PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday ruled out the possibility of privatising public sector colleges in the province and said some elements were trying to misguide teachers and students on the matter.
Speaking on an adjournment motion in the provincial assembly, special assistant to the chief minister on higher education Kamran Khan Bangash said the principal of the Jahanzeb College Saidu Sharif (Swat) had shared a proposal regarding the grant of the degree-awarding status to his educational institution.
He said a notification issued by the relevant department was misinterpreted and some elements tried to politicise the issue.
“The higher education department issued a notification to constitute a committee for the preparation of a draft bill to grant the status of the degree-awarding institute to the Jahanzeb Postgraduate College Swat on the directives of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, who also hails from the district,” he said.
Bangash tells PA that a notification misinterpreted, some elements politicising issue
Mr Bangash said the higher education department had decided that the current fee structure and job status would not be changed in case the institution was granted the degree awarding status in addition best performing principal and teachers would be appointed.
“There is no plan under consideration to privatise any college or institute in the province. This is our responsibility to discourage, those who are misguiding teachers and students,” he said.
The special assistant said the province had 303 degree colleges, while 40 would be either established or upgraded in the current fiscal year.
He also said the government had planned to turn some colleges into specialised ones, including seven law colleges.
Mr Bangash said the current rules and regulations governing the public sector colleges in the province were outdated as the principals didn’t have powers even to construct a single room.
“Now, the government wants to empower principals and involve community leaders as well as public representatives in the decision-making process,” he said.
The aide to the chief minister said 30 colleges, which were performing well, would be given a grant of Rs600 million every year and the principals would be authorised to carry out work on campus.
He said the colleges with ‘average performance’ would receive Rs1 billion grant annually, while the ‘top performing’ principals and teachers would be appointed to the poorly-performing colleges.
Mr Bangash said some colleges were spending Rs1.4 million on a student every year but showed poor performance and the government was committed to improving that.
He said 1,900 lectures were being hired through the KP Public Service Commission at the annual cost of Rs620 million.
The special assistant said 209 lecturers were being recruited for government colleges in the merged tribal districts to address the shortages of teaching staff. He added that the government had allocated Rs2 billion in the current budget for public sector universities.
Mr Bangash said commerce colleges would be converted into specialised educational institutions.
He informed the house that the federal education ministry had been approached to establish the sub-campus of the National College of Arts in Peshawar and the provincial government would provide land and other required resources for the purpose.
Akhtiar Wali of the opposition PML-N, who tabled the adjournment motion, said there were speculations about the privatisation of public sector colleges on the pattern of the hospitals, which were run through the medical teaching institutions boards of governors.
He said the MTI system had deprived the people of free treatment in hospitals and similarly, the proposed privatisation of colleges would deny poor people the right to higher education.
“Teachers and students have staged demonstrations in Abbottabad, Mardan, Peshawar and other parts of province against the plans,” he said.
Mr Wali claimed that after the constitution of BoG, the Islamia College Peshawar was unable to pay salary to its staff members during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the opposition won’t allow the government to privatise its colleges and universities in the province.
The house passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The lawmakers also highlighted the damage caused by the recent torrential rains and flash floods to public life and property in different districts of the province and demanded of the government to compensate the affected families.
Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani said the recent rains damaged houses in Abbottabad city on a large scale, but the affected families had yet to be be compensated.