HEC's plagiarism policy | AIOU admissions
Will the HEC's plagiarism policy matter?
Karachi, Aug 30, 2008: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has produced a booklet on
plagiarism in its efforts to eradicate it, but when it comes to the University
of Karachi (KU), no action has been taken against the alleged plagiarism rampant
in the university.
The preamble of the booklet states: "In the wake of
fundamental improvement being introduced in the system of Higher Education in
Pakistan, the credit, respect, recognition of research and scholarly
publications, career development and financial gains are now linked with such
original works accomplished without replicating the efforts of the
According to the policy, which was introduced in October
last year, if someone from a university is discovered plagiarising research
material, that university can theoretically stop receiving funds from the
Despite this, according to an official from the Karachi University
Teachers Society (KUTS), plagiarism rules are not meant to be taken
"After all, plagiarism is not confined to our university," he
said. "Why bother about it?"
The official alluded to many cases in the
university where research had been plagiarised, including that of a former dean
of the pharmacy faculty, who had allegedly plagiarised research from a European
research journal. "The case is with the Vice-Chancellor," asserted the official,
and added, "I can show you the evidence."
The same official also
mentioned another teacher who has allegedly headed the research of at least 15
dubious PhDs without anyone taking any action. "Nobody can dare to lift a finger
against him. He has connections," said the KUTS official.
However, KUTS Secretary Dr Abid Hasnain maintained that the KUTS had
"zero tolerance" for plagiarism. He said this with reference to the policy of
the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association, a part
of which says: "The Federation reiterates its policy of condemning plagiarism,
but at the same time, demands that the HEC's policy against plagiarism, which
was formulated in October 2007, should not be implemented with retrospective
effect. Its implementation should be with prospective effect. The HEC should
stop forthwith intimidating the teaching community and threatening the
universities with stoppage of funds for acts of alleged plagiarism done in the
past (before the issuance of HEC policy)".
In other words, while the
Federation condemns plagiarism, its policy suggests is that all the acts of
plagiarism committed prior October 2007 should not be taken into
While the initiative taken by the HEC may be considered
praiseworthy by some, many believe it needs to drastically improve its own
standards. Abdus Salam, Professor Emeritus, said, "HEC has taken on the mantle
of monitoring quality at Pakistan's university. For this to be a justifiable
activity, it would need to improve its own standards markedly."
example, the literature found on the HEC website is such a poor reflection of
its stature that it prompted a professor of Pakistani origin based in the United
States to say, "Should it (HEC) not be reprimanded for its atrocious
Abdus Salam, meanwhile, dissected the HEC's 35-page booklet on
plagiarism, and found much to be displeased with.
"The booklet lacks
mention of the date of publication, contrary to standard practice. This error is
compounded by the absence of a contents page. It quotes from Wikipedia to
explain the meaning of plagiarism; it is hardly an authoritative source on
plagiarism!" he fumed.
According to Salam, over half of the 35-page
booklet is merely a copy of the guidance document from a former polytechnic
institute in the United Kingdom, used largely for padding. There are references
to two documents on the subject, one from the Association of Computing Machinery
and the other from University of Southampton. "All this reference material could
be provided on the HEC's website," he said. The News
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AIOU not to extend last date in admissions
Islamabad: Director Admissions Allama Iqbal Open University Sohail Nazir Ranahas said on Friday that
last date of September 5 for admissions to Autumn 2008 Semester would not be
In a press release issued here on
Friday he said that admissions were in progress across the country and the Middle East since
August 1 and the aspirants were advised to submit forms by September 5 that
would not be extended.
He said that admissions were open
in all the educational programs from Matric to Ph.D levels.
The detailed advertisement and
other information about Autumn 2008 Semester had been posted at AIOU website www.aiou.edu.pk, he added.
