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KU MA, LLM exam forms | HEC tenure track system

Karachi University MA exam forms schedule
Karachi, May 04: The University of Karachi has announced that the examination forms and fee for regular candidates of MA annual examinations 2008 can be deposited from May 5 to 9 with a late fee of Rs700.

All the candidates who were enroled in 2003 or earlier will have the last opportunity to appear in the MA annual examination 2008.

LLM exams
The university has also announced that the examination forms and fee for LLM annual examinations 2009 can be deposited from May 11 to 26. The forms will be accepted from May 30 to June 6 with late fee of Rs500.

BA, BSc and BCom Enrolment
The enrolment section of the university has extended the date for enrolment in the BA, BSc and BCom for the academic session 2008-09. The forms and fee will be accepted from May 4 to 30 with a late fee of Rs500. Ppi

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Spirit of HEC tenure track system compromised, say teachers
Karachi: Major irregularities are being committed in the tenure track system (TTS) presently under implementation in over 40 universities of the country. In order to gain the monetary benefits offered by the system to PhD faculty members, the relevant rules have been relaxed to such an extent that the basic purpose of the TTS seems to have been compromised, it has been learnt.

The TTS, introduced by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) about five years ago, offers hefty salaries to PhD faculty members of public sector universities if they meet a certain criteria. The objective was to stop the 'brain drain' phenomenon, encourage research and make faculty members productive.

Over the years, not only has the HEC come up with more relaxed versions of the TTS one after the other in order to bring more candidates on board, but educational institutions have enacted their own statutes, which do not comply with even the relaxed rules of the HEC, say sources.

At present, the TTS has been approved by the board of governors/syndicates of 55 universities, degree awarding institutes and centres. There are 67 public sector universities in the country, of which over 40 are on the TTS. Some have, however, not yet begun implementation of the system.

About 408 science teachers and 267 social science teachers are on the TTS across the country. Last year, the HEC spent Rs154.904 million on the scheme.

Under the HEC's model tenure track process statutes, version 2.0 released on January 1, 2008, institutions are allowed to enact their respective tenure track statutes following their respective process of enactment of statutes.

However, the documents states, "The modifications, however, are to be minor in nature and may not alter the fundamental spirit of the tenure track process of an open recognition of merit, with grant of permanence of employment only on demonstration of excellence as determined by a body containing international experts in the relevant subject matter."

The statutes enacted by a number of educational institutions, however, are a complete deviation from and a compromise on the principles of merit.

For instance, the commission's TTS statutes say that the dossier of each candidate from all applicants other than assistant professors should be sent to an independent Technical Review Panel (TRP) to be constituted by the university and to be composed of eminent international academics and researchers in the relevant area, drawn only from technologically advanced countries.

Also, a copy of the dossier, along with names of the TRP members, should be sent to the HEC. Strict guidelines have been mentioned for selecting TRP members.

However, the statutes enacted by the Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, and the NWFP University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar, have ignored this criteria completely.

While defining the TRP panel, the AIOU document, which is available on the internet, merely says it is "a panel in the relevant field chosen by the vice-chancellor from the approved panel of experts."

According to the TTS statutes of the NWFP Engineering University, the TRP is a panel constituted by the university for a candidate, comprising two external eminent international academic/researchers from technologically advanced countries. There is no mention of how these experts would be selected.

In addition, there is no mention of the departmental tenure review committee in the NWFP Engineering University's statutes, which is required to provide an essential framework for performance review under the HEC's statutes.

At present, the AIOU has only one teacher on the TTS, while the NWFP Engineering University has eight teachers on the system. The AIOU administration had to face much resistance from teachers when it came to the system, as many rejected it on the grounds that it would create two 'classes' amongst teachers.

The HEC's rules require the candidate to prepare a comprehensive application dossier that includes letters of reference from his/her PhD supervisor as well as others from eminent researchers in his/her area of specialisation. It also asks for a list of all publications in internationally abstracted journals, recognised for the purpose of appointment on TTS by the HEC.

The HEC's criteria also give preference to candidates having work printed in 'impact factor' journals.

All these guidelines have been somehow ignored in the statutes of both universities. However, this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg and there are major violations of the HEC's developed TTS statutes by both universities. And keeping in view the state of public sector institutions in the country, one is inclined to assume that these are not isolated cases.

Many newly established universities that have not yet completed 10 years of their existence are on the TTS. "It is strange that universities in Malakand, Gujrat and Hazara have managed to meet the tough criteria of the HEC, but many older universities are still contemplating about adopting TTS," remarked Dr Shakeel Farooqui of the Karachi University Teachers' Society (Kuts).

