Reforming HEC seems a distant dream | Pakistan Today

Reforming HEC seems a distant dream

  • A grade 20 official of HEC posted at non-existent post

ISLAMABAD: High expectations were attached to the newly-appointed chief of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) that he would bring about revolutionary changes in the commission as well as in higher education but this appears to be a herculean task as a grade 20 official has been posted on a position that previously did not even exist.

According to sources, Farmanullah Anjum, who was appointed as Director General (BPS-20) Quality Assurance Division (QAD) HEC, Islamabad, around a month ago has been transferred and posted as executive director at Secretariat for Research and Analysis Activities without any reason.

Sources said that with around Rs100 billion rupees annual budget, the HEC, dealing with the governance, funding and quality assurance issues of 188 universities with more than 110 countrywide campuses, faced a number of internal governance issues and it was expected that new HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri would take tangible steps to reform the commission but Tuesday’s transfers and postings caught many by surprise.

Since there is no post of executive director at the Secretariat for Research and Analysis Activities in HEC and no job description so it is confusing how the authority posted a grade-20 official at the post.

While the HEC is expected to bring improvement in the quality of higher education, the transfer of Anjum has left consultant Muhammad Ismail to manage the daily affairs of the Quality Assurance Division.

The notification, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today reads that the competent authority has been pleased to order the following transfer and posting with immediate effect and until further orders.

The notification regarding the transfer reads that:

“Farman Ullah Anjum Director General (BPS-20) Quality Assurance Division (QAD) QAA HEC, Islamabad has been transferred and posted Executive Director’s Secretariat for Research and Analysis Activities and Nazeer Hussain Director General (BPS-20) HEC Regional Center, Lahore has been transferred and posted as Statistical Information Unit, HEC Islamabad, while Shahzaib Abbasi Director (BPS-19) has been transferred and posted as HEC Regional Center Lahore.”

A senior official said that in violation of clear orders of the Supreme Court, a number of officers are still working in HEC on deputation basis such as HRD member Dr Ghulam Raza Bhatti (BPS 22) from Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur, Adviser Quality Assurance Dr Riaz Ahmed (BPS 21) from Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Director Academics Dr Muhammad Idrees (BPS 19) from HED Punjab Government, Director Academics Dr Ishrat Siddiqa (BPS 19) from Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi, Director M&E Overseas Pakistani Foundation Syed Naveed Shah (BPS 19) who was absorbed in HEC and Deputy Director Academics Bushra Ghaus, Deputy Director Academics (BPS 18) from Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi and Law Officer Syed Amir Gillani (BPS 18) from PHA.

The official added that in addition to the extension of contracts offered to retired government officials in key departments such as Audit, Quality Assurance and the Chairman’s Office, consultants have been given the responsibility to handle critically important functions of HEC instead of recruiting professionals through an open, competitive process.

In addition, the official said that two officials hired against MP scales are working against the rules and advertised posts.

He said they were expecting that the new HEC management would make permanent appointments on key positions rather than leaving the important QAA HEC position at the mercy of a consultant.

Personal secretary to Chairman HEC said that he was busy in a meeting; hence he would himself contact later. However, he neither called nor responded to the text message.

Officials representing HEC chairman were unable to respond to requests for comments and HEC Executive Director Dr Arshad Ali could not be reached.

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