KU to start testing service
Karachi, July 20: The University of Karachi's academic council in a meeting held on Saturday unanimously decided that a fully-fledged testing service would be set up, which would cater for the needs of other educational institutions and would also provide them with assistance.
The decision was taken against the backdrop of an admission test fiasco witnessed last year in the university. The poorly organised exercise caused a lot of problems for applicants – many of whom ended up paying double fees. The university had hired a private organisation to conduct admission tests for the MS/PhD programmes.
According to a KU academic council decision, a committee, headed by Prof (Dr) Aqil Burney, chairman of the computer science department, has been formed to look into the matter and explore possibilities for the new testing service.
The meeting also rejected the cases of two students of the Government College of Home Economics and declared the students ineligible for admission.
The meeting also decided that online degrees would only be accepted in cases where they have been issued by public sector institutions which meet the criteria set by KU.
According to sources, members of the academic council also criticised the former pro-vice chancellor, Prof Dr Ikhlaq Ahmed, who had condoned the two students' cases in his capacity as acting vice-chancellor at a time when the VC was on leave. The cases had been rejected by the vice-chancellor before he left abroad some time ago.
The council members said the pro-vice chancellor, now retired, had no authority to make such a decision on behalf of the statutory body.
It may be mentioned here that the College of Home Economics runs a four-year Bachelor of Studies (BS) programme.
According to the criteria set by the college's board and approved by the academic council of the university, students who have done their Intermediate with home economics subjects are required to have at least 50 per cent marks while students from other educational backgrounds need to have at least 60 per cent marks to get admission to the college.
This year, however, two students, who allegedly did not meet the admission criteria, were given admission to the college.
Their cases were first sent to the vice-chancellor, who rejected them. Later, the dean, faculty of science, was approached, who referred their cases to the affiliation committee.
The committee in its report stated that the criteria was set by the college itself and if any change in the rules was needed, then amendments must be approved through a proper channel and could only be implemented next year.
The academic council, in its unanimous resolution, stated that the two students did not meet the eligibility criteria and, therefore, their admissions stood cancelled. A warning letter would be sent to the principal of the college for violating the rules and regulations, the meeting decided. The minutes of the last meeting of the Board of Faculty of Islamic Learning were also approved after a long debate.
Prof Jalaluddin Noori, who has been suspended for alleged plagiarism, had chaired the last board meeting.
The meeting of the academic council was attended by Vice-Chancellor Prof Pirzada Qasim, chairpersons of the departments and directors of the institutes. Dawn
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Dr A. Q. Khan Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (KIBGE), Karachi
Karachi: In a clean and tidy room in spacious Dr A. Q. Khan Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (KIBGE), Karachi, sits Prof. Dr Abid Azhar, a distinguished Pakistani scientist, prominent educationist and Co-Director General of the Institute.
His grayish hair and intelligent eyes behind his glasses give an impressive look as her proceeds to explain the nature of his institute's work. "This institute was established in 2003 with an aim to produce quality research which would be at par with research output of any laboratory of similar nature in a developed country," he said.
"Like any other institution KIBGE too has teething problems. It has to acquire equipments, manpower and infrastructure before it can realize its potential," he said.
"I believe we have achieved it partially. We do have state-of-art equipments. We are in the process of acquiring human resource which is not an easy job and perhaps we have a clear direction of purpose," he said.
Born on March 15, 1955, in Karachi, Dr Azhar did his HSC from City College, Karachi in 1970, B.Sc (Honours) from the University of Karachi in 1973 and M.Sc in Biochemistry in 1974. He has the distinction of bagging second position in M.Sc examinations.
He was offered a scholarship from the prestigious National University, Canberra, Australia from where he did his doctorate in 1994. He also holds a post graduate diploma in Statistics.
As a student Azhar was quite active in progressive student politics and was one of the founding members of Young Writers Forum that was established by left-wing youth in the early 1970s. "You can see a marked difference between today's students and the students of the 1970s. We were not only aware that Chilean President Salvador Allende was assassinated by the CIA because he nationalized copper mines but we also organized public meetings in Karachi to show solidarity with President Allende and Pablo Naroda. Today you will hardly find a student who knows what's going on in Nicaragua," he said.
Referring to the education system as it existed in early 1970s and today, he said the greatest source of information in yesteryears was the library while today almost all information is available online. "But despite that the education system in Pakistan has registered marked signs of deterioration," he said.
"Previously the best students came from government schools; now only those students enroll themselves in government schools who fail to get admission anywhere," he said.
"You will witness another development: Students simply don't go to colleges and heavily rely on tuitions. The culture has shifted from acquiring education at institutions to tuition centres," he lamented.
He said during the last 30 years the nurseries that provided basic education have seen a marked downward slide and primary education has been totally ignored by the planners.
"You see the problem is not that our students have low IQ; the problem is that they are being taught in such a way that their creativity is never channelised. Neither do they get any career guidance nor are they allowed to question and show their curiosity. Rote learning is the order of the day in Pakistan that is extremely injurious for young minds," he said.
"At KBGE we are focusing on research in agricultural biotechnology, medical biotechnology and industrial biotechnology and are focusing our research on import substitution and enabling the country to earn valuable foreign exchange through export and have made substantial headway," he said.
"We have also started training manpower. Some of our students have gone abroad for higher studies while others are being trained at the Institute. We have regular intakes for MS and PhD programmes. We have over 20 students for MS/PhD programmes and three students have already earned their doctorate," he concluded. The NewsYour Comments
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