HEC vs Education Ministry

HEC, Education Ministry at loggerheads
Islamabad, July 23: The heads of Higher Education Commission and the Education Ministry are at loggerheads, as the process of degrees' verification of the Parliamentarians has further deepened with their statements against each other.

The Federal Minister for Education Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali said that the report on the MPs' degrees could be reviewed again, as it was not the Higher Education Commission's domain to verify the degrees. He added that the report would be sent to the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Education after consultations with the Law Ministry. He was speaking to media persons at a seminar on education sector budget on Thursday. The Minister said a committee could be formed to review the report prepared by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on the MPs' degrees.

He said before scrutiny of the degrees of the MPs the Education Ministry should have been consulted and by ignoring the Ministry in this regard the HEC Chairman, Dr Javaid Leghari, has violated the rules of business of the Parliament.

He said though the Commission is an autonomous body, the competent authority is the Ministry, as it is answerable to the Parliament in all the matters not the HEC. He said they are not against the verification processes of the lawmakers' degrees but it would be done according to the verdict of the Supreme Court.

He said Abid Sher Ali doesn't have mandate of the Committee to start the verification process and if he wants to become a hero then he should quit the Committee chairmanship and join the media. He was of the view that the Parliament could not intervene in the matters of the executive and Abid Sher Ali could not dictate the Government-run institutions.

Meanwhile, the HEC while responding to the statement of the Minister has issued a statement saying that the Commission is the sole authority to verify any degree.

It said the HEC is the sole authority to recognise any degree issued in Pakistan or abroad and it is performing its responsibilities exactly in accordance with the rules and procedures of the Government of Pakistan.

About recent media reports regarding function of the HEC with respect to the verification of the degrees, it clarified that the HEC is an autonomous body with the Prime Minister as the controlling authority, it added.

Its primary responsibility is to formulate policies, guiding principles and priorities for the institutions of higher education for promotion of socio-economic development of the country. The powers and functions of the Commission, as per Ordinance LIII 2002 includes, amongst others, "Determine the equivalence and recognition of degrees, diplomas and certificates awarded by institutions within the country and abroad."

Meanwhile, Abid Sher Ali has also criticised the Minister for giving statements against the verification process. He challenged the authority of the Minister for keeping the record of the degrees due his controversial position. The nation

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'HEC functions under PM not Education Minister'
Islamabad: Higher Education Commission (HEC) rubbishing Education Minister's statement Thursday clarified that it is HEC that is authorized to verify the degrees.

In a statement HEC spokesman said, HEC is fully authorized, under Ordinance 2002, to carry out verification and scrutiny of the degrees.

He termed Aseff Ahmed Ali's challenging the powers enjoyed by HEC as incomprehensible.

The spokesman said HEC functions under the Prime Minister and not the Education Minister.

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HEC not authorized to verify degrees: Sardar Aseff
Karachi: Federal Minister for Education Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali has said that Higher Education Commission (HEC) is carrying out verification of (parliamentarians') degrees in violation of the Constitution.

Talking to Geo News, the Education Minister said it is the Education Ministry that is authorized to undertake the review of the degrees.

He said the HEC should have sought permission from the Education Minister prior to embarking on the exercise of verification of the parliamentarians' degrees.

"A high level commission, also comprising members of the Law Ministry, will be constituted to carry out review of the HEC verified degrees," Sardar Aseff told Geo News.

He said he is accountable to the parliament not to HEC.

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HEC seeks degrees of Khursheed Shah, three others
Islamabad: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has written a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) asking the later to provide original degrees of three lawmakers including Federal Minister for Labor and Manpower, Syed Khursheed Shah, Geo News reported Thursday.

The HEC has asked the ECP to provide the original degree of LLB of the minister he received in 2002 from Sukkur.

The letter also demanded true educational documents of MPAs Habib-ur-Rehman, Zahoor Khosa and Iqbal Langrial because the photostate copies provided by them are not legible. The news

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HEC turns attention from politicians to academicians
Islamabad: The spectre of fake degrees, it seems, will not stop haunting the Higher Education Commission (HEC), even if the qualification of parliamentarians is now the headache of other departments.

