LAHORE: The Punjab government has changed the criteria for appointment of regular vice chancellors (VC) in public sector universities of the province after around 10 years, however academics don’t see the system changing much.

The vice chancellor search committee under the chairmanship of Dr Khalid Aftab approved the new criteria in a meeting on Tuesday. Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) Chairman Dr Fazal Khalid, Dr Arif Butt, Dr Saleema Hashmi and Higher Education Secretary Nadeem Mahbub were also present.

The committee approved the initial summary, and according to the documents available with Dawn, a simple PhD would not be enough for a candidate’s appointment as a VC and only a full professor would be eligible to apply for the post.

Under the new criteria, an applicant should not be more than 65 years of age, be or have been a full-time professor in a reputed university/degree-awarding institute/research institute, have earned a PhD degree from a Higher Education Commission (HEC)-recognised or Unesco-listed institution, have experience in a senior academic, research or management leadership position and possess distinguished research and publication record.

The professional leadership experience was allotted 50 points, including five to every year completed in a full-time senior leadership position (for example, VC/rector, pro-VC/pro-rector, dean or equivalent), two to every year completed as chairman/head of department of a university, one to every year as director of a university department/centre, registrar, principal of a constituent college or equivalent position.

Academic qualification for an applicant was approved as a PhD and 25 points for PhD from top 100 QS ranking universities of the world, 21 points for PhD from top 101-300 QS ranking universities of the world, 17 for top 301-500 ranking universities and 13 from an HEC-recognised or Unesco-listed institution.

Meanwhile, publication points were reduced from 35 to 25. Two points per research article/publication in an HEC-recognised ‘W’ category journal, two points per book chapter and four points per book published by international academic publishers of repute listed on the SENSE ranking of academic publishers and books recognised by the HEC, two points per patent listed by World International Property Organisation.

Under the merit formula, applicants having a total 75 marks/points would be shortlisted and the top 15 would be called for an interview. If more than one candidate secured equal marks, all of them having equal marks would be called for interviews.

Government College University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi told Dawn that these ‘changes’ in criteria were not a complete overhaul of the system. The pre-interview points of candidates had been revised that would not bring about much change, but provide an opportunity to the search committee to find an appropriate person for the post. He added that the search panel should also be upgraded.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2021

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