Delay in universities plagiarism cases

Nine varsities warned of action over plagiarism probe delay
Lahore, Jan 12: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has come hard on nine different public sector universities, including the Punjab University (PU), for delay in deciding alleged cases of plagiarism.

The 21st meeting of the commission held on Monday expressed extreme dismay over delay by universities in investigating the alleged cases of plagiarism according to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) developed by the Commission.

The meeting warned the universities of strict action, maintaining no new project for the said universities would be developed while funds would also be withheld.

According to some participants, the meeting was informed that many reminders were sent on various occasions to these universities but to no avail. They further said most of the cases had been pending for around two years, making the issue quite serious.

They said the cases of plagiarism allegations reported to the HEC on different occasions were forwarded to the universities concerned for investigation in the light of HEC Plagiarism Policy. "However, it has now been realized that the universities, in most of the cases, are not deciding the cases according to HEC's SOPs, delaying the cases unnecessarily", they added.

An official from the HEC said, in most of the cases, the universities were reluctant to constitute Plagiarism Standing Committee as required by the Commission, leading to the delay in the investigation.

Giving details of the alleged cases of plagiarism and delay on part of universities, he said two different cases were forwarded to the Punjab University, separately on July 17, 2008, and August 1, 2008, besides five reminders to decide the cases but to no avail.

The official further said, in the first case involving Abdullah Yasir and co-authors, the PU had not processed the case through Plagiarism Standing Committee as per policy and conveyed that the authors had not committed plagiarism. "The case was got evaluated by the HEC from a neutral person who was of the view that plagiarism was committed", he said, adding that the PU was reluctant to review the decision even after more than one year, despite several reminders.

The official said the second case of plagiarism allegations was against Nusrat Yasmeen and Maria Riaz, both PhD Scholars, of the PU Institute of Biochemistry & Biotechnology. In its initial inquiry report dated October 29, 2008, the PU Registrar informed that the research topics of both the scholars had been changed.

He said the names of the accused were even placed on HEC list of plagiarism cases under investigation but no further response had been received from the PU so far.

Similarly, he said, the delay in deciding the alleged cases of plagiarism was witnessed at Mehran University of Engineering & Technology (MUET) Jamshoro, Quaid-e-Awan University of Engineering & Technology (QUEST) Nawabshah, Bolan Medical College (BMC) Quetta, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan, University of Karachi, Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad, University of Peshawar and International Islamic University (IIU) Islamabad.

The meeting also expressed serious concerns regarding the violation of HEC's PhD award criteria by some institutions. It was decided that the Commission would not recognize the PhD degrees which did not fulfill the HEC quality criteria and were awarded after July 1, 2009.

The Commission issued directions to curtail the development funding to the institutions violating the quality criteria and take up with the chancellors of the universities to ensure that quality of higher education imparted in Pakistan was not compromised, and met international standards.

As per the criteria, it is necessary for the PhD dissertation to be approved by at least two eminent international experts in the relevant area and all scholars must publish a journal paper in any HEC recognized journal prior to submission of PhD thesis.

In the disciplines of Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and five other disciplines in which International GRE examination is held, it is also necessary that PhD scholar have cleared the international examination prior to submission of thesis and award of degree.

When contacted, HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail H Naqvi said the universities had been warned of stern action in case of further delay, adding if the universities did not constitute Plagiarism Standing Committee, the HEC Plagiarism Committee might take final decision. The news

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UAF engages retired officials in violation of policy
Faisalabad: Ignoring restrictions imposed by the Punjab government, the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) has recruited six retired government employees on special pay packages, sources said on Monday.

Lt-Col Asif Humayun (retired) is the latest addition to the academia on a package of Rs75,000 as chief security and states officer.

Earlier, the university employed five retired government employees - four ex-servicemen and a civilian in violation of rules.

Under the Recruitment Policy 2004, the Punjab government clearly laid down rules/procedure for recruitment on a regular and contract basis, determination of posts to be filled on a regular or contract basis, merit-based recruitment, eligibility and procedure for appointments.

Section 9 (VI) of the recruitment policy reads, "Under section 13 (1) of the Punjab Civil Servants Act 1974, a retired government servant is not eligible for appointment either on a regular or contract basis." The policy explained the retirement as retirement on attaining the age of superannuation i.e. 60 years, compulsory retirement after completion of 20-year service, compulsory retirement under provisions of Punjab Civil Servants (E&D) Rules or Punjab Removal from Service (special powers) ordinance 2000 and optional retirement after completion of prescribed qualifying service for pension.

However, the UAF administration did not bother to follow the instructions and continued to make `favourite ' people part of the academia.

Putting the criteria on the backburner, the UAF employed brigadier Javed Anwar (retd) as director development on July 7, 2009, against a special pay package of Rs 75,000, Lt-Col Saghir Ahmed (retired) on July 24, 2009, as project director, engineering and construction department, against Rs75,000 a month, Lt-Col Asif Humayun (retired) on Jan 5 last on a package of Rs75,000 as chief security and states officer, Maj Ijaz Anwar (retired) for Rs30,000 on May 28, 2008 as transport officer and Lt Nasir Mehmood (retd) as security officer in basic scale 16 on Oct 28, 2008.

A retired employee of the agriculture department, Rana Ajmal, was made part of the university on Sep 12, 2009, as director planning against a salary of Rs60,000 per month. Sources said the chancellor had not approved the job terms and conditions of this job that was mandatory.

All seats were created by the administration on its own as the University Act has no provision for such seats.

Reiterating the official policy over the recruitment issue of retired government officials, the Services and General Administration Department of the provincial government had, on April 10, 2008, issued a letter (SI. 2-35/2000) titled "Re-employment of civil servants after retirement from government service," to all institutions, including the heads of autonomous bodies, administrative secretaries, inspector general of police, heads of attached departments in Punjab and all district coordination officers.

