FUUAST in Trouble Due to Govt Negligence

The Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science, and Technology (FUUAST) finds itself mired in a bureaucratic dispute that has delivered a significant blow to the institution. The university has been functioning without a Vice Chancellor (VC) for several months due to a conflict between the Chancellor’s Secretariat and the Federal Ministry of Education.

Consequently, FUUAST’s administrative and financial affairs are currently managed by an acting registrar, a situation that has sparked concerns among education ministry officials regarding a possible irreversible crisis.

The absence of an administrative head has rendered the university unable to use its funds for day-to-day operations, as there is no VC to authorize their use. Therefore, the university can only allocate funds for salaries and pensions, which are provided by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) as a grant.

Following the dismissal of the acting VC in April, the education ministry proposed a list of three candidates to the Chancellor’s Secretariat for the appointment of a new acting VC. However, this request went unaddressed as the secretariat expressed reservations about appointing an acting VC.

According to the university’s Act, only the institution’s senate is authorized to recommend the appointment of an acting VC. The education ministry countered that since FUUAST’s senate no longer exists, due to the expiration of its members’ terms, it felt obligated to suggest candidates for the acting VC role.

However, this action is in conflict with the university’s Act, which mandates that in the absence of the institution’s senate, a three-member emergency committee should provide recommendations on various matters. Internal documents reveal that a meeting of this committee took place on 31 March and recommended either Dr. Sarosh Lodhi or Dr. Muhammad Ziauddin for the acting VC role at FUUAST.

The Chairman of the HEC attributed FUUAST’s current predicament to its own actions. The Secretary of Education ascribed the university’s issues to its governing Act and mentioned that steps are underway to amend it over time. However, he conceded that appointing a VC without the presence of the university’s senate “does not seem possible.”

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