Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar on Sunday said that accountability and transparency go hand in hand and a mechanism for accountability of universities’ vice chancellors in the province was inevitable. “The trend of setting up private universities has increased through the Private Members’ Bill, but I assure you that unless a university meets all the regulatory requirements, it will not be allowed to start admissions,” he added. In an interview with APP, the governor said, “If any complaint comes up against a vice chancellor of any university in the province, I shall personally investigate and take action against him.” To a question, he said that sexual harassment was a serious issue and the government had a zero-tolerance policy in this regard. The government has issued clear instructions to all the vice chancellors in this connection, he said while responding to a question about the sexual harassment policy in the higher educational institutions. To another question, the governor said, “I have asked the bureaucracy to deal with the affairs of universities without any delay.” He said if a file stays in the office for months and years, then an applicant prefers to find an alternative solution. He said that due to such delays, a private university got chartered from Uzbekistan in a month. To a query, the governor said that the establishment of the University of Archeology in Harappa would be very useful and he would float this idea. Since Harappa and Taxila were the centre of ancient civilizations thousands of years ago, it would be a revolutionary initiative to attract the attention of tourists and scholars from all over the world. He said that major universities of the province could at least set up their “departments or institutes on this subject in Harappa”. The governor claimed that Pakistan was among the “best five countries in the world which adopted the best strategy against coronavirus”. He added that Pakistani universities had not allowed education to be hampered by adopting alternative means of teaching in coronavirus. About merit policy in the universities, Sarwar mentioned, “As the chancellor, I have eliminated ad hoc system from universities and ensured appointments on merit. When I took over as the chancellor, there were temporary vice chancellors in 12 public universities; I appointed permanent vice chancellors on merit in every university.” “In addition, the posts of the registrar, controller of examinations, treasurer and dean were also made permanent and merit was taken into consideration in the whole process,” the governor added. Regarding the Disparity Reduction Allowance, he said that disparity allowance should be given to the employees of the Punjab government universities and government funds of universities should be increased. He underscored that universities should move out of isolation and come on par with the international standard of education by broadening their vision and enhancing collaboration with universities around the world. “I have also talked to some American universities about implementing mutual partnership,” he disclosed. “I have asked the universities to ensure internships for agricultural graduates,” he said, adding that Agricultural University of Faisalabad and other universities do not issue degrees to their students unless they have worked with a farmhouse or a large landowner for a year, he said. Students having grievances against any private university should contact the Governor’s House for their redressal, he added.