PESHAWAR: The higher education department has initiated the formation of academic search committee to recommend appointment of vice chancellors to the government universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Under the recently amended Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act 2013, the academic search committee will be functional for two years.

In the past, such committees were formed for a short period to fill vice chancellor vacancies and were abolished after the job was done.

Provincial higher education minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani told Dawn that former federal minister for science and technology Dr Attaur Rehman would be the chairman of the academic search committee.

Minister says academic search committee will be in place within 10 days

The Universities Act states, “an academician of national/international repute with at least 50 international publications who shall be the chairman and convener of the academic search committee to be nominated by the chief executive of the province.”

According to it, two of the country’s most eminent educationists from outside the province having academic administrative experience as chairman, dean and vice chancellor will be members of the committee besides others.

The minister said former State bank o Pakistan governor Dr Ishrat Hussain, who was currently the director of Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, and former vice chancellor of Lahore University of Management Sciences Sohail Naqvi, had been selected as members of the committee from outside the province.

Under the law, one eminent academician or researcher of the province with additional experience of working with the industry or government agencies will be member from the province.

Ghani said former vice chancellor of Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan, Dr G M Miana, who was currently the rector of the Ripha University, Islamabad, had been selected from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The fourth members of the committee is the provincial higher education secretary, who will act as the secretary of the academic search committee.

Prior to the amendments in the universities act, the committee for the appointment of vice chancellors was more political as under the law, the higher education minister used to be the chairman of the committee.

Other members of the committee were MPA and chairman of the standing committee on higher education, chief secretary, three eminent members of the society, two eminent educationists, secretaries of relevant administrative departments, and higher education secretary.

Ghani said the process of the committee formation would be completed within 10 days.

“Efforts have been made to depoliticise the committee for the recommendation of vice chancellors aimed at to appoint talented and brilliant administrative heads of the public sector universities,” he said.

He said unlike the past, after the formation of high-level academic search committee, vice chancellors would be appointed purely on merit.

“One can expect good vice chancellors with the selection of non-political members of the committee and its chairman,” he said.

In the previous governments, the vice chancellors having political affiliation were pointed which led to financial and administrative problems in the public sector universities, sources in HED said.

They said the new committee had less members compared to the previous one and therefore, it would help in the decision-making process.

The sources claimed that no province had such a high-level committee for appointment of vice chancellors.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2015

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