The Punjab government has issued directions to control unbridled public sector colleges that were continuously failing to reflect good results.

After former Higher Education Department Secretary Irfan Ali was transferred from the big educational facility, it was going approximately unchecked. Ali had introduced strict disciplinary measures and ensured attendance of the faculty across the province that gave birth to good academic results. The teachers for the first time had to report early and remain in the college until the college hours.

He also adopted strict transfer and posting policy during his tenure as secretary. Ali also came hard on the officers holding important administrative slots in the department who failed to deliver. He also rejected political interference while making appointments to important positions.

When Capt(R) Nasim Nawaz took office as the HED secretary; he was indulged in non-issues.

Now, Nabeel Awan took office as the HED secretary and expressed his commitment to mend the anomalies the department was facing owing to lack of check and balance in the field.

As per the letter the DG Directorate Public Instructions (DPI) Colleges issued to all the divisional directors, class attendance must be maintained and must be provided to the monitoring officer.

The principals will ensure punctuality and regularity of the faculty and non-faculty staff.
No faculty member will be allowed to deliver a lecture on a chair rather on the rostrum. The approval of casual leave till February was also banned except for the serious reasons. 

Not only monthly test records will be maintained but lesson plans also are displayed in the classrooms. In case of the failure in compliance of the instructions, the relevant Deputy Director and the principal of the college would be responsible.

Moreover, he said that students from Punjab Group of Colleges bagged top positions in 2017 that was a matter of shame for the government sector colleges.

He said that government was paying much more to faculty as compared to the private colleges.
On the other hand, the Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA) in its emergency meeting held in Lahore expressed serious concerns over the department move to inspect the public colleges and circulating other disciplinary measures.

They said that officials recruited on contract could not monitor the teachers. They also announced to register protest by banding black ribbons and one hour boycott of classes.

A PPLA member requesting anonymity said that the department was going unchecked for years and the imposition of such measures would give birth to rage in the teaching community. He said that instead of debuting the IT staff for monitoring, the department better establishes a separate wing as the School Education department did.

As the Secretary Nabeel Awan was not available to comment, a senior officer on secrecy said that the public sector colleges were losing their educational status owing to multiple reasons. Continuously falling results, low attendance of both the faculty and students, teachers’ lack of attention in the college and their focus in private academies were the reasons the public trust on the colleges shattered. On the other hand, this situation favoured the private sector and mushroom growth of private colleges.

The HED has taken many initiatives including induction of the College Teachers Initiative to alleviate the problem of shortage of teaching faculty, a makeshift arrangement. The principals of respective colleges have been authorized to appoint teachers on temporary basis against the vacant positions. The appointments are made by a committee which includes the District Education Officer (Colleges) and the principal of the college.

The Department has initiated an inspection mechanism of public sector colleges in the Punjab that was earlier missing. The inspections are being scheduled by Director Education Colleges and carried out by Director Education Colleges and Deputy Director Colleges of concerned divisions and districts respectively. The detailed inspection report includes key indicators of College performance including enrollment, results and teachers absenteeism etc.

To attract highly qualified scholars and academics, as well as to fill in the vacant posts, the department planned direct appointments against vacant positions of Assistant and Associate Professors. The scheme has the prospects of attracting energetic academics.

In order to ensure regularity and discipline, the department has made 75% attendance mandatory for being eligible to appear in the final examination at all levels and to encourage the students and teaching staff for continuing education and research in their respective fields, the department has initiated special allowance for the staff members who have completed M Phil/Ph D. Moreover, a pilot project to address the issue of teacher absenteeism has been initiated in selected colleges of Lahore district by installing biometric machines.