Conflict on VCs of Punjab Universities selection process

Category: Universities

Lahore (March 27, 2011): selection process of vice chancellors (VCs) of six public universities of the province has become controversial following strong concerns raised by most of the applicants.
The major point of concern being highlighted is the revised criteria for selection of the candidates as most of the apparently potential candidates have not been invited for interview by the VC Search Committee.
The News carried a story of this correspondent on March 4, 2011, highlighting the fact that the applicants having local qualifications were discriminated as those having foreign degrees of graduation, master’s and PhDs were awarded extra marks.
A total of 100 marks were set for each candidate out of which 30 marks for his/her qualifications, 30 for experience and 40 for final interview.
Those securing maximum marks were to be scrutinised and shortlisted for interview by the VC Search Committee subsequently appointed as a VC of any of the six universities.
The News revealed that out of total 30 marks fixed for qualifications, the foreign qualified were being awarded 12 marks for graduation, six for master’s and 12 for PhD while those having local qualifications were being awarded 8, 3, 8 marks for graduation, master’s and PhD degrees, respectively.
However later in a meeting, the VC Search Committee revised the marks distribution fixed for qualifications. It decided to go away with marks for graduation and MA/MSc qualifications setting all 30 marks for PhD degree only. According to the revised criteria, all candidates having PhD degrees, irrespective of the facts whether they have earned the degree from abroad or locally, have been awarded 20 marks. However 10 additional marks were given to those who have done their PhD from top 500 universities of the world.
Many of the candidates believe that distribution of marks is still biased and unjust as it is totally unfair to give double benefit to the candidates having the same degree. According to them, the phenomenon of ranking of world universities surfaced in Pakistan in 2003. All the applicants for the slot of the vice chancellorship have done their PhDs much earlier than 2003, when the process of ranking of universities was not in place.
An applicant, seeking anonymity, argued that the universities were ranked on the basis of their particular disciplines, not as a whole. Giving an example, he said University of Missouri was ranked among the top 500 university of the world on the basis of its discipline of Agriculture or Mathematics. He questioned as to how a candidate earning a degree from this university in social sciences discipline could be awarded 10 extra marks, while the University of Missouri has not been ranked on the basis of social sciences. He said among the top 500 universities none was included from within Pakistan, while about 150 were from the US and above 40 each from United Kingdom and Germany.
Another applicant said the decision of the VC Search Committee was tantamount to giving preference to people of privileged class particularly those trained in the US universities.
He said through the revised criteria once again the search committee had exposed that it allegedly wanted to favour some “selected” individuals questioning as to why the condition of PhD from top 500 universities was inserted. He added the post of VC was more of administrative in nature than academic.
Another candidate said if the government continued favouring foreign qualified it would demoralise the people doing PhDs from the Pakistani universities.
It is pertinent to mention here that currently the Punjab government is looking for regular VCs of six varsities which are: the Government College University (GCU), Lahore, University of Education, Lahore, University of Sargodha, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan, Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) Rawalpindi and Lahore College for Women University (LCWU), Lahore.
However, when contacted, Punjab Higher Education Department Additional Secretary (Academics) Chaudhry Akram who is focal person dealing in shortlisting of candidates denied that the criteria was revised to favour some selected individuals.
He claimed the criteria was revised to end discrimination against those having local qualifications.

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