5000 Professors Postpone Protest Call Against HEC's New Funding Policy

As HEC attempted to clarify new funding policy through notice, over 5000 teachers who were scheduled to protest against revision of fund policy have postponed their scheduled plan.

5000 Professors Postpone Protest Call Against HEC's New Funding Policy

As the Higher Education Commission (HEC) attempted to clarify the new funding policy through a notice, over 5000 teachers, including assistant professors, associate professors, and professors, who were scheduled to protest against the revision of fund policy have postponed their scheduled plan.

APTTA, a group of professors who represent Tenure Track System (TTS) faculty across Pakistan, had previously announced that on March 15, 2023, they would assemble outside the HEC office to demonstrate against the organization’s new policy, which they believed would ultimately ruin their future.

HEC had informed all universities through the new funding policy that it would not be able to fund any new TTS programmes while capping the funding for current TTS faculty, which also merged with the ongoing budget of universities.

Financial and grant restrictions have been cited by the HEC as the cause of the demise of its own indigenous TTS programme, which was launched in 2003 and provided highly qualified PhD teachers with alluring compensation packages at public universities while bearing a sizable portion of their benefits.

However, the HEC has made it clear through the notice—a copy of which is on file with this scribe—that the payment of salary contributions and career advancement of current faculty hired under TTS are protected as per the updated TTS funding policy for 2022–2023. New appointments and time-barred cases, however, will not be supported.

Additionally, in accordance with the HEC, the commission’s contribution must be standard for differential payments above the BPS salary set by the relevant government.

According to HEC, it has been made clear in a letter to all public sector universities and higher education institutions that for current TTS faculty members whose cases have already been funded by HEC and whose cases are not time-barred, it is guaranteed that HEC will continue to pay its contribution, including the differential amount above the BPS set by the Government (Federal/Provincial), gratuity/13th TTS salary, TTS annual increment, and the impact of promotions.

To this end, the HEC Finance Division has already sent a revised TTS allocation for 2022–2023 for the institutions’ approval. The fourth quarter of the current fiscal year is when any additional or overpaid adjustments must be made. The universities have been instructed to keep paying eligible salary benefits to TTS faculty members who are already receiving HEC funding.

“It has also been emphasised that HEC must use all reasonable means to fund new or fresh TTS cases appointed prior to the distribution of HEC funding policy 2022-23, which was issued on July 29, 2022. Universities have been asked to share appointment information and supporting documentation for new TTS cases as soon as possible so that this matter can be decided further “There was a notice.

When contacted, Dr. Noman Khan, the APTTA’s information secretary, reported that the protest call had been postponed as a result of the HEC’s clarification and a subsequent meeting between a delegation from the APTTA and the executive director of HEC, Shahista Suhail.

It was made clear during the meeting when talking about time-barred cases that if the delay was caused by administrative problems, the faculty member should receive relief, but if the performance was not finished, the cases should be viewed as time-barred. The delegation’s professors stressed that the TTS faculty faces numerous issues that require quick resolution.

The Research Innovation and Development Division, Quality Assurance Division, and Finance Division were given orders by the Executive Director to move more quickly on the TTS Model Statutes Version III and submit their recommendations to the Commission within a month.

The HEC has been informed that universities’ failure to enforce current laws is another significant TTS issue. The officials have promised the professors that HEC will soon issue a directive requesting that the bodies and universities fully implement these statutes, but this has not been confirmed by the officials.

The HEC is expected to resolve these issues during Ramadan, according to the APTTA delegation. For this reason, the APTTA has moved up its protest from March 15 to May 3. Otherwise, the TTS teachers will be forced to take to the streets.