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PU VC withdraws Tenure Track System

Lahore, June 05, 2008: The Tenure Track System (TTS), which was being termed a major breakthrough to help establish an atmosphere of research in the Punjab University, has been withdrawn by PU vice chancellor, it has been learnt.

The abrupt withdrawal of recently adopted TTS is being termed as a serious joke with faculty members who are now expressing strong reservations on its withdrawal without consulting with the statutory bodies of the university.

It is learnt that PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has used his discretionary powers under Section 15 (3) of the University of Punjab Act 1973 to withdraw the Tenure Track System.

PU teachers are of the view that if the TTS had to be withdrawn, why the teachers were allowed to join the same through the process of selection board.

On 22 January 2008, the Punjab University Syndicate in its 1674th meeting, the first under the chairmanship of VC Dr Mujahid Kamran, had reached a consensus to adopt the Tenure Track System.

The VC on the occasion had said, "After adopting TTS, PU teachers will become stronger financially and they would be in a better position to utilise all their energies for research studies. He added that after adopting this system, foreign qualified Pakistanis will prefer to serve in the Punjab University."

It is worth mentioning that under the Tenure Track Pay Package (Version 2.0-January 1, 2008); a professor was to be offered Rs 180,000 to 312,500 monthly salary, an associate professor from Rs1, 20,000 to 226,500 and assistant professor from Rs 80,000 to 161,000.

Official sources in the Punjab University said that around 85 PU faculty members had joined services under the TTS. The sources added however, no one was paid salary under this system so far.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) introduced TTS some years ago while in January 2004; PU Syndicate meeting took up the issue for the first time. Later in December 2005, a draft was prepared in this regard, which was presented in December 2005 meeting for approval, but due to the opposition by some members, the draft could not be approved.

Later in June 2006 syndicate meeting, a committee was formed to prepare a comprehensive policy on adopting TTS and finally it was adopted by PU in January 2008. After adopting TTS, PU was included among 13 universities of the country, which have adopted this system. The Punjab University Academic Staff Association (PUASA), an elected body of teachers, has also expressed strong concern over withdrawal of TTS.

The administrative committee of PUASA has unanimously passed different resolutions condemning the VC for withdrawing TTS without placing the issue before the varsity's Syndicate to take a final decision in this connection.

The other resolutions, distributed among PU faculty members by PUASA on Wednesday, include condemnation of alleged discrimination in teachers' upgradation, alleged irregularities in appointments of wardens and superintendents of hostels and allotment of ER type homes to varsity teachers allegedly without permission of the house allotment committee.

According to the PUASA resolutions, a copy of which is available with 'The News', the teaching community expressed strong unease over withdrawal of TTS by saying if there are some issues over its adoption with the Higher Education Commission, and these would have been solved before appointing teachers under this system.

"The teachers have celebrated their appointment under TTS and exchanged best wishes," the resolution reads, adding, "The withdrawal of TTS at this moment is certainly equal to disgrace of teachers." Another resolution criticised the university administration for upgrading teachers allegedly without a just and transparent formula. "The meeting strongly condemns the administration for neglecting senior and experienced teachers while appointing wardens and superintendents of boys and girls hostels," reads another resolution.

The last resolution criticises the administration for not taking PUASA into confidence and allotting residences allegedly without permission of house allotment committee.

When contacted, PU Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan said HEC had asked the university for detailed documentation in connection with adoption of the TTS, adding the Commission was the final authority as far as the TTS was concerned.

"The documentation includes proceedings of the selection board, proceedings of syndicate and dossiers of faculty members and expert report of foreign review panel," he said.

He added that, "HEC is the funding body for TTS and that it has not released funds in this regard and that the ball is in the court of HEC now."

He said the VC withdrew TTS using his discretionary powers in anticipation of an approval of the Syndicate.

Dr Khan said it was expected that funds for universities by the HEC for TTS would be allocated in the coming budget. He added that subject to the approval of HEC, those appointed under TTS would also be provided arrears.

He categorically refuted allegations levelled against the PU administration by PUASA saying upgradation of teachers was done on merit.

He said that all appointments of wardens and superintendents were made for a period of three years.

"There are teachers who have served in such capacities for over 20 years, which is against the spirit of rotation," he said, adding, "Its time to replace old guards with young and talented new blood."

Talking about allotment of residences, PU Registrar said all the allotments were made on merit by the house allotment committee. He added new homes were built with official funding and PUASA did not have any role in this connection.

When contacted HEC executive director Dr Sohail H Naqvi, he said there were some procedural issues regarding adoption of TTS by the Punjab University. He added these would be sorted out soon. The News
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