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September 29, 2010

UET VC set to win fourth term

September 29, 2010

Lt-Gen (retd) Muhammad Akram Khan is likely to win a fourth term as vice-chancellor of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore, as a summary for an extension in his term has recently been moved to the Punjab chief minister.
It is reliably learnt that the Punjab Higher Education Department has also moved a summary to CM Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif seeking an extension in the tenure of Prof Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin as VC of the University of Gujrat.
However, the initiative of seeking extensions has caused great concern among academic circles as well as aspirants to top academic posts who argue that no one should be treated as indispensable and others should also be given a chance to serve.
The third term of Lt-Gen (retd) Akram Khan expired on February 27, 2010, but he was allowed by the Punjab government to continue working as UET vice-chancellor till further orders. The first term of Dr Nizamuddin as University of Gujrat VC expired on September 10, 2010. Academic circles are divided over the possible outcome of the summaries moved by the department. Some believe the former military man, who was appointed as UET VC during the first tenure of Shahbaz Sharif as Punjab CM, might win the slot again as he was still a favourite administrator of the chief minister.
Others argue that the case of Dr Nizamuddin was not strong as he had been appointed UoG VC during Ch Pervaiz Elahi’s stint as chief minister and he might not be awarded an extension.
There are also those who believe that because of growing resentment against the posting of retired army officers on key posts and pressing demands of academicians for a teacher-VC, Lt-Gen (retd) Akram Khan might not be awarded an extension at all. Nonetheless, aspirants to the top slots are very critical of the government and argue that by awarding extensions a number of potential candidates who could vie for prestigious academic position were being denied their right to compete.
They also

suggested the government advertise posts of VC before the term of any top administrator expired.
The tenure of Prof Dr Munawar S Mirza as University of Education VC will expire on November 20, 2010, while Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) VC Prof Dr Bushra Mateen’s term will expire on November 20, 2010, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan VC Dr Muhammad Zafarullah on January 26, 2011, Government College University (GCU) Lahore VC Prof Dr Khalid Aftab on February 25, 2011, and University of Sargodha VC Prof Dr Muhammad Akram Ch on February 11, 2011.
Stakeholders argue that individuals having strong academic qualifications such as postdoctorate, publications of research papers in local and foreign journals and those having administrative experience should be appointed as VCs.
They are also critical of the Punjab government’s prevailing criteria of giving preference to individuals having PhD degrees from foreign universities, saying by doing so it was discouraging indigenous PhD programmes.
They say those having PhDs from abroad were not only given preference but also awarded 12 marks unlike 8 marks for those having PhD degrees from local universities in recent appointments of VCs of universities including of Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB).
When contacted, a senior official of the Punjab Higher Education Department confirmed that summaries had been moved for an extension in terms of VCs of UET Lahore and the University of Gujrat. However, he added the department had not received any reply.

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