Key educationists trying their luck and approaching political personalities to get HEC chairman post

LAHORE   -   High-level lobbying and political approaching is at its peak for the vacant post of Chairman High­er Education Commission (HEC) which is said to be the top post in country’s higher education sector, The Nation learnt on Tuesday.

Several key educationists are trying their luck for the said post and using high-level lobbies and approaching political personalities to get the slot of Chairman HEC. These candidates included vice-chancellors of different public and private sector universities, former officials of HEC and renowned educationists. According to sources, 141 candi­dates applied for the post while 72 were short­listed and interviewed by a search committee led by Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Rana Tanveer Hussain. However, the com­mittee will send only the top three names to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to finalise a candidate.

Sources told this scribe that among these 72, a large number of candidates’ focus has been shifted to using strong lobbies and political personali­ties for getting selected as Chairman of HEC. Many highly influential political leaders, bureaucrats and tycoons of private educational institutions are ac­tive and trying hard to get the job for their favourite candidates. According to sources, due to this politi­cal pressure and lobby influences, the search com­mittee has yet to decide on three to five candidates for the said post even after 45 days, since the post was advertised. Another chance was also shared by sources that it might be possible that Prime Minis­ter Shehbaz Sharif could himself re-interview a few candidates and finalise the name after interview­ing. However, the search committee is hoping to send the names soon so the process may initiate at its earliest, said sources, adding, that process had already been so late that any such organization should not be left without a head for so long. It mer­its mentioning here that former HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri’s tenure ended on May 28, while the government advertised the post one week before ending of his tenure and formed a search commit­tee. Led by Federal Minister for Education and Pro­fessional Training Rana Tanveer Ahmad the com­mittee also included Vice-Chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Prof Dr Ziaul Qayyum, Former Vice-Chancellor Information Technology University (ITU) Dr Umar Saif, Secretary Ministry of Education and Professional Training Naheed Shah Durrani, Chairman Punjab Red Crescent Justice (retd) Sheikh Ahmed Farooq, and Vice-Chancellor, Balochistan University of Engineering and Informa­tion Technology Ahmed Farooq Bazai.