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Friday, April 19, 2024

The unfairness of ‘over-qualified’ PhDs in Balochistan

The author discusses the politics of universities in Balochistan. Candidates with PhDs are often not hired by the universities on the basis of being 'over-qualified.' The author also highlights how HEC guidelines are not followed by universities in Balochistan.

University is believed to be the most important educational sector where great minds are produced and the young generation is trained to be future scientists.

It is internationally acknowledged that PhDs should be appointed for teaching at universities because the development of the countries is totally dependent on the quality of higher education.

The modern world is going towards a ‘knowledge economy’ and a knowledge economy is produced by qualified young generations who graduated from universities.

The teaching faculties of universities are always believed to be qualified and critical Ph.D. scholars. All universities of Pakistan are regulated by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan from the admission process to the recruitment process to bring uniqueness and to provide quality higher education.

Read more: 194 out of 500 PhD candidates sent abroad by HEC never returned, report

Most of the universities are strictly following the procedures and guidelines of HEC but the case is different in Balochistan.

The damaged education system of Balochistan

Individuals within the universities are powerful in Balochistan. The influential professors and external political pressures damaged the higher education of Balochistan. The universities are violating the rules of recruitment processes and HEC is paying no attention.

The actual reason for the silence is exactly political and this silence has completely damaged the education system of Balochistan.

Read more: The ugly truth about Pakistan’s education system

The influential faculty members and administrators would decide who should be recruited and who should not be despite taking into consideration the high qualifications, experiences, and research publications.

This act is clearly seen in the recent recruitment process of the Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences (LUAWMS), Balochistan. The most important and fascinating story was considering PhDs as overqualified for the post of lecturer.

Read more: The state of education in Pakistan – Ali Moeen Nawazish

An absurd reason for not hiring PhDs

A Ph.D. in sociology with the highest score in the NTS test was disqualified by considering him over-qualified for the post of lecturer of Sociology during the interview by a well-reputed Vice-Chancellor, instead, an M.Phil. in social work was appointed for the post of sociology.

Another fascinating story was not selecting a Ph.D. in political science. There were two vacant posts for a lecturer in political science. One candidate was selected and another post was left vacant. A Ph.D. candidate with the highest NTS score on the political science screening test was not appointed by considering him overqualified.

Read more: Op-ed: Picturing a depressed Balochistan

If PhDs are overqualified, it should be written on advertisements during the announcement of posts so that they could not waste their time, money, and energy.

Another post became viral on social media that the sister of Zakir Ibrahim, Assistant Professor at Lasbela University, got 22 marks and the result was announced on the NTS website. But people became very shocked when she was seen in the interview.

When they visited the NTS website, she had got 53 and both result cards were shared on Facebook but no action was taken by responsible authorities. Such activity makes NTS questionable as well.

Read more: Changing the academic landscape of Pakistan: Genuine educational leaders needed

HEC guidelines not followed?

Though HEC has given clear policies and guidelines for the recruitment of faculty members, they have not been implemented by the universities in Balochistan.

The government policies for recruitment clearly depict that a person cannot interview or sit in an interview panel while the interviewee is from his/her family member. But the case is different at Lasbela University.

Read more: Doing more with less: The challenge of higher education in Pakistan

In 2017 a lecturer of sociology was selected and her subject specialist was her sister. Similarly, in a recent interview, a person has selected for lecturer in economics whose cousin was a subject specialist and interviewer. Despite all these, neither government of Balochistan nor HEC is taking serious actions.

Similarly, the situation is happening at the University of Balochistan. Recently, it has shortlisted Masters (16 years education) candidates for lecturer and M.Phil. for assistant Professors.

Read more: HEC formally allows PhD after 16 years education; academics term the policy ‘flawed’

HEC has clearly provided its guidelines in 2017 that M.Phil. and Ph.D. for Lecturer and Assistant Professor respectively.

In such actions would affect the quality of higher education in Balochistan and HEC and the government of Balochistan are equally responsible.

The author can be reached at shaisthbaloch75@gmail.com.The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.