Islamabad: Working Group on Higher Education Reforms (WGEHR) has demanded immediate appointment of vice chancellors in Quaid-i-Azam University, Allama Iqbal Open University and Rectors in Comsats and International Islamic Universities.
WGHER comprising senior academicians, higher education experts and elected office-bearers of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) was reacting over the longstanding issue of adhocism and no-merit based appointments at top slots in federally chartered universities and victimisation of the faculty. The also demanded an end to victimisation of faculty especially the active voices by the autocratic administration of the varsities.
In a meeting of the Working Group at QAU, the participants showed their dismay over the adhocism and demanded to form a search committee consisting of eminent scholars with clean background. They recommended that the search process should be open and transparent, where the credentials and marking of each candidate must be made public by placing those on website. They observed that the earlier practice of closed and secret process resulted in appointments of incompetent and illegal persons at top slot in higher education sector.
The participants also demanded a fair and unbiased audit of all previous VCs appointments They also demanded to advertise the vacant positions well before the end of tenures. They opined that the interim setups should perform only day to day affairs. They said the meeting of the Syndicate by a complete interim setup of Comsats University is illegal and the chancellor should take notice of not only illegalities but also victimisation of faculty and stoppage of their salaries by the interim Rector Comsats University.
While appreciating the vision of transparency, merit-based appointments and accountability of the new government, they called for an end to victimisation of the faculty members on whistle-blowing. They said the recent termination of two faculty members of International Islamic University, Islamabad, on exposing the irregularities, malpractices and illegal award of degree to the son of President, IIU, is highly condemnable and is a sheer violation of the promise of Prime Minister Imran khan to not only protect the whistle-blower but to also award him 25 per cent of the recovered amount. If this victimisation is not stopped, no one will bell the cat in future. They hoped that newly elected President of Pakistan, being Chancellor of all Federal universities, would take notice of irregularities and violations at the universities.
They also resolved to monitor all key appointments in higher education and to send their recommendations to the government related to appointment and governance in higher education.