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HEC want to re-consider massive budget cut

HEC chief wants PM to review budget cut
Lahore, June 14: Higher Education Commission chairman Dr Javaid R Laghari says he has written to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to re-consider massive budget cut in higher education sector.

After the Forman Christian College University's commencement ceremony on Sunday, he said the budget cut would not only suspend the ongoing mega projects in universities but also fail National Education Policy that called for enhancing student enrolment base in universities by 10 per cent of the 17-23 years age group population. At present, he said, the student base in universities was only 5.1 per cent of the 17-23 years age group population. Demographically, he said, 17-23 years age group population was around 25 million out of whom only one million people had access to university education. "The current enrolment ratio in universities in Pakistan is the lowest in the world and it needs to be doubled by the next five years," he said.

Stating that there could be no compromise on the efforts to enhance student base in Pakistani universities, Dr Laghari said the budget cut would suspend around 250 development projects currently at different stages in universities. "Even one-time suspension of funds will increase the projects' completion span leading to higher costs," he added.

Of Rs15.7 billion budget allocated for the Higher Education Commission, the chairman said the Pakistan had already committed around Rs10 billion for some 6,600 scholars doing their PhDs from home and abroad. Of them, some 3,800 scholars are doing their PhDs abroad.

Stating that it would be very difficult to stop the momentum gained by the higher education sector during the last seven years, Dr Laghari said he was optimistic that his request for improvement in HEC funds would be considered because the budget was at discussion stage.

The HEC chairman also said that he was focussing on imparting quality education and churning out quality PhDs. He said the commission had adopted zero tolerance for plagiarism and those held were not forgiven. He said the HEC even verified anonymous complaints about plagiarism and added that the alleged plagiarism cases in the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, were in the notice of the commission. He said the UET was processing complaints about plagiarism. He said the commission entered into the probe of a plagiarism case, when the university concerned failed to do so and finalised the case within the stipulated time period.

Earlier, speaking at the FCCU commencement ceremony, Dr Laghari said the HEC was focussing on enhancing quality of teaching and research through capacity development and quality assurance programmes in universities. He said the commission had established Quality Enhancement Cells in 45 universities and would strive to set up these cells in 60 public and private sector universities by the end of this year. Committing that it would strengthen the research base of universities, he observed, "A university not doing cutting edge research is merely a teaching college."

The HEC chairman said the commission was moving towards setting up in dependent Accreditation Council and Quality Assurance boards that would ensure that each university should raise its academic standards up to certified quality benchmarks to ultimately meet global standards.

Dr Laghari said a cornerstone of Kerry Lugar Bill was to establish centres of excellence in public and private sector universities in the country. He asked the FCCU to apply and compete for setting up a centre of excellence independently or with the collaboration of any university. Lauding that the FCCU had already attained `W' category (A-class university in Pakistan), he stressed that it should now strive to earn ranking among world's top universities in the next five years. He said the commission was focussing on building technology and business parks and centres of excellence that could bring research to market place and industry. Telling that the HEC does give funding for meaningful research, he stressed that the faculty and students should undertake research at graduate and undergraduate level to help Pakistan develop indigenous products and new technology. He said the commission would ensure that research was sufficiently integrated with the industry for the economic development of the country.

Dr Laghari appreciated that the FCCU had already attained a base of 48 per cent PhD faculty, while the commission was striving to achieve this ratio in public sector universities in the country by 2015.

The HEC chairman also urged the graduates to aspire for higher education and make optimum use of information technology to enhance their knowledge about the fast pace world, where any knowledge was becoming obsolete in just a couple of years time period.

FCCU graduate Qazi Laeeque Ahmed, who secured summa cum laude (highest honour) for obtaining above 3.90 cumulative grade point average, presented valedictory address.

Rector Prof Dr Peter H Armacost along with Dr Laghari presented medals to top scorers in their respective disciplines. They also presented degrees to graduates in BA and BSc (conventional and Honours), Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours), Bachelor of Science Business (Honours), MA, MSc (conventional) and MBA. Dawn

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HEC asks KU to take action
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has asked the Karachi University to take appropriate action according to the rules against Shaheen Khan whose PhD thesis has been found fake. She has been running two important educational institutions.

The commission has written to Karachi University to take action according to the plagiarism policy against the degree holder but the university does not seem to be proactive, official sources told ThaNation. These are serious kind of charges as she has translated her thesis from a document of OIC and that is plagiarism.

She was living in Islamabad, so her work is clearly a fraud, as physical presence is needed for the PhD programme. The degree given to her by Karachi University can be cancelled.

If the university does not take any action than there are rules that the commission can take action in this regard, informed a senior official of the commission.

According to plagiarism policy if the university does not take any action within 2 months then the commission's committee would take up the issue and the committee could cancel the degree if it is proved that the thesis was copied by the scholar.

The officials remarked that the commission can only declare the degrees fake or genuine and to take action against the guilty is government's prerogative.

It's also pertinent to mention that she has worked as an officer responsible for sports in HEC where she was found involved in some financial corruption. She was suspended and an enquiry was held. She was found guilty but the commission was under immense pressure from high officials to let her off the hook.

Former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz was requested to approve her dismissal but he instead ordered a re-enquiry and the PM office appointed a new enquiry officer who took a sympathetic view with her. As a result she was reinstated.

Shockingly despite that she remained suspended for more than two years at HEC, she has been given acting charge of two important educational institutions including Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) and Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).

