Ongoing projects get lion’s share in Rs60bn of HEC funding

Jamila Achakzai
Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

ISLAMABAD: After restoring the annual development budget of Higher Education Commission (HEC) following protests from public sector universities, the federal government has decided to earmark 70 percent of the Rs60 billion funds for the completion of ongoing projects in the upcoming fiscal year.

In 2024-25, the HEC will receive Rs41.872 billion for ongoing projects and Rs18.128 billion for new initiatives, according to the next Public Sector Development Programme unveiled by Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

The largest part of the budgetary allocations for new projects has been dedicated to the Higher Education Development Programme of Pakistan (Rs10 billion), aimed at enhancing research excellence, teaching, and governance in strategic economic sectors, as well as the Prime Minister’s Laptop Scheme (Rs6 billion), which will provide laptops to talented students in public sector higher education institutions.

As for the ongoing HEC projects to be financed by the government, the largest funding share of around Rs9.2 billion is claimed by scholarship initiatives, including overseas MS and MPhil programmes leading to PhD courses in selected fields (Rs3.89 billion), the PhD scholarship programme under the Pak-US Knowledge Corridor (Rs3.89 billion), Allama Muhammad Iqbal scholarships for Afghan students (Rs1.35 billion), and the Fulbright Scholarship Support Programme (Rs759 million).