Islamabad: Management of universities is a complex phenomenon for which teachers are tailor-made. Bureaucrats are glorified clerks who are unable to understand the niceties and nuances of leading higher education institutions, faculty leaders have told ‘The News’ in a survey.
Prof Dr Abdul Jalil Khan, president of Academic Staff Association (ASA) of International Islamic University (IIU), was of the view that it is for teachers to take policy decisions for universities while execution of these decisions could be left to bureaucrats. He expressed these views in the wake of objections of a parliamentary panel on appointment of faculty members at top administration offices.
Prof Khan said only a senior teacher understands what environment is conducive for learning and how to create it. The universities that are built as per vision of a teacher promote learning even through their architecture, he said, and those that are built by bureaucrats look like a labyrinth of corridors and staircases, where neither teachers, nor students can focus on research and learning without disturbance.
Execution of policy decisions could be left on bureaucrats but they cannot be tasked with taking these decisions, which is a prerogative of teachers, he said. He said there is a ratio for teachers and administrative staff on campus, which needs to be maintained so that a healthy balance is acquired. He grilled HEC for setting publication of research papers as the only criterion for teachers’ assessment. “We are working on projects that have the potential to contribute in improving the quality of life. Our work should be patented and counted as our achievements to be taken into consideration at the time of promotions,” he concluded.
Dr Shehzad Ashraf, President of Islamabad chapter of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA), said that students and studies should be the top priority for any university. He said teachers are leaders and leadership role on campus is reserved for them. He said the job of administration staff is to facilitate the process of learning, which campuses are meant for.
He said teachers face problems which are compounded by sluggish judicial system. Appreciating the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP)’s vow to straighten out education sector, he said courts should decide cases related to educational institutions swiftly. He said it is deplorable that university administrations do not implement court orders, resulting into decay in standards of learning.
Prof Dr Aqeel Bukhari, president of ASA, Quaid-i-Azam University, told The News that they have tested both models which have pros and cons. “If you appoint bureaucrats or retired army or police officers at administration posts, their focus is on administration and discipline.