Recognising the various hardships facing jobless PhD holders, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has proposed measures to help increase employment opportunities for PhD graduates in the country.

“HEC recognises difficulties being faced by the unemployed PhDs. To alleviate these, HEC has held several deliberations with representatives of unemployed PhDs and other stakeholders to evaluate the problem and institute steps that will help in creating additional employment opportunities for PhD graduates,” an HEC statement said on Thursday.

According to the statement, eligibility criteria under Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs (IPFP) programme would be reviewed to strengthen placement of PhD graduates in all HEC recognised universities. HEC would institute capacity-building programmes for the development of young PhD graduates in essential soft skills, including measures to assess and determine capacity building needs.

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HEC would evaluate the possibility of including R&D organisations and affiliated colleges — through the corresponding affiliating university — under IPFP to open up new placement opportunities. The process would be completed within a period of 30 days.

The statement added that HEC would compile data on current faculty recruitment practices in HEIs with reference to regular vis-à-vis visiting, contractual, daily paid and subject specialist faculty, undertake analysis thereof and issue advice to the HEIs with respect to the admissible ratio of regular vis-à-vis temporary faculty, periodical convening of Selection Boards, and completion of recruitment cycle within a period of 90 days.

Incompliance of the policy guidelines would have reflection on the university funding and ranking. The exercise would be completed within a period of six weeks. The eligibility criteria for international Post Doc Fellowships would be revised to include both employed and unemployed PhD graduates upon approval of the competent authority.

All unemployed and employed PhD graduates would register themselves within a period of 30 days with PhD Data Bank launched by HEC in August 2018 to avail HEC services. Un-registered PhD scholars would not be considered eligible for HEC services.

HEC would examine the feasibility of instituting ‘PhD Scholars Support Programme’ for protecting their livelihood. Under the programme, unemployed PhD graduates would be placed at all public educational, research and administrative institutions for a maximum period of 12 months on a monthly remuneration not exceeding Rs 50,000 and would be expected to ably serve the concerned organisations.

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