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17 universities without VCs in Punjab

By A R Sajid

The Punjab government could not manage to post permanent vice chancellors (VCs) in 17 public sector universities many of which are without regular VCs for the last one year.

Secretary Higher Education Department moved a summary for approval of criteria from the Punjab Cabinet, however, to date the issue is pending forcing the universities to work on ad-hoc basis creating serious problems of governance in varsities.

The students, faculty and administration of these institutions are facing serious problems due to unavailability of vice chancellors. These universities include:

  1. Lahore College for Women’s University;
  2. Information Technology University (ITU) Lahore;
  3. UET, Lahore.
  4. Government College University, Faisalabad,
  5. Government College for Women’s University of Faisalabad;
  6. Islamia University Bahawalpur
  7. Cholistan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences;
  8. PMAS-Arid Agriculture University of Rawalpindi;
  9. Punjab Tianjin University of Technology
  10. Government College for Women’s University of Sialkot;
  11. University of Agriculture of Faisalabad;
  12. University of Engineering and Technology of Taxila;
  13. University of Gujrat,
  14. University of Home Economics of Lahore;
  15. University of Narowal;
  16. Women’s University of Multan;
  17. Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan

The Lahore college for women university is working without regular VC for the last two years while Dr. Tahir Amin of BZU

There are around 700 colleges including 116 commerce colleges in the province and 270 of these working without regular principals

Multan resigned after the Higher Education Department moved a summary of his removal for remaining absent from the university and making a number of appointments and postings against rules and regulations. Interviews for VC of ITU Lahore were conducted by the search committees and list of top three recommended candidates was sent to Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar who has been told to scrape the file and start fresh recruitment as recommended candidate Dr. Umar Saif was a blued-eye officer of former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

However, Prof Dr Zakria Zakar and Prof. Dr. Shahid Munir have been appointed as first VCs of University of Okara and University Jhang respectively. Six vice chancellors completed their four-year tenures during the current year. These include Prof. Dr. Naureen Aziz Qureshi of the Government College for Women University, Faisalabad, Prof. Dr. Farhat Saleemi of the Government College for Women University, Sialkot, Prof Dr Mohammad Ali of the Government College University, Faisalabad, Prof. Dr. Qaiser Mushtaq of the Islamia University Bahawalpur and Prof. Dr. Fazal Ahmed Khalid of the UET, Lahore.

The major cause for delay in the matter is government’s plan to implement Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) model which is quite successful there for the last five years.

Earlier, while commenting on the matter, Provincial Minister for Higher Education Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz tweeted, “People concerned about vacant VC posts. Please rest assured we are coming up with a transparent policy (similar to the one in KP) and will nominate a high profile search committee to appoint the best possible VCs in all those universities by the end of the year”.

On November 20, an eight-member committee had already submitted its recommendations to the Punjab government to finalize matters related to search committee and selection criteria for posting VCs in the Punjab province.

According to the proposed criteria, academic qualification carries maximum 30 points. A candidate holding a PhD from top 100 QS ranked universities will earn 30 points, 101-300 universities 28 points, 301-500 universities 26 points and other HEC recognized universities or UNESCO listed universities 24 points. There are also marks for professional and leadership experience, international experience, publications and interviews.

Furthermore, colleges are also waiting for principals’ appointments, as around 270 colleges of Punjab are without permanent heads although government had promised to fill the 130 positions of the principals in the province under its 100-day agenda and sought applications. There are around 700 colleges including 116 of commerce in the province and 270 of these have been working without regular principals. Moreover, posts of chairmen of seven boards of intermediate and secondary education in the province, lying vacant for the last half and a year.

PHEC is also working without head as Dr. Nizamuddin retired on December 15, 2018 after completion of his four year tenure. Secretary HEC is the acting head. The Criteria for selection of PHEC chairman has been finalized with Dr. Ataur Rehman heading the search Committee for PHEC. Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association President Prof Dr. Mehboob Hussain demanded immediate appointment of VCs. In this regard he stated that universities are being run without regular VCs due to which numerous academic and administrative problems are being faced by them.

He said the government should give autonomy to the universities and not delay appointments of regular VCs and registrars in universities. Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz said that the Higher Education Department has finalized the criteria for VCs eligibility and selection, and the summary was sent to the Chief Minister for approval. He said the names of the Search Committees members have also been finalized and a notification will be issued after CM’s approval.

Raja said that the vacancies of VCs would be properly advertised in and outside the country to search for the best candidates. Regarding college principals’ appointment, the minister said the process has been initiated as 500 candidates applied for 105 vacant posts and their interviews have been conducted.

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