LAHORE - The Higher Education Department (HED) and Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA) are at loggerheads over monitoring of government colleges showing poor results.

The Punjab government has ordered monitoring of public sector colleges, which are consistently showing poor results.After ex-HED secretary Irfan Ali was transferred, monitoring was brought to a halt because his successor, Capt (r) Nasim Nawaz, focused on non-issues.

However, incumbent HED Secretary Nabeel Awan has expressed his commitment to revive the check and balance system. As per a letter written by the director general of Directorate Public Instructions (DPI) Colleges to divisional directors, class attendance must be maintained and presented to monitoring officer when required. Principals must ensure punctuality of all staff.

The letter carries similar instructions about maintenance of discipline. The DG also expressed his annoyance at poor performance of public sector colleges compared to private colleges in 2017.

On the other hand, PPLA objected to monitoring measures. In an emergency meeting recently, PPLA expressed serious concerns over HED’s move to inspect public colleges and circulate disciplinary measures.

Announcing protest by weaning black ribbons and one hour boycott of classes, they said the contractual officials could not monitor the teachers. A PPLA member said the department should maintain its own discipline and proposed some other options.

Secretary Nabeel Awan was unavailable to comment. However a senior official said the move was aimed at bettering government 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 through a committee which includes the District Education Officer (Colleges) and the principal of 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.

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/PhD. Moreover, a pilot project to address the issue of teacher absenteeism has been initiated in selected colleges of Lahore district by installing biometric machines.