On Tuesday, the Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives unveiled a dedicated Task Force designed to scrutinize and overhaul the Pay Scale System utilized in Human Resource (HR) recruitment across Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

The task force’s objective is to devise a reformed pay scale system poised to attract and retain high-caliber HR professionals within the HEI sector. Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal underscored the criticality of recruiting and retaining top-tier talent in the higher education sector as a cornerstone for nurturing a knowledge-driven economy.

In the contemporary world, characterized by disruption and innovation, tertiary education holds significant sway in fostering technology transfer and social-economic progression, the minister added. He emphasized his conviction that proficiently trained HR experts serve as a crucial component in the innovative ecosystem, instigating transformative shifts within the sector.

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In order to sustain competitive standing in the international academic and research domain and boost Pakistan’s higher education sector’s global presence, it is imperative to have a skilled faculty and staff. By introducing new competitive, performance-oriented, and market-aligned pay scales, the sector will be better equipped to attract and retain superior resources, allowing Pakistan to spearhead advancements in research and academia.

At present, the higher education sector in Pakistan is grappling with a lack of standardized pay scales, with institutions opting to follow either the Basic Pay Scale (BPS) or their own pay scales. Universities conforming to the BPS are not uniformly implementing the salary and allowances set forth by the respective government. Instead, they have been adopting modified BPS versions, incorporating new or additional allowances above the designated rates.

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These discrepancies across BPS scales among different universities have sparked salary inconsistencies, culminating in a lack of motivation, dissatisfaction, and discord among faculty and staff. This predicament has consequently cast a shadow over the quality of education and research in the country. Deviations from the BPS have also led to audit objections, with a considerable number of audit paras currently being evaluated by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The implementation of a revamped pay scale system is expected to redress these inequalities and foster a just and equitable compensation framework for universities and HEIs. The reformed pay scale will ensure fairness, transparency, and alignment with market rates, while also introducing performance-linked incentives and rewards for standout performers.