ISLAMABAD: Out of the 21 seats, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) currently has 10 members as the terms of others have expired and the commission is finalising new names to be sent to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for filling the vacant posts.

The commission, which is a governing board of HEC, takes all policy-level decisions regarding higher education sector of the country.

The HEC is finalising names of 33 candidates (one against each post) for filling 11 seats and these names would be sent to the prime minister for appointing suitable candidates for four years.

“On the directive of the commission, we are finalising names of candidates for filling vacant posts of members. Soon, a summary carrying names of the best candidates would be sent to Ministry of Education for onward submission to Prime Minster’s Office,” said HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed.

Speaking to Dawn, he said educational credentials of potential candidates are being collected and he wants to get this task completed as soon as possible. The commission had already recommended some names for filling of the positions.

The commission of the HEC consists of 21 members including chairperson and executive director (ED), secretary (education ministry), secretary (science ministry), four provincial nominees and 13 members including seven of international eminence, five from the private sector and one nominee of the Vice Chancellors’ Committee from public-sector universities.

The issue of appointment of new members was also taken up recently in the 40th meeting of the HEC Commission held on Sept 7.

Sources said the commission also recommended some names for appointment as members that included former executive director of HEC Prof Dr S. Sohail H. Naqvi, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Sitara Chemical Industries Mian Mohammad Idrees, retired Lt Gen Syed Imran Majeed, managing director of Continental Biscuits Hassan Ali Khan, former chairman of Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) Dr Umar Saif and Habib University Chairman Rafiq M. Habib.

The commission also decided that if there is no legal bar, the names of recently retired members, if they are willing, should also be added in the list (carrying three names against each post for second term) which will be sent to the prime minister for final appointments.

The commission authorised Dr Mukhtar to finalise the names against each vacant seat, adding that a summary should be sent to the prime minister for appointments.

Earlier, sources said during debate on this issue, member Dr Akram Sheikh pleaded that people with fresh ideas may be provided an opportunity to be part of the commission and presidents of banks and businessmen associated with chambers should also be considered.

Whereas, sources said former HEC chairman Dr Attaur Rahman, who is currently member of the commission, said new members in general should be Pakistani and contribution in four-year terms of outgoing members, who were residing abroad should also be reviewed.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2022

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