Cabinet approves reversal of autonomy to 18 public colleges.

SAHIWAL -- The Punjab Cabinet has approved withdrawal of the autonomy to 18 public colleges of Punjab, which were declared autonomous under the boards of governors (BoGs) in 2010.

Twenty-six public sector colleges of the province were granted autonomy when the BS four-year programmes were started there. Eight of them were later turned into universities while the remaining 18 have now got the position which they had before the autonomy and their administrative and financial affairs would be run by the Higher Education Department (HED) and not the BoGs.

The Punjab Cabinet in its 8th meeting held on Dec 29, 2022 approved the reversal of policy.

Dawn learnt from the sources that the cabinet, in collaboration with the Finance Department, S and GAD, Law and PA Department, had passed the summary duly approved by the chief minister under Agenda No 24. Reports said the HED had also withdrawn the opening up of Assan Assignment Accounts (AAA) for 18 colleges which were opened in 2019 to handle salaries of their staff and non-salary budget.

The HED asked the finance department to transfer 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter funds of the financial year 2022-2023 from the Assan Assignment Accounts (AAA) to the colleges to the respective district account offices for handling under regular salary through office of the Accountant General, Punjab.

The move came after a 12 years long struggle of the Punjab Professor and Lecturers Associations (PPLA) also who had resisted the autonomy of the colleges for various reasons.

The PPLA leadership in 2011-12 started resistance against the formation of BoGs, calling it the 'privatisation of higher education'. Till 2013, the HED had failed to form the BoG in any of the autonomous colleges. As a result, the ordinance, under which the colleges were made autonomous, lapsed after three years. It is said the PPLA representatives also filed a writ petition (19501/2010) against BoGs in the superior judiciary which went in the association's favour.

Talking about the development, Prof Mustafa and Prof Faiza Raana, central leaders of Ittehad-e-Asatiza Pakistan declared it a great victory against privatisation and autonomy of public sector colleges.

Prof Arif, ex-PPLA provincial general secretary, said none of the colleges had got financial and administrative autonomy because no BoG was functioning in any college and they were autonomous only on papers.

The staff of the autonomous...

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