The Vice-Chancellor’ Committee Punjab has proposed that a separate secretariat should be established at the Governor’s office, in a bid to send requests and approvals directly to the chancellor, allowing the office to process cases under the existing laws speedily and swiftly.
The VC’s committee held a meeting on June 14, 2019, at GC University and a proposed a three-point agenda during the meeting. The main points of the agenda included ensuring autonomy through amendment in business rules of the Government of Punjab, proposals for necessary changes in the charters of the public sector universities to make their functioning more efficient, reviewing the practices of public sector universities of other provinces for adoption of best practices and issuing TORs of vice-chancellors of medical universities.
The VC’s committee (Punjab) was informed that a separate department has been set up by the Sindh government to handle matters related to universities and boards, called as the “Department of Universities and Boards”. It was observed by the committee that in KP all matters related to universities were dealt without delays because the office of the chancellor forwarded their requests and approvals directly.
It was recommended that the appointments of the registrar, treasurer and controller of examination should be managed by the syndicate for which necessary amendments were needed in charters of universities. The committee also recommended that the number of MPA’s in the syndicate of the universities should be reduced from three to one, along with adding chairman boards and EDO’s in the syndicate as well.
Moreover, the practice that deals with rules of businesses (of the Govt. of Punjab) superseded the charter of the universities and needed to be stopped urgently. The TOR’s for the salaries of the vice chancellor of medical universities were pending and it was proposed that the matter should be handled just like other universities of the province.
Similarly in the case of other vice-chancellors as well, there was a lack of clarity on one-month additional salary for each completed year in respect of gratuity as provided in TTS salary structure. Moreover, the process of encashment of (unavailed) earned leaves as per rules was also ambiguous due to which vice-chancellors, in many cases failed to use their earned leaves accumulated during the tenure. They proposed that universities where positions of vice-chancellors were lying vacant should be filled quickly, furthering that the sitting incumbent should be allowed to continue till the appointment of a regular vice-chancellor.
The committee also recommended that new universities that have been established in the last few years should be given proper budgetary sanctions. Necessary amendments in the charters of newly established universities should be made for more autonomy, like the Syndicate should be chaired by the vice-chancellor instead of the minister. Selection of experts for the selection board should be carried out by the vice-chancellor and necessary interference jeopardizing the autonomy of universities as per their respective charters should be removed immediately. Also, the procedure of obtaining NOC’s for vice-chancellors to travel abroad was unnecessarily cumbersome and full of delays.
According to the minutes of the meeting, the recommendations were prepared by the vice-chancellors committee on the directions of Governor Punjab. The governor gave the directions after listening to the grievances of vice-chancellors of public and private sector universities, during a dinner organized by founder Akhuat Dr Amjad Saqib at Governor House Punjab.
In the discussion, all the vice chancellors from the public sector universities voiced their frustrations regarding the delays they faced at the hands of seeking approvals from the honourable chancellor, as the route of these approvals was very complicated and lengthy. The reason behind it was serious capacity issues of the Higher Education Department (HED), failing in handling the issues that fall under the ambit of HED. Similar issues were faced by other universities that route their approvals through their respective administrative departments, i.e. the department of agriculture livestock, industries and health.
It was decided that the vice-chancellors committee would meet and discuss various proposals to be submitted to the chancellor for much-needed improvement and modification of the rules of business of the Government of Punjab and charters of public sector universities in a bid to improve their performance.