After several years on the directives of Supreme Court Dr Shehnaz A Riaz was appointed as permanent Director General of FDE but the incumbent government transferring her to another office gave two important portfolios to Shaheen Khan.

When contacted Shaheen Khan said, "I have written letters to the university and HEC as well that my thesis is genuine and if it is copied then why they have not taken any action". She said the university has constituted a committee on the issue and whatever the committee decides would be accepted.

She said the efforts of the commission to malign her have also been failed, earlier, as she was proved innocent in the inquiry of misappropriation of funds. The nation

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HEC to complete scrutiny of legislators' degrees by end of June
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) will complete the scrutiny of the MPs' degrees by the end of this month. Many sitting MPs are said to have obtained fake degrees to contest the February 2008 polls for which graduation was the minimum qualification. At least 297 of 1,170 legislators at the Centre and in the provinces have not yet submitted their educational qualification documents to the commission. Intriguingly, majority of Senators (53) have failed in supplying the documents to the commission through the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The HEC has forbidden the entry of any irrelevant person in the premises of the commission including the legislators with dubious credentials.

Credible sources said on condition of anonymity that the commission has found a number of degrees as fake. Secretary ECP Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan has conceded that a few degrees have yet to reach the commission but there is no question of missing of any one. All the degrees would be made available to the commission, as the standing committee of the National Assembly on Education has been assured by the ECP that the same would be provided to it as soon as possible, he added.

Meanwhile, the HEC has decided to check the degrees of the legislators right from matriculation to the highest qualification. The commission found that some members submitted their master's degrees but they were found failed in their matriculation examination. The courts already disqualified 24 legislators on account of their fake degrees while the cases of 46, including some ministers/former ministers, are pending.

The HEC has so far received degrees/educational qualification documents of 873 legislators. The secretary ECP has said that all the documents of the members of the provincial assembly of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have reached the ECP and they would be handed over to the HEC in a couple of days. The HEC chairman Dr Javaid Leghari, a veteran PPP leader who until last year was member of the Senate, was not available for comments as he is away from the capital. Interestingly, most of the federal ministers and ministers of state have not made available their educational qualification record on line. A federal minister who claims to be a former CSP officer would be asked to produce evidence about the qualification that made him eligible to become member of Central Services of Pakistan. The same minister also claimed to be a doctor but was asked to clarify the nature of his degree. He gave up the title soon. Yet another tainted minister involved in taking huge money in the name of judiciary claimed to be having a number of degrees would also be questioned about the same once his documents reach the authority concerned.

About 14 federal ministers out of 41 and two ministers of state out of 18 have made their educational qualification available online. Amin Fahim did his matriculation in 1955 and intermediate in 1957 in his native town Hala. In 1958, he got admission in the political science department of Sindh University and completed his bachelor's degree in 1961. Ahmad Mukhtar has said he has a degree in Operational Management from California, United States and a Diploma in Plastic Technology from Germany. Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali who has been recently inducted in the cabinet earned his BA (Hons) from the GC University, Lahore, and did his BA (Hons) from St John's College, Oxford. Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh graduated from Boston University. He has a PhD in Economics.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi received his early education at Aitcheson College, Lahore, and did his bachelor's from FC College, Lahore. He went on to receive a Master's degree in law from the University of Cambridge. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira received his primary education from his local school at Lalamusa. He passed his intermediate examinations from F.G. Degree College Kharian Cantt. He graduated from Forman Christian College, and did his Master's of Arts (Philosophy) from University of the Punjab, Lahore. He also has a Master's degree in Political Science.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik termed the termination of his service by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in November 1998 as an "act of retaliation" because of the 200-page report, which he had sent to then President Rafiq Tarar, disclosing large-scale corruption of Sharif family. Malik then fled to London and levelled corruption allegations against the Sharif brothers. With the dismissal of the government of the PPP, Rehman Malik left the country and settled in the United Kingdom where he started his business and became a business tycoon. There, he got involved with DM Digital Network with the head office at Manchester, UK. DM Digital announced that he was honorary director with no shares; he resigned before his appointment as adviser to the PM on Interior.

Law Minister Babar Awan claimed that he had done a 4-year long Sharia Law course in Islamic University of Medina, Saudi Arabia. He has also done BA and LLB from Punjab University. He has done several leadership courses in England and the United States of America. It is said that some of his degrees are fake.

Raja Pervez Ashraf was born in Sanghar district in the interior Sindh. After completing a Bachelor's degree from University of Sindh in 1970, he went to the UK and completed a diploma in Industrial Management from the Institution of Works Managers, London in 1974. His occupation is real estate development and agriculture.

Samina Khalid Ghurki completed her Bachelor's studies from Lahore College for Women in 1976. Married, Samina is mother of two sons Adnan Ghurki and Sufyan Ghurki and two daughters. Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has claimed that he did his intermediate from Edwards College and got married soon afterwards. Babar Ghauri matriculated from New Method School in Nazimabad Karachi. He did his BSc from Urdu Science College and BA from Karachi University.

Naveed Qamar completed his BSc (Hons) in 1976 from Manchester University, UK, followed by an MS in Management from Northrop University, US, in 1978 and MBA from California State University, US, in 1979. Dr Farooq Sattar received his MBBS degree from Sindh Medical College in 1986. Nabil Gabol received his early education from the well-known St Patrick's High School, Karachi. After some college education in the United States of America, he completed his degree from Karachi University in 1982.

Hina Rabbani Khar received a B.Sc. in Economics from Lahore University of Management Sciences in 1999 and went on to earn an MBA from the University of Massachusetts in 2001. The news

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