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ISLAMABAD: A group of PhD holders met with Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri at the HEC Secretariat on Monday after a peaceful protest outside the commission and discussed with them their problems, including the scarcity of job prospects.

Talking to the delegation of 13 PhD holders, Dr Banori advised them to get registered on the HEC e-portal, PhD Databank, meant for the registration of Pakistani PhD holders and said the majority of PhD holders have not done so. The HEC chairman urged them to develop their resumes to meet job requirements at different universities.

“HEC will encourage universities to announce regular positions for PhDs as faculty members and ensure a transparent and competitive selection process,” he said.

“I am sure only PhD graduates with merit will be selected as per universities board criteria,” Dr Banori added.

The PhD Databank on the HEC website is a portal for PhDs to get themselves registered. So far, 166 people have registered themselves, 113 have completed their profiles and 53 are yet to complete their credentials.

Earlier during the protest, a jobless PhD holder said HEC has initiated local and international PhD programmes to increase the number of doctorate degree holders in order to fulfil the demand for PhD staff members and improve the quality of education.

He said that despite the large investments made in the programme- including Rs1.5 million per scholar within four years for a local programme and Rs3 million to Rs4 million per scholar for an international programme, the degree holders are still jobless.

The HEC has initiated an Interim PhDs Fresh Programme in which those with local and foreign doctorate degrees are to serve a year in the higher education sector.

The protestors said it was recorded in the program’s agreement that universities will advertise vacant positions and provide equal opportunities to beneficiaries of the awards to compete on the basis of merit.

However, though the universities have advertised vacant positions, PhD scholars are waiting for selection boards in public sector universities for the last many years.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018