Fit for the job? VCs’ selection criteria marred with issues: FAPUASA

Published: February 14, 2018
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The FAPUASA submitted suggestions to the HED PHOTO: FILE

The FAPUASA submitted suggestions to the HED PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) on Tuesday submitted its reservations and suggestions to the Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) pertaining to eligibility criteria for appointment of vice chancellors at public sector universities in the province.

In a statement, the association said it had sent a letter addressed to the secretary HED, signed by FAPUASA Punjab President Dr Javed Ahmad, Central Vice President Dr Shoaib Ahmed, UET TSA President Dr Sohail Aftab Qureshi, Vice President Dr Zafar Noon, PU syndicate members Dr Sajid Rashid and Dr Mahboob Hussain and UET Syndicate Member Dr Abdul Sattar Shaker.

FAPUASA claimed that the new eligibility criteria ignored some very basic and vital parameters of measurement of professional excellence of an academic leader. For instance, no marks were given for post-doc experience, no credit for PhD and MPhil research supervision, no weightage was given for university-level teaching experience, no credit for membership/fellowship of national/international academic organisations/bodies and no weightage for academic research projects was given in the new criteria.

FAPUASA further said overall in the criteria, systematically space had been created for entry of non-academic managers which was not acceptable while the management experience must be relevant to academic/research experience.

The statement read: “The letter, pointing out technical deficiencies, stated that the basic qualification for the post of VC must be PhD in relevant field of university, instead of preferably PhD. In the criteria, additional marks for MA degree and lowering basic qualification of vice chancellorship would be ridiculous and unacceptable. FAPUASA has pointed out that work experience was not clear that what kind of organisation a candidate must have worked for.”

FAPUASA 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 also pointed out that no funding agency had extended Rs500 million grant to individuals from academic/research organisations. Weightage must be given to establishing/restructuring academic organisations instead of controversially approved criteria of non-academic organisations, otherwise irrelevant professionals would get shortlisted.

The criterion regarding publications, honours and awards of the candidates clearly disregarded the spirit of distinguished research and publication record. Technically publications meant publication in high reputed JCR listed peer reviewed international journals or HEC recognised journals but this was not well defined.

The statement said: “Similarly, definition of a book was not clear. Will a poetry book be considered for getting credit?”

Pointing out legal issues, the statement of the teachers’ body said the criteria in question were unsustainable and in violation of the judgment of the honourable Lahore High Court PLD 2017 Lahore 289 (DB). Citing the judgment, FAPUASA said that the federation could set standards in institutions of higher education under entry 12 of part II of Federal Legislative List.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2018.

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