islamabad - The regulator of higher education yesterday made it clear that the appointments of some faculty members in Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) were made against the rules and a top decision-making body of the varsity itself annulled the appointments.

The varsity administration without the endorsement of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) had appointed (promoted) some five assistant and associate professors on Tenure Track System (TTS) who did not meet the set criteria for the appointments. The decision was discussed at the varsity’s Syndicate meeting on April 12 on the objections of the HEC chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed. The Syndicate unanimously directed the vice chancellor to nullify the decision. But the concerned faculty members refuted that the rules were violated and criticised the HEC chairman for interfering in varsity matters. They also warned the chairman of protests through a letter.

The reports have been appearing in favour and against the decision in media. The President of Pakistan being the chancellor of the varsity had also sought the details regarding the controversial appointments.

To clarify the position, the HEC issued a statement that said “the QAU Syndicate Islamabad has annulled appointment of some faculty members of the university due to violation of approved criteria for appointment of university teachers on TTS.”

Although it was mentioned in the notifications that appointments shall be effective subject to endorsement by the Commission, yet the university made these appointments in anticipation without waiting for the endorsement, the statement said. Evaluation of these cases at HEC revealed that they do not qualify for these appointments as per approved criteria, and the same was also communicated to the university, it added.

Discussion during the Syndicate meeting revealed that despite being well aware of the fact that relevant faculty members did not qualify for appointment, the university deliberately recommended the cases in previous meeting of the syndicate and managed approval of these cases, the HEC said.

According to information, the faculty members promoted to next positions in back dates some three months back have also received arrears. One faculty member was given up to Rs 5,000,000, officials said.

Officials who attend the meeting revealed that the vice chancellor when questioned about the appointments said during the meeting that “he was coerced by the faculty members who are leading teachers’ association to approve the appointments.”

According to HEC, an Assistant professor who was appointed as associate professor had published only one research paper in HEC recognised research journal against requirement of 10 for the purpose.

Similarly, an associate professor was appointed after two years of service on tenure track as against minimum requirement of four years. Earlier, he had gone to the court to plead the case but the court had rejected his plea. Unfortunately, the syndicate was kept in dark about the court’s decision and the individual was appointed from the back date and paid millions of rupees as arrears with retrospective date.

Furthermore, in another case the faculty member had assumed an unauthorised academic administration position in violation of the Tenure Track Statutes. The duration on this position could not be counted towards appointment but still the university went ahead with the decision which was against the rules.

Professor Dr Asif Ali, one of the appointees who heads academic staff association of the university said the selection board of the varsity had approved the appointments and previous Syndicate had validated the decision that cannot be reverted on verbal orders of the HEC chairman. There is a proper procedure to review appointment that has not been followed, he said.

In a statement the president of the association stated that “faculty do not want to retaliate but would prefer to achieve its legitimate goals enshrined in the statutes through argument, logic and reason and expects that from now onwards rules, reason and wisdom would prevail; otherwise the faculty reserve the right to protest and go to any extent.”