The Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) flagship programme Tenure Track System (TTS) not only seeks to raise research standards of the faculty and quality of teaching it also creates a healthy competition among them for better opportunities and recognition.
This was stated by the HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri while addressing a press conference here on Tuesday. He said the TTS was introduced as part of a broader quality reform agenda aimed at enhancing performance and productivity and attracting capable and talented faculty, he added.
“The total number of TTS faculty members in Pakistan has increased from 95 in 2005-06 to 3,198 in 2018-19. So far, more than 105 public sector universities and degree awarding institutions have adopted this System for academic appointments” he maintained. He however regretted that some individuals were trying to destroy the system by lowering its standards.
“They have demanded that the publication requirements for TTS faculty members should be reduced and that they should be allowed to do other jobs,” which Dr Banuri said was out of question. HEC he said has been making all-out efforts to enhance opportunities and facilities available to the university faculty.
The Commission has also initiated a number of programmes for their higher studies, professional development as well as providing guidance to universities on streamlining the hiring and promotion processes. “There is no doubt that the most important factor that determines the quality of any educational institution is the quality of its faculty. This is the core objective of various scholarships, R&D and quality assurance policies of HEC” he added.
The HEC’s governing body, Banuri said, has recently amended the Tenure Track Statutes, in order to reward faculty for superior performance, increase timeframe to acquire tenure in line with international best practice, infuse data driven and transparent evaluation and management process, and above all, incentivize excellence by introducing 35% TTS Premium for TTS faculty. These improvements are aligned with the recommendations of the TTS review committee, and aimed at resolving tenure, promotion and recruitment issues on a sustainable basis while ensuring credit for quality, he informed.
This will ensure the demise of the TTS system. It will also be against the interest of students who deserve to be taught by the best professors” he briefed. HEC chief was of the view that scholarships were provided for PhD and Post-doctoral Fellowship, Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs and International Research Support Initiative Programme and “HEC also provides research grants for individuals and institutions under different schemes.”
Finally, Dr Banuri said, HEC has set minimum standards for faculty appointments and promotion, and reviews appeals against any violation of the standards. HEC, Dr Tariq said, has extended the maximum length of tenure to nine years for TTS faculty who are unable to complete eligibility requirements for promotion as Associate Professor within the already specified period of six years.
Likewise, HEC has separately issued a notification to enable the TTS faculty to obtain valuable managerial experience by allowing the faculty to take up limited academic-cum-administrative responsibilities, he said.