LAHORE  - A search committee, chaired by LUMS Head Dr Babur Ali, and comprising Secretary Higher Education Department Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Dr Zafar Iqbal Quraishi and Dr Aysha Gaus Pasha have been searching for Vice Chancellors of five public sector universities, it has been learnt.

Interestingly, three members including Dr Babur Ali, Dr Zafar Iqbal Quraishi are from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Dr Aysha Ghous Pasha is an MPA while only one member HED Secretary comes from government sector.

A total of 158 candidates have applied for the top varsity slots and the search committee after interviewing them will finalise them and forwarded the same to the CM who may further interview them. The Punjab governor is the chancellor of the university.

HED Secretary Abdullah Khan Sumbal, though is an honest and upright bureaucrat who has worked hard for the betterment of the higher education sector in Punjab, may have a weak say in presence of a dominant number of private sector members in the search committee. Some circles raise fingers on the search of public sector VCs by a dominant say of the private sector members.

The search committee has been selecting candidates for the Universities of Gujrat, GC University Faisalabad, Islamia University Bahawalpur, UET Taxila etc. the VC for a public sector university is appointed for the period of four years with perks and privileges of grade 22 officer like residence and conveyance etc. He draws salary of Rs 280,000 including Rs 60,000 as VC allowance.

An educationist while talking on the Punjab government’s set criteria said “The selection of public sector VCs by private sector scholars will damage the government run universities”. He said that it would promote private sector education that was too costly to be afforded by a common man. The need, he said, was to devise a committee comprising dominance of educationists who know problems of a common man.

He said that majority of the private sector university had been making fictitious enrolments of the students and deal them just like clients. He said that 90 per cent of the LUMS graduate leave Pakistan and serve in abroad specially in the USA. He said that there were 770,000 students in the public sector universities that might be more than three million to meet the needs of this country.