Islamabad-Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association stressed for ending ad-hoc and extension culture in higher-education sector as well as appointment of the chairman Higher Education Commission through open, competitive and merit-based mechanism.

Dr Kaleemullah Barech, central president of the association, while talking to faculty delegations from various parts of the country said that extension, ad-hoc culture and non-merit based appointments at key positions in higher-education institutions had adversely affected the sector in Pakistan.

He said that in light of various verdicts of the Supreme Court, all appointments in higher-education sector, especially chairperson HEC, and vice chancellors of the varsities should be done through advertisement, open and transparent mechanism instead of granting extensions.

It is high time to advertise the post of chairperson HEC well in time. There is dire need to create opportunities for dynamic personalities to lead the higher-education sector both at national and provincial levels, he said. 

He demanded that as per best practices in higher-education sector, the posts should be advertised three months earlier before end of tenure of the incumbent officials. He also appreciated decision of the Council of Common Interests and Senate Functional Committee on Devolution for effective implementation of 18th Constitutional Amendment in higher-education sector and addressing issues of university faculty including extending retirement age limit to 65 years and 75 per cent tax rebate.

Meanwhile, the HEC asked the provincial governments to take strict action against illegal universities and campuses operating in various parts of the country, the state-run APP news agency reported, citing sources.

The HEC identified overall 155 illegal higher-education institutes and campuses in the four provinces besides Azad Jammu and Kashmir, sources said on Tuesday. Around 103 illegal varsities or campuses are working in Punjab, 26 in Sindh, 11 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 3 in AJK and two in Islamabad.

The sources said that the HEC sent a letter to the provincial governments asking for action against educational institutions not fulfilling criteria of the HEC. The provincial governments were informed about higher educational institutions not meeting the set criteria.