Rs4 billion fund for varsities in dire straits

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The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to set up the Rs4 billion endowment fund for the local public sector universities, which are in severe financial straits, it is learned.

The fund is reflected in the proposed provincial budget 2014-15 to be announced shortly.

The officials in the know told Dawn on Tuesday that the proposed fund would be equally distributed among eight government universities in the province with each getting Rs500 million.

They said the province had 19 government universities but those established in the recent times needed more financial support than the older ones as they’re struggling to generate money on their own.

The officials said there was a high likelihood of Bacha Khan University Charsadda, Swabi University, Khushal Khan Khattak University Karark and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Sharingal being selected for the funding.

These universities were established during the tenure of the Awami National Party-led government.

The officials said the funds might not end financial problems of the selected universities but it would help ease their misery a bit.

They said the universities not selected this time around due to shortage of funds would get money from the endowment fund during financial year 2015-16.

According to officials, there is also a greater likelihood that the varsities in dire straits will get better government financial support in the years to come.

They said the universities in question would also be asked to contribute to the endowment fund.

The officials said currently, almost all government universities in the province faced the growing budget deficit due to little government support.

They said the ultimate sufferers of the situation were students, who were charged higher fees by the universities to meet their expenses.

When contacted, Bacha Khan University Charsadda vice chancellor Dr Fazal Rahim Marwat welcomed the creation of endowment fund for universities and said varsities would get some support from the profit would come to the universities from the seed money under the endowment fund.

Source: Dawn