VCs' appointment in Punjab universities
VCs' appointment: 'Ads tailored to accommodate the blue-eyed'
Lahore, Sep 20: The selection of suitable vice chancellors
for the public-sector universities in Punjab remains a cause for thought
as 'manoeuvering' to win the coveted slots starts with framing of
eligibility criteria and job advertisements.
Such a case has recently been surfaced during selection of vice
chancellors of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF); and Pir
Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi (UAAR).
An advertisement for selection of the VCs of these two universities,
drafted by the Punjab Regulations Department, has been at the centre of
controversy as the (parent) Punjab Agriculture Department as well as the
stakeholders term the eligibility criteria 'tailor-made'.
The advertisement, say stakeholders, reflects that the Punjab
Regulations Department has deviated from the Punjab Agricultural
Universities (Amendment) Bill 2012, passed by the Punjab Assembly.
The department, sources said, prepared an advertisement and
included conditions in the eligibility criteria that did not fall in the
ambit of advertisement for the coveted posts. The conditions are
alleged to be clearly person-specific.
Punjab Regulations Department Secretary Shahnaz Nawaz admitted that
it had included new eligibility conditions in the advertisement because
"we know the criteria of advertisement for posts of vice chancellors in
all disciplines including general education, livestock and health
As for the suspicion of favouritism, Ms Nawaz said: "I think the
criteria forwarded by the agriculture department does reflect
She said the chief minister had approved the advertisement which had been recommended by the regulations department.
However, she admitted that the agriculture department had sent a
reference raising objection that this criteria could not be applied for
the selection of agriculture universities' vice chancellors. "We are
reconsidering it," she said.
The Bill's clause 14(2) about the eligibility for the selection of
VCs says: "The government shall determine, by notification in the
official gazette, the qualifications, experience and other relevant
requirements for the post of vice chancellor."
The clause 14(4) refers to the evaluation of candidates' credentials
as; "The Search Committee shall follow such procedure and criteria for
selection of the panel for the post of vice-chancellor as the government
may, by notification, determine."
The advertisement stated that the candidates should have "PhD in
agriculture or related academic discipline from a recognised university
or equivalent foreign qualification. It also stated that the candidate
should have to his credit "a minimum of six quality research
publications in impact factor journals of international repute duly
recognised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC)."
Another clause in the eligibility criteria, which created uproar in
some quarters, was the one that said "at least 10 PhDs should have been
produced by the candidates."
Sources claimed that the 'framed' advertisement received from the
regulations department was forwarded by the agriculture department to
the Directorate-General Public Relations for advertisement in
newspapers. The advertisement has reportedly been blocked.
Explaining the repercussions of the advertisement, sources said there
were 144 professors in three agricultural universities and more than
half of them were local PhDs and hence rendered ineligible.
With reference to 'six' quality research publications in impact
factor journals of international repute, sources said the agriculture
universities were comprehensive varsities having five to six faculties
of science and arts. They said there were several disciplines in these
universities, where impact factor publications were not expected. These
disciplines were economics, marketing, extension, agribusiness and rural
sociology, they said.
Similarly, there were many departments with no PhD programme like
agricultural engineering sciences and they could not compete with others
in impact factor publications. "This should not be interpreted as
incompetence of professors working in such departments," the sources
said. Even the HEC had given relaxation for such disciplines by allowing
publications in its recognised journals. Sources said that using impact
factor publications as eligibility criteria was discriminatory.
As for the condition of supervision of 10 PhDs, the sources cited an
example of the UAF, stating that there were 47 departments and 33 of
them offer PhD programmes. The remaining 14 departments offer education
up to MSc level.
Of the 33 departments, many had started offering PhD programmes after
2000 when the HEC was established and massive funding came to
universities for research purposes.
Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi and the
University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, are very young
universities and they have PhD programmes less than 10-year-old.
At Arid Agriculture University, the sources said only two professors
had produced six PhDs each and both had served as acting VCs of the
varsity and proved to be administrative failure. "Higher number of PhDs
is not a proof of leadership," they said.
Shortlisting candidates further in terms of the regulation
department's advertisement, the sources said that only 12 out of 144
potential candidates had produced 10 or more PhDs. Only four of the 12
belonged to the agriculture faculty and two of the four professors were
foreign qualified, they added.
