Urdu Varsity convocation | Karachi University plagiarism

Urdu Varsity awards 850 degrees in convocation
Karachi, Jan 27: Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology (FUUAST), in its first convocation on Monday, conferred nearly 850 degrees, including 9 PhDs and 3 M. Phil to its students.

Federal Minister for Education, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, was the chief guest on the occasion held at the FUUAST main campus, and awarded the degrees and medals to successful graduates.

The federal minister also read out special message of President Asif Ali Zardari, the ex-officio chancellor of the university. Bajarani, in his speech, congratulated teachers, students, administration and parents on the occasion.

He said that the inquiry into Farah Hameed Dogar case was being conducted at the government level and would be led to its logical consequence. He said the university's performance in a short time was very commendable.

"Number of PhDs and M. Phil produced is good enough but the university should focus on the quality and channel its resources to produce effective knowledge and contribute to the global level", he said, and promised his full support for the FUUAST. HE asked the vice-chancellor to feel free to contact him any time regarding development of the university.

The real character and value of the universities is directly proportional to their research and creative work, he said and hoped that FUUAST would soon be among the top most institution of the world.

The minister said it was the duty of educational institutions to make the youth realise importance of patriotism.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dr Qaisar, said that at present there were more than 13,000 students enrolled with the university.

He said that FUUAST has established faculty of Engineering and Pharmacy, provided hundreds of news books to its libraries and state-of-the-art apparatus to the laboratories besides launching semester system in a short period of one year.

"Presently, the university has three campuses and looking forward to open new ones in the country and abroad. FUUAST has successfully instituted its fundamental structure such as board of studies, board of faculty, academic council, syndicate, senate, selection board and the GRMC", he added.

Dr Qaisar underscored the scarcity of funds available for the university and appealed to the minister to help in reducing the financial crunch, FUUAST was facing. He complained that present democratic government should take education as its top priority.

Later, the federal minister awarded PhD degrees on Muhammad Arif (Mathematical Sciences), Zareena Ali (Botany), Tariq Hussain (Botany), Tariq Ali Rizvi (Botany), Muhammad Iqbal (Urdu), Ashraf Khurram (Education), Naheed Ibrar (Social Work), Rana Hilal (Psychology), Farooq Jobish (Education). MPhil degrees were awarded to Shaheen Abbas (Mathematical Sciences), Rashid Tanvir (Physics) and Zaffar Hussain (Zoology).

Abu Bakar of Sheikhani Group of Companies granted gold medals to the first position-holders in MA examination held under the FUUAST.

They included Tabbassum Kulsoom (Islamyat), Adeela Naveen (Economics), Muhammad Yasin and Asghar Ali (International Relations), Muhammad Miandad (Geography), Syed Bakar Mujeeb Hashmi (Geography), Anam Areeb (Computer Science), Umair Waqas (Statistics), Ameena (Economics), Sabit Ali (MBA) and Kashif Rasool (MCom).

Merit certificates were awarded to Sadaf Sultan (BSC Hon. Zoology), Zohra Khatoon (BSC Hon. Bio-chemistry), Shagufta Manzoor (BSC Hon. Bio-chemistry), Uzma Kanwal (B.Com Hon.), Quratul Ain (BBA Hon.), Humma Nisar (BA Hon.), Muhammad Sharif (BA Hon.) and Tayyaba Zohra (BA Hon.) for obtaining first positions in their respective faculties. The Nation

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No respite from plagiarism at KU despite promises by VC
Karachi: Two Professors of Karachi University, one in the Department of Chemistry, and another in the Faculty of Pharmacy have been found involved in plagiarizing the work of other academics from the Department of Medicine, London Health Sciences Centre, Ontario, Canada. The work was done in 1998, investigations reveal.

Dr Saeed Arayne, Chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Dr Najma Sultana, former Dean of Pharmacy at the university claimed to have collaborated with a PhD scholar, Zakia Bibi, in writing a review on 'Grape Fruit Juice Drug Interactions.' The work was published in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences in October 2005.

The plagiarism was noticed recently when the original authors of the work read the "research" work of the Pakistani academics. They first directly communicated with the KU VC, Prof Pirzada Qasim, who is known for his inaction on this sensitive issue.

After waiting for some time and after failing to get a response from the VC, they wrote Dr Arayne for a possible clarification. According to the Canadian authors "Roughly 85% of the text in the duplicate is present in the original article. Most of the text in the remaining 15% is highly similar to text found in another article.

Dr Saeed Arayne, original author of the duplicate publication, said in his defence: "The article 'Grape fruit juice drug interactions' was written by one of my research students, which was brought to me for correction. The article was so well written that I had to ask the student about the originality of article. The student verified that she had written it herself. At that time, we didn't have any software to check the article for plagiarism."

