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January 14, 2019

Reservation shown over PHEC chairperson

National

January 14, 2019

LAHORE: The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association has expressed serious reservation over temporary appointment of Higher Education secretary as chairperson of the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC). In a press statement, FAPUASA President Dr Mahboob Hussain, Punjab President Dr. Hamid Mukhtar and others have said that the temporary appointment of the secretary was based on mala fide intentions of the bureaucracy as it wanted to bring the higher education system under its clutches. They said that the appointment of a non-PhD person as chairman of Punjab's apex higher education body showed the level of seriousness of the government about the higher education sector. They said the government should appoint any member of the PHEC, who could meet basic eligibility criteria for the post.

They said that teachers of all universities in Punjab had expressed disappointment over the government's decision since it was humiliation of teachers because a non-PhD junior bureaucrat would chair meetings in which senior PhD faculty members, internationally-acknowledged academicians and vice-chancellors of universities, who serve in scale equal to grade 22, were members. They said that the government, instead of giving respect to teachers and ensuring autonomy of higher education system as promised, had taken a step to strengthen the bureaucratic control over higher education institutions which would have drastic consequences.

They said that the controversial appointment would make PHEC non-functional for another three months. They said that universities were the only institutions in Pakistan that were rapidly making progress at national and international level in the past 15 years only because they remained free of political and bureaucratic influence. They called upon Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Higher Education Minister Raja Yasir Humayun to immediately withdraw the appointment of a non-PhD person as PHEC acting chairman and appoint any person meeting the basic eligibility criteria out of senior members of the commission. They also demanded of the government immediately advertise the post of PHEC chairman so that the seat could be filled in a regular manner and appropriate steps could be taken to improve the higher education sector in the province.

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