Further assessing the credentials of professors, the sources said 12
of the 91 professors at the UAF had 10 or more PhDs to their credit. And
of these 12, only four had BSc in agriculture and rest were from
non-agriculture background, thus, ineligible if the expression "related
academic discipline" would be applied strictly. Also several of them
were local PhDs and ineligible owing to a lack of foreign qualification.
The stakeholders suggest that the regulations department could have
benchmarked the evaluation statutes for the grant of BS-22 to
professors, which allowed marks both for master's and PhD level work. Dawn
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1,560 government school buildings damaged
all government school buildings in the rain-battered Jacobabad - around
1,560 - have been damaged as water from the breaches in the canals and
drains in Balochistan and Punjab is gushing into the district, which had
already received around 550mm of downpour a week ago.
than 90 percent of Jacobabad's population has been affected by the
situation," said Executive District Officer (EDO) Education Prof Shah
"The floods have badly damaged 437 schools
and partially affected 587. The situation may become worse as water
from the hill torrents is streaming into inaccessible areas."
major towns and villages of the district are flooded. Residents are
sitting on rooftops awaiting help. They direly need food, water, shelter
and health facilities.
The schools are shut, either because they are inundated or the government has set up relief camps there.
The officials are not sure when these schools will become functional again.
The residents, who had experienced floods in previous years too, say the rains this year are worse than the floods in 2010.
of families have shifted to roadsides, safe embankments and railway
tracks along with their livestock. They are facing shortage of food and
clean drinking water.
The authorities have made artificial
cuts in the major Sim Nullah to allow its water to flow into Hamal
Lake, which shares borders with Qambar-Shahdadkot and Dadu districts.
The displaced people of neighbouring areas have been shifted to 1,557 educational institutes, which are considered safe. The news
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Demand for removal of Sindh varsity VC
Hyderabad: Representatives of political parties and
NGOs and faculty members of Sindh University (SU) organised a rally on
Wednesday to demand the removal of the SU vice chancellor and the arrest
of the killers of Prof Bashir Channar.
The rally was organised under the banner of the Save Sindh University
and Education Committee, which is a platform representing different
political parties and NGOs.
It emerged from Wadhu Wah Road and continued till Nasim Naggar Chowk
where the rally participants staged a sit-in and chanted slogans against
the SU vice chancellor.
The protest was led by the coordinator of the Education Committee,
Punhal Sario, Akash Mallah, the senior vice chairman of the Jeay Sindh
Qaumi Movement-Bashir Qureshi, Muzaffar Kalhoro of the Sindh Tarraqi
Passand Party, Abrar Kazi of the Awami Jamhori Party, Azhar Ali Shah,
president of the Sindh University Teachers Association (SUTA), its
general secreraty Arfana Mallah, Prof Amar Sindhu and others including
Liaquat Aziz, Rabia Memon and Masroor Thebo.
The activists also attended the protest.
The protesters chanted slogans against the appointment of retired
officials in universities and demanded their removal, as well as that of
the SU vice chancellor.
They also demanded the arrest of the killers of Prof Bashir Channar,
reinstatement of 11 suspended faculty members of the Shaheed Benazir
Bhutto University, withdrawal of rangers and police from the SU campus,
restoration of the students' union, increase in the budget of the Higher Education Commission and following the criteria laid down by the commission.
The speakers said that the committee had been able to resolve the
crisis to some extent by persuading teachers not to boycott classes. The
teachers and students at SU seemed to be cooperating with the committee
but the vice chancellor continued to be stubborn for which the
provincial government was responsible. The representatives said that the
removal of the vice chancellor was essential for improving the
educational environment on the campus and vowed to continue the struggle
till he was removed.
They said that the eight-month-long movement against the SU vice
chancellor reflected his complete failure to manage the university.
The representatives were also critical of the university's overall
situation. The students did not have enough, the hostel was in bad shape
and the library which had burnt down in 2007 had not yet been
The president of the teachers association of the Sindh Agriculture
University Tandojam, Suresh Kumar Wadhwani, has objected to the advertisement that appeared in the newspapers about inviting appointments for the post of the university's vice chancellor.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, he said that the advertisement,
which appeared in the newspapers on Sept 18, did not mention the age and
requirements laid down by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for the
appointment of a university vice chancellor.
According to him, this meant that the criteria laid down by the HEC
had been done away with. He said that senior faculty members of the
university believed that it was done to select favourites for the post. Dawn
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