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Varsity teachers given 70pc raise in salary: Tenure Track System

ISLAMABAD, Aug 16: The government has given a further 70 per cent increase in the salaries of university teachers who have been hired under a new service structure mainly to lure back expatriate Pakistanis serving in foreign universities.

A full professor working under Tenure Track System (TTS), a performance driven service arrangement, was getting Rs175,000, which was successful in attracting quality teachers from abroad. However, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) still thought their salaries was not enough and persuaded the finance division to increase the salary of a professor to Rs312,000.

"The finance ministry has approved a summary to give a 70 per cent increase in salaries of university faculty working under Tenure Track System (TTS). As a result a professor's monthly salary would increase to Rs312,000 or $5,000," Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Attaur Rehman said.

He was chief guest at a reception organised by the European Commission (EC) in honour of Erasmus Mundus Scholarship awardees at Serena hotel.

According to this phenomenal increase in the salaries of university teachers, a teacher would be drawing five times more salary than a federal minister of the country, Dr Rehman said.

He claimed that due to the encouraging salary structure and working conditions, Pakistanis who were serving in foreign universities had started coming back to the local higher education institutions.

TTS is a performance-based service structure. Under the TTS, a faculty member would be on probation for a period of six years during the initial period of appointment and his/her services would be confirmed only after two thorough external reviews of his/her research and teaching achievements after the third and sixth year by a committee of eminent foreign experts.

In response to a question, he said going through a strong filter, at present over 200 teachers of various public sector universities have got the TTS which is open to everyone who has qualified for it.

When asked how did he justify huge chunks of money being driven to the HEC whereas reportedly lower level education was being neglected in the country, he said: "Last year Rs211 billion was spent on the entire education sector of the country, of which only Rs28 billion were given to HEC".

According to international standards the ratio of expenditures between primary to higher education should be 2:1, whereas in Pakistan it is 7:1, Dr Rehman clarified, adding that it was just a misconception that the HEC was getting more money than the school level education.

At present less than three per cent of the country's youth between 17 to 23 years is registered for the higher education compared to the 85 per cent of the same age group in South Korea. At present 54 per cent of the country's population - 58 million - is below the age of 19 years which is a great opportunity for the country, he said.

It is the best time to invest in the education sector, otherwise, the country would be losing this once in a life time opportunity, the HEC chairman said.

However, unfortunately the government has not been able to increase the overall education budget in the country. This year it has only earmarked 2.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Dr Rehman said.

Speaking on the occasion, the European Commission (EC) ambassador to Pakistan said EM scholarship aimed at enhancing the quality of European higher education by fostering cooperation with third world countries. Its ambition is to improve development of human resources and promote dialogue and understanding between peoples and cultures.

This year the EC has selected 45 students from throughout the country who would be doing their masters in various European countries in different disciplines.

A student would be getting 42,000 Euros for a two-year master programme. He said so far the EC had sent 180 students from Pakistan on EM scholarship scheme. Those students who applied for this scholarship are grilled through a tough selection process. Dawn
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