PESHAWAR: Three major government universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been functioning without administrative and financial heads since the retirement of vice-chancellors over a month ago.
Under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, 2012, a pro-vice-chancellor has to assume power as the head of the university after the retirement of a regular vice-chancellor.
Sources said the tenures of VCs of the University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar, Bacha Khan University, Charsadda, and Women’s University, Mardan, had expired on June 8 and the universities had no administrative heads since then due to the pro-VC vacancies.
They said the appointment of pro-VC to the UET was in process at the higher education department, while no step had been taken for the appointment of pro-VCs to BKUC and WUM.
Officials said the higher education department had initiated a summary 20 days ago for the extension of the services of VCs of five universities.
UET teacher says vacancies affecting administrative, financial affairs
The other two universities include Khyber Medical University and University of Swabi.
The officials said the tenure of the KMU VC would complete in July, while the VC of the University of Swabi had already been working on an ‘acting charge’ until the arrival of a permanent VC.
They said a summary for the extension in the services of five VCs was made in light of the key performance indicators and was forwarded to the governor/chancellor through the establishment department for approval.
The officials, however, said the summary was returned to the HED by the chief secretary with observation that under the KP Universities Act, 2012, the provincial cabinet was the authority to decide the extension in the service of a VC and such appointments.
They said the word ‘government’ had been mentioned in the act as the authority for the appointment of a VC and the government meant cabinet.
The officials said the HED later developed a summary and forwarded it to the establishment department for the cabinet’s approval.
They said the summary’s approval could take days or weeks.
“We have already informed the provincial government that the legal vacuum would be created if service extension is not given to the VC prior to retirement,” a senior teacher at UET told Dawn.
He demanded of the government to expedite the process of extending the services of VCs saying the administrative and financial affairs have been stalled.
The teacher said the mid-term examinations of the final semester would start by the third or fourth week of June and it would be strange to hold examinations in the absence of the administrative head of the university.
He wondered who would address the issues cropping up on a daily basis regarding the students’ affairs, especially about pandemic-induced online classes and research projects.
Adviser to the chief minister on higher education Khaliqur Rehman was not available for comments.
Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2020