PESHAWAR: Making amendments to the relevant law, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday reduced the tenure of vice chancellors of government universities in the province and empowered the chancellor to remove vice chancellors without recommendation of the senates of the relevant universities.
The assembly passed the long-awaited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which had drawn flak from the vice chancellors and teachers association, and made vital changes to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act 2012, under which government universities have been governed.
In the amended law, the tenure of vice chancellors was reduced from four to three years.
Through these amendments, the powers of the chancellor of the public sector universities, who is the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor, have been enhanced.
Previously, the chancellor could only remove the vice chancellor of the university on the recommendation of the relevant university’s senate.
Now, lawmakers have included a new clause in the Act empowering the governor that “in case of substantiated allegations of gross misconduct, in-efficiency, corruption, violation of budget provisions, moral turpitude, remove the vice-chancellor, at his own discretion, after giving him an opportunity to show cause against such removal.”
Also, the VCs can be removed by the chancellor after a resolution passed by the senate with simple majority on the above allegation against the VCs.
Empowers chancellor to remove VCs without advice of varsity senates
Previously, the senate was required to passed the resolution about VCs removal by two third majority.
Now, the VC will be appointed for one tenure of three years on such terms and conditions as may be determined by government and his tenure could only be extended once in the same university.
Currently, an influential VC of a public sector university has been serving for 12 years by obtaining three extensions.
With amendments to the law, even the influential VCs would not be able to serve more than six years.
With amendments to the law, the search committee for vice chancellors have also been depoliticised by excluding minister for higher education and a lawmaker heading the assembly standing committee on higher education department.
Now the search committee will consists of chief secretary, three eminent members of the society, with experience in education, administration or social work, two members of the senate and secretary of HED.
For the first time, with the amendments to the law, the government was empowered to carry out financial and performance audit of all activities carried out by the universities out of the funds provided by national and provincial exchequer, grants and loan whether local or foreign.
Miraj Humayoun had introduced amendments demanding 30 percent representation of women in senate. However, the government agreed on only four women in the senate.
Also, controller of examinations and register would not be appointed from the superannuated employees retired from the government universities and teaching faculties.
Under the present amendments, the oldest university in the province, University of Peshawar (UoP), has also been included in the schedule of this law along with four other universities. Earlier, UoP had a separate law while rest of the universities were functioning under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, 2012.
Three universities, which are in the making and whose names are included in the schedule, are University of Technology, Nowshera, Abbottabad University of Science and Technology and Women University Mardan.
The members from opposition whose amendments were incorporated are Zarin Gul, Sardar Hussain Babak, Sikandar Hayat Khan, Syed Mohammad Ali Shah, Aneesa Zaib Tahirkheli, Meraj Hamayun Khan, Sobia Shahid and others.
The bill was tabled by Higher Education Minister Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani.
After the passage of the amended act, the mover said administrative and academic improvement would be witnessed in the public sector universities.
The minister said corruption and irregularities would be stopped with changes in the law.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2015