LAHORE: Despite formal approval by the Punjab cabinet two weeks ago, the search committees to select vice chancellors (VCs) for 30 public universities have not yet been notified, causing academic and administrative challenges.

On April 30, the provincial cabinet established three search committees for VC appointments, marking the first inclusion of bureaucrats as members. Former bureaucrat Ismail Qureshi will lead the committee for general category universities, with members including retired Lt Gen Muhammad Asghar, Farukhanda Wasim Afzal, and Amjad Saqib.

The universities without VCs are University of the Punjab, Government College University of Lahore, Government College University of Faisalabad, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Islamia University of Bahawalpur, University of Gujrat, University of Education in Lahore, University of Narowal, Lahore UET, Taxila UET, Khawaja Fareed University of Information Technology in Rahim Yar Khan and Information Technology University Lahore.

For the new general category universities, the cabinet has made Zafar Iqbal Qureshi as head of committee. Its members are Farkhanda Wasim Afzal, Ijaz Munir and Prof Nizamuddin. The universities include University of Kamalia, University of Layyah, University of Bhakkar, University of Okara, University of Jhang and Ghazi University.

The search committee for women’s universities will be headed by economist Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha with retired Captain Zahid Saeed, Dr Talat Naseer Pasha and Dr Rukhsana David as members. Their task is to pick VCs for Lahore College for Women University, Government College University for Women Sialkot, Government Sadiq College Women University Bahawalpur, Women University Multan, and Fatima Jinnah Women University for Rawalpindi, Government College Women University Faisalabad and University of Home Economics Lahore.

Higher Education Department (HED) secretary Dr Farrukh Naveed is member of all search committees. The cabinet also decided to issue a new advertisement for VC positions.

The cabinet also decided to issue a new advertisement for VC positions and slightly modified the appointment criteria. Candidates scoring 80 points are now eligible for interview, up from the previous 75 points, and candidates above the age of 65 are deemed ineligible.

HED secretary Mr Naveed told Dawn that the search committees were not yet notified because the department did not receive minutes of the Punjab cabinet meeting.

About the inclusion of retired bureaucrat as a member of the search committee, the secretary said that he would answer the question after the search committee’s notification would be issued.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2024

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