University is believed to be the most important educational sector where great minds are produced and young generation is trained to be future’s assets. It is internationally acknowledged that PhD holders should be appointed for teaching at universities because the development of any nation is totally dependent on the quality of higher education. The modern world is, in fact, going toward knowledge-economy which is produced by qualified young generation who graduate from the universities.
The teaching faculties of universities are always believed to be qualified and critical PhD scholars. All universities of Pakistan are regulated by Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan from admission to recruitment processes so as to to bring uniqueness and provide quality of higher education. In this regard, most of the universities are strictly following the procedures and guidelines of HEC but the case is different in Balochistan.
Individuals within the universities are powerful in Balochistan. The influential professors and external political pressures have damaged the higher education of Balochistan. The universities are violating the rules of recruitment processes and HEC is paying no heed. The actual reason of silence is exactly political and this silence has completely damaged the education system of Balochistan. The influential faculty members and administrators decide who should be recruited and who should not be despite considering the qualification, experiences and research publications. This act is clearly seen in the recent recruitment process of the Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences (LUAWMS), Balochistan. The most important and fascinating story was considering a PhD holder over-qualified for the post of lecturer.
A PhD holder in Sociology with highest score in NTS test was disqualified by considering him over-qualified for the post of Lecturer of Sociology during the interview by the ‘well-reputed’ Vice Chancellor and appointed an M.Phil scholar in Social Work for the post of Sociology.
Another fascinating story was not selecting Ph.D. scholar in Political Science. There were two vacant posts for lecturers in Political Science. One candidate was selected and the other post was left vacant because the desired candidate could not complete his degree and was not shortlisted by the scrutiny committee. A Ph.D. candidate with highest NTS score in Political Science screening test was not appointed by considering him over-qualified.
If PhDs are overqualified, it should be written on advertisements during the announcement of posts so that they should not waste their time, money and energy for the posts.
Another post got viral on social media that the sister of Zakir Ibrahim, Assistant Professor at Lasbela University, got 22 marks while the result was announced on the NTS website. But people became very shocked when she was seen in the interview. When they visited NTS website, she had got 53 and both result cards were shared on Facebook but no action was taken by responsible authorities. Such activity makes NTS questionable as well. Though HEC has given clear policies and guidelines for the recruitment of faculty members, they have not been implemented by the universities in Balochistan.
The government policies for recruitment clearly depict that a person cannot interview or set in an interview panel while the interviewee is from his/her family members. But the case is different in Lasbela University. In 2017, a lecturer of Sociology was selected and her subject specialist was her sister. Similarly, in a recent interview, a person has selected for Lecturer in Economics whose cousin was a subject specialist and interviewer. Despite these all, neither government of Balochistan nor HEC is taking serious actions.
A similar situation is happening at the University of Balochistan. Recently, it has shortlisted Masters (16 years education) candidates for lecturer and M.Phil. for assistant Professors. HEC has clearly provided its guidelines in 2017 that M.Phil and Ph.D. should be considered for Lecturer and Assistant Professor respectively. In such cases, taking no actions would affect the quality of higher education in Balochistan, and HEC and the government of Balochistan are equally responsible for it.