ISLAMABAD: Through a letter addressed to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, controlling authority of Higher Education Commission (HEC), Central President of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA), Prof Dr Kaleemullah Bareach and President Islamabad chapter Dr Shehzad Ashraf Chaudhry demanded for immediate appointment of Acting Chairperson Higher Education Commission.
The letter mentions that FAPUASA appreciated the formation of an apolitical committee consisting of reputed academicians for the appointment of Chairperson Federal Higher Education Commission. It was very pleasing that the committee initiated the process to induct new chairman HEC, for which applications had already been invited.
The letter further states that Higher education in Pakistan nowadays is facing a number of problems of severe nature, which has damaged its image and progress. Specifically, the universities of federal capital are passing through the most turbulent time in the history.
Recently, NAB has taken up the case of irregularities in appointment of current chairman HEC Dr Mukhtar Ahmed. Furthermore, an application has been filed in NAB against his involvement in land purchase scam at Islamabad for FUUAST.
During recent times, HEC has failed to utilize approximately fifty percent of its development budget, which has deprived the universities of critical infrastructures like labs, faculty blocks and hostels. The contractual and ad-hoc appointments are at rampant in HEC as well as in varsities.
Critical and policy decisions are being made through these contractual employees who do not have any stake at all, such contractual appointments are also the violation of the verdicts of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The policy decisions are being made in violations of HEC act, the media has also reported several irregularities.
The letter further stated that four years tenure of current chairman HEC would be going to expired on April 14, 2018, the universities are helpless due to inactiveness of the current chairman.
According to the media reports, when the selection process for appointment of new HEC head is underway, attempts are being made to convene HEC Commission meeting to legalize the illegitimate steps which were taken in violations of HEC Act and rules. According to the letter, Prime Minister was requested to nominate a member of the commission from the available HEC Commission members as per HEC Ordinance to act as acting chairman till the time search committee completes the process.
Meanwhile, Central President Dr Kaleemullah Barech while talking to various delegations of university faculty from different cities, emphasized over the end of extension culture in the higher education sector and appointment of heads through competitive, transparent, open and merit-based mechanism under the supervision of neutral search committee comprising of senior academicians.