VCs decry amended universities act tabled in assembly

Published: February 19, 2015
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According to VCs, the government’s move is being seen as a bid to take away the powers of universities’ authorities and will damage governance in public universities. STOCK IMAGE

According to VCs, the government’s move is being seen as a bid to take away the powers of universities’ authorities and will damage governance in public universities. STOCK IMAGE

PESHAWAR: 

Vice chancellors (VC) of various public universities of the province have expressed concerns about the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Universities (Amendment) Act 2015 tabled in the provincial assembly on Tuesday, saying powers of chancellors and VCs will be directly affected.

In a meeting held on Wednesday at the University of Peshawar, VCs expressed their reservations over the “one-sided” amendments proposed by the government, saying their recommendations had been ignored.

According to VCs, the government’s move is being seen as a bid to take away the powers of universities’ authorities and will damage governance in public universities.

University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar Vice Chancellor Imtiaz Hussain Gillani said the government should take a decision on the amendments after a detailed assessment.

“All relevant stakeholders should be taken into confidence and the Act should only be finalised after getting approval from all quarters,” said Gillani.

The VC said the government should consider the long-term impacts of the amendments. “All VCs have made a joint committee which will submit its recommendations. The government should not ignore these recommendations and must include them in the final Act,” said Gillani.

Bone of contention

The amended act makes the chief minister the chancellor of universities instead of the governor who was chancellor under the Universities Act 2012.

According to the amendments, on the recommendations of the varsity’s senate, the chancellor (chief minister) shall remove any member of the senate on account of “allegation of misconduct, inefficiency, corruption, moral turpitude or physical or mental incapacity after a resolution passed with simple majority by the Senate.” VCs fear this will politicise senate appointments and ultimately affect the autonomy and running of universities.

VCs are also irked by proposed changes to their tenures. Under the 2012 Act, a VC’s term was four years, however, the amended bill has reduced the term to three years and subjected the appointment to terms and condition determined by the government.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.

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