VCs appointment flawed procedure
VCs appointment process comes under question
Karachi, Dec 21: As the process of selection of vice chancellors of
public-sector universities have begun at the Governor's House, senior
academicians have once again severely criticised what they described as the
'flawed procedure' of appointing the head of a higher education institution and
demanded that the chancellor bring merit to the appointment
The chancellor, they argued, had been granting 'too many extensions' and a
continuation of the same was bound to further deteriorate the standard of
education at the institutions of higher learning.
They feared that the recent meetings of the search committee tasked to
suggest names for the post of vice chancellors at two major public-sector
universities had increased the likelihood that once again the same candidates
would be picked up for the appointment.
They also criticised the chancellor's decision to set up one search committee
for both Karachi University and Dow University of Health Sciences as these
institutions are meant for entirely different disciplines.
Sources said that the search committee at a meeting held at the Governor's
House on Sunday shortlisted three candidates for the appointment of the vice
chancellor of the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS).
Though no notification for appointment has been issued yet, a section of the
press has already reported that the incumbent DUHS VC Prof Dr Masood Hameed
(second term) has been appointed for a third term.
Officials at the Governor's House were not willing to deny or confirm the
"If this news is true, then one is surprised over the haste shown in making
the appointment," a senior teacher at the DUHS remarked.
DUHS pro-vice chancellor Prof Dr Umer Farooq said: "I have
heard the news, but can't confirm it since I haven't yet seen the notification
Interestingly, a previous meeting of the search committee was put off when
one of its members objected to the inclusion of Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza
Siddiqui's name in the list of candidates.
Prof Siddiqui is completing his second term as vice chancellor of Karachi
Both Prof Siddiqui and Prof Hameed had been applicants and, at the same time,
part of the search committee until the chancellor had to revise the body under
what had been described as "public pressure".
There have also been instances in which the chancellor directly appointed
vice chancellors without publicising the post in newspapers and involving the
'A humiliating method'
The procedure of appointing vice
chancellors, according to some KU teachers, was 'humiliating' and the present
members might be experts of their respective fields but did not meet the
criteria to be part of a body tasked with suggesting names for a highly
"It is degrading for a senior professor who has the distinction of serving an
institution of higher education as long as 30 years to wait in line for an
interview and then being told, as happened recently, that the interviews have
been postponed," said Dr Haris Shoaib, representing the Karachi University
Teachers' Society (Kuts).
Dr Shoaib was of the opinion that the appointment of vice chancellor had
become highly politicised and when everyone knew that the chancellor was the
deciding authority there was no need for an "embarrassing exercise" just to
silence critics and show that the procedure was transparent, though in reality
Such a post, he said, should be offered to acknowledge the services of an
Regarding the criteria for a vice chancellor, he said that the post required
a person with high academic credentials and a non-controversial background.
Preference should be given to an in-service employee of the same university so
that they could easily take the teachers along in the academic and
administrative affairs, he said.
He expressed surprise as to why there was no Higher Education Commission
(HEC) representation in the search committee interviewing candidates for the
selection of vice chancellors.
Commenting on the composition of the search committee, Dr Idrees Adhi, head
of the eye department, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) and president
of the Pakistan Medical Association, Karachi, said that the members' selection
"It's unfair that only one person from the medical field has been included in
the search committee. At least three medical professionals and fourth with
experience in medical education should have been part of the committee," he
said, referring to the current member of the search committee, orthopaedic
surgeon Dr Ali Mohammad Ansari.
Irrelevant individuals would not even understand the curriculum vitae of
medical professionals who would apply for the post.
"Besides, it is also important that we have new individuals so that a
university grows with fresh ideas," he said.
It is worth noting here that the present members of the search committee for
the KU and the DUHS include: retired justice Haziqul Khairi, Dr S.M. Qureshi
(committee convener and head of the chartered inspection and evaluation
committee), Dr Ali Mohammad Ansari (former director-general of health), Prof
U.A.G. Isani (former head of the University Grants Commission and vice
chancellor of Iqra University), Dr Ishrat Hussain (IBA director and former
governor of the State Bank of Pakistan), Prof A.Q. Mughal (vice chancellor of
the Sindh Agriculture University, Tando Jam) and Mumtaz-ur-Rehman (principal
secretary to the Sindh governor).
MOU and search committee
Teachers also argued that the
present form of the search committee was not what was envisioned in the Model
University Ordinance, 2002 from where the idea of having a search committee for
vice chancellor's appointment originated and recommended by the HEC as a policy
guideline for selecting a vice chancellor.
According to the ordinance meant for universities under the federal
government, a vice chancellor shall be appointed on the basis of recommendations
made by the senate which, it states, will constitute a committee that will
include two eminent members of society nominated by the chancellor, two members
of the senate, two distinguished teachers who are not members of the senate and
one academician of eminence not employed by the university.
