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January 26, 2017

Five public sector universities in KP functioning without VCs


January 26, 2017

PESHAWAR:  At least five public sector universities in the province are currently functioning without a vice-chancellor.

This is causing administrative problems in the universities. Besides, this shows the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI)-led coalition government’s lack of seriousness about higher education.The failure to make timely appointment of regular vice-chancellors and pro-vice-chancellors in the universities is also a violation of the Universities Act, which saw multiple amendments by the current government.

Presently, the University of Peshawar, Bacha Khan University Charsadda, University of Swabi and Malakand University are without a vice-chancellor.The office at the University of Peshawar fell vacant on January 24 with the retirement of Prof Dr Rasul Jan. The remaining three universities are without a vice-chancellor since January 16.

The vice-chancellors of the University of Haripur, Khushal Khan University Karak and Bannu University of Science and Technology also completed their term on January 16. As pro-vice-chancellors had already been appointed there, they took over as acting heads of those universities.

The provincial government in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Act (Amended) 2016 specially created the post of pro-vice chancellors in the public sector universities and made the government bound to initiate the process of appointing a full time vice-chancellor six months prior to the completion of the tenure of the incumbent so that the practice of ad hocism could be ended.

But the authorities concerned on the one hand failed to appoint pro-vice-chancellors in all the universities and also delayed the process of appointment of new vice-chancellors. This is the reason that several universities are now without a regular vice-chancellor or even an acting one, which is a violation of the law passed by the current government.

According to Khalid Khan, Additional Secretary Higher Education Department, summaries for appointment of pro-vice-chancellors have already been moved and a final decision was expected.

However, he was unable to give proper justification for the inordinate delay in the process.According to sources, the summaries for appointment of pro-vice-chancellors at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar and University of Peshawar were moved nine months back but the appointment couldn’t be made due to “political pressure”.

This is the reason that the UET Peshawar has been functioning under an acting vice-chancellor for more than one year.Additional Secretary Khalid Khan said they were facing problems in appointing a pro-vice chancellor in the University of Swabi and Bacha Khan University Charsadda due to the non-availability of senior faculty members.

He said the case of the University of Malakand was different, where the KP Universities’ Act can’t be extended and they had moved a summary for appointment of an acting vice-chancellor.Owing to the non-availability of the vice-chancellors the universities are facing administrative and academic issues.

At some universities even mismanagement was reported.At the Bacha Khan University, the first anniversary of the terrorist attack was observed recently, but due to the non-appointment of the vice-chancellor there was chaos and slogan-chanting.

None of the dignitaries at the federal and provincial level could visit the Bacha Khan University to extend sympathies to the bereaved families, the students and the faculty members of the institution.

At the University of Swabi, the former vice-chancellor left the charge with the treasurer of the university, who cannot act as head of the seat of higher studies by any justification. At the University of Peshawar too the vice-chancellor left the charge to registrar and the administrative officers at the registrar’s office were worried about signing the ‘urgent degrees’ let alone other functions.

“What shall we do with the urgent degrees, which can be issued only after the signature of the vice-chancellor. This is a serious issue. People do apply for urgent degree owing to pressing need,” said an officer.

At Malakand University, where all the powers are vice-chancellor-centric, the situation is severe. This is the university which has not got any full time registrar and treasurer and the vice-chancellor has been all-in-all. Now, as there is no vice-chancellor even minor decision pertaining to administration or academics cannot be taken.

The students of this university were scheduled to leave for a study tour on January 24, but they couldn’t do so due to the non-availability of the vice-chancellor. The current administration can’t decide even to buy fuel for power generators and owing to unscheduled power loadshedding severe problems are faced.

The signing of degrees and taking other academic and administrative issues are far bigger.Some senior professors in an informal chat at the University of Peshawar were heard saying that the delay in appointment of pro- and acting and regular vice-chancellors for public sector universities were enough to show the interest of the provincial education department in higher education. Some others were of the opinion that same was the situation at every department in the province.



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