the new universities.
- PTI government must strive to promote the research in the higher education sector.
- The government has allocated only 59 billion for the higher education sector against the demand of 103 billion; Chairman HEC Dr. Tariq Buneri.
Prime Minister Imran Khan took an appreciable step of austerity drive by reducing the expenditures and the same austerity was announced by him in the first ever address after winning the elections in 2018. He said that he would be living in a three-bedroom house and would be accompanying only two men instead of 524 with him.
The government has promised to considerably reduce the expenses in the coming fiscal year but the budget cuts on the Higher Education Commission are likely to push the country on the backtrack. HEC budget has been reduced up to 18 billion rupees and that much reduction in the budget will increase the burden on students in the form of increased tuition fees and other expenditures of education.
There are fears that these heavy cuts in the budget of HEC might affect the funding of many research programs that are operational under the HEC Research and Development Division. Brain drain is one of the leading issues that Pakistan is confronted with but if the research works are halted then this will compel the educated minds to focus on foreign countries where their abilities can thrive in a somewhat better way.
NRPU is the first ever research funding initiative taken by HEC after its inception in 2002. This program facilitates the funding of research projects by faculty members from both private and public sector universities. However, the number of universities in the private sector is about 29. Due to the research initiative, the number of research publications has been raised to thousands from the meager 800 in the year 2002.
The allocation of 59 billion PKR for HEC against the demand of 103 billion PKR rings the alarm bells for the already underfunded education sector of the country. The government must strive to work for the promotion of education and research works in order to improve the socio-economic development and improvement in the quality of services an goods.
What do you think about the importance of research in the progress of a nation?