The core committee All Pakistan Universities BPS Teachers Association (APUBTA) expressed its great concern over breaking the agreement of HEC officials for processing the BPS statutes by the mid of May.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Commissioner Islamabad and was notified on 12th March this year to postpone the call of the countrywide strike of university teachers in front of HEC.

The delaying and ignored tactics shall indeed ruin the peaceful struggle for achieving legitimate goals. The BPS teachers can no longer wait for their equal rights of promotion that are gifted to all other employees of HEC and university employees including the TTS teachers.

These discriminatory activities of HEC and the commission are no longer tolerable and indeed shall motivate the BPS teachers to completely close the doors of HEC or the universities. HEC shall be made responsible for such unwanted actions of APUBTA and teachers countrywide, 80% of all the rest employees in universities.

If the basic right of promotion is granted in the HEC Ordinance and ESTACODE then why it is not permissible for BPS teachers only, is a very basic question on the HEC. The silent behavior and delaying tactics are no more but an invitation for a strike and boycott of classes.

APUBTA on the strong request of the teachers’ community again thinking of a sit-in in front of HEC or a complete classes boycott that shall be continued until the legitimate and fundamental right is granted and the discriminatory activities regarding seniority issues are resolved. The HEC officials, the commissioner of ICT Islamabad, and the government are requested to resolve the issues of BPS teachers before APUBTA calls for a strike.

Related: APUBTA ended protest against HEC

With proven charges of serious nature, former UoM VC Dr. Gul Zaman appears in an interview for vice-chancellorship

Malakand University’s former Vice-Chancellor Dr. Gul Zaman against whom an inquiry report recently proved 16 charges of serious nature gets shortlisted for vacant VC posts at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s seven public-sector high-learning seats.

As per the provincial HED letter dated April 18, 2022, selection for vice-chancellors of state-run universities is scheduled for May 7 and 8, 2022. Ideally, the Academic Search Committee should not have called the former hot-headed UoM VC —who threatened peacefully protesting teachers to shoot them in the head—for the interview not least considering the proven charges as well as inquiries pending against him.

“It remains so unfortunate that a proven guilty person is shortlisted for the VC post,” lamented a faculty member at one of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s state-run high-learning seats who, quoting a saying, said justice is truth in action and if the search body wants to see truth and justice prevail, he added, they must consider Dr Gul Zaman’s threats to teachers besides charges proved against him ahead of giving him such a serious task.”

Recently, an inquiry report, a copy of which is available with this scribe, proved sixteen charges of serious nature including discrimination, favoritism, irregularities in appointments, contract award, NOC grant for study leave/postdoc, illegal transfers, creation of posts, allotment of houses amongst others.

On the other hand, March 3, 2021, witnessing the former VC UoM Gul Zaman threaten teachers to shoot them in the head remains under probe being conducted by another high-powered GIT.

Report of the high-level inquiry body constituted by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor shows that a large number of illegal appointments were made by Dr Gul Zaman including the illegal appointment of Prof Dr Shafiq Ur Rahman, Dr Alam Zeb and Dr Ikram Elahi amongst 50 other appointments.

The report shows that the appointment of Prof. Dr Shafiq Ur Rahman as head of the Appointment and Promotion Committee was made illegally by the ex-VC. “The cases of Dr Shafiq Ur Rehman and Dr Alam Zeb were conditionally approved by Syndicate subject validity of their research papers in Z category from HEC. The record reveals that no advice of the HEC in writing was secured nor it is available on record,” reads pages 13 to 15 of the inquiry report regarding illegal promotions and appointments made by the former UoM Vice-Chancellor.

Also, the inquiry committee proved the ex-VC— who illegally allotted a house in the Professor Colony to himself—guilty of making appointments of his uncle, relatives and friends besides charging him with illegally creating many posts.

Charges against the former VC regarding irregularities in leasing out varsity land, merit breach in construction of VC House and VC Office stood proved. The high-level inquiry committee investigated charges related to construction in the university and proved that the budget of the VC House was illegally revised besides finding serious irregularities committed in the construction of a road to the hilltop, and the purchase of disputed land.

The committee report also proved his experience in South Korea doubtful, stating: “From what has been stated above, counting his research experience during MS and PhD programs is justified in light of HEC criteria. However, the duration of MS and PhD and subsequent experience overlap as he completed MS on 22nd August 2006 and started PhD on 2nd March 2006 which makes the experience doubtful.”

The former VC was held guilty of sidelining senior and experienced faculty members which systematically resulted in vacant Pro-Vice-Chancellor post and dean(s) seats. “There are a number of Professors but no such proposal has ever been floated by the University for approval of the Chancellor. The allegation, therefore, stands proved to the extent of appointment of Deans and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor,” reads the report.

The inquiry report also recommends that a technical inquiry committee should be formed to probe further charges related to the construction of VC House, renovation of old houses and other construction work done during Gul Zaman’s tenure.

Sindh University (SU) Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro Wednesday distributed scholarship cheques to 27 M.Phil. and Ph.D. scholars in the second phase of the Sindh Higher Education Commission (HEC) Indigenous Scholarship program.

