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LAHORE: The Punjab government may revise ‘teacher vice chancellor’ criteria for appointing VCs at the public universities across the province.

If approved by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the public servants and those who have served as chief executive officers (CEOs) of companies may also become VCs.

“The 10-member committee, formed by the chief minister, has proposed broad-based criteria for selection of the VCs in public universities. Under it, non-teaching staff will be eligible to apply for the slots. It has also proposed lifting the PhD bar on the candidates,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Dawn here on Sunday.

Likely to remove PhD, teaching experience conditions

Mr Sanaullah heads the committee which includes Higher Education Minister Syed Raza Ali Gilani, Finance Minister Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) Chairperson Dr Nizamuddin, Punjab Information Technology Board Chairperson Dr Umar Saif, Dr Zafar Iqbal Qureshi, and the secretaries of law, higher education department, finance and Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD).

“We are also considering lifting the upper age limit of 65 years on the candidates. However, more deliberations are required in this regard. Besides, unlike the past procedure to only advertise for the candidates, the search committee will be tasked with finding suitable candidates itself here or abroad,” Mr Sanaullah said and added that the proposals would be submitted to the chief minister for approval.

To a question whether the chief minister was considering selecting a candidate from among the panel of three for the slot of Punjab University VC, the minister said: “The VCs for new appointments in the universities, including the PU, will be finalised by the search committee under the new criteria”. According to the new proposal, public servants and CEOs of companies would also be eligible for the slot, he added.

To a question whether the government was changing the criteria to ‘oblige’ some CEOs of the companies, the minister clarified: “It is not the case. But preference will still be given to teachers for their (teaching) experience and at least 15 marks will be given to a PhD candidate.

The Punjab government in 2012 had made it mandatory for the candidates for the VC slot to be a university teacher following a campaign by the Punjab University Academic Staff Association (PUASA).

A member of the committee told Dawn the recommendations had yet to be finalised.

“More deliberations will take place before submitting the final draft of recommendations to the chief minister,” he added.

PUASA President Javed Sami said the committee’s proposal to lift the PhD bar was in line with the decision of the Lahore High Court.

“Lifting the PhD condition will help the teaching staff of law, art and design faculty members and college principals to apply for the VC slot. However, since publication of 15 research articles will be mandatory for the post, the CEO of any company or a bureaucrat may not have a chance to grab the coveted post,” Mr Sami said. However, it’s not clear yet whether it will be mandatory for the candidates to have 15 research articles published or not under the new criteria.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2017