Numerous versions of TTS
It is surprising to senior teachers that the HEC avoided establishing a panel representing principal stakeholders in order to make a comprehensive document for TTS statutes and instead decided to make contact within each institution. The result is a number of TTS versions over the years.

Commenting on this methodology, Dr Riaz Ahmed of KU's applied chemistry department said that the HEC acted like a "desktop publishing house".

"I myself read at least 10 versions of TTS. There was no ethics involved. While consultation with teachers' representative bodies was avoided, the HEC encouraged individual contacts."

The HEC is accused of adopting the same strategy of ignoring principal stakeholders in the case of making documents for other educational reforms, including the Model University Ordinance.

Administrators taking TTS posts
The first version of the TTS was forcefully rejected by the teachers' community, as they saw it as an attempt to change their secured job status and open windows to exploitation. Though major changes were made in the statutes to allay concerns, a large number of teachers still oppose it.

Prof Dr Badr Soomro of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association said: "The universities in the country are facing a financial crisis and are deprived of basic facilities. We are paying salaries after taking loans from banks. The HEC, instead of allocating funds for the TTS, should restore the allocated grants of universities."

Dr Soomro vehemently opposed the TTS, asserting that it would promote a "class system" among teachers. "We also oppose reappointment of retired teachers and foreign faculty programme, which has been disastrous."

Pointing out a major flaw in the TTS, Dr Kaleemullah Bareach, president, Academic Staff Association, Balochistan University (BU), said that TTS faculty was allowed to hold administrative posts, thereby negating the true spirit of the scheme, which was to encourage research.

"It is morally incorrect for the deans, chairmen and the vice-chancellor to hold an academic post and be a part of the TTS at the same time," he said.

According to Dr Shakeel Farooqui of Kuts, however, it is not just a moral issue. "The posts of dean and vice-chancellor involve so much administrative work that it is humanly impossible to do any research, the very reason for offering three times the salary [of faculty not on the TTS]."At present, there are about 20 teachers on the TTS at BU. Of them, a dozen, including the vice-chancellor, are holding administrative posts.

According to KU teachers, the old versions of the HEC's statutes had barred teachers on TTS from taking administrative posts. However, the 2008 statutes removed this distinction. It says a faculty member on the TTS may be appointed to any academic administrative post in the university, such as director research, chairman, dean etc.

"This amendment has further compromised the principles of merit. Under the current statutes, a departmental committee headed by the chairman is supposed to judge the performance of an assistant professor, associate professor and professor. But, the statutes give no guideline in cases where chairmen, deans and VCs themselves are on the TTS.

"In a system plagued with nepotism and corruption, schemes like the TTS would ultimately become a tool for exploitation. It is not right to accuse just universities of deviating from rules in order to accommodate more and more teachers; the HEC itself made major changes in the original document and compromised merit so it could keep the scheme running," said a teacher.

HEC defends system
To a question about the objectives of the TTS and whether those have been achieved, Prof Dr Sohail Naqvi, executive director HEC, said that the TTS was not solely for research purposes. It had a broader vision and that was to produce a productive faculty in terms of teaching, research and administrative services.

"It has been successful. More and more institutions are opting for the scheme, younger people are joining and the brain drain has stopped to an extent.

"As a result of the TTS, research productivity has greatly increased. The research publications have registered 50 per cent increase in 2008 as compared to 2007. Last year, too, there was 50 per cent rise in research publications as compared to the previous year. This fact has been acknowledged by reputed international organisations."

About frequent changes in the TTS statutes, he said that that happened in the initial stages. "After getting feedback from universities, we were amending the rules. But, those versions were not officially launched. The 2008 version is the official statement. It is not easy to change it," he said, adding that each institution was consulted to understand its unique problems and needs.

About the diversion of TTS funds to end the financial crisis in universities, he said that the government had released all funds and there was no issue of payment of salaries now. "The development projects are under a different head. Their progress has slowed down, but not stopped. We are expecting substantial increase in the HEC's budget next year."

Regarding the offering of the TTS to deans, chairmen, and VCs, he said that it was against the spirit of the TTS to take back the "privilege" if the person involved was also competent enough to hold an administrative post.

Dr Naqvi said he would look into the case of Balochistan and Taxila universities' vice-chancellors, who were on the TTS and would also see whether the statutes of AIOU and NWFP Engineering University were violating the spirit of the TTS.

"New universities are implementing TTS in letter and spirit due to which there is pressure on the old ones to adopt it. We are working towards quality assurance, but that would take some time." Dawn

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Universities in the city leave a lot to be desired
Karachi: The highest seats of learning in the metropolis continue to disappoint the connoisseurs of education. The public and private sector universities, it seems, are vying to do everything except for providing decent education. The former have become government departments where teachers and staff expect the best grades, perks and fringe benefits without performing their duties diligently.

