PESHAWAR: The provincial chapter of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has decided to hand over their proposed amendments to the K-P Universities Act 2015 to the higher education minister.
This was decided in a meeting of the association held on Thursday at the University of Peshawar. Representatives from state-run universities from across the province were in attendance.
Members of the association, which has been vociferously criticising the Act passed recently by the K-P Assembly, expressed reservations over the composition of varsities’ senate, syndicate and academic council as laid down by the new law.
According to the association, the law is aimed at curtailing the autonomy of universities which is crucial for ensuring quality education and promoting top notch research.
FAPUASA K-P President Fazali Nasir told the participants Minister for Higher Education Mushtaq Ghani had promised the association a few days ago that he would welcome all positive amendments suggested by the organisation.
Nasir praised the minister for taking their reservations into consideration.
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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department is heavily relying on the expertise of professionals from abroad to implement the Health Reforms Act 2015 that seeks a paradigm shift in the existing system to make the health delivery system truly effective.
Relevant officials say that the newly-appointed board of directors (BoD) shows the government`s reliance on experts of international repute being tasked to bring changes in the existing system. There is no bar on BoD members belonging to any other province.
Prof Nausherwan Burki, a US-based Pakistani pulmonologist who spearheads the initiative along with other foreignbased BoD Pakistani members, has volunteered to help the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in reforming the system.
For this purpose, he would stay for a longer period in Peshawar as required. As a rule, the board will hold quarterly meetings, but like Dr Burki, another BoD member Dr Khalid Khan, a Swabi-born foreign-based plastic surgeon, has also communicated to the government about his availability on voluntary basis.
The BoD`s formation signals to the way the government intends to bring about drastic changes for improvement in the health delivery network. Dr Burki, also a former chief executive of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH), is a member of Lady Reading Hospital`s BoD where he will be calling the shots.
While Dr Faisal Sultan, SKMCH chief executive officer, is one of the members of the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) BoD and will be at the driving seat.
Dr Mohammad Asim Yousaf is one of the five board members announced for the Ayub Medical Complex (AMC), Abbottabad, and he will play a lead role there, sources said.
They said that Dr Asim was also behind the construction of the SKMCH in Peshawar.
The sources said that all these health system specialists had remained members of the federal health committees, but now they would have to somehow adjust to the local circumstances. They said that the government would soon complete the process of hiring seven private members of BoD for each of the four teaching hospitals. Five each members for the KTH and AMC have been notified.
Each of the 10-member BoDs will have three ex-officio members, including three administrative secretaries, without vote power with regard to decisions. The sources said that the specialist doctors had also been in contact with the provincial health department and knew about the local situation.
The health department has already been working with them, but fears that these professionals, who have a rich international experience, lack local knowledge about how the employees work. The sources say that the prevailing culture of strikes and protests by doctors and paramedics, which shut the public sector hospitals for thousands of patients, would be a big challenge for them to tackle.
They said that the SKMCH didn`t allow protests, etc due to which it had gained a global recognition. The KP employees are in the habit of leaving their place of duty and resorting to strikes which won`t be that simple to be handled by the new setup.
The sources said that BoDs were trying to recruit highly professional people as medical directors, who would actually be running the hospitals.
PESHAWAR: Making amendments to the relevant law, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday reduced the tenure of vice chancellors of government universities in the province and empowered the chancellor to remove vice chancellors without recommendation of the senates of the relevant universities.
The assembly passed the long-awaited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which had drawn flak from the vice chancellors and teachers association, and made vital changes to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act 2012, under which government universities have been governed.
In the amended law, the tenure of vice chancellors was reduced from four to three years.
Through these amendments, the powers of the chancellor of the public sector universities, who is the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor, have been enhanced.
Previously, the chancellor could only remove the vice chancellor of the university on the recommendation of the relevant university’s senate.
Now, lawmakers have included a new clause in the Act empowering the governor that “in case of substantiated allegations of gross misconduct, in-efficiency, corruption, violation of budget provisions, moral turpitude, remove the vice-chancellor, at his own discretion, after giving him an opportunity to show cause against such removal.”
Also, the VCs can be removed by the chancellor after a resolution passed by the senate with simple majority on the above allegation against the VCs.
Empowers chancellor to remove VCs without advice of varsity senates
Previously, the senate was required to passed the resolution about VCs removal by two third majority.
Now, the VC will be appointed for one tenure of three years on such terms and conditions as may be determined by government and his tenure could only be extended once in the same university.
Currently, an influential VC of a public sector university has been serving for 12 years by obtaining three extensions.
With amendments to the law, even the influential VCs would not be able to serve more than six years.
With amendments to the law, the search committee for vice chancellors have also been depoliticised by excluding minister for higher education and a lawmaker heading the assembly standing committee on higher education department.
Now the search committee will consists of chief secretary, three eminent members of the society, with experience in education, administration or social work, two members of the senate and secretary of HED.
For the first time, with the amendments to the law, the government was empowered to carry out financial and performance audit of all activities carried out by the universities out of the funds provided by national and provincial exchequer, grants and loan whether local or foreign.
Miraj Humayoun had introduced amendments demanding 30 percent representation of women in senate. However, the government agreed on only four women in the senate.
Also, controller of examinations and register would not be appointed from the superannuated employees retired from the government universities and teaching faculties.
Under the present amendments, the oldest university in the province, University of Peshawar (UoP), has also been included in the schedule of this law along with four other universities. Earlier, UoP had a separate law while rest of the universities were functioning under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, 2012.
Three universities, which are in the making and whose names are included in the schedule, are University of Technology, Nowshera, Abbottabad University of Science and Technology and Women University Mardan.
The members from opposition whose amendments were incorporated are Zarin Gul, Sardar Hussain Babak, Sikandar Hayat Khan, Syed Mohammad Ali Shah, Aneesa Zaib Tahirkheli, Meraj Hamayun Khan, Sobia Shahid and others.
The bill was tabled by Higher Education Minister Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani.
After the passage of the amended act, the mover said administrative and academic improvement would be witnessed in the public sector universities.
The minister said corruption and irregularities would be stopped with changes in the law.
source : Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2015