Nine universities have been working without permanent Vice Chancellors in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a similar situation exists in Punjab and Sindh where many higher education institutions are running without proper leadership for nearly two years, according to the chairman of Higher Education Commission. This revelation was made at a meeting of the Senate sub-committee on federal education and professional training. They were supposed to discuss the appointments of Hazara University employees from grade 1 to 22, and ended up being provided with a working paper by the university saying even their VC was missing because the post was never filled.

The most unfortunate aspect is that these posts have not been filled despite the fact that eligible students have returned from abroad after attaining their PhDs and yet are denied posts and promotions. If these seats are not going to be filled by merit or even through political or personal connections, then the matter is one of bureaucratic failure and inefficiency. PTI has always maintained that education will take precedence over other sectors and yet it is saddening to witness the neglect that these universities have faced due to lack of apparent political will. The same goes for the ruling party which has not always kept education at the top of its priority list contrary to its rhetoric.

To fill the seats for the sake of diverting bad press will simply not do. The bureaucratic structures of the HEC that guide higher education are clearly failing. These are massive public institutions, places where millions of rupees are channeled into to ensure that higher education is within reach of thousands of students. If we hope to make the quality of higher education in the country at par with that offered abroad and offer better opportunities for academics, these universities must not lack direction and leadership.