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Over 42pc varsities nationwide have no vice chancellors

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court was told on Wednesday that as many as 66 out of a total of 154 (or 42.8pc) public-sector Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) in the country either have no vice chancellor/ rector or VCs/ rectors working on an ad hoc basis.

The alarming report was placed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) before Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa-led bench that had taken up a petition moved by a group of teachers, highlighting that a high proportion of varsities in the public sector were functioning without legally appointed VCs.

The All-Public Universities BPS Teachers Association (APUBTA) had moved the plea through its president Dr Samiur Rahman.

In Punjab, the HEC report mentioned, VCs at as many as 29 out of 49 HEIs were working on an acting charge basis, while the other 20 VCs were working on a regular basis. The situation is no better in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where 16 of total 32 HEIs had VCs having acting charge and 10 VCs working on a regular basis, while the key position at half a dozen other varsities is vacant. Similarly, half of the total 10 varsities in Balochistan have regular VCs and the five had VCs on ad hoc basis.

In Sindh, however, 24 of total 29 varsities are being run by regular VCs and the post at only five remaining universities is being officiated on an acting charge basis. Similarly, under the federal government, the report explained, out of 29 HEIs, as many as 24 had VCs working on a regular basis, whereas VCs at the remaining five varsities had been given acting charge.

Unlike other parts of the country, all the five varsities in Azad Jammu and Kashmir have VCs working on a regular basis.

Govts asked to fill posts

Consequently, the SC ordered the respective governments to fill the vacant posts of VCs and rectors at the earliest. The CJP regretted every fabric of society was in decline. He said some elements claimed they were serving the cause of Islam by destroying schools, while regretfully the government negotiates with such elements by engaging them.

The SC also asked the HEC to furnish complete data regarding a ratio of academic to administrative staff at varsities (the ratio should be 1:1.5 according to HEC guidelines) as well as vacant seats of director finance and examination controller.

The bench directed the HEC to report the proportion of funds the varsities generate by themselves and the amount they get from the governments.

Filed through Advocate Umer Ijaz Gillani, the petition stated the non-appointment of legally tenured VCs had a deleterious effect on the overall administrative structure and working of public-sector varsities.

It also pointed out that ad hoc appointments of VCs were eroding academic freedom on campuses.

Title : Over 42pc varsities nationwide have no vice chancellors
Author : Dawn
Type : News
Role Performer : Corporate Author
Subject : vacant VC posts in universities
Publisher : Dawn
Publication Place : Islamabad
Date : 2024-05-16
Language : English