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HEC asked not to act like directorate

Islamabad, Oct 29: Academic Staff Associations of the public-sector universities in the federal metropolis have supported the resolve of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations not to compromise on integrity, autonomy and independence of universities.

This was decided in a meeting of the local ASAs held at Allama Iqbal Open University to chalk out programme for the general body of FAPUASA to be held in the middle of the next month. Prof Najeeb Khawaja, the President of the AIOU ASA presided over the meeting.

Representatives of Quaid-i-Azam University, International Islamic University and AIOU asked Higher Education Commission not to act as a directorate of education and meddle in every affair of the universities. The meeting also criticised the contractual appointments being made at the behest of HEC.

Some delegates observed that HEC appointees were much less qualified than the existing faculty but they were being paid hefty salaries. It condemned the practice of some universities, which give administrative posts like deans to contractual appointees like in IIU.

The delegates condemned appointing retired army officers as vice-chancellors, registrars or other high officials.

The meeting resolved that according to government rules, no ex-serviceman can be appointed against any permanent post whatsoever. The meeting asked the universities to consider publications whose letter of acceptance had been received or which are in the press for appointments in higher grades in BPS system. It also condemned the practice of some Pakistani HEC-approved journals the editors of which revoke the acceptance letters under pressure and asked HEC to knock out such journals from its approved list. Including such journals in the HEC list is a mockery of its rhetoric about their standards and quality, the meeting observed.

The meeting was informed that HEC is planning to stipulate an English test also for inducting teachers in the universities. English language is not a criterion for every department. Moreover, why does HEC not take action against universities or boards of intermediate and secondary education for passing the candidates in English subject if they are not up to the mark, asked a participant.

Prof Basit, General Secretary of AIOU ASA addressing the participants said that Dr Imtiaz Gilani, VC of Peshawar University, is heading a 3-member Vice-Chancellors Committee formed by the commission to negotiate with FAPUASA. He said that Prof Mumtaz Salik, President of FAPUASA, had written a letter to Dr Imtiaz Gilani giving him ten days if he can deliver or not.

He lamented that HEC despite many accepting our demands many times in the meetings delayed announcing the decisions and even did not issue minutes. He said that ASA of AIOU observed strike days as announced by FAPUASA and its Vie-Chancellor also attended the black day meeting.

He said that HEC criterion did not allow upgradation of non-PhDs. He said that GRE or GRE-type tests have been stipulated for MPhil and PhD admissions. He said that when he asked Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, Chairperson of HEC, about the difference between the two tests, the reply was that "wherever the GRE was not available, we went for GRE-type tests.

"Dr Basit said that an intermediate-pass retired brigadier was appointed as VC in Balochistan University who is playing havoc with the faculty and the University. He condemned the VC for dismissing some teachers and planning to terminate the services of around 150 faculty members with the connivance of the provincial governor.

The meeting also discussed contacting faculty in the remaining public-sector seats of higher learning and research like Arid, Urdu, Fatima Jinnah and Modern Languages Universities to form teachers' bodies there. The News

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