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May 10, 2019

F-7/2 women university plan in cold storage


May 10, 2019

Islamabad : Ostensibly, the upgrading of the Islamabad Model College for Girls, F-7/2, to the federal capital’s first women-only university in public sector is no more a government priority as the plan has been caught in bureaucratic red tape for four and a half years.

First, it was the Capital Administration and Development Division that showed lackadaisical approach to executing the initiative despite the availability of funds and later, the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, which was tasked with overseeing the project after the CADD’s abolition last year, too acted indifferently.

The last PML-N government had announced in early 2014 the turning of the premier F-7/2 IMCG into a women’s university as the city’s almost all universities offered mixed-gender education ignoring many girls from conservative families, who were interested in separate education only.

There followed the preparation of the Rs998.436 million upgrade plan’s PC-I, which secured the Central Development Working Party’s mandatory approval in November 2014 with three years period being set for its successful execution.

The cost was meant for civil work, office automation and information and communication technology facilities, lab equipment, furniture and fixture, operational transport, books and library materials, contingencies, and hiring of and payments to staff.

As the proposed university required a charter, an Act of Parliament to incorporate a university, for functioning, the Higher Education Commission drafted one and sent it to the then CADD in September 2015 through the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training.

The Law and Justice Division vetted the charter two years later i.e. November 2017 to be exact that was placed before the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) in March next year.

After examining the draft and the relevant laws, the committee asked the CADD to resubmit it after obtaining a no objection certificate from the HEC for the proposed university’s establishment and consulting the Establishment Division on the service structure of the existing IMCG staff members.

Though the CCLC’s orders on NOC and consultation were complied with the same year, first the CADD and then the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training failed to put up the university’s charter to the committee for approval yet again.

The proposed university has got budgetary funding many times but the bureaucratic hurdles to its establishment led to its lapse.

The HEC insists that it has funds for the IMCG upgrade but they will be transferred to the education ministry only after the CCLC approved the charter of the women’s university.

Now, months after Imran Khan’s PTI formed government in the centre promising women better access to higher education, an uncertainty has enshrouded the fate of the university plan. There is no official word on it.

A leader of the Federal Government College Teachers Association resented the ‘disinterest’ of both last and current governments in establishing the women’s university in Islamabad despite vehemently advocating the women’s education in public meetings and conferences.

He told 'The News' he knew many talented girls from conservative families, who wanted to go to university for the education of natural and formal sciences after graduation but coeducation in universities got in the way.

“The early establishment of the women-only university and that, too, just by upgrading a college with the available funds can give the country many women scientists,” he said.

A teacher of the IMCG G-10/4 said the women’s university would further the cause of female education in the region.

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