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April 21, 2016

QAU ASA at loggerheads with HEC

Islamabad

April 21, 2016

Islamabad

The Academic Staff Association of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) and Higher Education Commission (HEC) came in direct conflict with each other this week when Executive Council (EC) of Quaid-i-Azam University’s Academic Staff Association took stand against what they say is an attempt by the HEC to influence QAU’s administrative matters.

A statement issued by the QAU Academic Staff Association Executive Council (EC) on Tuesday condemned the HEC chairman for what they believed was purposefully bulldozing the proceedings of the 167th meeting of the Syndicate held on April 12, 2016 in an attempt to have decisions of his own choice on some selected agenda items.

It said that in a letter recently written to the HEC chairman, President ASA Professor Dr. Asif Ali conveyed the concern of the teaching community over the decisions taken in the 167th meeting of the Syndicate to demote the faculty members including Dr. Waheed Iqbal, an elected member of the Syndicate from the constituency of Associate Professors of QAU, to an observer status under the pressure and influence of the HEC Chairman and in violation of the Rules of Business of the Syndicate of QAU.

The letter termed the interference a worst example of willful abuse of authority. “We strongly believe that Dr. Waheed was (and still is) the Tenured Associate Professor of Anthropology as well as an elected member of the Syndicate and so are the other faculty members” said the President ASA.

“Being the leader of Higher Education in Pakistan the Chairman should present himself as a role model for others in the meetings of the Syndicate of QAU and should proceed strictly according to the1973 Act of QAU including the Rules of Business approved by the Authorities for smooth functioning of the Syndicate,” said Dr Asif in the letter.

Quaid-i-Azam University’s 1973 Act and the rules available in the University Calendar 2012 clearly states about the disputes of membership of authorities stating that “If a question arises whether any person is entitled to be a member of an Authority, the matter shall be referred to a committee consisting of the Vice-Chancellor, the judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan who is a member of the Syndicate and the most senior of the Deans who are members of the Syndicate; and the decision of this committee shall be binding”.

In the same manner Syndicate also violated the rule which states the communication of decisions as “Any previous decision of the Syndicate shall not ordinarily be re-considered within 6 months of the decision in a subsequent meeting of the Syndicate without the special permission of the Vice-Chancellor or at a request received in writing from more than half of the total members of the Syndicate.”

The letter mentioned that the Executive Council of ASA unanimously believes that the Syndicate has clearly violated the above quoted rules in its 167th Meeting and the decisions were taken hurriedly in demoting faculty members and about the Syndicate membership of the Dr. Waheed Iqbal.

ASA President Dr. Asif Ali stated that faculty does not want to retaliate but would prefer to achieve its legitimate goals enshrined in the statutes through argument, logic and reason and expects that from now onwards rules, reason and wisdom would prevail otherwise the faculty reserves the right to protest and go to any extent.

On the other hand, the HEC says that it has annulled appointment of some faculty members of the University due to violation of approved criteria for appointment of university teachers on Tenure Track System (TTS).

A statement issued by HEC on Wednesday says that QAU’s 167th Syndicate meeting was chaired by Vice Chancellor of the University. Besides others, the HEC Chairman also attended the meeting as a Member of the Syndicate. The meeting reviewed anomalies in appointment of some faculty members, working on TTS, who have been appointed in violation of the prescribed criteria.

Although it was mentioned in the notifications that appointments shall be effective subject to endorsement by the Higher Education Commission, yet the University made these appointments in anticipation without waiting for the endorsement. Evaluation of these cases at HEC revealed that they do not qualify for these appointments as per approved criteria, and the same was also communicated to the university.

Discussion during the Syndicate meeting revealed that, though well aware of the fact that relevant faculty members did not qualify for appointment, the university deliberately recommended the cases in previous meeting of the Syndicate and managed approval of these cases.

It says that the Assistant Professor, who was appointed as Associate Professor, had published only one research paper in HEC recognised research journal against requirement of 10 for the purpose.

Similarly, an Associate Professor was appointed after two years of service on Tenure Track as against minimum requirement of four years. Earlier he had gone to the court to plead the case but the court had rejected his plea. Unfortunately, the Syndicate was kept in dark about the court’s decision and the individual was appointed from the back date and paid millions of rupees as salary with retrospective date.

Furthermore, in another case the faculty member had assumed an unauthorised academic administration position in violation of the Tenure Track Statutes. The duration on this position could not be counted towards appointment, still the university went ahead with the decision which was against the rules.

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