The Punjab Assembly on Thursday was told that in all the districts of the province posts of professors and lecturers were lying vacant in the public sector colleges, and the government is yet to chalk out a plan to fill the slots.
Minister Excise and Taxation Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, who also holds portfolio of Education minister, during the Question-Hour regarding the Higher Education Department, admitted that a large number of posts were vacant, and recommendations had been made to the Punjab Public Service Commission for filling the slots. “However, the Commission takes almost a year to complete the process, which makes it further difficult to employ teachers on urgent basis, and other modes of recruitment are being used,” he said, while mentioning that the government had regularised lecturers after qualification credentials. “It is incorrect to assert that the teachers are recruited by the PPSC initially for five years, and instead of regularising them, the contract is further extended. Actually, they are regularised after examining their tangible qualification credentials and track-record of service,” he maintained, while replying to a question of PPP’s Riffat Sultana Dar. The Minister also said the previous govt had started the policy of making recruitments on contract basis. “However, no directions have been made by the Competent Authority in this regard,” he added.
PML-N’s Ijaz Ahmed Khan quizzed the govt about the appointments made as per the ministerial staff quota between January 1 2006 to May 2009, details about the quota and direct recruitments, and their qualifications. He was of the view that the answer was contrary to facts. Seeing this, the Minister requested the Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Education, which was done immediately. For another query by the same member about teachers’ qualifications hired by the Punjab University during the same period, both the questioner – ‘concealment of facts’ – and the Minister – ‘dissatisfied with the reply’ – the Deputy Speaker referred the matter to the Standing Committee and directed that action should be taken against the guilty after the findings of the Committee. However, the Minister negated the assertion that any posts were being filled sans actualising the merit.
To Khawaja Muhammad Islam’s query about colleges in Faisalabad and number of vacant posts, the Minister told the House that in 16 colleges, 300 posts were yet to be filled. Secondly, he also mentioned that 247 slots were vacant in 12 colleges of district Bahawalnagar.
While replying to a question of Opposition’s Khadija Omer about giving promotion to teachers, the Minister told the House that 365 seats of Assistant Professors (Males), APs (females) 281, Associate Professors (Males) 165, Ass Prof (females) 153 and nine posts of professors (Males) were vacant. “Like other departments, the HED is also making promotion on fitness-cum-senior basis, and the time scale is not actualised in any department of the province,” he said, while mentioning the departmental promotion committee meetings were being held regularly for promoting the teachers.