islamabad - The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is likely going to get the lion’s share in the upcoming national budget without its top boss as the chairman’s vacant seat has not been filled despite finalization of the names for its acting heads, the official said on Tuesday. 

Ten days after the retirement of the HEC’s previous chairman, the seat of acting chairperson of the commission is vacant despite several options to fill the post. Meanwhile, the next budget is going to be presented in next three days, said the official on Tuesday.

According to the official the HEC is likely to have Rs120million this year for development and recurring expenses.

The official said that after the retirement of previous chairman Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed on April 13 the summary of three candidates was moved to Prime Minister (PM) office for appointment of acting chairman.

The official said that Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training though had sent the summary on time to the PM office but still no decision has been made.

The official said that as per ordinance of HEC the eligible candidates for acting head of the higher education regulatory bodies are federal secretary of Ministry of Federal Education, secretary Science and Technology and Executive Director (ED) HEC.

The official said that names of secretary education Akbar Hussain Durrani, secretary science and technology Yasmin Masood and ED HEC Dr. Arshad Ali have been sent to PM house but the decision is still pending.

“Secretary Science and technology and ED HEC are in grade 22 while federal secretary for education is in grade 21, but PM can appoint anyone as acting chairperson until the next candidate for the post is finalized,” said the official.

The official also said that as per tradition of HEC, ED is given the charge of acting chairman of the higher education regulating body.

The official also added that the process of finalizing the name of next HEC chairperson is lingering as above 100 candidates have been interviewed and the committee has to shortlist three names for the post.

Secretary Education Akbar Hussan Durrani said that the summary of appointing the acting head of HEC was moved to PM and it is now the PM secretariat mandate to made appointment.  

Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) and Working Group in a statement issued demanded for an end to non-transparent and closed door appointments based on nepotism in the higher education sector.

He urged for the appointment of new chairman HEC through open, competitive and merit based mechanism.

Dr. Shehzad Ashraf Chaudhry President FAPUASA Islamabad Chapter requested the search committee members and the Prime Minister to make the process more open and transparent by sharing the Performa filled by each candidate with all concerned especially the faculty members across the country.

The Performa filled by each candidate should be placed on HEC website and the key parameters used for scrutiny/ short listening along with marking criteria should be made public using HEC website. Furthermore, the marking of each candidate for the appointment should also be publicized, he added.