LAHORE - The interviews for appointment of vice chancellors in four public sector universities were postponed for the second time as the Punjab chief minister was not available.

The search committee had already forwarded their recommendations to the CM office for final approval. The notification for the vice chancellors is subject to the CM’s say after conducting interviews of the candidates.

The government is presently looking for VCs of four public universities including PU, Lahore College for Women University (LCWU), University of Sargodha and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Engineering & Technology, Multan.

While to judge candidature for the second or third term, the government has already notified a high level committee. The committee would decide the issue in light of the committee recommendation.

As the VCs appointment was delayed for one reason or the other, the candidates for the top teaching institutions, have started influencing. Dr Mujahid Kamran, the PU VC on look after charge, conducted rallies in his favour.

Prof Dr Farah Malik, a candidate for the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) VC slot made a representation to the Secretary Higher Education Department.

A candidate for the VC of a public sector university conditioning anonymity told this scribe that the entire phenomenon for the selection of VCs was in doldrums because Shahbaz Sharif was not giving time for interview. He said that the CM might be busy conducting meetings for development schemes and Orange Line Project worth 1.6 b $.

“The selection of vice chancellors for the universities in the world remains always of high importance for the progress and prosperity of the highest seats of learning in the countries,” said the professor. The administration plays a central role in the academic development of a university and both for attracting qualified teaching and non-teaching staff and the students.

The role of vice chancellors and their selection procedures are crucial in the organizational structure of a university, he added.

Talking about the VCs selection in the Oxford University, he said, the advisory committee suggested the name of first runner candidate to the congregation and then a voting for the appointment is held for the candidate. By the new reforms in the university system, the VC is no longer has to be a member of the congregation so that an external candidate may be selected.

In the University of Cambridge, the advisory board makes a short list of the best candidates and the University Council conducts all interviews. The Regent House approves and appoints the first runner. Overall, the academic community of the universities in UK participates relatively more in the selection process of vice-chancellors.

In the US system, an advisory committee is set up for the selection of vice-chancellors and the committee consists of representatives of congregation, university council and divisional boards.

He said that in the civilised world, the governments have no such interference in the selection of VCs. In this scenario, the search committee, bureaucracy, politicians and the persons sitting on the helm of affairs all can be approached and have vested interests. Their previous practices show that they all search a person who is always out of merit has many ifs and buts on his/her credibility, competence, experience, political instrumentation, and character.

The eligibility criteria for the appointment of VCs is already under question because the experience the prescribed experience is not sufficient for a person to run a varsity, the professor added. The search committee should be reconstituted on every time of selection of VCs consisting of renowned public sector professors and retired VCs of good repute having the experience of running a public sector university.

The performance of VCs should be evaluated annually in terms of quality education, research, and employability of the graduates. The politically motivated candidates should be discouraged for the selection of VC because they always focus on the internal and external political activities rather than focusing on improvement and development of the varsities.

The selection of non-political VCs will also help depoliticize the varsities and run the affairs through the merit and regulations, he held.

A senior officer of the HED confirmed that representations were submitted in the department against the search committee candidates. However, he did not agree with the point that the interviews were postponed because of these representations.