Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad
Higher Education Commission Pakistan (HEC) is striving for raising the standards of higher education in the universities of the country since 2002. Indeed it has achieved various goals and has provided a platform for the quality education and created an environment of considerable research in the country. It has promoted the culture of higher education and established various universities in the country. Though, valuable research carried out by the universities is on peak but unfortunately the same is mainly submitted, published and provided to other countries due to lack of expertise of utilization in the country for which mainly the nation is awaiting. The government is continuously supporting the HEC to create a peaceful working environment in the institutions and facilitate the researchers for quality research being the back bone of universities but unfortunately, HEC is not rightly on that direction. However, sky is the limit in such races if it can be compared with other countries. No one is agree to say that the same is enough what is done so far by the HEC. On the other hand huge cuts of grants are made on universities funds contrary to the preliminary slogans of the current government of supporting the higher education as a consequence the teachers and other employees of the universities are badly suffered. Eventually no university of the country is successful so far to maintain a significant space in the world ranking of universities.
HEC is extremely confused with the system that she has created artificially in the universities. It has unnecessarily divided the teacher’s community in to two groups, the TTS and the BPS teachers. The former category is more favored over the later as has been created by HEC and are trying to show that the high expenditures on them are fruitful. Though the latter is consisting of 70% of the teaching community and is delivering more than the created one. The rules and statues for the TTS teachersare designed in such a way for mental satisfaction and future security that the salaries of the TTS are almost double than that of the BPS and are promoted directly to higher positionswithout advertisement and competition, while the BPS are kept deprived illegally from the same and has created an environment of artificial discrimination. It is humorous that the requirement for promotion of both the categories are almost same but the BPS community waiting for years for advertisement and face a competition of all over the country and each time they have to change a well-established environment of research while seekingfresh appointments in other institutions. This illegal discrimination is always pushing the same teachers to spend most of their time in seeking their due promotions in various other institutions. As a result the research of students and the BPS teacher is badly suffered and the HEC is enjoying and annoying the situation instead of noticing it. In almost all bodies of each university, the HEC representation is mandatory to smoother the situation but they intentionally deny the fact of equal rights of promotion for both categories of teachers being created by them. HEC shall soon compare the outcomes of both the categories and will claim that HEC is right while supporting the one over the other, but who will answer the secrets behind it what is just discussed. The discrimination is not stopped here, the right of promotion is also given to all the employees working in administration of the universities and only the BPS teachers are deprived. This discrimination is now highly noticed by the BPS employees and the “All Pakistan BPS Universities Teachers Association” (APUBTA) is created to stop the discrimination by hooks or crooks. For peaceful dissolution of the matter, the government should notice the discrimination with the BPS community of teachers in the public sectors universities of Pakistan and should probe the matter of re-appointment of the BPS faculty in the name of so-called promotion. The HEC/HED actually destroying the peaceful environment in the universities while promoting the illegal division of the teaching community with equal work load and responsibilities. There is no term for re-appointment of the teaching faculty in any document of the model ACT or the model/uniform statutes of KP then why the same is exercised and justified only for the BPS teaching community. Instead a uniform promotion criterion may be introduced at par with other employees in the universities.
Furthermore, insteadto promote the illegal division of teachers, the HEC should adapt the induction of pure researchers in universities as in international institutions or may provide a modern tract to promote the skills of the existing teachers by motivation, facilitation and analyzing the flaws in the existing system by introducing a new realistic approach to the scientific system of learning that could lead to the environment of achievements and contribution indeed. For instance, HEC must think about the most effective education system in terms of credibility and delivery of services to the community in the country is medial colleges that are unfortunately not under the HEC. Though HEC is trying to get them but they have their own system that is adapted by them for years. Why that system is so strong over the HEC? The answer is quite simple, because they are given teaching hospitals as labs for practical activities and the students and teachers are jointly working there for more than they are teaching and studying.
The products so produced in medical colleges of the country are world recognized in practical work. The HEC should think extension ofthis example to the general universities in the country so that students can produce significantly and contribute to the community, which is the goal and target of HEC.
To this end, I propose that each general university must be linked with a general industry as a lab so that the students of each discipline can work in the same for at least 50-60% of the degree duration. This shall also reduce burden on the government, as the most suitable, healthy and energetic pool of educated labors shall be engaged in these factories and the country could be given a laborious skilled nation in short time while studying in universities. The CPEC industrial zones may be wisely reallocated, declared and attached with the general universities through MOUs. It maybe noted that each student of every discipline can be engaged in such activities if worked out wisely.
Let’s come back to the topic, The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has also been rendering invaluable services for the betterment of universities and teaching fraternity. However, the BPS faculty is also ignored by the joint representative forum, though majority of the FAPUASA office bearers are on BPS but unfortunately they are also striving only for boosting the rights of TTS faculty as desired by the HEC and unfortunately they are also unaware of the secrets behind it. Here I am attempting to draw the kind attention of concerned authorities to those consistent problems which are hovering over BPS faculty for long and causing an increasing sense of deprivation in BPS faculty. Furthermore, the perception that issues and problems of TTS faculty are readily taken up and addressed by relevant forums further augments the sense of deprivation in BPS faculty. This discrimination and the resultant sense of deprivation have forced the BPS faculty to unanimously raise their voice for their due rights via the forum APUBTA to work in collaboration with FAPASA and seek the due rights under the law. The concerns of BPS Faculty that need immediate attention of the authorities are; uniform service structure and uniform salaries.
In comparison to other employees of universities, time scale promotion of BPS faculty is their due right but unfortunately, the promotion of most of BPS facultyhas been ignored and delayed for more than 20 years; no one can provide such examples of deprivation in any other government departments of the country. Unlike the promotion of TTS faculty and other employees the practice of re-appointment in the name of promotion for existing BPS faculty is illegal, partial, timeconsuming and wastage of public money. Additionally, several universities including the University of Punjab, Islamia University Baha-walpur,and Arid Agric-ulture University have granted a similar aforementioned time scale promotion criterion in respect of BPS community. Unfortunately, this practice is not uniformly followed in other public sector universities nor has it been taken up with HEC, HED and other legal forums to uniformly safeguard the right of the BPS faculty of promotion at par with the TTS.
In a letter to various authorities the APUBTAhighlighted their issues and pointed out that, BPS faculty has been denied the right to time scale promotion in the Model Statutes of KP as well. HEC must extend a uniform criterion for time scale promotion of BPS faculty to all public sector universities of the country as has been developed for TTS to ensure justice and to compensate the hitherto ignored BPS employees.
The BPS faculty strongly condemns re-employment in the name of the so-called illegal promotion and request to stop it immediately in the universities so that the BPS faculty could concentrate on their research. The BPS teachers also request for enhanced salaries at par with the salaries of TTS faculty as the workload and qualifications of both set of faculty are the same. They further envisioned otherwise the matter of legitimate rights and discrimination shall be challenged in any court of law to seek justice.