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GUJRAT: Many key offices of the University of Gujrat (UoG) have been lying vacant since long and are being run through officials on acting charge, adversely affecting the overall output of the institution, especially with regard to research and development.

The UoG was granted its charter by the Punjab government in 2004 and started its regular academic activities in 2007. Now the varsity is running 36 different disciplines but most of the key academic and administrative posts are lying vacant, and most of these are under acting charge.

The key vacant slots include those of Registrar, Treasurer, Controller Examination, directors of Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC), Planning and Development (P&D) and Works departments. Similarly, offices of Resident Engineer, principals of Nawaz Sharif Medical College and the four UOG constituent colleges are also without regular office-holders. The post of director, Office of Research Industrialiaation and Commercialisation (ORIC), is also vacant as the office-holder has gone abroad on leave for the last many months. P&D director’s seat is vacant for the last one-and-a-half years.

QEC Director Dr Tahir Aqeel has been working as registrar on a current charge basis since April 2016 and QEC Additional Director Asif has the acting charge of GT Road Science College principal.

Varsity ranking drops from 11 to 23 points

UOG’s QEC department is actually being run by two deputy directors, having just MA qualification, who are unable to monitor the quality of MPhil and PhD programmes.

The absence of regular occupiers of these key offices is affecting the overall performance of the varsity resulting in drop in its ranking from 11 to 23 points during the last two years.

The varsity, despite having more than 150 PhD faculty members, could only secure 3-4 Higher Education Commission (HEC) National Research Programme for Universities (NRPU) projects in the past couple of years.

The PhD faculty members of the varsity felt reluctant to look for national and international funding sources like HEC, Punjab government, ICT, PHEC etc due to lack of trust in the varsity management, an insider said.

He said the UOG administration is also shy of paying the syndicate’s approved grant for the published research since 2012.

The charge of Administration and Coordination director has been given to UOG’s Narowal Campus Director Sahibzada Faisal Khursheed who is running day to day affairs of the office on telephone.

Abdul Waheed Butt is working as acting treasurer. He was also involved in signing a controversial TA/DA bill of Vice Chancellor’s last year’s visit to Norway.

The VC had to refund the TA/DA amount after Punjab higher education department secretary took notice of the media reports in this regard a few months ago.

The chaos caused by absence of so many regular officials is particularly hitting the faculty involved in research and development.

This correspondent made repeated attempts to contact UoG Media and Publications Director Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, who is also spokesman of the varsity, on his mobile phone, for his comments on the issue remained futile.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2016