KARACHI: While a proposal does exist to appoint bureaucrats as vice chancellors of universities, a senior government official claimed on Friday that the Sindh government has so far not made any changes in the criteria for appointment of VCs.

Commenting on media reports alleging that the government had decided to appoint bureaucrats as vice chancellors, Universities and Boards Secretary Muhammad Mureed Rahimoon explained to Dawn that there was no change in the appointment of vice chancellors and “we are still following the Higher Education Commission (HEC) criteria”.

He said that the HEC criteria included that the candidate had a doctoral degree and had to his or her credit at least 15 research articles.

Secretary Rahimoon says application format has been changed in summary for regular appointment of seven to eight VCs

About reports of an approved summary, he said it pertained to the regular appointment of seven to eight VC at public sector universities.

“We have just changed the format [of application] and brought it in a tabulated form. The approved advertisement for appointment of vice chancellors will likely appear next week,” the secretary said.

However, he declined to share the approved summary.

About the concerns pertaining to the likely appointment of bureaucrats as vice chancellors under the new advert, he said: “Under no law, the government can stop a bureaucrat from applying for the post if he or she holds a doctoral degree and has 15 research papers to his or her credit. Our aim is to find the best suitable person for the post and that could be anyone.”

Sources said the proposal to appoint a bureaucrat as vice chancellor was not new and followed concerns among certain government circles that professors lacked the administrative experience to efficiently run universities and, therefore, the condition for a PhD degree and research papers should be waived off.

Meanwhile, the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association-Sindh chapter and the Pakistan Medical Association have strongly condemned the alleged government move with the former warning of agitation, if the move wasn’t withdrawn.

“We strongly condemn the suggestion of appointing bureaucrats as vice chancellors. The appointment must be according to the HEC criteria under which only a professor could become a vice chancellor,” Prof Shah Aliul Qader heading the federation-Sindh and Karachi University Teachers’ Society said, adding that the appointment of bureaucrats would destroy the universities.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2022

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