Peshawar - Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has urged the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to seek opinion of academia over the proposed amendment bill in Universities Act.

At a meeting, chaired by FAPUASA Chairman for KP Dr Sartaj Alam, the participants demanded appointment of vice-chancellors and also asked the government to lift ban on recruitment in universities within one week.

After the meeting, FAPUASA KP Chairman Dr Sartaj Alam said the Association would soon form a committee comprising experienced members, who would draft amendments in the 2012 Act (amended in 2016). He said the committee would meet the provincial lawmakers and if FAPUASA members were not heard, they would launch protests.

“We also demand the government to complete the process of hiring vice-chancellors in KP universities within one month,” he added.  

He said the meeting also expressed concern and reservations over the ban by KP Higher Education Department on recruitment and promotions of faculty members at universities, which deprived many teachers of promotions. He said if the ban was not lifted within a week, FAPUASA would stage a protest in Islamabad against it.

When contacted, Secretary Higher Education Department KP Hassan Mehmood Yousafzai told The Nation that ban on recruitment and promotions was due to the financial crunch that almost all universities were facing in the province.

“About vice-chancellors’ appointment as per the fresh amendments, the position of a vice-chancellor is not just academic but administration as well. It has been an observation that many VC failed to handle administrative issues of their respective universities, prompting the chancellor to re-think the criteria for the appointment,” the official said.

Yousafzai also said that a survey had been conducted recently on the amendments in the Universities Act and its results were being finalized. “There are 29 universities in KP and we have got the questionnaire filled from the universities’ staffers on a web link shared through their respective WhatsApp groups. Once we get the results, the government would then decide the matter,” he added.