• By Dr Imtiaz Ahmad

The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) is a federally recognized university by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) known for its exceptional performance and international rankings.

It operates differently from most public sector universities, as it employs its faculty on contracts, similar to COMSATS, with the added nuance of a tenure track system (TTS).

Let’s explore this phenomenon through an easy approach to the frequently asked questions:

  • Q1. Why does NUST employ its faculty on contracts?
  • A. It follows the educational system of the armed forces, which necessitates proper training for regular recruitment, so it keeps its faculty on contracts under its Act and statutes, as the alternative is complex.
  • Q2. Is NUST HEC recognized?
  • A. Yes, indeed, all its faculty are hired following HEC’s stringent appointment policies and other degree and program requirements.
  • Q3. Why is the right to promotion guaranteed to the faculty of NUST even though they are on contracts?
  • A. It’s intriguing that faculty members are promoted based on HEC criteria as soon as they meet the minimum requirements for advancement to a higher position.
  • Q4. Why does HEC allow such promotions in a specific university, even though it provides grants to them
  • A. HEC officials approve and attend selection board meetings for promotions but remain silent on this issue, although it appears discriminatory since this right is granted only to contract faculty, leaving more deserving regular faculty out in the rest of the country.
  • Q5. Is this right illegal or discriminatory?
  • A. The main point here is that HEC’s ordinance permits promotion rights for all faculty members, whether on contract, TTS, or regular. While this right is legitimate and legal, it is discriminatory, as it is denied to others on the grounds that HEC supposedly does not allow promotion policies in universities.
  • Q6. Why hasn’t HEC clarified promotion policies in other universities?
  • A. HEC, as a regulatory body, appears to maintain complexity and create problems rather than resolve them, despite clear provisions for teacher promotions on par with other government departments and regular employees in its 14-page ordinance.
  • Q7. Why is the same promotion right granted to TTS in all countrywide universities by HEC?
  • A. TTS is a system modeled after the USA, and HEC, in its attempt to adopt and adapt this system, extended the same provisions to universities, allowing them to benefit from backdated grants. COMSATS and all faculty on TTS in universities nationwide have promotional policies, and HEC has granted them backdated benefits through the same grants.
  • Q8. Why are specific BPS teachers deprived of these rights?
  • A. The HEC chairman might be the best person to answer this, as he has been issued several notices for not notifying the promotion policy drafted by APUBTA, NASC, the Senate, and the Federal Ministry of Education, yet he remains reluctant.
  • Q 10. Why have these deprived teachers, highly educated, remained silent on these severe violations and discrimination?
  • A. Teachers are a highly respectful and peaceful community that believes in resolving issues through dialogue with their representatives. However, they also possess the courage to stand against such extreme violations.
  • Q10. Is there a deadline for HEC to resolve these issues?
  • A. NASC has directed HEC to notify the promotion policy within a fortnight while addressing seniority issues. If HEC continues to be reluctant, staging a protest, sit-in, and the closure of all universities may become the last resort by the end of October.
  • Q11. How is it possible for every faculty member to become a professor?
  • A. The question is indeed straightforward. Career growth is a legitimate fundamental right, and if the government supports and emphasizes this, HEC and others need not worry. Just as any clerk at HEC can be promoted to a Director with a master’s degree, every teacher can become a professor with a Ph.D. Moreover, international ranking is directly proportional to a number of professors in a university that’s why NUST has secured its position.
  • Q12. Why does the government stress the importance of granting the right of promotion to teachers?
  • A. The answer to this question remains unknown to HEC and many readers. The government understands not only the importance of equal rights but also the long-term benefits. Achieving a high worldwide ranking is possible when a university has more professors, and international students can be attracted through this. This, in turn, can boost the economy by creating a space in international universities similar to the USA and the UK. NUST, COMSATS, AWKUM, and QAU have secured their positions in rankings, although relatively weak, due to their higher number of professors, resulting in a more satisfied faculty.
  • The author is a PhD from the University of Essex UK and serving the University of Malakand as an Associate Professor of Mathematics.

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