In a ceremony organized in the Senate Hall of the VC Secretariat by the SU’s directorate of research & graduate studies (DRGS), the vice-chancellor handed over the scholarship cheques to the deserving meritorious scholars of M.Phil. and Ph.D. of various disciplines.

Sindh HEC released a total amount of Rs 6.3 million under its indigenous scholarship program for the research scholars of M.Phil. and Ph.D. asking varsity administration to disburse an amount of Rs 2,30,000 each after selecting them on the need-cum-merit basis.

Later, the scholarship committee interviewed the scholars who applied for the fixed 27 slots and it finalized 13 scholars of M.Phil. and 14 Ph.D. for the award. However, after deducting their remaining admission fees, the cheques were disbursed to the 27 scholars enrolled in various disciplines.

Among other, Registrar Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Bhutto, director of research & graduate studies Dr. Shahzad Ahmed Memon, Deans Dr. Khalil ur Rehman Khoumbhati, Dr. Wazir Ali Baloch, Dr. Javeed Ahmed Chandio, Dr. Khalida Frayal Almani, director Pakistan Study center Dr. Shuja Ahmed mahesar, director Area Study Centre Dr. Mukesh Kumar Khatwani,  director Students’ Financial Aid Office Dr. Mushtaque Ahmed Jariko, Dr. Lachhman Das Dhomeja, Qamar Nagraj, Dr. Gulsher Leghari, Amar Joyo, Dr. Muhammad Qasim Nizamani, Dr. Ghulam Akber Mahesar, Dr. Intzar Lashari, Dr. Muhammad Younis Leghari, Dr. Ishrat Abbasi, Dr. Naheed kaka, Dr. Sarfraz Hussain Tunio, Prof. Jan-e-Alam, and Dr. Naheed Arain were also present on the occasion.

Speaking, on the occasion, the vice chancellor Dr Kalhoro said that the maximum facilities and scholarship opportunities were being provided to the students and scholars studying in the University of Sindh so that they could serve the country and the nation after completing their higher studies.

He said that the quality research was being conducted in the various disciplines and Sindh University was producing the most M.Phil. and PhD.

He said that the interviews of M.Phil. and Ph.D. scholars were conducted in the light of the guidelines of Sindh Higher Education Commission (HEC), out of which, he said 27 scholars were selected on merit for the scholarship.

Dr. Kalhoro said that a scholarship of Rs. 230,000 was fixed for each scholar for the entire program by Sindh HEC, out of which the required amount he said was deducted in lieu of their remaining fees while the remnant money had been paid to them in form of cheques.

The Vice-Chancellor while sharing glad-tidings for the undergraduate students said that the government of Sindh had also released the scholarship amount from its Zakat Fund, which will be disbursed to the deserving pupils very soon.

He said that the university had also received the scholarship money from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Islamabad for 700 deserving students of 2019 and 2020 batches, which will be distributed among them before Eid ul Fitr.

He said that a meeting was being held on Thursday (today) in connection with awarding scholarships from the Zakat amount provided by the Sindh government and as many as 284 undergraduates will get it.

In his message to the supervisors, co-supervisors, the concerned chairpersons, directors and directorate of research & graduate studies to complete M.Phil. program in two and Ph.D. programs in 3 years as it was mentioned in the varsity prospectus.

He said that the inordinate procrastination in this regard ought to be avoided in the best interest of universities and scholars, adding that if the scholars got their degrees in due course of time, they will be able to grab good jobs in the job market

The number of Pakistani students selected for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) scholarship to study in Europe has gone up almost three-fold in the last three years, from 46 in 2017, to 126 for the academic year 2020-21, including 64 men and 62 women.

With 126 scholarships out of a global total of 2,542, Pakistan now ranks third in the world, having moved up one slot from its fourth position in 2019. A major reason is the awareness campaign launched jointly by the HEC and the EU mission in Pakistan. The total number of applications (2,919) from Pakistan is the highest in the world.
The selected students will pursue their studies in 18 leading European countries. The Erasmus Mundus program aims to promote academic and cultural understanding between the European countries and partner countries. It supports the development of human resources, facilitates international mobility and cooperation, and helps build the capacity of higher education institutions across the world.
EMJMD programs encompasses a range of subjects of interest to Pakistan, including the circular economy, microwave electronics and optics, international humanitarian action, vaccinology, children’s literature, media and culture, and groundwater and global change, to name a few.
Notwithstanding the prevalent uncertainty due to COVID-19 pandemic, HEC is actively engaged in discussions with the EU Delegation to facilitate the start of academic activities by the scholarship awardees, including their travel arrangements. Collaboration is also continuing on other programs in higher education and research, in order to bring the quality and standards of education at par with the global standards.
The Erasmus scholarships are an addition to the scholarships provided directly by the HEC to Pakistani students for study in the leading universities of the world. HEC has cooperative agreements with universities and countries not only on scholarships but also on joint research programs, faculty exchange programs, transnational education programs, excellence frameworks, and leadership development programs.
Related: Erasmus Mundus Scholarship: Everything You Need to Know About It

