Lahore:02 Dec:COUNTRY’s best brains are all set to express themselves in a two-day contest beginning from Monday (today) for the selection of the vice-chancellor of country’s highest seat of learning — the Punjab University.
The PU VC slot is falling vacant on Monday when the Punjab government’s search committee headed by LUMS Pro-Chancellor Syed Babar Ali will start interviewing candidates including incumbent Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran.
At least 45 candidates had applied for the post, out of whom around a dozen candidates have been denied interview call letters because they failed to qualify the laid down criteria.
Apart from Prof Kamran, some of the top candidates for PU VCship are: Karakuram International University VC Prof Dr Najma Najam, National Textile University Rector Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad, PU Economics and Management Sciences faculty dean Prof Dr Ehsan Malik and former PU Registrar Prof Dr Naeem Khan. Many candidates are hopeful of winning the prized slot.
Prof Kamran believes that he had run the university well and promoted a culture of research. In the PU’s Fact Book 2011, Prof Kamran has reported that the university produced 425 PhDs and sent 189 faculty members abroad for presentation of papers at international conferences during his four-year stint.
He also contained the Islami Jamiat Tulaba and did not allow them to act as freely as was the case during former VC Arshad Mahmood’s eight-year tenure.
However, a clear divide among faculty members was witnessed during Prof Kamran’s tenure. The right wing group remained at loggerheads with him as well as the pro-VC group — Teachers Front. Prof Kamran, however, claims that he treated all on merit.
Although Prof Kamran has an experience of running the Punjab University for four years, the aspirants believe the change is always good to break monotony as well as bring in fresh ideas to take the university to new heights.
It is yet to see whether new aspirants will be able to motivate the search committee as well as Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to go for a change or the incumbent VC will convince them for the continuation of policies to bear fruits for which he worked for four years.
On the second-last working day of his tenure, Prof Kamran had made a fiery speech at varsity’s 120th convocation on Saturday and lambasted the rulers for not giving due importance to education.
Holding all rulers responsible for the present day crisis, he said the rulers were showing inhuman attitude towards the masses by not offering them educational opportunities.
He said the education alone could change the fate of individuals as well as the nations — but the present government was not even ready to allocate mere four per cent of the GDP for education.
While many present on the occasion believed that this was VC’s last official speech, Prof Kamran said that one should not compromise on truth and call spade a spade.
Inviting Governor/Chancellor Sardar Latif Khosa to preside over the convocation, in the latest scenario when the governor is a mere rubber stamp in case of appointment of a vice-chancellor, was also taken as if Prof Kamran had lost the patronage of the chief minister, who is all in all to appoint the PU vice-chancellor. However, Prof Kamran claimed that the governor had been given invitation for the convocation some six months ago.
The Punjab government has, this time, acted wisely and started the process early to select a PU vice-chancellor. Previously, many universities like Government College University, Lahore College for Women University, University of Education and University of Sargodha faced severe administrative problems when regular VCs’ tenures completed and senior most professors were appointed — who created a third body and created problems which are still being rectified by respective vice-chancellors. Officials of the Punjab higher education department say that Prof Kamran will continue to hold the charge of his office as acting-VC for a few days, when a regular VC will be appointed.Dawn.