LAHORE:THE search for vice-chancellors (VCs) of six different public universities of the province has formally begun with around 200 applicants received for the coveted posts.
In most of the cases, the applicants have applied for more than one post with the hope to secure the top slots in any of the public university of the province. The Punjab government, through its Higher Education Department, had advertised the six posts of VCs in mid-January this year.
It is pertinent to mention here that the tenure of University of Education VC Prof Dr Munawar S Mirza and Lahore College for Women University VC Prof Dr Bushra Mateen expired on November 20, 2010 while the tenure of Bahauddin Zakariya University Multanís VC Dr Muhammad Zafarullah expired on January 26, 2011.
The universities where the VCsí tenure will expire in the near future but the posts have been advertised include University of Sargodha VC Prof Dr Muhammad Akram Ch on February 11, 2011, Govt College University Lahoreís Prof Dr Khalid Aftab (February 25, 2011), and Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) Rawalpindiís Prof Dr Saeeda Asadullah Khan (March 11, 2011).
February 4, 2011 was set as the last date for receipt of applications for the six posts and according to sources privy to the development, around 200 candidates have applied for the seats.
As per the eligibility criteria, the candidates should have a PhD in any subject from a reputed university and they should not be more than 65 years of age on the last date for the receipt of applications.
Talking to The News, a number of applicants appreciated the eligibility criteria, advertised by the Punjab government. Nonetheless, they were of the view that those having foreign qualifications should not be given extra points in the scrutiny and short-listing process as in the past, in many cases those having qualifications from Pakistani universities were awarded less marks. They said the practice should end now as it was a deliberate move to discourage indigenous PhD programmes offered by Pakistani universities. An applicant, seeking anonymity, said it was unfortunate that contrary to its claim, the government used to discriminate against those having PhDs from Pakistani universities in the past.
Another candidate said the government should also give special weightage to the research output of the applicants in order to select the best candidate for a university as primary function of a university was to create knowledge and do more and more research for development and prosperity of the country. According to the sources, a total of 100 marks would be set and only the candidates securing maximum marks would be recommended for posting as VCs.
It is important to mention here that as per previous marks distribution, the academic qualifications and experience carry 30 marks each while interview carries 40 marks. Another aspect frequently highlighted vis-‡-vis the VCís selection process is composition of the VC Search Committee. The stakeholders have been critical of the Punjab government for involving individuals from the private sector in the committee, saying it is strange that those involved in the private sector education have been selecting VCs for public sector universities over the years. Over the past many years, the VC Search Committee usually comprises well-known businessman and Pro-Chancellor of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Syed Babar Ali, renowned economist and Beaconhouse National University VC Sartaj Aziz, UET VC Lahore Lt Gen (retd) Muhammad Akram Khan, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Punjab and Secretary of Punjab Higher Education Department.
It is learnt that the same search committee will selecting VCs of the six public universities of the province this time too. It is also learnt a preliminary meeting of the VC Search Committee would be convened by the next week after scrutiny of the applicants. The sources said after scrutiny the candidates would be short listed on the basis of evaluation criteria adding afterwards the suitable candidates would be invited for interviews by the committee.
It is generally observed that names of top three candidates are forwarded by the VC Search Committee to the Chief Minister Punjab while a final decision is taken by Governor Punjab who is also Chancellor of public sector universities of the province on advice of the Chief Minister.The news