HEC facing huge number of Academic frauds

ISLAMABAD, April 18(Dawn): The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is finding it difficult in dealing with an "unprecedented" increase in the number of complaints, it is receiving against plagiarists, an official said.

At present, over 10 government-run higher education institutions of the country are in the grip of investigations, initiated by the HEC, against teachers allegedly involved in cheating of research work done by scholars elsewhere in the world.

"With every passing day, the number of e-mails we are receiving about the teachers who have copied other's research work is on the rise and (this has) created a crisis like situation at the HEC," the official said.

However, the HEC was actively forwarding these applications to the respective universities.

Given the fact that two universities -the Government College University and the Islamic International University (IIU)- had sacked teachers found guilty of plagiarism, teachers were providing information about their colleagues along with their research work based on cheating, the official said.

In response to a question, the official claimed that the HEC had stepped up its efforts to effectively curb the trend of plagiarism, which in the preceding months had challenged the HEC's monitoring ability.

The HEC had already set up a separate department to deal with the issue of plagiarism, and increased the number of Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) from the existing 10 to 30.

The HEC has a zero-tolerance policy towards plagiarism, and recommends the punishment of "removal from service" for those found guilty of plagiarism.

To another question, the official accepted that although it was each varsity's internal affair, however, under its ordinance, the HEC had the responsibility of maintaining the standard of education throughout the country. The HEC is also a degree- recognizing authority and if satisfied, has the power to cancel a degree in any given case.

Currently, the HEC is in confrontation with the Punjab University because the varsity's syndicate had recommended only mild punishments for the its five faculty members involved in plagiarism.

The HEC had stopped all kinds of funding to the PU, and in reaction, the varsity had approached the Council of Common Interest (CCI) against the freeze on its funding.

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