Islamabad - Some nine universities have been working without permanent vice chancellors in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the situation is no different in Punjab and Sindh where many higher education institutions are headless, says the chairman of Higher Education Commission.

Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr Mukhtar Ahmed while responding to the queries of senators said there are many higher education institutions being run on ad hoc basis by the provincial governments due to various reasons.  

The meeting of Senate sub-committee on federal education and professional training was held yesterday under the chair of Senator Sehar Kamran. The meeting was supposed to discuss the appointments of Hazara University employees from grade 1 to 22, funding for PhDs, and other issues but the senators were provided the working paper at the eleventh hour by the university. The senators could not read the paper due to the lack of time. So it was decided that the HEC chairman would review the matters and report to the committee within a week.

The senators at the meeting inquired from the chairman why the appointment of regular vice chancellor of Hazara University has been pending for the last two-and-a-half-years and how many other universities are being run on ad hoc basis.

About nine universities are being run by acting vice chancellors in KP, five varsities in Punjab and at least two varsities in Sindh including Dow University of Health Science and the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi and two universities in Azad Jammu and Kashmir are headless, responded the chairman. Likewise, two universities of the federal capital – National University of Science and Technology and Federal Urdu University of Arts and Sciences - also lack permanent appointments, he said.

Dr Mukhtar said the positions were lying vacant owing to various reasons, including pending court cases and procedural delays. In KP, he said, the process was delayed due to amendments in university act but now the positions have been advertised afresh and appointments are in the pipeline.

Moreover, the chairman said Hazara University had sent 25 to 30 students abroad on PhD scholarships but upon return they were not given appointment as per rules for over five years and they kept working on the positions of lecturers. As per HEC rules, PhD holders of foreign universities are directly appointed on the position of assistant professors. But now their cases have been considered for promotions, he said. The university having enrolment of 12500 students offers 36 courses in four faculties.