Sunday December 04, 2022

Permanent VCs appointment: Sorry state of affairs in Sindh’s public varsities

May 26, 2022

KARACHI: The controlling authority of public universities in Sindh has consistently disregarded the state of affairs in the province, giving lower priority to higher education and involving in ad-hocism, which has plagued the department, FAPUASA official said.

The vice chancellors of 10 public universities are yet to be appointed, and the department has been ignoring the recommendations of the search committee for quite some time. Using their influence, several vice chancellors continue to work although their terms have ended.

Begum Nusrat Bhutto Women University Sukkur has not been given permanent vice chancellor since its inception. An acting vice chancellor has been appointed for the third consecutive term since March 6, 2018 and the third acting VC of women’s university has been male, namely Dr Shehzad Naseem, instead of any female being appointed for the post although the search committee had sent the names of three female candidates to the Sindh CM six months ago.

The country’s largest university, Karachi University, has been without a permanent vice chancellor for three years. After the demise of Dr. Ajmal Khan, Vice Chancellor of Karachi University on May 4, 2018, Prof. Dr. Khalid Iraqi, who came second in the number of search committee, was appointed as acting vice chancellor. But due to the incompetence of department boards and universities, two advertisements of VC were issued and the matter went to the Sindh High Court and after two and a half years, Dr. Khalid Iraqi was dismissed on the order of High Court. Subsequently, Dr Nasira Khatun, became the acting vice chancellor on the basis of seniority till the interim period which is still going on.

Meanwhile, Nisar Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor of IBA Sukkur, passed away on June 22, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, Dr. Mir Muhammad Shah has been appointed as the acting Vice Chancellor, delaying permanent VC’s appointment for the last two years. Dr. Bhai Khan Shar was appointed as acting Vice Chancellor on September 8, 2020 at Shaheed Allah Bakhsh Soomro University of Art, Design and Heritage Jamshoro. The university still lacks a permanent VC. Dr. Faiz Abbasi, Vice Chancellor of Dawood Engineering College, completed his second term in mid-June 2021. The search committee sent three names to the Sindh chief minister for approval in June last year, but the summary of names has been lying before the Sindh chief minister for over a year.

Dr. Samreen Hussain has been appointed as acting Vice Chancellor of Aror University of Art and Architecture Design and Heritage Sukkur. Before that, she also served as acting Vice Chancellor of Women’s University Sukkur. Dr. Madad Ali Shah, Vice Chancellor of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University of Technology, and Skills Development, Khairpur, was not given second tenure and on March 7 this year, Dr. Noor Ahmed Sheikh was appointed as acting VC from Shah Abdul Latif University. Dr. Beka Ram, Vice Chancellor of Liaquat Medical University, Jamshoro, completed his first tenure last year and after that, Dr. Ikramuddin Ajan was appointed as acting Vice Chancellor and he is still holding the post. Mehran Engineering University Vice Chancellor Dr. Aslam Aqeeli completed two tenures on January 25, 2022, following which Prof. Taha Hussain Ali was appointed as acting Vice Chancellor.

The Vice Chancellor of Lyari University, Dr. Akhtar Baloch, was suspended for sending a video to a female member of the Assembly three months ago and the post had been filled by Dr. Amjad, a non-PhD and medical practitioner on political grounds. The interesting thing is that Siraj Memon is also working as permanent Vice Chancellor of Jinnah Sindh Medical University.

Prof. Nasrullah Pirzada, General Secretary Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) Sindh Chapter, said higher education is not among the priorities of the Sindh chief minister, therefore, the universities are suffering from ad-hocism. Permanent VCs are neither appointed nor advertised, while the higher education is divided into boards and Sindh HEC, he said, adding that there is a need to strengthen the Sindh HEC.

Rasheed Channa, spokesman for the controlling authority of public universities and chief minister Sindh, responded to the questions posed by The News in a conventional manner, saying that the matter of appointments is being discussed and they will make announcements soon in this regard.

The News was told by two serving and one former VCs that as long as the goernor was the controlling authority everything was going well but since it was transferred to the CM, ad-hocism started.