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PhD courses in Pakistan's universities

Universities stop running PhD courses
Islamabad, Dec 12: PhD courses that had flowered in the country`s universities during the last decade with encouragement from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) have been petering out, according to academic sources.

They said the reason was that the universities preferred to hire visiting professors to teach the courses they offered, rather than hiring permanent faculty.

HEC had laid down the criteria for the university to have at least three permanent faculty members for introducing a PhD course. But the mushrooming private universities make do with visiting professors on the plea that academics meeting the HEC criteria were available in few numbers in the country.

In view of the shortage, the HEC started a programme of offering scholarships to university teachers to study for PhD abroad and return to teach or supervise research students in Pakistani universities for at least five years.

Though more than 700 scholarship holders have returned home after completing their four to five-year PhD courses so far, the private universities have largely carried on with visiting professors, to keep their operational costs low.

Normally, a visiting professor is paid between Rs2,500 and Rs4,000 as he goes delivering lectures from one university to another.

When the HEC sought the universities measure up to its criteria for running PhD, many universities decided to discard their PhD courses, according to the sources.

Some universities offered the excuse for their action that they would have sponsored their faculty members for doctorate courses but could not because of the HEC condition that a PhD candidate must be a permanent member of the sponsor`s faculty.

HEC rules require that a university offering PhD courses must have minimum three permanent faculty members to supervise the courses.

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) met this condition still it dropped its PhD in Journalism course two years ago. Other universities too are discouraging students desirous of doing doctorate because they find PhD courses not profitable to run.

An officer of HEC said on condition of anonymity that some grants were announced on HEC website for doctorate courses abroad but no university came forward to benefit from it and sponsor its students for the same. Eventually the scholarships were wasted because the offer of foreign donors financing 60 per cent of the scholarship lapsed, he said.

Iftikhar Ahmed, a lecturer at a local college, said that he wanted to do PhD in Journalism and first contacted National University of Modern Languages (Numl) but its administration said they were not offering PhD as, according to them, they did not have three PhDs to supervise the course.

Then he met Dr Siraj and Dr Saqib Riaz of AIOU but they also they also refused and said at present the university could not offer the course.

The sources said that at present there were 18 PhDs in Journalism all over the country and out of them 10 have crossed the age of superannuation and the rest are overburdened with workload.

Another student of PhD said that in Long Distance Learning Courses (for working persons) workshops and lectures were held at 2pm which suited the government employees but persons working in private offices could not spare time because their normal office timings were from 8am to 5pm.

Director Media of HEC Ayesha Ikram said that HEC ensured that quality criteria should be observed. If any university wanted to offer PhD course, it should find PhD supervisors. "HEC is always ready to guide the universities and students," she said.

The AIOU public relations officer, Qasim Haider, said they discontinued offering PhD because there was rush of students in MS and M.Phil programmes, but, he said, it has been decided that from next year PhD courses will be started again. Dawn

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FC College University resignation
The vice rector of the FC College University, Dr Marcia Grant, has resigned from the post, it is learnt. According to sources said Dr James has been given additional charge. No FC College University official was available for comments.

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"Dr. Marcia was one of the few people after Dr. Armacost who could transform the FC College culture. Current leaders are not capable of effectively running the university."
Name: Goner
City, Country: Lahore, Pakistan

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Punjab government suspends all BISE chairmen
Rawalpindi: The report of the Judicial Commission regarding delay in announcement of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC results coupled with faults finally prompted the Punjab government to suspend chairmen of eight boards of intermediate and secondary education in the province.

According to the sources, the decision was taken after the Judicial Commission submitted its report stating that result delayed because of fault in the online system as well as negligence of the concerned officials. It mentions that results of all eight boards of the Punjab province were full of errors and the rechecking process also took long time.

Sources said that in the first phase, the Punjab government has decided to suspend all the chairmen of eight boards and after that education department would decide about the fate of controllers of examination of the boards. They said that induction of online system was not wrong, but favouritism and poor system multiplied problems for the board officials as well as students.

Sources said that despite suspension of concerned officials, the results are still not announced and it has become very difficult for the Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (RBISE) to produce error-free results. Sources said that the secretary education Punjab has already suspended RBISE chairman Dr. Muhammad Qasim, who was working round the clock for addressing the problems hindering the announcement of the result. He had also pointed out many flaws in the RBISE.

Sources said that Director Colleges (Rawalpindi) Muhammad Ashraf who has been given the additional charge of the chairman was also working on the same post when the board had announced faulty results.

When contacted RBISE spokesperson Arsalan Cheema, he said the Punjab government is taking these steps in order to ensure error-free results hoping the results would be announced very soon.

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'14,000 teachers to be recruited in Sindh'
Islamabad: Provincial Education Department of Sindh has announced recruiting at least 14,000 new teachers in Sindh in the month of January, 2012. After the triumphant operation against the ghost teachers, the Sindh government was considering to appoint new teachers on merit while the decision in this regard has been finalised at last, private news channel reported. According to the decision made public by the Sindh Education and Literacy Department, the proposed number of 14,000 teachers would be recruited at primary and secondary schools all over Sindh. The decision is aimed at providing quality education to poor students at initial academic level. The news

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Violation of quota: Senate body to look into QAU appointments
Islamabad: A Senate special committee will meet today (Monday) to ascertain if the quotas of provinces had been violated in recruitments at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad.

The committee has also been probing why and how quotas of provinces were ignored in OGDCL, PIA, PPL, PSO, universities and other departments.

According to sources, the committee was formed after parliamentarians from Sindh, Balochistan and KP expressed concerns over the recruitments in semi-government departments.

In July 2011, all major political parties were asked to nominate their senators as members of the committee headed by leader of the house in Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari.

According to Esta Code, all employees up to grade 4 have to be appointed from the local population where a project or department has been working. From grade 5 to 16, however, employees have to be hired directly but still quota has to be followed while appointments of officers in grade 17 and above should be made through the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) or its criteria should be followed. But it has been observed that in most of the departments, quotas of provinces have been violated due to which the sense of deprivation has been increasing in the three provinces.

Member of the committee Senator Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said that in most of the semi-government departments, the managements had ignored quotas of small provinces. "On Monday, the committee will look into the details of

appointments made at the QAU from 2007 to January 2011." The management of the QAU has been directed to provide details about the appointments made on the basis of quotas.

He said his party, the MQM, believed in open merit because over six decades after independence "we have no reason to say that appointments should be made through quota. But we have respect for other parties."

He said in past Pakistan army used to claim that they recruited officers on merit due to which there were Punjabis in Baloch and Sindh regiments; but now residents of Balochistan and Sindh are being encouraged to join the army.

Although through the FPSC appointments are made as per provincial quota, but most of the officers in grade 20 and above belong to one province. It shows that merit is not followed even at the time of promotions. "We should develop the institutions to ensure that there is no violation of merit and after that open merit system should be introduced," Mr Mashhadi said. Dawn

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