LAHORE: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has asked public sector universities of the country to provide details of faculty members on tenure track system (TTS) who have been assigned administrative posts. Varsities of Punjab have the most number of the faculty members who are on TTS.
“[It is requested that] all public sector universities or degree awarding institutes provide details of TTS faculty members who have been assigned additional, acting or look-after charges of administrative positions such as registrar, treasurer, controller of examination and research office director,” stated the letter which was recently issued by the HEC.
The issue of TTS faculty members working on administrative posts has been a bone of contention between the HEC and faculty members of public sector universities. This is because many TTS faculty members have been holding administrative posts, despite HEC warning academic institutions to stop the practice.
Under the TTS programme, the HEC pays higher salary to faculty members to engage them in research. According to the commission, the faculty members on TTS were paid better than their counterparts (teachers on basic pay scale) so that research could be promoted. This was why, the letter stated, they had been barred from holding administrative positions.
However, in a letter sent to varsities’ vice chancellors in April, the HEC noted that universities were assigning administrative posts to faculty members, who were under the TTS, which was against the system’s statutes. The letter stated that TTS faculty members could not be assigned administrative posts, but universities’ administrations were breaching the rules by giving them the posts under the cover of acting, look-after or additional charges.
“If a faculty member assumes an administrative post in the university, such as that of a registrar, human resource director or treasurer, then the period during which he/she remains on that post shall not be counted in his/her TTS service,” the letter issued in April read. “[Moreover] during that period he/she will not be eligible to draw the TTS salary.”
According to the HEC, faculty members working on administrative posts, while drawing TTS salary would have to pay it back to the commission for the period they had worked on the positions.
Opposed by academicians
After the letter was sent, the All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association expressed reservations over the letter, calling it an attack on the autonomy of universities. Later, a delegation of the association met HEC Chairperson Dr Mukhtar Ahmed to share the concerns of academicians with the commission.
After the meeting, a committee was formed to look into the matter, while the HEC vowed to implement the TTS statues in “true latter and spirit”.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2016.
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