Male administration in higher education | By Muneer Ahmed Mirjat 


Male administration in higher education

THE higher education sector is facing various challenges in terms of finances, quality of education, lack of planning, the relevance of qualifications being produced with the demand of the market, etc.

There are 140 plus public sector universities that are providing access to higher education to all classes of the society, the ever-increasing admission and semester fee is creating a gap for the lower class to access higher education.

Financial management is a specialized area and leaders of higher education institutions (HEIs) must prioritize it for creating a balance between expenses and income.

As far as financial management is concerned, it is observed that female leaders are more financially responsible than their counterparts. They follow up and meet timelines for recurring as well as development grants.

The universities are led by Vice-Chancellor or Rector or President, the selection of the leadership for universities requires experience in all three major domains i.e., Academics, Administrative, Financial Management.

They are expected to raise a team of experts in respective areas for steering HEIs in the right direction.

The general universities in Pakistan are mostly led by males and women universities are only led by a female. There are/were some universities that are still led by female academicians.

The matter of leadership in the higher education sector is debatable and one can research the performance of both.

If news items of the previous year or so are analyzed, one can conclude that most of the issues of maladministration are linked with male administration.

If we look at females, who are leading higher education institutions, they become more responsible in terms of recruitment, following rules and regulations, communication with authorities and relevant departments, have less bureaucratic approach in mingling with stakeholders, etc in most of the cases. The main reason is their motherly nature which compel them to manage matters on the family pattern.

They consider students, faculty members, society and authorities as a part of the family and remain active to meet the expectation of all like her children. This develops trust and confidence among stakeholders to work together for bringing betterment to society.

Some critics consider female leaders as weak in decision making but whenever an opportunity is given, they make the right decisions without fear and favour.

Also, they opine that in general universities, students and faculty members are strong enough that can be handled with an iron hand which is not the case in the 21st century when social media has strong roots in our society.

The faculty members and students do consider a logical and rationale-based decision about their career and studies.

The females have more convincing power while in dialogue due to again their God-gifted motherly nature.

If we look around in our neighbouring countries as well as the developed world, the female leaders are not preferred at the top level but consider an example of New Zealand and Germany where respective leaders are driving their countries in the right direction for years.

As our population of females is increasing, therefore, it is appropriate to include them in top positions to mobilize their potential.

There are several incidents where female students were harassed and victimized by male teachers or administrators.

Therefore, it is time to consider enrolment of different genders in the HEIs as one of the parameters for appointing the head of the institution. Parents will also feel comfortable if authorities at the leadership level are females as they consider them kind-hearted and caring than others.

In the same way, stakeholders, especially people from industries, government, non-government organizations and donors, feel comfortable while communicating with their female counterparts.

They can better arrange Alumni events for mobilizing their potential for raising funds, jobs and internship opportunities. All these stakeholders consider them more positive and logical for materializing mutual activities and common cause.

The outcome is provided to the society which further motivates all female folks to excel in their respective domains.

If we consider the case of some women universities, then it is quite evident that students who graduated from there are more academically soun.

The main reason is punctuality which is observed for conducting classes on time as well as examinations.

As far as research produced on social aspects is concerned, it is also being produced from these universities. The timelines in research projects are also followed by female scientists in a religious manner.

Very limited cases of misappropriation of funds in research are reported where females are principal or co-principal.

It shows their fair nature in terms of following respective project-related instructions. This implies that the same results will be there if our general and other universities are also led by them.

It is a time to revisit our current parameters for the appointment of the head of the institution in the country where our institutions need sincere, honest and professional leaders for bringing this sector to the next level.

It is a time to consider data for decision i.e. gender-wise student enrolment, gender-wise faculty members and gender-wise staff making related to the appointment of various positions in the universities.

Further, the appointment of Head of Departments, Dean and other committees should be gender-balanced so that a competitive and supportive enabling environment may be created for achieving goals set under the vision and mission of the HEIs.

—The writer is Deputy Director at Higher Education Commission, Islamabad.

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