The Punjab government has not banned co-education in private colleges

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Claim: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in Punjab has banned co-education in private colleges.

Fact: The Punjab government has not banned co-education in private colleges. 

On 2 February 2022 at 4:33 AM, Pakistani TV channel 24NewsHD published a story on its website by reporter Akmal Soomro claiming  the Punjab government had banned co-education in  BS programs at private universities and colleges. The story was picked up by various digital media outlets, pages, and profiles, and proliferated  across social media, including here, here, here & here.

The Minister for Higher Education Punjab Raja Yasir Humayun was quick to share a statement   on Twitter denying the story and clarifying that the government had not issued such a notification. “Please stop spreading fake news on media,” he said in the tweet.

Soch Fact Check determined that the confusion likely stemmed from an image of a checklist which lists requirements for colleges seeking government approval to launch 4 year BS programs. 

Private colleges in Punjab have to obtain permission from the provincial government before starting 4 year BS programs on their campuses. The Directorate of Public Instructions Punjab, the department that deals with such approvals, has on its website a list of required documents that need to be attached alongside applications. A checklist is provided to ensure all required documents are submitted and other criteria are met. 

Commenting on the tweet by the higher education minister, Soomro shared a picture of the checklist, directing the minister’s attention to provision 28 of the list which stipulates that colleges should have “separate girls and boys blocks”’ and would need to provide affidavits confirming their compliance with this requirement. 

However, the image shared by Soomro is, in fact, of a checklist that was notified by the Punjab government in 2008. While this checklist was an office document that was made available on the Higher Education Department of Punjab website, it was updated following the issue of a new notification on 03 February 2022. The up-to-date checklist contains no reference to a ban on co-education. The checklist can be viewed here

Conclusion: In conclusion, the PTI government has not  banned co-education in colleges in Punjab. The confusion likely stemmed from the circulation of a government document from 2008 that has since been updated and no longer contains any reference to a ban on co-education. The posts suggesting the government has banned co-education in colleges are thus misleading.

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