Losing charm: Lucrative private sector incentives hit public universities’ faculty retention rates

Teachers’ retention issues in public sector universities cause debilitating blow to research.

Riazul Haq November 19, 2013
Teachers’ retention issues in public sector universities cause debilitating blow to research.


Public sector universities are losing charm for teachers having strong academic and research backgrounds as private sector universities are providing more incentives and better financial packages for them to join their faculty.

When the tenure track statues (TTS) was initiated by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in 2006 to strengthen faculties of public sector universities, many university teachers working under the basic pay scale (BPS) across the country resigned and joined the TTS, as more incentives were offered to teachers under the initiative.

The teachers’ retention issue in public sector universities is causing a debilitating blow to research work and overall academic output at these institutions, sources and faculty members said.

During the recent Vice Chancellor’s Forum in Islamabad, former HEC chairperson Dr Attaur Rehman also expressed concern over teacher retention issues at public sector universities. He urged for recruiting more PhDs in public sector universities.

The mushroom growth of private universities has led to more demand for qualified teachers, and as a result, more and more teachers from public sector universities are cashing in the opportunities by joining them at competitive packages.

This exodus of faculties may compromise the research work and the overall academic performances at public sector universities notwithstanding the HEC’s effort to offer various programmes including MS and post doctorate programmes to address the retention issue.

“Now there is a slight difference between salaries of BPS teachers and those working under the TTS, hence leaving no attraction for teachers to work under the initiative,” said Dr Zafar Iqbal, chairman of the Department of Media & Communication Studies at International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI).

“It is time new teachers are recruited and salaries revised to stop this brain drain of teachers from public sector universities,” he said.

University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan agreed that they were also facing such issues at the faculty of management sciences, clinical science and social sciences. “Dues to good financial packages and incentives, teachers are joining private universities,” he said.

HEC Executive Director Dr Mukhtar Ahmad said the failure to pursue the TTS policy since 2011 has created a sense of deprivation and outcry among the academia. “We are soon going to revise the policy and the government has been asked to give raise of up to 10 per cent in salaries to teachers,” he said.

“There is a need to set a benchmark and define the minimum salary for starters to recruit them and stop interuniversity transfers, otherwise, you will witness a mass exodus of teachers in the next few years,” said Dr Khan.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2013.


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