‘FAPUASA shows concern over violation of VC appointment criteria’
By K A Mian
LAHORE: The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has expressed serious reservation over an advertisement to fulfil vacancy of the Vice-Chancellor University of Sahiwal without PhD degree and threatened to shut down all universities in Punjab.
As per the eligibility criteria advertised in a section of, the Higher Education Department Punjab has not made the PhD degree mandatory. Chairperson Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) Prof Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin while talking to Daily The Business said the required criteria is appropriate for the VC according to the government’s decision. He said the preference for PhD degree was also a condition to hire the VC of the Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, a renowned university in Pakistan.
Asked why the input of FAPUASA about the eligibility criteria was not incorporated in the advertisement, he said the PHED moved for the final approval to the cabin committee while it had been rejected and refused to change complete criteria and explanation of this reply had already been received the FAPUASA.
FAPUASA Punjab President Prof Dr Javed Ahmad told this scribe said that the advertisement was tantamount to contempt of court as it had violated Lahore High Court’s decision regarding eligibility criteria of appointment of vice-chancellors.
Ahmad alleged that some elements in the bureaucracy were hiding true picture from the Punjab Chief Minister regarding the appointment of vice-chancellors. He added that in the previous meeting of FAPUASA with PHED and PHEC, it was decided that FAPUASA would submit their reservations in writing and later a meeting would be held in which controversial matters would be sorted out with mutual understanding.
However, they said, the bureaucracy managed to get controversial criteria approved without taking relevant stakeholders into confidence and published the advertisement. He claimed that the new eligibility criteria had ignored some very basic and vital parameters of measurement of professional excellence of an academic leader. For instance, he said, no marks were given for post-doc experience, no credit for PhD and M Phil research supervision, no weightage was given for university-level teaching experience, no credit for membership/fellowship of national/international academic organizations/bodies and no weightage for academic research projects was given in the new criteria.
FAPUASA president stated further that overall in the criteria, systematically space had been created for entry of non-academic managers which is not acceptable. The management experience must be relevant to academic/research experience, he said.
Pointing out technical deficiencies, Javed said that the basic qualification for the post of VC must be PhD in a relevant field of university instead of preferably PhD. The federation of teachers said that in the criteria, additional marks for MA degree and lowering basic qualification of vice chancellorship would be ridiculous and unacceptable.
They said that work experience was not clear that what kind of organization a candidate must have worked for? They suggested that the candidate must have 15 years of teaching/research experience. They said that the government must consider academic/research leadership experience of candidates rather than non-academic/non-research leadership experience. FAPUASA said that no funding agency had extended Rs 500 million grant to individuals from academic/research organizations.
They said that weightage must be given to establishing/restructuring academic organizations instead of controversially approved criteria of non-academic organizations otherwise irrelevant professionals would get shortlisted. They said that the criterion regarding publications, honours and awards of the candidates clearly disregarded/ignored to the spirit of distinguished research and publication record.
He further said that an emergency meeting called on by FAPUASA Punjab President Prof Dr Javed Ahmad, Central Vice President Prof Dr Shoaib Ahmed, UET TSA President Prof Dr Sohail Aftab Qureshi, Vice President Prof Dr Zafar Noon, PU syndicate members Prof Dr Sajid Rashid and Dr Mahboob Hussain and others expressed serious concern over bureaucracy’s move to appoint non-PhDs at vice-chancellors of public sector universities.
They said that technically publications meant publication in high reputed JCR listed peer-reviewed international journals or HEC recognized journals but this was not well defined. They said that similarly, book definition was not clear whether it was a poetry book would be considered for getting credit. Pointing out legal issues, they said that the criteria in question are unsustainable being a violation of the judgment of honourable Lahore High Court PLD 2017 Lahore 289 (DB).
Citing the judgment, they said that the federation could set standards in institutions of higher education under entry 12 of part II of Federal Legislative List. The said that HEC Ordinance 2002, as it stood today, set minimum and non-binding guidelines for the appointment of vice-chancellor in public sector universities. They said it was held in the judgment that provincial legislature had the power to set standards that were procedure and criteria for the selection of vice-chancellor as long as they were not below the minimum and baseline standards set by the federation.
FAPUASA said that the criteria were contemptuous and against the spirit of the law laid down on the appointment of VC in the public sector universities. They said that the search committee formation was also against the judgment of honourable Lahore High Court on the qualification and the appointment of the search committee.