"Re-employment of the retired officers/officials from civil, army and police under your administrative controll may be terminated with immediate effect." The letter only exempted the officials re-employed in basic scale 1 to 11.

The departments were asked to ensure compliance of the direction without exception. The letter reads that it must also be ensured that all these termination orders are issued individually and those terminated are relieved of their charge with immediate effect. The heads were also asked that in case of requirement of one month's notice, salary of the same period may be paid, in lieu thereof.

In the light of the S&GAD letter, the UAF and the Government College University, Faisalabad, had shown the door to many employees and compliance report was submitted to the Punjab government.

It is pertinent to mention here that the UAF declared illegal the appointment of 63 employees, including professors, associate and assistant professors, lectures, deputy registrars and a deputy treasure under the recruitment policy 2004. However, the university administration itself violated the same recruitment policy by recruiting the retired government employees.

Principal Officer, Public Relations and Publications, Dr Jalal Arif quoted the vice-chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmed as saying that all appointments were made in the light of the government policy. He said the government had banned the appointment of such employees who were on the verge of retirement and not retired officials.

He said during the closure of the universities because of terror threats, the chancellor had asked all the public universities to hire chief security officers retired from army.

Dr Jalal also said that appointments of the six officials fell in the university statute. However, the University Act has no words on such appointments made by the university.

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Contracts of 2,500 Punjab lecturers
Lahore: The contracts of lecturers recruited in 2005 are beginning to expire from Tuesday (today) and the incumbents fear stoppage of their salaries in case their services are not regularised or their contracts not renewed.

The All-Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (APPLA), a newly-formed body, has made representations to the Punjab higher education department two weeks ago to take action well in time for smooth functioning of their jobs.

APPLA president Zafar Khan Jadoon, senior vice-president Zahid Mian and secretary-general Nadeem Anwar said there were about 2,500 lecturers, who would be claiming regularisation of their services on completing five-year term.

The APPLA leaders have also demanded that about 700 contract lecturers belonging to the 2002 batch should also be regularised. They said that these lecturers' regularisation was deferred on the pretext that either they were on study leave, showed below board or university result pass percentage or showed no results in their subjects. They claimed that some lecturers were not regularised who showed just one or two per cent below the board or university results.

They said that a number of lecturers were either serving in remote areas or had no students of their subject and they had to teach some compulsory subjects on the direction of their respective principals.

When contacted, Punjab higher education secretary Ahad Khan Cheema said no contract teacher would face suspension of his/her salary as the department was working on all such issues. He said that most contract lecturers were recruited in May 2005. He said that a number of lecturers not fulfilling the criteria in letter and spirit were also regularised.

To a question, he said the department had sought advice from the regulations department about the regularisation of lecturers, who remained on study leave. Dawn

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Aman Ki Asha
Lahore: All Indian Schools Association President PK Sehgal and Private Schools Management Association Central President Adeeb Javedani have agreed on a students exchange programme as a goodwill gesture under 'Aman Ki Asha'. According to the programme, 50 students from each country will visit the other in February.

During a telephonic conversation with Javedani, PK Sehgal said 'Aman Ki Asha' was the best way forward for peace between the two countries. He said the effort by the Jang Group and the Times of India would pave the way for a congenial environment for the two countries and it would help them understand each other's concerns and address them accordingly. He said better Indo-Pak relations meant better educational systems as both countries could share knowledge and educational reforms through student and professional interaction.

Adeeb Javedani commended the friendly gesture of PK Sehgal of inviting Pakistani students to India and said that a delegation of 50 students would visit Delhi In February and Pakistan would host a similar delegation from India in March.

He said 'Aman Ki Asha' had kindle a new hope for pleasant relationship between the two country and it gave everyone of us a chance to play our role in the mammoth step forward taken my the media groups of India and Pakistan.

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Focus on sterilisation
Lahore: The Young Doctors Association (YDA) has demanded Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif issue order for establishment of central sterilization departments and installation of incinerators at all government hospitals as fatal diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS are spreading through non-sterilised surgical instruments and reuse/recycling of hospital waste.

According to a press release issued on Monday, YDA President Dr Rana Sohail, General Secretary Dr Salman Kazmi, Dr Aslam Rao, Dr Irfan Rao, Dr Talha Sherwani, Dr Nazam Ali, Dr Maryam, Dr Lalarukh and others said that Hepatitis C was spreading at an alarming rate as every 10th person was suffering from this disease.

They said the Punjab government was spending drugs/Inj. Interferon worth up to Rs 60,000 on treatment of a Hepatitis C patient, but had spent little to prevent spread of this fatal disease by establishing central sterilization units at teaching and DHQ hospitals for sterilisation of instruments to control the spread of this disease.

They said the Punjab government had got installed ACs and generators in all hospitals but didn't pay heed towards installation of incinerators to dispose of hospital waste to curb recycling/reuse of used instruments. Hospital waste recycling mafia was quite active and was involved in reuse of syringes.

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Teachers warn of protest
Lahore: The Punjab Government Schools Senior Staff Association (PGSSSA) has announced protests if the government allowed NGOs to adopt any big public sector school.

In a press statement, PGSSSA President Hafiz Abdul Nasir and other office-bearers said if NGOs wanted to adopt public sector schools, they should adopt schools which were deprived of facilities and were not best ones.

The PGSSSA office-bearers said the Government Central Model School, Samanabad and the Girls Higher Secondary School, Samanabad, were among the best educational institutions of the city.

They said schools' adoption besides creating many troubles also led to dual administration. They demanded the government withdraw the policy regarding schools' adoption. The news

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