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Meritocracy or systematic nepotism at University of Chitral?

By Suhrab Khan

The nascent University of Chitral is in the process of selecting teaching and non-teaching staffs. Being a candidate, I have had some reservations in the selection process and here are my random thoughts.

Overall, the recruitment process seemed transparent but actually there was grossly nepotism involved. The first thing is the process of shortlisting of candidates for demonstration. Too much candidates were called for demo. The huge bulk of candidates for the demo was against the protocols of HR, therefore, a burden on university management to deal with the candidates. The call for huge number of candidates for the demo seemed a decision made just to benefit a few – who got selected in spite of their mediocre academics as well as NTS marks. The selection of such candidates is also a big question mark on the recruitment process of University of Chitral.
Secondly, the weightage to test and demo was surprising. 10% to test score while 30% weightage was given to the so called demo plus interview. It shows some kind of biasness and subjectivity in the selection process. I do not know how you can give more than 30% fate of candidates to the selection board that were easily approachable and most of the candidates know the members either they were their teachers or have their personal affiliation. This is the complete case of conflict of interest. And the timeframe which was given for the demo was also questionable. How can one deliver his/her lecture in two to three minutes; and that in the midst of questions asked by the members of the committee? This also makes it a mere cattle show in the name of demonstration.
Thirdly, there was an issue of negative marking. We still do not know why exactly one mark is deducted from the aggregate marks.
When I took up this issue with the concerned authority he said candidates who had BS (hon) or GPA system, their certain percentage of marks were deducted according to the rule of HEC. But I do not know whether there is any such rule of the HEC. If you know then let me know too. While other sources say if someone has improved his/her degree then certain numbers were deducted. If this is the case, then who can make understand the Aristotle of UoC, the purpose of improvement. If the improvement does not give leverage to the candidates, what is the advantage of that improvement? The prime objective of this deduction is to give cushion to certain candidates who were in their good book. In short, the aggregate is the figure fudged aggregate without representing the true faculty of the candidates.
Last but not the least, at the day of demo/interview some influential people were seen approaching the selection board members and exchanging compliments and even two to three candidates were also seen in the office of the project director (chairman of selection board) to meet him and when the final results were declared they were among the successful candidates. There are scores of eyewitnesses who can testify it. This shows a lack of professionalism, both on the side of candidates (and their relatives) and the selection board. Transparency, meritocracy and objectivity are very sacred terms and please do not use such words for this planted interview/ demo and figure fudged results. In a nutshell, the successful candidates were pre-selected and the whole panorama of demo plus interview was just a ‘topi drama’, wastage of time and resources of poor candidates.
I hope the top management of the university will give high priority to our grievances and doubts. It can set a precedent to ensure meritocracy and transparency in the recruitment of staffs in the University of Chitral. I ask these questions as a candidate and hope the concerned authority will satisfy me.
(The writer is a PhD scholar at the Federal Urdu University of Science, Arts and Technology, Islamabad).
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