Interviews for the appointment of the chairperson of the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) are likely to be held on May 7 and 8, according to sources in the Punjab Higher Education Department (HED).
As revealed by the sources, a total of 15 candidates have been shortlisted to appear for the interview committee, which is headed by Dr Attaur Rahman. Other members of the panel include Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Professor Dr Arif Nazir Butt, former Government College University (GCU) vice chancellor Dr Khalid Aftab, Shahid Najam and the HED secretary who is a member as well as the secretary of the committee.
The Search Committee has been given four terms of reference (TORs) for the purpose of hiring the next PHEC chairperson. Per the TORs, the committee has been tasked with shortlisting candidates in accordance with the approved shortlisting/eligibility criteria, to devise parameters for the qualitative assessment of eligible candidates for interviews, to conduct interviews of shortlisted candidates and finally, to recommend a panel of three most suitable candidates to the chief minister/controlling authority, PHEC, for approval.
PHEC has been dysfunctional for almost a month because of the absence of a permanent head, while the duration of the temporary charge assigned to the HED secretary also expired on April 11. Meanwhile, the appointment process for finding a permanent head of the PHEC has entered its 5th month.
It has also been learned that the Punjab government is unwilling to appoint a temporary PHEC chairperson in the meanwhile to avoid any controversy. However, they might have to revise the decision because of the mounting pressure from the PHEC as the day-to-day operations have come to a halt.
According to official sources, as many as 100 candidates had applied for the post of the PHEC chairperson and as per the new rules and regulations, only 15 candidates would be asked to appear for the interview.