After delay of several months, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training finally announced Pakistan chairs in foreign Universities.According to the details, ministry announced and advertised four Pakistan Chairs in abroad included as Quaid-i-Azam Distinguished Professorship at Columbia University, Columbia, USA, Quaid-i-Azam fellowship Oxford University, UK, Chair in Urdu and Pakistan Studies in Tehran University, Tehran, Iran, Allama Iqbal Fellowship, Heidelberg, Germany. The desiring candidates for the positions were asked they must have PhD degrees in Urdu, Pakistan Studies, History, Iqbalyaat or relevant subject of social sciences with at least seven years teaching and research experience in recognized university or center research organization, and at least eight research publications in Higher Education Commission recognized journal.The ministry put age leverage for senior scholars, as it termed eligible to the person who are 60 years old. The candidates also asked they should have excellent command on language in which the subject is to be taught. The tenure of the appointment of the scholars against chairs was said three years initially which is subject to evaluation on yearly basis. A senior official in the ministry said that one-year extension after completion of three years is also provided in the law. However, he explained, the extension would be purely on performance basis.“The contracts can be cancelled even after one year if the performance of the selected scholar in the respective varsity is not satisfactory,” he maintained. As per law, the prime minister who is chief executive of the country has the authority to confer such extensions.After the basic scrutiny and conducting interviews, the summary of scholars who appeared for interview and deemed qualified for the posts would be sent to Prime Minister, through education ministry, who will give final nod over such selections. According to the sources, the government wetted Rs 12 million only for first six months, adding that the remaining tenure’s budget for the chairs would be approved in the coming annual budget in June this year.They recalled that till last year, the budgetary allocation for these chairs was around Rs 50 million, which was recently reduced drastically by the federal government, citing financial constraints. The chairs remained vacant since last one decade. Initially, the total number of such chairs was 14 which have been reduced in recent to four from the federal government due to financial constraints. The government decision for reduction in these posts was also published in Daily Times in last month under title Ministry decides to slash Pakistan chairs in foreign varsities to four.The education ministry had also formed a committee under the chairmanship of Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah last year, which also completed the scrutiny process for the selection of the 14 scholars against these slots.Sources revealed that 28 scholars, two each against one post, were finalised by the committee. “After completing all formalities, now re-advertising the posts is a big joke with us and very shocking as well”, said a scholar who was among the selected candidates.Earlier, the Cabinet Division used to deal with the issue but last year the function was given to the ministry of education.According to the obtained information, the chairs were set up on reciprocal basis and their holders used to deliver lectures aimed at promoting Urdu and the culture and history of Pakistan.Published in Daily Times, March 5th 2019.