Dr Arayne said that after verifying that student had indeed cheated, "I immediately expelled the said student, Zakia Bibi, from my lab. We have disowned her and also removed her article from our CV and list of publications."

A senior Professor from the Faculty of Science, on the condition of anonymity, however said that "The explanation by Dr Saeed Arayne might seem plausible but it is far from the truth as the name of the two Professors should not have appeared before the name of the student."

It may be pointed out that Dr Najma Sultana is the wife of Dr Saeed Arayne and belongs to the Faculty of Pharmacy. There was no need to include his (Dr Arayne's) or her name on the review paper. And as for Zakia Bibi, the sources said, she had submitted her thesis to the Board of Advanced Studies and Research (BASR) and received her PhD degree recently. She also continues to teach in the department as a Cooperative teacher though there was no slot for a teacher with specialty in organic chemistry that she specialises.

The Vice Chancellor of the KU Prof Pirzada Qasim, while talking in his office, accepted that the case of Dr Arayne had come to him and he had adopted the measures that were in vogue for tackling such cases. "Yes, I have received the alleged case of plagiarism by Dr Saeed Arayne and I have directed the university Syndicate to discuss the matter in a meeting that will be held in January," said the KU Vice Chancellor.

"We are Public Sector University and have to deal with any problem through a process described the universities laws and regulations and decided by the Syndicate," he added. Prof Qasim agreed that it was a complicated case and it had to be decided that up to what extent it could be a case of plagiarism. "The problem we had in the past was that there was no software to check plagiarism in theses of researchers. Now that we have it and apprehending the offender has become easier."

Prof Qasim said that in the past, the university had to rely on the reports from the relevant research supervisors. "We have now introduced an undertaking signed by the Research Supervisors and the candidates that the content in the research theses is original and has not been plagiarised in their best knowledge and they have no intention of owning other peoples' work."

The KU VC says that this is a sort of legal document and binds the candidate into being honest in his research. "If somebody is caught plagiarising after that undertaking the punishment will be swift and severe", Prof Qasim said resolutely. The News

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Teachers decry plight of dept. Sindh CM & Education minister tug-of-war
Karachi: The tug-of-war between Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Sindh Senior Minister for Education Pir Mazher-ul-Haq for the slot of the chief minister is diminishing the already weakened the provincial education department.

This was claimed by central leaders of Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA).

General Secretary SPLA Karachi Region Prof Iftikhar Azmi pointed out that the education minister's lack of concern towards education had revealed that he was engaged in other ambitious activities.

"Several summaries regarding educational issues forwarded by the education ministry have been laying dumped in the Chief Minister's office, which shows that the CM was not considering any action on the same due to differences with Pir Mazhar," he added.

He said there was a tug of war going on between higher officials of the provincial government, which had rendered the education department ineffective. "Pir Mazher-ul-Haq, in a statement according to a Sindhi newspaper had stated that he would solve all problems of teachers and PPP workers 'but not now'; this reflects that the senior minister was facing some administrative problems perhaps due to the CM house's non-cooperation", he observed and added that there was no difference between the anti-education policies of Ghulam Arbab Rahim and present chief minister.

Central leader SPLA Prof Ather Hussain Mirza said that there was no doubt about the fact that the antagonism between the CM and education minister was hampering the administrative activities of the education department.

Following such antagonism, the CM has put some important education-related summaries into the pending, showing that the CM had no interest towards education.

He said that some statistics could help us to understand the performance of the department, as 3,036 positions of college teachers were vacant while around 4,500 teachers working in the province against the required number of 7,500 SNE teachers. The Nation

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5th DAWN in Education Spelling Bee Competition began
Karachi: The Karachi District Rounds of the 5th DAWN in Education Spelling Bee Competition begin on Tuesday at the Arts Council Auditorium, Karachi.

This year the competition has drawn over 368 schools from the Karachi region, which include schools from Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Naushehro Feroz, T.M. Khan, Sanghar, Petaro, Daharki, Mirpur Mathelo, Sukkur, Shahdadpur, Khairpur and Quetta. The overwhelming response received from outstation schools of Sindh and Balochistan reinforces the nationwide reach of the competition.

In the district rounds which are spread over 8 days, teams from 368 schools will compete across three age groups: 9-11, 12-14 & 15-17.

Two top scoring teams per pool will qualify for the 24 teams which will proceed to the Karachi Regional Championships to be held on February 19, 2009.

The National Championship is scheduled to be held on February 20, 2009 in Karachi. In the Nationals, the regional champions, first, second, third and fourth runners-up in each of the three age groups, from Lahore, Karachi & Islamabad regions will compete amongst each other.

The competition is being organised in collaboration with Telenor Pakistan. The judges are from Oxford University Press.

The competition is being supported by DawnNews and CityFM 89. The Spelling Bee competition is part of the DAWN in Education programme. Dawn

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