The degree of an assistant professor of a local university has proved phoney. As a result, Dr Rashid Karim, assistant professor, International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), has been removed from his position as head of university's environmental sciences department, learnt through reliable sources.

The university administration says it has written to the HEC as well as Dr Karim's university from where he had secured his PhD for further investigation. However, it refuses to accept that Dr Karim has been removed from the position as a result of ongoing checking of his doctorate degree.

IIUI spokesperson Syed Muzzamal Hussain, quoting the university's president, Dr Anwar Siddiqui, said Dr Karim was looking after the department of environmental sciences on temporary basis and after a senior professor became available, he was taken out of the given role.

"Despite the ongoing investigations to check the validity of his PhD, Dr Karim is very much on the strength of the university," said Mr Muzzamal Hussain.

HEC officials have also confirmed doubts about Dr Karim's doctorate. "Yes, the HEC has inquired about the academic credentials of Dr Karim from the IIUI and is currently in the process of verifying them through its own sources," a relevant HEC official said.

Despite carrying out the challenging task of verifying academic testimonials of all 1,170 members of the parliament, the HEC has also directed all private and public sector universities of the country to run a check on degrees of their faculty members. If Dr Karim's claim of having done his PhD proves wrong it will be a major blow to the HEC establishment, they said.

The HEC is already under the spotlight due to its role in the ongoing saga of checking lawmakers' degrees and such cases would put further stress on its top bosses.

Sources close to the development said that Dr Karim's case was just a tip of the iceberg, and many more such cases would be unearthed in the near future. They said Dr Karim had managed his PhD from an American university named Kennedy-Western University. A simple google search reveals that it is one of the universities banned in the US. It is also one of the universities given dubious distinction of "Diploma Mills" by the American authorities.

Interestingly, Dr M. Abdulrauf Farooqi who will be replacing Dr Karim as head of the environmental sciences department has been hired under HEC's Foreign Faculty Hiring Programme (FFHP) under doubtful circumstances.

Surprisingly, the HEC has shown his experience both as chief, Engineering and Environmental Services Section, UNHCR Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland from 2002 to 2006, and also as FFHP professor since March 2005.

Dr Farooqi is working as heavily-paid FFHP professor since March 2005 without having a single day university teaching experience prior to his present position. His current monthly salary is well over Rs200,000 per month.

According to HEC's own criteria for the appointment of a professor, a candidate should have a teaching experience of 15 years, besides, producing 12 research publications, three in last five years in HEC's recognised research journals.

However, according to HEC, Dr Farooqi was given the waiver on these conditions due to his long association with UNHCR where he is working since early 80s. More surprisingly, Dr Farooqi since his appointment as professor on FFHP has not supervised even a single MPhil or PhD student. However, besides, working with few MSc students, he has been engaged in developing curriculum of environmental sciences.

Moreover, the sources said, Dr Farooqi since his appointment as FFHP professor was working with the distance learning Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU). However, he was recently moved to IIUI because the AIOU wasn't happy with his performance.

According to some of his colleagues, Dr Farooqi has done his PhD in soil sciences which had nothing to do with environmental sciences. Even then the HEC has found him an appropriate candidate for heading environmental sciences department of the two national-level universities of the country. Dawn

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PU employees flout deadline for submitting degrees
Lahore: After fake degree scandals of the parliamentarians, both public and private sectors have become conscious towards verification of academic documents of their staff. Like other institutions, University of the Punjab, itself being the premier institution holding largest number of examinations in various degrees programmes, is also planning to find out the staff who may have fake degrees.

Most of the staff members of grade 16 and 17 of the Punjab University, qualified from universities other than the Punjab University, had not submitted their academic documents to the university.

Talking to this correspondent on Thursday, Assistant Registrar University of the Punjab Mohammad Ameen Khan said the university was finalising the lists of the employees whose documents were incomplete. He said a large number of the employees had completed their degrees during their employment period and were promoted on the basis of these degrees but they had not submitted the required documents to the office. He said the university had announced the deadline of July 15 for the submission of documents but majority of the employees had not fulfilled the deadline.