The two-day 36th Meeting of the Commission, the governing body of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), concluded on Saturday. Chairman Tariq Banuri chaired the meeting, which was conducted online. The Commission unanimously deplored the sudden cut in the higher education budget by another Rs.5.90 billion from the committed Indicative Budget Ceiling of Rs.70.00 billion for FY 2020-21, and emphasized that the move will dismantle the country’s higher education systems by forcing the shutdown of universities, which are already suffering from historically unprecedented budgetary shortfalls and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The Members stressed upon the Government to reconsider its decision, and take immediate steps to appropriately fund the universities in order to protect access to and quality of higher education. The Commission stressed that without adequate investment in higher education, the youth of Pakistan will never acquire the competencies needed to develop and compete internationally.

Meanwhile, the Commission thoroughly reviewed the HEC funding formula for universities, took into account various proposals, and decided that for FY 2020-21, the actual total allocation of FY 2019-20 will be treated as base plus need grants, accounting for 85 percent of the total allocation, while the remaining 15 percent will be treated as a performance grant, allocated on the basis of the number of publications, the number and amount of research grants received,  as well as a number of PhD faculty and students. It was also agreed that for FY 2021-22 and beyond, a new funding methodology will be developed on the principles of equity, needs, and credit for performance.

The Commission amended the Tenure Track Statutes by indexing TTS salaries to the comparable BPS scale plus a 35% TTS Premium, thus introducing automatic adjustments of future TTS salaries in line with increases in BPS salary scales. Consistent with the international practice, the Commission increased the maximum time limit for the tenure decision from the current 6 years to 9 years, and endorsed collection of granular data of TTS faculty separately in HEMIS (Higher Education Management Information System) to help universities and HEC maintain proper oversight over the progress of TTS faculty, and improve transparency and fairness of recruitment, promotion and tenure.

The Commission appreciated the comprehensive work done by the HEC in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, to minimize academic disruption, develop and guide universities to acquire online readiness, provide supplementary resources of Rs.1.20 billion, deploy live dashboard to monitor quality of online delivery, build free online academic content and resources, and motivate students to continue learning. The Commission impressed upon the Government to support HEC initiatives viz. Taleem Bundle, University Support Package, etc., and advised HEC to resolve connectivity issues faced by students, and use platforms such as virtual think tanks to carve out imaginative solutions.

The Commission also approved revised HEC Policy on Protection against Sexual Harassment in Higher Education Institutions 2020, which reflects significant improvement from its 2011 anti-sexual harassment guidelines in terms of enforcement, simplicity, scope, definition of prohibited conduct, consistency with national act for Protection of Women against harassment at work place, and appellate process. The Commission also adopted the “Safe Campus Acceptable Usage Policy 2020” to protect the privacy of students and avoid possibilities of harassment because of the installation, placement or use of security cameras within the universities and campuses.

The Commission appointed Mr Kamran Rasool, former Interior Secretary and former Chief Secretary Punjab in an honorary capacity as the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Education Testing Council (ETC) considering his professional eminence and implacable integrity.

Some items could not be taken up because of the shortage of time, and will be considered at the next meeting in July.

The meeting was attended by Mr. Mohyuddin Ahmad Wani, Additional Secretary, [representative of Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training], Dr. Tariq Masood, Joint Scientific Adviser [representative of Ministry of Science and Technology], Dr. Suhail Shahzad, Special Secretary [representative of the HED, Government of the Punjab], Prof. Dr. Shafiq ur Rehman, Adviser (QAP), [Representative of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa], Mr. Abdul Saboor Kakar, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, [Representative of the Government of Balochistan], Mr. Shamsh Kassim – Lakha, Former Federal Minister for Education and S&T, Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali, President, SZABIST Karachi, Prof. Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, Sukkur IBA University, Engr. Ahmed Farooq Bazai, Vice Chancellor, BUITEMS, Quetta, Prof. Dr. Javeid Iqbal, Former Vice Chancellor, University of Balochistan, Quetta, Dr. Naveed A. Malik, Former Rector, Virtual University of Pakistan, Lahore, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Asif Mumtaz Sukhera, Former Surgeon General, GHQ, Rawalpindi, Prof. Dr. Bhawani Shankar Chowdhry, Former Dean & Adviser, Faculty of Electrical, Electronics and Computer Engineering, MUET, Jamshoro, Dr. Faisal Bari, CEO and Senior Research Fellow (Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives), Associate Professor, LUMS, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Muhammad Asghar, Consultant (CPEC), HEC, and Dr. Fateh Muhammad Mari, Executive Director (Acting), HEC.

Related: Moving Higher Education Online: A Challenge or Opportunity?

A special package worth Rs 285 million has been allocated for universities in Balochistan, FATA and Gilgit Baltistan over and above their normal allocation for the upcoming financial year 2020-21, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has said. In a statement released on Wednesday, HEC said funding for FATA University had also been prioritized and its allocation had been tripled.