Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to launch a new research grant program for jobless PhDs to tackle the growing unemployment amongst highly qualified scholars, Thursday. The statement issued by HEC said that the regulating body took few decisions regarding jobless PhDs in response to a petition sent by representatives of unemployed PhDs following their meeting with the Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Naeem-ul-Haq. Statement said that Vice Chancellors (VC) of the universities have committed themselves to reviewing CVs uploaded on HEC website. Recently, Shaheed Benezir Bhutto University Banazirabad has decided to offer jobs to 22 PhDs out of the 105 CVs in relevant disciplines, statement added. It also said that similar decisions are likely to follow as other universities complete their recruitment formalities.
According to the statement, in this regard, Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman HEC convened a meeting of all relevant Programme Coordinators at HEC to review the recommendations made by representatives of the unemployed PhDs. The meeting led to a number of decisions including launch of an exclusive research grant program which will be open to unemployed PhDs on competitive basis. The applicants will have to affiliate themselves with a university on an honorary basis in order to apply for the grant, it said. It also added that another committee has been established which would be chaired by Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Director, IBA Karachi to undertake an in-depth analysis of teacher-student ratio in various programs and recommend guidelines and standards for the enhancement of quality.
Establishment of a committee to be chaired by Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, Rector, IIU Islamabad to review the practice of over-reliance on visiting faculty and recommend guidelines and standards to reinforce was also decided. Commission a study on the employment trends in various disciplines, in order to enable universities to focus their resources in fields where there is a high demand. In this regard, the HEC has already shared available information on unemployed PhDs with universities and, advised them not to launch programs in areas where there is excess supply. HEC has already collected data on unemployed PhDs and has set a target date of 31st January, 2019 for the launch of a consolidated Academic Jobs Portal. Earlier dozens of jobless PhD scholars had staged protest outside the residence of Prime Minister (PM) residence urging the government to provide employment opportunities for highly qualified scholars. The jobless scholars claimed that despite the formation of PTI’s government, they were living in the old Pakistan as their demands are falling on deaf ears. The protestors criticized universities and HEC for not formulating solid and long lasting policies for PhD scholars as they are becoming jobless.
They claimed that around 800 PhDs in the country are jobless and the strength is increasing with every passing year, while universities and HEC has failed in opening the doors of opportunities for them.