The assistant registrar said the employees of grade 16 and above were using delaying tactics by lame excuses of trouble in searching the documents. The university wanted to verify their degrees through Higher Education Commission, as it would send their degrees to their universities.

It is reported that in the process of selection board, candidates possessing degrees from the private chartered universities superseded the Punjab University degree-holders in academics marking as the private chartered universities grant higher GPAs to their students to remain in the competitive market.

Most of the private chartered universities have also been allegedly found involved in the process of fake-degree awarding.

The transcripts of the certificates and degrees are also fake. The Punjab University has to communicate to the respective universities for verification of degrees of the employees working in the university. Some of the universities are not recognised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) while others have been de-linked with the HEC. But there is no mechanism in the Punjab University for checking the credentials as fake at the time of test and interview. The nation

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FAPUASA condemns govt 'pressure' on HEC chief
Peshawar: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) condemned the tremendous pressure from government as well as opposition benches on the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Islamabad in the verification of fake degrees of parliamentarians and requested the chief justice to take notice of the threats being hurled at HEC chief Dr Javed Leghari.

In a joint statement, Prof Dr Fida Muhammad and Prof Dr Iftikhar Khalil, president and general secretary of the Agricultural University Teachers Association as well as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of FAPUASA, said the role of the HEC was to uphold merit and streamline higher education in Pakistan to compete with other nations of the world.

Unfortunately, they said, the principled stand and role of Dr Javed Leghari was not liked by those opposing verification of fake degrees. The KP Chapter of the FAPUASA also declared the degree verification process of all BPS-17 and above employees of the government as a bold step taken by the HEC.

The FAPUASA office-bearers took strong note of the current situation and supported the HEC in the verification process. They said the HEC should be allowed to perform its meritorious role without any interference from the government.

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UoP to launch educational TV channel
Peshawar: A 12-day workshop started at the Bara Gali summer campus of the University of Peshawar Thursday to train the faculty members of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication for the educational television channel to be launched by the university in the near future.

Jointly organized by the University of Peshawar and Germany's Deutsche Welle (DW) broadcast organization, the workshop was formally inaugurated by vice-chancellor of the university Prof Dr Azmat Hayat Khan.

The vice-chancellor has been in Bara Gali for the last several days where he has been inaugurating and concluding different training sessions, workshops and seminars. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Dr Azmat Hayat said the German organisations had been very supportive of the UoP. They have helped the university to set up the campus radio stations, which is a success story, he added.

The vice chancellor said the step initiated by DW to train the faculty of UoP about documentary making was very good. He said this would serve to train the young producers and technicians in the upcoming educational television channel.

Floran Weigan, representative of DW said that opportunity for the children to attend school were very low here and those who go to school were unaware of the informal education, which was direly needed today.

The DW representative said by teaching innovative ways of documentary magazine programmes for children and youth, the kids would be able to pick things very easily and this would serve as an informal source of education. Floran Weigan added that there was no replacement of schools but the programmes would build the social framework of children in the form of infotainment.

Dean Faculty of Management and Information Sciences Prof Dr Shahjehan Syed said the television channel which the University of Peshawar was going to launch would not be on commercial basis. The channel, he added, would help students with distance learning in getting hands on lectures and infotainment programmes.

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Bahria Foundation College Distinction
Rawalpindi: The students of Bahria Foundation College (BFC), Westridge Campus, have shown 100% result in the Secondary School Certificate (Part-I) Annual Examination of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, says a press release.

The BFC students Mariam Tariq got 496 marks, Baasima Azhar 492 and Izza Imran got 491 marks.

A total number of 59 students appeared in theSSC-I examination, out of which 27 secured A+ grade and 16 obtained A grade.

The students of the F.G. Public Secondary School, Mehfooz Road, have shown good result in the Secondary School Certificate (Part-I) Annual Examination of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, says a press release.

Irfan Ali, got first got first position in the school by obtaining 497 marks. As many as 24 secured A1 grade and 25 obtained A grade. The news

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