The Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) is considering establishing three offices of pro-vice chancellor at public sector universities, The Express Tribune has learnt.
A PHEC official said appointment to one of the three seats would be made from within the university faculty. However, he said that instead of appointing senior most professors to the office, selection would be made based on criteria laid out by a committee. He said the rules on governance of public sector universities would be amended for the purpose.
The other two seats would be open to anyone meeting the eligibility criteria, the PHEC official said.
When asked about the selection process, PHEC Chairman Dr Nizamuddin said no decision had been made in this regard. He said it would be finalised in consultation with all stakeholders, including the vice chancellors concerned.
He added that a competitive selection process would be beneficial for universities. He said it would attract the most competent people to the post. He said such a procedure would also allow all academics a chance at upward mobility in their careers.
Dr Nizamuddin said that the pro-vice chancellors hired in such a manner would provide the HEC with a pool to pick vice chancellors in future.
Dr Nizamuddin said that the pro-vice chancellors would be responsible for administration and finance, research and students affairs.
He said he hoped that research outcome of public sector universities would improve with the establishment of a pro-vice chancellor office dedicated to promotion of research. “Our universities are not producing enough good research at the moment,” he said.
He said the PHEC had borrowed the idea of establishing an office of the pro vice chancellor from the higher education system in the United States.
Dr Nizamuddin said a selection committee had already been formed for the purpose. He said Education Minister Rana Mashhood was heading the committee.
In a joint statement issued earlier in the month, the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) Punjab president Hasan Mobeen Alam and Punjab University Academic Staff Association secretary Mahboob Hussain had said that academic staff would not accept any changed in the administrative structure of universities. They had said that elected representatives of the academic staff had not been taken into confidence regarding the efforts for appointment of pro vice chancellors at universities. They said faculty at public sector universities would not accept any decisions taken without their input.
Existing law: University administration
The existing law on the administration of public sector universities says that the senior most faculty members can be appointed as the pro vice chancellor in consultation with the vice chancellor concerned. The power to make the appointment rests with the chancellor.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2016.