Higher education has always played fundamental role in shaping the abilities of educated youth. Countries put extra efforts on their higher education management to produce able manpower and to promote concept of research and innovation. Pakistan decides to enhance its output of higher education and research with the inception of HEC in 2002. HEC has done well with new universities and producing thousands of PhDs annually.
HEC took all the matters of higher education into its authority. Till 2008, issues were running in much better way but after 2008 the Govt. behaved with HEC like stepmother. Funding was stopped and eventually projects had to close. The 18th amendment tuned many things into puzzling state and education went into jurisdiction of provisional governments. The authorities are not known about the transformation, how and what will come to provisional authority and what will remain with federal govt.
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HEC has working units in all provinces to look after the affairs. From many years, the appointment of vice chancellors in all govt. universities of Pakistan was the authority of HEC. But now the provincial governments are appointing the VC’s and most of them on political grounds.
Recently, the Punjab govt. has decided to appoint VC’s in four universities of Punjab because current VC’s of these universities have completed their terms and two of them are serving from many years. The universities are; University of the Punjab, Lahore College for Women Universities, University of Sargodha and Nawaz Sharif University, Multan.
For the appointment of posts, higher education commission Punjab and Punjab’s higher education department give advertisement for the vacant posts and asked for application.
However, the process has been challenged in Lahore high Court. Dr. Asmatullah of Zoology Department, Punjab University has filed a petition in Lahore high court and takes the point that this whole process of appointing the VC’s is illegal as the authority to appoint vice chancellors completely lies within the jurisdiction of higher education commission. The search committee formed by the provincial govt. was also called illegal.
The court summoned the secretary higher education Punjab on the issue. The govt. has taken the point that whole process is completely lawful. Justice Shahid Karim adjourned the hearing and called the secretary in person on 15 marches.
This issue will take the question again about the authorities and nature of education dissolution from federal to provincial level. Before some years HEC was doing the job for the appointment of VC’s and it had done really well. The quest of our leaders to take all the authorities into their hands has damaged all sectors and education is not alone.
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The govt. should give the authority back to HEC that is specialized in doing such activities. In every country university administrators are appointed with central-purely technical authorities, free from political pressure. Many times the news has come about the corruption in universities; this is the result of increasing political influence in universities. The need here to understand that education should be free from politics and from persons who have nothing to do with education management.