He said that prospectus and
admission forms were also available in admissions department of Allama Iqbal
Open University and 36 regional offices and 100 coordination offices,
Director Admissions, Sohail Rana
added that the university had posted computerized admission forms to the already
If the enrolled students, he
added, had not got admission forms, so far, they should download the form from
He said students were required to
submit forms along with fee at the university's designated branches including
National Bank of Pakistan, First Women Bank, and Bank Alfalah up to September 5. App
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Private spending on education stands at Rs36 billion
Islamabad: There has been an exponential growth in private sector
education in Pakistan in recent years. Current private expenditure on education
stands at Rs36 billion. Enrolment in private educational institutions has risen
from 27% in 2002 to 33% in 2005. Islamabad alone houses 55.6% of the total
private institutions in the country. To top it all, education is becoming a
tradable sector for foreign direct investment.
addressing an intellectually stimulating policy dialogue on 'Private Sector
Education: Policy and Regulatory Issues' here on Friday cited the above data to
remind the government of the imperative need to strengthen existing regulatory
instruments in the education sector so that these regimes can efficiently
perform the functions for which they have been established.
organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (I-SAPS) and Campaign for Quality
Education (CQE), the dialogue featured an enriching discussion on the existing
state of affairs in private schools on the one hand, and higher education
institutions, on the other. This was done within the framework of the regulatory
regimes governing primary and higher education. The idea was to critically
evaluate these frameworks, particularly in terms of the weaknesses inherent in
them so as to offer a direction for future efforts.
attracted an unexpectedly large audience comprising heads and teachers of
educational institutions in the public and private sectors, as well as the
media. The session was tailored to allow for three presentations, followed by
discussions led by an equal number of discussants.
The executive director
of I-SAPS, Dr. Salman Humayun, emphasised that the existing regulatory
mechanisms in the education sector should be strengthened with adequate
resources and capacities so that Pakistan is well-prepared to handle the
onslaught of foreign direct investment under the General Agreement on Trade
Services. "The government has failed to provide resources and seed grants to
make these regulatory bodies functional. Why should this burden be passed on to
students and parents," he asked.
Earlier, while setting the context, Dr.
Salman informed that the number of private institutions in Pakistan has risen
from 3,300 in 1983 to 81,103 in 2005, and that households opting for private
schools spend 648% more.
Dr. Salman shared the important clauses of the
Islamabad Capital Territory Private Educational Institutions (Regulation and
Promotion) Ordinance 2006 to see how it can be improved at a time when the
government is inclined to garner richer participation of the private sector in
Dr. Salman pointed out that quality control finds no mention
in the aims of the ICT Regulatory Authority, which is mandated to register,
regulate and promote private educational institutions in ICT. The Authority is
also supposed to achieve a fair measure of uniformity of academic standards and
evaluation among institutions. "What are these academic standards and where do
we stand," Dr. Salman asked before moving on to stress the need to generate
nothing short of a national response to the educational challenges facing
Coming to the Authority's stated objective of ensuring that the
services and quality of education being provided is commensurate with the fees
being charged, Dr. Salman reminded the gathering that the Cabinet has already
over-ruled this clause. He also emphasised that clauses pertaining to giving of
indemnity and fixing of responsibility also need to be re-evaluated. The I-SAPS
chief regretted that whatever little negotiations are being held between private
service providers and regulators revolve around issues of revenue, and
increasing the number of students per class, rather than those pertaining to
quality and equity.
Abbas Rashid from CQE pointed out that from the
standpoint of quality, private schools may be marginally better than government
schools but they still fall short of reasonable standards of learning
achievements and quality education. He stressed that while one may be more
cognizant of the problems with public sector education, there are a number of
issues of quality and equity that need to be addressed in the context of the
private sector as well. Abbas called for a regulatory and support regime for the
private sector and an incentives and accountability system for the public
I-SAPS research fellow Kashif Mumtaz dwelt on policy and
regulatory issues concerning private sector higher education. He said there has
been a 400% increase in the number of Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)
from 1996 to 2006 as opposed to 100% in the public sector during the
corresponding period. He was of the view that the HEC's role as a regulator has
not been as effective as it should be, given the huge resources available at its
Criticising the HEC's ranking criteria, Kashif said student
satisfaction finds no mention in the number of fields against which institutions
The presentations were followed by an enlightening discussion
initiated by the Secretary of the Islamabad Capital Territory Private
Educational Institutions (Regulation and Promotion) Regulatory Authority Colonel
(r) Muhammad Ashraf, the adviser on Quality Assurance and Learning Innovations
at the Higher Education Commission, Riaz Hussain Qureshi, and professor of
economics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences Dr. Faisal Bari.
Former MNA Riaz Fatyana also participated. The News
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