Tall claims, no deeds

While speaking at function at Rosekeepal Hall in Islamia College University after the inauguration of “Smart University and Safe Complex” Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman claimed that violation of merit in recruitment and admission to various courses in public sector education institutions shall not be tolerated, come what may. He also expressed reservations about the authenticity of NTS and ETEA MCQs based written tests.

The contention against the NTS is not valid; however, some anomalies did appear in the ETEA examination because wrong answers were fed in the software of answers to MCQs. In the context of Pakistan it is an established fact that politicians always make tall claims for misleading the people and for political point scoring in a botched attempt to hoodwink the public opinion, ignoring the cardinal principals of democracy. They prefer to remain ignorant about the vast awareness that the charismatic, dead honest, and genuine political leader Prime Minister Imran Khan has created among the youth. The people cannot be deceived anymore even by politicians in the rank and file of PTI.

There is no denying the fact that a giant milestone was fixed by the former education minister Muhammad Attif Khan with the implementation of a comprehensive and transparent policy of zero tolerance against the manipulation of merit to ensure appointment of intelligent and capable elementary and secondary school teachers. This policy of appointment of teachers appears to be not digestible by a number of PTI MPs. Merit is often disturbed by favouring the blue eyed guys in interview and this gimmick has been eliminated in the selection of school teachers to appoint the deserving and capable candidates. Although in the selection process of Khyber Puktunkhwa Public service Commission the interview marks have been decreased to 25 but even then members of the commission accommodate their own favourites and politically backed candidates, jeopardizing the rights of those candidates who have acquired the highest quantification on the basis of written test and academic record. Only one percent merit is observed in the selection process of Provincial Public service Commission.

In the previous PTI government former Chief Minister and Speaker Provincial Assembly used to alter the merit to appoint their blue eyed guys in higher education institutions, government departments and autonomous bodies. Their ghosts are still active in violating the appointments on merit in the province. This type of brazen violation by PTI stalwarts hits the tall claim of the Governor out of the park.

The recruitment policy pertaining to the appointment of new faculty is so nauseating that often non-deserving candidates with political backing and professorial lot reference are preferred over the deserving ones who are certainly responsible for teaching the outdated course contents and low quality research conducted under the supervision of the faculty members hired on the recommendation of university syndicate. As long as the unbridled powers of the syndicates of the universities are intact the reforms in higher education cannot be implemented regarding the recruitment of capable and talented young faculty equipped with modern knowledge acquired from foreign universities, updating the vintage teaching methods of the old guard professors and significant improvement in research environment. If the political masters of the ruling PTI, who are at the helm of affairs, really want to restore and ensure merit, they should replicate the same recruitment policy that was worked out and implemented by the former education minister.

After the devolution of higher education to provinces under the provisions of 18th Amendment, the Administrative powers of the Governor to ensure appointments on merit stand diluted. It is worthwhile that the leaders of the ruling party should not make such promises that they are either not inclined to fulfill or not have the prerogative to do so.