ISLAMABAD-COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI) has revised the shortlisting criteria for rector-hunting required for the top-post of the institution. However, the aspirants also expressed concerns over the new guidelines set, alleging that it does not provide equal opportunity to all, The Nation learned on Tuesday.

Officials said that the CUI senate members with the dissent had approved the new guidelines set by Government of Punjab (GoP) while the four-member search committee had set the shortlisting criteria.

Officials said, however, the guidelines were notified without the approval of president/chancellor of the CUI, and it had to withdraw and send new summary for the approval of the president.

They said that members of the senate expressed concerns over the adopted new guidelines of the GoP by search committee and approved the old selection criteria set by the GoP for the selection on the top-post.

However, adoption of old criteria of GoP raised concerns among the aspirants as it apparently has shrunk the opportunity for the candidates having major academic experience in research and publications.

Officials said that an aspirant and one of the CUI senior deans have written a letter to the senate of CUI to again revise the shortlisting criteria, as the old one adopted does not provide equal opportunity to all.

The notification issued by CUI regarding withdrawal of previous shortlisting criteria, available with The Nation said that pursuant to the decision taken by COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI) Senate in its second meeting held on August 21, the search committee constituted for the appointment of rector CUI finalised and provided the guidelines for shortlisting criteria.

It added the same was circulated among the honourable members of CUI Senate and upon not receiving actionable comments from the members, the guidelines were notified inadvertently without following proper procedure.

The correct procedure for issuing the approval of senate of CUI requires prior approval of the honourable president of Pakistan/Chancellor CUI, being chairperson of the senate CUI.

“In view of the above, the approval notice issued vide letter No. CUI-Reg/Senate-02/19/3468 (Annex A) for the guidelines for shortlisting criteria for rector, CUI, stands withdrawn,” said the notification. The notification also said that the summary for seeking the approval of honourable president of Pakistan/ Chancellor CUI, along with the observations raised on the circulated guidelines by one of the members of CUI Senate, Prof. Dr. Najma Najam, in her email dated November 05, 2019, respectively, is being submitted separately.

Meanwhile, the letter written by aspirant candidate Prof. Dr. Arshad Saleem Bhatti to the CUI senate said that as an applicant, I find the guideline is ambiguous and vague in many aspects, which needs to be clarified before being approved and applied.

He alleged that old criteria of Punjab Higher Education Department, for the appointment of VCs in the province of Punjab, which has been also modified by Punjab government since October 2018.

Expressing concerns on the criteria adopted, Prof. Dr. Arshad Saleem Bhatti alleged that there is strong discrimination against those, who have developed their professional career in Pakistan and contributed heavily in the development of Higher Education canvas in at least last decade and a half.

“There are no marks given to those, who produced number of PhDs, established research labs or programmes,” he said.

He emphasised that this guideline needs to be revised and may please be considered on the same lines as the Government of the Punjab’s new guidelines.

Responding to a query, registrar CUI Dr. Faheem Quershi said that following the search committee guidelines, the CUI senate was given new guidelines on which a few members had reservations. He added that senate members later approved old selection criteria of GoP.

He said that previous selection criteria were not approved by the president and it was withdrawn, while the new summary has been sent for approval to the ministry.

He further added that the university would notify the selection criteria after it gets approved by the president of Pakistan.