islamabad - The Higher Education Commission (HEC) commission under its new command has not seen any internal change as administrative affairs are still being run on ad hoc basis, while more than one dozen senior management posts remain vacant, The Nation learned on Tuesday.

The HEC marks its 100 days soon, after the new Chairman Prof. Dr. Tariq Banuri assumed charge in the month of June.

The commission with above 100billion budget is responsible for regulating around 190 universities and higher educational institutions, but internally is struggling administratively.

“Number of posts of members, advisors and permanent Director Generals (DGs) are vacant and some of officials in line are waiting for their promotions,” said a senior official.

The official said that the supreme decision making body’s ‘commission’ is still incomplete which plays a significant role in policy making for Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs).

Official said that in hierarchy, the HEC is composed of the posts of chairman, Executive Director (ED) members, Advisors and Director Generals (DGs) on senior management positions.

The ED HEC Dr. Arshad Ali himself is facing an inquiry under plagiarism charges and HEC has still failed in deciding the case of its ED.   

Official said that in the members’ cadre, the posts of Member Academics and Member HRD are vacant, while the Member Operations and Planning is being headed by an official on deputation.

Official informed that the post of Advisor for finance, monitoring and evaluation, planning and development and Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) are vacant.   He said on the slot of permanent DGs the department of Quality Assurance Division (QAD), audit, Information Technology (IT), Human Resource Management (HRM), sports, media and publications, monitoring and evaluation all are headless since long.

According to the official QAD and Audit are most important departments of the HEC as the earlier falls under huge responsibility of maintaining the ‘quality’ which is the prime objective of the HEC.

“The top officials played musical chair on QAD as a consultant Muhammad Ismail was replaced with DG Farmanullah Anjum, while the latter was removed from the post in two months and charge was given to Muhammad Ismail,” official said.

Official said similarly, the member Operations and Planning is on deputation from a university in Sindh since the last five years.

Official said the audit department is being run by a retired official of HEC, hired on contract. And the Attestation and Accreditation department is being given to the official Tahir Zaidi who was hired against the MP-3 post of Learning and Evaluation.

“Meanwhile the post of Managing Director (MD) Quality Assurance Agency QAA is also vacant for the last five years,” said official.

According to the official, consultants hired on senior positions are above the age 60 and their contracts were renewed instead of the posts being advertised, while some of the officials on deputation have illegally spent more than five years.

Official also said that previous government had approved the names of two members for the 18 members’ commission of the HEC but their finalization is still in doldrums. 

The official said that such internal administrative challenges are affecting the performance of HEC and there is unrest among the permanent employees looking for their promotions. The official said that instead opf advertising the posts and hiring suitable candidates, the HEC is being governed with the officials on deputations from different HEIs. 

The official added that one of the reason scholars and students face difficulties in benefitting from the HEC policies is the administrative hurdles in absence of permanent structure.

 He said the impact of this administrative vacuum is filled with the nepotism and favouritism and non-permanent decisions.    

Responding to The Nation, spokesperson HEC Ayesha Ikram replied in a message “Yes, we are looking into it and will address the issue at the earliest. Chairman (Dr. Tariq Banuri) insisted ‘that we will recruit people of the best quality. There will be no compromise on quality’.