ISLAMABAD: As over 5000 teachers including Assistant Professors, Associate Professors and Professors who were scheduled to protest against revision of fund policy by Higher Education Commission (HEC) have postponed their scheduled plan after the commission, through a notice, has tried to clarify the policy.
The professors under the umbrella of All Pakistan Tenure Track Faculty Association (APTTA), a representative body of Tenure Track System (TTS) faculty across Pakistan, had earlier announced to gather outside HEC office on March 15, 2023 to protest against the HEC’s new policy which according to them was to ultimately ruin their future.
Through the new funding policy, HEC had informed all universities it would not be able to fund any new TTS program while capping the funding for existing TTS faculty which too merged with the recurrent budget of universities. The HEC has cited financial /grants constraints as the reason behind damaging its own indigenous program of TTS started in 2003, under which the highly qualified PhD teachers were given attractive packages in public universities while shouldering a considerable portion of salary and perks of these teachers.
However, through the notice, a copy of which is available with this scribe, the HEC has clarified that payment of salary contribution and career progression of the existing faculty hired under TTS is protected as per revised TTS funding policy-2022-23. However, new appointments and time-barred cases shall not be funded.
Moreover, as per the HEC, the commission’s contribution shall be standardized for differential payment over and above BPS salary prescribed by the respective government.
According to HEC, in a letter to all the public sector universities and higher education institutions, HEC has clarified that for existing TTS faculty members whose cases are not time-barred and already funded by HEC, it is assured that HEC will continue paying its contribution including differential amount over and above BPS prescribed by the Government (Federal/Provincial), gratuity/13th TTS salary, TTS annual increment and impact of promotions.
To this effect, HEC Finance Division has already communicated revised TTS allocation-2022-23 for endorsement by the institutions. Additional or overpaid adjustment shall be made in the 4th quarter of the current financial year.
The universities have been advised to continue releasing admissible salary benefits to existing TTS faculty members already funded by HEC.
“Further, it has been emphasized that HEC shall make every effort to fund new/fresh TTS cases appointed before circulation of HEC funding policy-2022-23 dated July 29, 2022. In this regard, universities have been asked to share appointment details/documents of fresh TTS cases at the earliest for further decision in this regard,” the notice said.
When contacted Dr Noman Khan, Information secretary of APTTA, informed that the protest call has been postponed after the HEC’s clarification and a subsequent meeting with Executive Director of HEC Shahista Suhail by a delegation of APTTA.
During the meeting, while discussing the time barred cases, it has been clarified that if the delay is due to administrative issues then relief should be given to the faculty member whereas if the performance is not completed then these cases should be considered as time barred. The delegation professors emphasized that there are many problems of TTS faculty which need immediate solution. The Executive Director issued directives to Research Innovation and Development, Quality Assurance Division and Finance Division to speed up the progress on TTS Model Statutes Version III and bring the recommendations to the Commission within a month.
The HEC has been informed that another major problem of TTS is non-implementation of existing statutes by universities. However the officials have assured the professors that HEC will soon issue a directive in this regard through which the bodies and universities will be asked to fully implement these statutes. The APTTA delegation said that HEC is expected to solve these problems during Ramadan. Otherwise, the TTS teachers will be forced to come to the streets, for which APTTA has postponed its protest from March 15 to May 3.