"Over the past eight years, none of the universities run under the Model
University Ordinance have followed this criteria.
And, now the search committee formed by the chancellor include serving vice
chancellors, public servants and bureaucrats, instead of eminent intellectuals
and members of the academia," says Dr Riaz Ahmed, a senior teacher at the KU
applied chemistry department.
He expressed surprise that the HEC insisted on a very strict criteria based
on academic research and publications for the post of deans and department
chairpersons, but it didn't have such conditions for the selection of a vice
chancellor and, rather, based its criteria on vague terms such as individuals
with "leadership qualities, vast knowledge and experience, etc".
He said: "Politicians through the Governor's House and the bureaucracy
through the HEC control the levers of appointment of vice chancellors. As a
result, vice chancellors no more consider themselves accountable to the
university's statutory bodies which now play a ceremonial role."
Higher Education Commission head Javed Leghari, however, disagreed with the
argument and said that the HEC had no say in the vice chancellor's appointment
and it was up to the chancellor's discretion who to appoint, though the
commission would like to have its representation in the search committee.
"The HEC's role is of making policies, guidelines and providing funds. I have
always asked for a better representation in the search committee in order to
ensure transparency in the procedure. The commission doesn't interfere in
administrative affairs," he said.
Prof Badr Soomro, former
president of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff
Association, Sindh chapter, alleged that vice chancellors had been appointed at
the Sindh University of Agriculture, Tando Jam; Quaid-i-Awam University of
Engineering and Technology, Nawabshah, and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto
Medical University, Larkana without giving an opportunity to other applicants
through a newspaper advertisement.
Mr Soomro had sent an application to the Supreme Court's human rights wing
last year against what he called the "flawed appointments" of many vice
"The list of vice chancellors who have served more than once either at the
same university or different universities includes the names of Dr Rasheed Ahmed
Shah [fourth term at Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto University Lyari, Karachi],
Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui [second term at the KU], Prof Dr Masood
Hameed [second term at DUHS], Abdul Kalam [fourth term at the NED University of
Engineering and Technology], Dr Nazir Ahmed Mughal [second term at Sindh
University], Dr Abdul Qadeer Rajput [third term at Mehran University for
Engineering and Technology], Dr A.Q. Mughal [member search committee with second
term at Sindh University of Agriculture, Tando Jam], Dr Nilofar Sheikh [second
term at Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur], Rasul Baksh Baloch [retired
bureaucrat at Benazir Bhutto University, Nawabshah], Dr Akbar Haider Soomro
[appointed without an advertisement at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Medical
University, Larkana]," he said.
There had been no action from the Supreme Court yet, he said, alleging that
all these appointments had been made on political grounds.
"With the exception of three cases, all vice chancellors retired a long time
ago and there is a need to see whether they are mentally and physically fit to
do their job," he concluded. Dawn
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Punjab govt to recruit 33,000 teachers, PA told
Lahore: Punjab Education Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman on Tuesday claimed in
the Punjab Assembly that the government had decided to recruit 33,000 school
teachers in the next academic session.
With the Education department at
the PA agenda during the question-answer session, Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman gave
answers to the provincial assembly members, with Mehar Mushtaq in the chair on
Tuesday in the absence of speaker and deputy speaker.
Responding to the
questions from the members, the education minister claimed that at a cost of
four billion rupees, the process of providing all necessary facilities to
schools had been kicked off, which would be completed by June next. To a
question, the minister said that the DPS schools were autonomous and had their
own system to regulate their fees -- ranging from Rs2,100 to Rs6,000 at
different tiers of studies.
Nighat Nasir Sheikh challenged the answer
that drinkable water available in the schools in 35 districts of the Punjab was
hygienically fit for consumption.
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GCU forms affiliation body
Lahore: Government College University (GCU) has
constituted an Affiliation Committee to formulate rules and regulations for the
affiliation of other educational institutions with the university. The
university's Academic Council and Syndicate have approved the constitution of
the committee. The move is aimed to generate its own resources in the wake of
ever growing concern over poor funding by the government to public varsities. The news
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Book launch ceremony held at Alhamra
Lahore: The launch ceremony of a book titled "Korakaram kay Barf
Zaro Say" written by Jawad Sherazi was held under the auspices of the Sufi
Tabassum Art Academy at Alhamra on Tuesday.
Renowned writer Munno Bhai
presided over the ceremony while Mustansar Hussain Tarar was the chief guest.
Akhtar Mamunka, Aslam Kamal, Yasir Pirzada, Dr. Ahsan Akhtar were also present
at the occasion. The book is a travelogue about the breathtaking beauty of
Pakistan's northern areas. Speakers at the ceremony said that Jawad's book could
play a huge role in reviving tourism in the region. Daily times
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