LAHORE:Amid serious concerns over alleged violation of merit in recent appointments and budget deficit, Punjab University (PU) Syndicate approved the university’s budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 here on Tuesday.
A three-member committee was also formed over the recent controversial appointments against which representations were filed by some faculty members while recommendations of different selection boards for the rest of the appointments were approved.
It is pertinent to mention here that recently a number of PU Syndicate members had expressed concerns over merit violation in the appointments of faculty at differrent departments whose orders of appointment were issued by the former PU VC Prof Dr Niaz Ahmed using emergency powers. The 1746th meeting of the PU Syndicate, chaired by Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Saleem Mazhar, recommended Rs13.8 billion budget for the approval of Senate for the year 2022-23.
Some Syndicate members also raised objections to the distribution of the newly-created posts in different departments, on which a committee comprising members of the Syndicate Dr Rafiullah Khan, Dr Asghar Iqbal, Dr Tahira Sikandar and Treasurer was constituted, which will review the distribution of seats in different departments.
For the controversial appointments, a committee has also been formed which comprises Dr Asghar Iqbal, PU Registrar Rauf Nawaz and the university’s Law Officer Iftikhar Tarrar.
Some of the participants of the meeting also raised objections to the panel sent by the former Vice Chancellor for the appointment of a Dean as a member of the Syndicate. They also expressed serious concerns over the restructuring of the university saying this had resulted in a severe financial crisis. They also called for the appointment of the Professor Emeritus on the basis of academic and research excellence rather than administrative services.
Talking to ‘The News’, one of the complainants Associate Prof Dr Shabbir Sarwar said that his main concern raised in the all three submitted applications over appointments before Syndicate and VC proved true in the circulated proceedings of the selection board as two referees Dr Adnan bin Hussein from Malaysia and Dr Joseph Russomanno from USA, had been PhD and post-doc supervisors of a faculty member who was PhD supervisor of one of the appointees. Hence there was conflict of interest, he added.
Talking to The News, Higher Education Department (HED) Punjab Additional Secretary (Universities) Shahid Zaman Lak, who attended the meeting as representative of the department, confirmed that a committee had been formed over the controversial appointments.
Meanwhile a PU spokesperson said that despite facing serious financial pressure amid COVID-19, and being lowest in fee, PU Syndicate decided to continue and providing scholarships to the students so that burden on the pockets of students and their parents could be reduced.
The Syndicate paid tribute to former VC Prof Niaz Ahmad and VC Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar as PVC for uplifting the international QS ranking of the university in an unprecedented manner. The meeting approved anticipatory order of appointments in the light of recommendations of the Selection Board.
On the directions of Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar for increase in PU’s international ranking further and socio-economic impact research, the PU Syndicate allocated Rs226 million as it was the policy of the administration to promote research culture. PU would also continue overseas scholarship scheme for teachers.
The university has allocated Rs78 million for participation in national and international conferences. The university deficit of Rs941 million would be managed by introducing new market based programs, reducing expenditures and adopting austerity measures.
The university expects a total grant of Rs2.9 billion from Higher Education Commission, 22 percent of the total budget while PU would generate the rest of 78 percent from own sources.
According to other salient features of the budget, special students will also be provided with free education along with boarding facilities while students taking admission on sports basis will be provided with free education. The university will continue to waive off tuition fee of Hafiz-e-Quran. Punjab University will provide Rs233 million scholarships to the students.
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