Islamabad - The appointment process of new heads of four public sector universities of the city is hanging in balance, because the ‘search committee’ has still not finalised the selection process, The Nation learned on Thursday.

Three top officials from leading institutions are retiring in October this year including Vice Chancellor (VC) Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) Prof. Dr Javed Ashraf, VC Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Prof Dr. Shahid Siddique and Rector International Islamic University (IIU) Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai.

Meanwhile, COMSATS University under ministry of Science and Technology is being run on adhoc basis under its interim rector Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar.

Federal Ministry for Education and Professional Training had advertised the top posts of QAU, AIOU and IIU in the month of March and the process should have been finalised in August this year.

“The new government will have the opportunity to continue the process initiated by the previous set-up of the ministry, however it will be further delayed for at-least three to four months if it opts to notify the new committee,” sources said. 

Sources informed that ministry had received countless applications after the advertisement, but the selection procedure in ministry remained at snail’s pace and now only one month is left for the completion of the procedure.

The previous government didn’t complete the process despite having required time during its tenure, while possibly the new government will not accept the work done by the previous government, said sources.

“In both cases the process will be delayed,” source said.

Sources said that ministry is responsible for initiating the process for selection and finalising the name of new head of the institution a month before the retirement of the earlier to avoid the adhocism in any public sector university.

“There is still uncertainty about the initial steps of scrutiny and short listing of the candidates to start the interviews of the applicants,” sources said.

Sources also informed that the federal ministry had to advertise the posts because of troubled situation at Quaid-e-Azam University when the faculty of the university had demanded the resignation of the VC.

“Ministry advertised the posts to calm down the situation at Quaid-e-Azam University and give a message to the faculty that it will not give extension to the current VC,” sources said.

However, ministry later own advertised the top posts of AIOU and IIU also because the head of both institutions were going to retire in the same month.

“However, VC Quaid-e-Azam University Prof. Dr. Javed Ashraf later denied extension causing the process to slow down,” sources said.

Sources also  said that the posts of rector and pro-rector for the COMSATS university were also announced by the ministry of Science and Technology (S&T), before it was upgraded to the university from the status of  institute which is also pending.

Sources said that the education ministry in its advertisement also didn’t mention the teaching experience and academic scale of the candidate which was a legal flaw.

The advertisement said, “Applicants – preferably PhD, not more than 65 years of age on the closing date for submission of applications will be assessed according to their academic and leadership abilities and attainments, as well as significant evidence of scholarship, administration, meaningful research, strategic planning, financial management and resource development. A holistic understanding of issue pertaining to the higher education sector including enhancement of pedagogy and quality assurance, research and development, impact on economy, development of human and financial resources and constructive social interaction with communities, will be considered as a major asset”.

Sources informed that there is no requirement of the candidate of being ‘Professor’ along with PhD which is a scale 21 posts. “Around twenty years teaching experience is required for the promotion on Professor from Associate Professor, while for VC only 15 years experience is demanded,” said sources.

Source said the administrative hurdles are created when a junior cadre teacher is given the senior most administrative post in the university.

Sources also said that Higher Education Commission (HEC) had also intimated the ministry to expedite the process of finalizing the names of the heads of the institutes but still no progress has been witnessed.

Former Minister for Education Baligh-ur-Rehman talking to The Nation said that former Prime Minister (PM) had formed the committee comprising Education Minister, Chairman HEC, Federal Secretary Education, Dr. Ishrat  Hussain, Dr. Junaid Zaidi and two other officials.

He said that the committee had completed the verification process of the candidates.  He said there is no legal binding on new government for continuation of the initiated process.

The Nation sent quires to the Joint Education Advisor (JEA) Dr. Rafique Tahir but he didn’t respond.

The official spokesperson for the education ministry Taimoor Khan also remained unsuccessful in getting reply regarding the status of the process despite passing two days and till filing of this story.