VCs bid to get legislation delayed triggers debate

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The vice-chancellors’ bid to resist the proposed legislation for higher education has triggered a debate in the corridors of power and academic circles.

The government is determined to table the draft law at the next session of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. However, the vice-chancellors demand that all the stakeholders including teachers, students and administration should be taken into confidence before the legislation and no decision should be taken in haste.

A hitherto unknown ‘Azad Group’ of teachers at University of Peshawar sent an email to a number of media persons pledging to move court against the proposed legislation and constitution of the working group. Serious allegations were also leveled against some of the members of the working group in the email.

The combined meeting of the vice-chancellors and Peshawar University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) at the University of Peshawar on Sundayabout the proposed amendments to the universities model act was the most talked about topic in the university.

Some senior teachers took exception to PUTA’s decision of convening meeting of the vice-chancellors, saying that it was a representative body of teachers not vice-chancellors. “PUTA should remain concerned about safeguarding the rights of teaching fraternity not the vice-chancellors,” said a teacher.

The meeting was also attended by some representatives of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association particularly its central general secretary Jamil Ahmad Chitrali and provincial president Rakhshanda.

The provincial president in a telephonic conversation with this reporter, however, made it clear that she had never convened any meeting with the vice-chancellors rather she was invited to the moot on the pretext that the vice-chancellors wanted to have meeting with FAPUASA office-bearers.

This particular meeting was arranged solely by PUTA and FAPUASA’s provincial chapter had nothing to do with it.She explained that FAPUASA was a representative organisation of teaching community and it would strive to safeguard the rights of teachers. She said that a consultative meeting of the organisation would soon be held wherein the proposed amendments to the model universities’ act besides several other issues would be discussed.

The draft law has introduced a number of amendments to the model act. The vice-chancellors are specifically concerned about the criteria proposed for appointment, removal and renewal of the vice-chancellors, which they consider a threat to their offices.

A senior member of the working group on higher education that has prepared the draft legislation and central vice-president of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Shibli Faraz also reacted to the issue after it hit headlines.

In a statement, he said: “The law stipulates that vice-chancellors must hold a PhD degree and have administrative experience and it would remove procedural ambiguities in the appointment, removal and tenure of vice-chancellors.” According to the proposed law, strict accountability of performance would be ensured through third-party audits, he said.

He said the legislation would revolutionise higher education in the province enabling the youth to realise their potential contribution to the economic development. “It would give the youth career prospects and a brighter future,” he added.

Source: The News.