UCP Pro-Rector says HEC and PHEC should work in harmony, not in conflict
UCP has 8,000 students, 300 faculty members out of which 52 are PhDs
Interview: By Ali Arshad
Photo Credit: Sajid Baloch
Education is provincial responsibility after the 18th Amendment, both commissions (HEC and PHEC) having clear
mandate, can complement each other and provincial HECs can focus on those areas which lacked HEC focus. Training of faculty, research promotion, developing new universities are important areas to focus upon and PHECs can play their role in these areas. HEC has a role in national integration that is very important. Both HECs should work in harmony rather than in conflict, otherwise it would be complicated. This was stated by University of Central Punjab (UCP) Pro-Rector Prof. Dr. Muhammad Zaffarullah during an interview with The Educationist. Following are details of the discussion:
The Educationist: Sir, please tell us about your early life and higher education?
Dr. Zafarullah: Well, I did my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 1973 from IBA Karachi and at that time it was the only institute of business administration in Pakistan. After completing my MBA I joined a management consultant firm and worked on various projects. My passion is teaching I was inspired with my teachers from IBA Karachi. I applied for teaching in 1980 in BZU Multan Business Administration Department. I tried to follow same norms which are established in IBA. I did my MBA (Marketing) again from University of Edinburgh, UK and then PhD in Marketing from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK.
The Educationist: Vice Chancellor’s selection is an important process, how do you see role of the search committee and Punjab Higher Education Department in this regards?
Dr. Zafarullah: It is interesting question. The basic objective of search committee is to conduct interviews on merit for vice chancellorship. The position of vice chancellor is very prestigious and respective, process of selection should be done in dignified manner. In comparison for selection of an assistant professor in a university we follow all the respective manners and criteria, although that is a very junior post. VCs selection should be highly respective. The Search Committee should have updated list of prominent and competent professors/deans from different universities for VC post, committee should have play their role as search committee not like following a process which is going these days. Committee should search names when a seat gets vacant in a university, they should follow the list and call the candidates for a sitting session not for a formal interview.
The Educationist: What say about role of HEC, PHED and PHEC in higher education?
Dr. Zafarullah: Well I think after the 18th Amendment education is provincial responsibility, both commissions (HEC and PHEC) having clear mandate, can complement each other and provincial HEC can focus on those areas which lacked HEC focus. Training and development, training of faculty is important area, research is an important area, developing new universities is an important area. PHEC can play its role in these area. HEC has a role in national integration that is very important. Provincial HECs can play their role to further stren
gthen the universities. Both HECs should work in harmony rather than in conflict, otherwise it would be complicated.
The Educationist: Quality of research and education in universities and colleges is a big issue. What do you say about this?
Dr. Zafarullah: I agree, there are multiple reasons and universities are well informed. In a long way we have to improve quality of research and education as per international standards. We can improve with better infrastructure, well equipped labs and highly qualified faculty. Public sector universities have billions of rupees budget. There should be a monitory body to monitor us.
The Educationist: Recently Federal Minister for P&D Ahsan Iqbal said 10,000 PhDs will be produce in coming 10 years. How can we make realize this idea?
Dr. Zafarullah: I don’t understand since early 1980 Dr. Mahboob-ul-Haq was the finance minister of Pakistan. He introduced this concept and a large number of teachers of universities were sent abroad for PhDs. Now we are going to exercise again like that, we should strengthen our own institutions.
Why our students and teacher prefer to go abroad for higher studies. There was a time when students of Malaysia and Middle East preferred to get education from PU and Karachi University. I don’t know why not our universities are offering quality of education we should try to invest, strengthen and focus on capacity building of our universities. We should do that and follow the model of Malaysia.
The Educationist: Do you agree with the government’s education policy and education budget?
Dr. Zafarullah: I think nobody is agree with the education policy and budget. It should be at least 4% of the total GDP for improvement of education in our country.
The Educationist: What do you say about student unions and politics among teachers like ASA/TSA in educational institutions?
Dr. Zafarullah: We have a very bad experience in this regard in BZU Multan. Private universities are peaceful in this regard there is no any student or teacher union. Students can do their work vey peacefully. But In public sector universities they have these factors of unions having support of some political parties. Teachers should not become part of any kind of unions. They should focus on full time on their actual profession. They should facilitate institute in professional manners rather than focusing on their personal interest, lobbying against the institution and making pressure groups.
The Educationist: What are the current stats of students and PhD teachers’ in UCP?
Dr. Zafarullah: Currently we have 8,000 students and faculty is more than 300 out of which 52 are PhD. Our minimum criteria for teaching in in UCP is 18 years education.
The Educationist: What are your future projects for UCP?
Dr. Zafarullah: We are going to introduce bio-technology, bio-chemistry because this century is the century of Bio-Technology. We are establishing ORIC, where we produce highly qualified professionals and quality products for the market.