LAHORE - The increasing number of the parliamentarians into university syndicates has raised fears of politicising the varsity matter.

There used to be only one MPA as member of the university syndicate till 2002. But in the Musharraf regime, the number of MPAs was increased to three and even more in some of the universities, a VC said on anonymity.

The University of Gujrat has more than three parliamentarians including provincial and national assembly members on eminent seats.

There are statutory and non-statutory bodies in the universities and among the statutory there are three major apex bodies including the Senate, the Syndicate and Academic Council. Traditionally role of the Senate is general policy making, that of the syndicate is decision making and implementation and that of the Academic Council is to framing of academic regulations and related matters.

The teaching as well as administrative environment of the universities has been compromised owing to presence of such political people in the top decision making bodies of the universities, the VC held. He said that other members of the syndicate who are also the additional secretaries to the finance, education and law departments, also stand by these MPAs. The same was confirmed by the VC of another university also seeking secrecy. He said that the MPAs’ could also break the syndicate’s quorum if the VC didn’t come up to their expectations.

“Once when he as the VC refused to approve over six million rupees against substandard work, the MPs broke the quorum and the syndicate meeting could not be held for over a year,” he stated. Only MPAs with educational backgrounds or highly qualified members should be posted as syndicate members, he proposed.

The political interference in other provinces universities besides destroying the research and education environment has also forced the VCs prematurely leave their offices, the university head added. He said that Dr Mansoor Akbar Kundi, VC of Gomal University allegedly had to face music after he refused to verify the fake degree of Rahimdad Khan.

Likewise, agitating undue political interference, Shah Abdul Latif University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nilofer Shaikh had also to tender resignation just after she was posted as VC.

Quoting Dr Nilofer, the VC said: “When she was not ready to give in to political pressure regarding out of merit appointments, the university grant was stopped, thus creating hurdles in the affairs of the educational institution.”

A key political figure had sent the VC a list of persons to be appointed as lecturers and assistant professors failing which they forced the woman VC resign, the VC held.

When contacted PML-N MNA, Ch Jafar Iqbal, who is also member of the UOG Syndicate, rejected the VCs’ stance that the MPs interference into the administrative affairs of the varsities. He said that it was a war among the HED, HEC, University VCs. The VCs want and demand funds from the government but reject MPs induction into their syndicates.

“Had there no MP in the syndicate, the VCs would have fill the universities with their kin and class fellows ignoring the people of the area where the campus was situated,” Iqbal stated. He defended the role of the MPs in the top varsity bodies saying they balance the VC’s unlimited powers. He said that such people were nominated as syndicate members who were no literate at all.

He acknowledged that the roles of the HED and the HEC were overlapping and the need was to reduce role of HED and bureaucracy in the educational matters. He said that he wanted a university status for a century old Rasool College of Technology, but the bureaucracy was the major hurdle. There was no technology council in the country so establishment of technology universities was at stake, he held. He said that the Federal HEC should do policy making only while the PHEC and the HED should implement them.

A LCWU member of the Syndicate MPA Raheela Khadim Hussain termed her attending the meeting as useful. She said during the tenure of outgoing VC Dr Sabiha Mansoor, she used to attend the top body meetings and the body used to incorporate their proposal for betterment. As members of the syndicate we objected hiring of faculty members from other provinces on very high packages, she said, and the VC Dr Sabiha had to surrender.

When this paper put the question that the same was held a couple of days ago when a selection board was convened to appoint faculty on tenure track, Raheela said, she did not know it because she didn’t attend the last two syndicate meetings.

When contacted an officer of the HED on anonymity said that the HEC could not come up to the expectations in the province and the VCs were exploiting government on many matters.

The politicians want their men be inducted into university pools and they develop relations with the VCs who in turn issued fake degrees. He said that the need was a top level audit of the universities that could highlight ranking of universities on the basis of their research, faculty and gauging other impact factors that was missing.

He said that despite all the autonomy given to the VCs, the key administrative as well as faculty slots were vacant.

On the one hand, due to lack of the Pro-VCs, the VCs influence the academic council in many of the public sector universities while they have to compromise with the political members in the syndicate meetings, the official added.