PESHAWAR: A search committee has failed to find suitable vice-chancellors for two public sector universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to sources.

The high level academic search committee was formed by the provincial government for appointment of vice-chancellors of public sector universities in the province. Keeping in view the existing criteria framed by the government a few months ago for the appointment of vice-chancellors, none of the short-listed applicants could impress the search committee, sources said.

They said that the process for appointment of vice-chancellors of Hazara University and Kohat University of Science and Technology was commenced four months ago with the publication of relevant advertisement on May 30 but it remained inconclusive.

The meeting of search committee was held on Friday in Islamabad with its chairman and former federal minister for science and technology Dr Attaur Rehman in the chair. Other members of the committee who attended the meeting included Rector of Ripha University Dr G M Miana, Lahore University of Management Sciences Vice-chancellor Dr Sohail Naqvi, Higher Education Secretary Dr Attaur Rehman.

The meeting was also attended by HED Additional Secretary Dr Khalid Khan and the section officer universities, Asad Jan.

Only four of 50 applicants were short-listed but none could impress members of the body

The provincial government made major changes in the criteria for the appointment of vice-chancellors by amending the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, 2012 a few months ago. The educationists have termed the changed criteria very tough and feared that it would be hard for educationists in the province to fulfil it. Sources said that around 50 candidates had applied for the posts of vice-chancellor of the two universities. “Only four of them were short-listed to appear before the search committee for interview,” they said. The search committee interviewed two of them through video link as they were outside the country, they added.

Sources said that three of the short-listed candidate belonged to Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, University of Peshawar and Sargoda University while the fourth one didn’t belong to any university but he was PhD having a lot of research papers. None of them could satisfy the search committee, they said.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, 2012 also empowers the academic search committee to identify on its own or on the recommendations of eminent academicians the prospective candidates. After no one impressed the search committee, it could also use the power by searching proper vice-chancellors for both the universities, sources said.

According to the set criteria, the qualifications for the vice-chancellor of general universities are doctorate in any discipline and good academic record. However, for specialised universities, the doctorate should be in the specific field.

The candidates applying for the post of vice-chancellor of Khyber Medical University should have qualification of MBBS or equivalent medical degree from a foreign university with fellowship in relevant specialisation or PhD in a relevant discipline. Qualifications for the vice-chancellor of University of Engineering and Technology are PhD in a field of engineering and for Agricultural University, PhD in a field of agriculture is must.

The inspiring candidates should also have experience in the field of higher education of at least 20 years in teaching and research in a university or well-established institution of repute at the undergraduate and post-graduate level.

The candidates should also have minimum of 40 research publications in peer-reviewed international research journals (with impact factors of above 1.0 in the case of candidates in the fields of agriculture, science or engineering).

The law states that a candidate for post of vice-chancellor shall have at least 10 years of administrative/postdoctoral research experience in the field of higher education as well as experience to supervise PhD students leading to successful grant of PhD degree(s) to student(s).

Execution of at least one major research project and experience of working with international bodies or international exposure through participation in workshops, seminars or conferences held outside the country are also part of the criteria for the post of vice-chancellor.

Experience of organising events such as workshops, seminars and conferences at international level within the country in the field of higher education and demonstrated experience in leadership are also needed to become a vice-chancellor in the province.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2015

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