Islamabad-The ministry of federal education has stirred up a controversy in the selection process of the heads of the three public sector universities of the city after it suddenly issued a ‘selection performa’ to the candidates before calling them for the final interview, The Nation learned on Saturday.

Number of applicants, who applied on the vacant posts of Vice Chancellors (VCs)/rector of the three public sector federal universities expressed reservations on the performa issued to them by the education ministry during the selection process.

The ministry has to appoint the heads of Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and International Islamic University (IIU) as the top positions of all three universities will be vacant during this month.   

Sources informed The Nation that around 350 applicants waiting for the interview call, suddenly received a six point comprehensive performa by the ministry, requiring further information about the candidates.

As per the performa, the applicants were asked to explain their vision on six points including providing information about ‘leadership and vision, inspiring students, managing employees, managing budget, raising funds and interacting with the government, while protecting the university from undue external influence’.

Interestingly, the performa in its indicators section asks the candidate to provide the information about his/her ‘advanced degree, preferably but not necessarily a PhD degree, from a reputable university’.

Sources said that the performa was issued to the applicants on September 27 and was directed to be submitted back on September 28.

According to an official, the ministry initially delayed the process of selection of the candidates advertised in the month of March, and later was left with no time to scrutinize the detailed CVs of around 350 candidates.

Each candidate along with his/her detailed CV had submitted dossiers of their qualifications containing hundreds of pages, said the official.

“If ministry had examined those detailed documents of the candidates in previous six months it was not necessary to issue another six page performa to the candidates in haste,” said the official.

The official said that the transparency in the selection process of the candidates has become controversial as after the number of highly qualified candidates didn’t receive interview call after submitting this performa to the ministry.

It was not practical to scrutinize the 350 performas in four days as the interviews for the shortlisted candidates started on October 3 and concluded on 5th October, official added.

“It was a shortcut to expedite the process and favor the blue eyed candidates,” said the official.

 The official said that after the submission of the performa 28 candidates were shortlisted for the interview which was held on 3rd 4th and 5th of October.

The newly formed search committee will further shortlist nine names, 3 each for the university and send it to the Prime Minister for the final approval.

The new search committee was composed in the last week of September and was comprised of federal minister for education Shafqat Mehmood, secretary federal education Arshad Mirza, chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr. Tariq Banuri, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Salman Ghani and Syed Javed Hassan.

A senior official said that the committee remained incomplete in all three days of the interview process and some none-members conducted the interviews.

The official said that each member was responsible for giving marks of interview to each candidate on his profile but the interviewers themselves remained absent from the proceedings.

“The candidates with controversial credentials were called for interview and highly competent were ignored,” said official.

The official also said that the selection process had become a complex matter as the applicants had applied for three separate universities but the process was being carried together.

The names of the shortlisted candidates for interview include former chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, outgoing rector IIU Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, former Executive Director (ED) HEC Mansoor Akbar Kundi, Dr. Zabita Khan (Quaid-e-Azam University) , Dr. Shaheena and Professor Dr. Mohammad Ali (GC Faislabad)

Spokesperson ministry of federal education Taimoor Ali Khan responding to The Nation said that 28 candidates were shortlisted for the interview, 10 appeared on Wednesday, 08 on Thursday and 12 on Friday.

He said that the search committee issued the performa to the applicants setting criteria for the selection of the post and were shortlisted for the interview on the information provided.

He said that each candidate was given marks against his qualification and experience provided in the performa.

He added that the indicators were set according to qualification of the candidates.