The University of Karachi (KU) has suffered several alarming situations within the last two weeks. An NED student, Faiza Zaidi, was crushed to death under the wheels of a KU Point Bus. The unfortunate accident was compounded by the indifferent attitude of the KU administration that was more concerned about the exoneration of their bus driver rather than the young girl.

Meanwhile, the university once again became a battleground for student organisations. More cancellation of classes and the postponement of examinations were accompanied by the concern of teachers for themselves. In fact, a senior professor went so far as to say that "we are not responsible for the students." However, the administration begs to differ as officials have said that the students are the teachers' responsibility.

The Federal Urdu University of Arts Science and Technology (FUUAST) is replete with several paradoxes as well. It claims to be teaching three disciplines but, in fact, the university is still in the process of leaving 'college culture' behind.

Various departments in the Arts Faculty (Abdul Haq Campus) are simple, three-room affairs. A visitor finds it difficult to know if he or she is in the Department of International Relations or Mass Communication. The students and teachers both appear to be lost and lack the minimum requirements that are a prerequisite for teachers or students.

FUUAST is supposed to teach the students in Urdu. The university claims to do so even the Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Qaiser has said as much. But the ground realities paint a different picture. The common observation is that the teachers are not well-versed in Urdu.

They speak a mixture of Urdu and English, claiming that they do not know "much Urdu." However, their English also contradicts their claims. A retired professor, an Aligarian said that "they (the teachers) do not know Urdu and do not care to learn it. How can they teach in Urdu? How can they claim to know English? A linguistic formula says that a person, who does not know his mother tongue, can not be adept in any other language."

Meanwhile, the students of Mohammad Ali Jinnah University (MAJU) continue to seethe with anger (albeit silently) at the increasing fees in their alma mater. They do not have the courage (or option) to raise their voices against the corporate culture of the university. They (the students) should not be overly surprised. After all, they have Dr Abdul Wahab the famous (or infamous) corporate who ruled KU like a Roman Emperor and separated the Institute of Business Administration (IBA). Now he has been brought by the university owners who sit in Lahore filling their coffers to head MAJU. Meanwhile students know little about the President of the university who is not an academic and compassion is not his not his forte.

On the other hand, Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), the torch-bearers of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's passion for education, has done fairly well in its educational pursuits. Many students of the university have won laurels in various disciplines at home and abroad. It experienced an unlikely scene last week when a section of students ran amok, breaking window panes and disrupting classes.

A high official of the university said gloomily that "we are surprised at these students. Why would they do it? We intend to find out, solve the problem if any, and teach the students to behave."

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Sindh varsity semester from 14th
Hyderabad: The first semester examinations in all the teaching departments of the University of Sindh will commence from May 14. This was decided here on Saturday in a high-level meeting of deans of faculties, directors and chairpersons of centres, institutes and departments of the university. Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Raffia Ahmed Shaikh presided over the meeting, which discussed the schedule for the conduct of the examinations, date of submission of examination forms and announcement of remaining results of semester examinations. The meeting approved to conduct the semester examinations for regular, improvement and failure candidates from May 14. It was decided that the examination forms would be issued to the candidates from May 4, while the last date for the submission of forms was fixed as May 9. The News

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'1,000 private schools to be opened in backward areas'
Karachi: The Sindh government plans to open 1,000 private schools in the first phase of a project it claims is designed to provide quality education to children in marginalised parts of the province. This was stated by provincial Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq in a written reply to Arif Mustafa Jatoi's question during scrutiny of the education department in the recently concluded Sindh Assembly session.

Mr Jatoi had asked for the details of the project being launched under the public-private partnership.

"The project is aimed to establish low-cost private schools through provision of per child subsidy to create greater access to education in marginalised areas of Sindh (and) enhance the quality of education. The project is initially proposed for 10 districts. Initially, 1,000 schools have been planned under this project wherein the national curriculum will be adopted with no fee (collected) from any child. About 250,000 students will be covered under this project," said the Pir.

Syed Ghulam Shah Jilani had asked for the district/taluka-wise number of primary schools, secondary schools and colleges established in Sindh during the tenure of the previous government. The minister replied that 21 colleges, two secondary schools and as many primary schools were established in the said period.

Mr Jilani also asked if the government planned to open primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in Sindh. Pir Mazhar replied that though the government planned to open six colleges, "The opening of new primary schools is banned and the government is making efforts to reopen the closed schools first." Dawn

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