The Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Ghulam Ali, has raised concerns about the financial difficulties faced by 20 out of 34 public sector universities in the province during the current fiscal year.
These universities are struggling with significant budget deficits, putting the stability and continuity of higher education institutions at risk. The University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar reported a deficit of Rs. 977 million, followed by the University of Peshawar at Rs. 469.5 million, and Gomal University D.I. Khan at Rs. 434 million, among others.
Governor Ali attributed these financial challenges to the rapid proliferation of universities in the last 15 years without proper planning or adherence to criteria for their establishment and staff recruitment. He also expressed concern about the allocation of only Rs. 1.1 billion for research out of a total expenditure of Rs. 40 billion by these universities in the current fiscal year.
Governor Ali highlighted the need to follow established laws for the establishment of universities and the recruitment of staff. He also emphasized that the appointment process and eligibility criteria for vice-chancellors (VCs) needed attention, as these issues were affecting the quality of higher education.
A report on VC appointments has been submitted to the chief minister for approval. The governor called on VCs to prioritize improving educational standards and suggested halting the establishment of new universities due to the existing surplus.
Minister Prof Qasim Jan echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the potential role of universities in the country’s industrial and economic development.