The National University of Modern Languages (Numl) offers a number of courses from bachelor to the PhD level, unfortunately, it only has two professors and most of its departments are headed by army officials or retired employees.
The Higher Education Commission (HEC)’s guidelines state that there should be at least one professor in each department of a university. But Numl has no professor in the departments of education, international relations, peace and conflict studies, governance and public policy, Pakistan studies, economics and management sciences.
Non-PhDs and retired army officers are heading various departments. There is also no dean for social sciences.
Interestingly, the university recently organised an international conference on social sciences and humanities though there was no professor and dean of social sciences to read a research paper.
According to the HEC, only a PhD holder with 15 years of teaching/research experience in the relevant field and with research publications in recognised journals can become a professor.
“Our university is located near the HEC offices but so for no serious step has been taken by the higher education regulator to put things on track here,” said a Numl faculty member, who wished not to be named.
He said besides the undergraduate and postgraduates programmes, the university also offered MPhil and PhD courses.
But Numl is running most of its affairs by retired army officials and contractual employees.
In 2002, the National Institute of Modern Languages (NIML) was upgraded to a university.
The board of governor (BoG) is the highest decision-making body of the university with the chief of the army staff (COAS) as its chairman. The inspector general of training and evolution, General Headquarters (GHQ), acts as the nominee of the COAS, the director general human resource department as the nominee of the chief justice of Pakistan and the rector as the nominee of the secretary defence.
The ministry of education, Foreign Office and the secretary finance or their nominees along with the chairman HEC and others are the BoG members. The military-run university receives funding from the HEC.
According to the HEC guidelines about the establishment of new universities (both public and private), there should be at least one professor, one associate professor, two assistant professors and two lecturers to run a department. But except one, Numl is running all its departments without professors.
Similarly, many departments, despite having PhD degree holders, are being run by non-PhD degree holders. Sources said Assistant Professor Saima Shafeeq was the head of the economics department, which has two regular PhD assistant professors – Dr Sabahat Subhan and Dr Amtul Hafeez.
Another assistant professor, Anwar Rauf, is the acting head of the international relations department. This faculty has an assistant professor, Dr Riaz Shad.
The situation in the department of Pakistan Studies is the same. However, according to the university websites, the department of Mass Communication has two professors.
When contacted, Numl spokesman Mohammad Bilal Khan defended the appointment of non-PhD holders as the heads of departments, saying they were administrative posts.
When asked how a university can offer programmes without the required number of professors, he said: “Numl is comparatively a new university and that’s why it does not have enough professors. We had four regular professors but after their retirement there was no one to replace them. We again hired the retired professors on a contractual basis to run the departments.”
He said currently more than 100 faculty members were enrolled in the PhDs programmes of various departments to meet the requirements of the professors. A selection board will be constituted soon, he added.
HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said according to the commission’s guidelines, each department of a university should have a professor. When asked why HEC was not taking action against Numl, he said:
“We are going to inspect all universities and for this purpose have already finalised the checklists. The universities will be asked to remove their shortfalls,” he said.