Mystery about the appointment of new chairperson Higher Education Commission (HEC) continues as Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif takes his time to decide whether to nominate one name from the list of three recommended by the Search Committee or establish a new search committee to scrutinise and interview the short listed names again.
Well-placed sources shared with ‘The News’ that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has rejected the three names proposed by the search committee headed by the Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ehsan Iqbal and there are chances for the formation of a new search committee which will review, scrutinise and interview the sort listed 18 names. The source said that Ehsan Iqbal has expressed his unwillingness to lead, in case the Prime Minister decides to make new search committee. “He has taken the stand that the previous search committee recommended three best possible options for this highly important post and it would not be appropriate to start the process again with the same committee members,” said the source.
The list of three was nominated by the search committee, headed by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ehsan Iqbal, after thorough scrutiny of the profiles and interviews and was forwarded to Prime Minister on February 11, 2014. The search committee never shared with media the names of those short listed but it is said that it also contained name of a woman as well.
The source shared that the search committee made a criteria for the selection of best possible name for this post. “First standard was PhD degree from a reputed university. The second consideration was the experience of candidate in dealing with HEC matters. The committee members also considered the age factor and short listed only those below 70 years. The fourth criteria was ‘integrity beyond doubt,’” shared the source close to the search committee members. When contacted, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ehsan Iqbal said that his work finished after short-listing three names. “I have heard such rumors as well but there is no confirmation. The decision is with the prime minister,” he said.
Those who are closely and critically following the process of the nomination of HEC chairperson believe that decision of restarting the process of review and scrutiny of 18 short listed candidates was a good decision. They pointed out certain lacunas in the nomination criteria.
“The short listing for this important position was done without proper homework and without matching the qualification and relevant working experience with required advertised criteria where in the presence of qualified PhD candidates, non-PhD candidates were also short-listed. The candidates have also been asked to submit up to 2,000 word statement of their vision for HEC but the nominated candidates were exempted from this exercise,” said one HEC official who requested anonymity.
He shared that the important member of the search committee, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, was not present on February 11, 2014 for conducting interviews. He also pointed out that as the dealing ministry with HEC, the Ministry of Education and Training was not made part of the committee.The news.