One of the biggest flaws with Pakistani systems is that policies are not well thought out and when it comes to their implementation, there are serious hurdles that make the fruition of the initiative extremely difficult. One such case is the Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) interim Placement of Fresh PhD Program (IPFP). It was introduced in 2009, and the aim was to appoint scholars for an interim period of one year in a higher education institute. After this one year, they would be officially hired in the department by the university.

As good as it sounds, the plan was too ideal to be implemented because of lack of comprehensive research done on the matter. Almost 350 scholars have been unemployed since the past two years.

The only option that they have is to give up their Rs0.15 million salaries to settle for Rs35000 as visiting faculty. This happens because the universities do not have regular posts to offer. At the same time, they induct new scholars in place of new ones to push the programme forward, instead of accommodating the previous ones. This would not have been the case if HEC had actually made the effort to outline the number of scholars required per discipline, as pointed out by Dr Waheed Chaudhry; Assistant Professor from Department of Anthropology at Quaid-e-Azam University.

HEC claims that the problem is only limited to the public sector universities of the federal capital, and is so because of a ban on recruitment, delays in advertisement, and the unwillingness of the scholars to move to smaller areas. They also believe that it is not their job to get them permanent jobs because the whole idea of spending a year at the institute is to prove your expertise and land a position at the institute.

While guaranteed jobs is principally wrong, the fact that HEC initially promised this is something that they have to own and solve. If all scholars are not getting jobs, maybe not all of them are capable and there has to be a solution for that. At the same time, those who refuse a Rs35000 job in small areas are also right at their position because this is not a good enough incentive to work as compared to Rs0.15 million.

The aim of this move was to promote higher education. Had it been well thought out, HEC would have taken responsibility; and the same time ensured the expertise of PhD scholars rather than just an increase in their number.