NED departmental heads without PhD degrees

Five NED 'professors' without PhD degrees
Karachi, June 30: Merit has been flouted in the promotions of the teaching faculty in one of the country's top education institutes, as at least five departmental heads of the NED University of Engineering and Technology are holding the post of a professor without possessing a PhD degree, which is a prerequisite under the Higher Education Commission's (HEC) rules and regulations.

The university has violated the HEC's eligibility criteria for the appointment of professors, as the Commission clearly states that the minimum qualification for the appointment of a professor in Engineering, Information Technology, and Computing disciplines in all universities and degree-awarding institutions is a "PhD degree in the relevant field".

However, in the NED University, chairpersons of five departments - Syed Muhammad Iqbal of Environmental Engineering, Akhtar Nadyme of Electrical Engineering, Hasina Khatoon of Computer and Information System Engineering, Neelofur Master of Bio-medical Engineering and Nasreen Mujahida of Humanities - have been promoted to the position of professors despite the fact that they do not have PhD degrees.

Former chairman HEC Dr Attaur Rehman termed these appointments illegal and said that the HEC did not recognise their title. "The HEC does not recognize the professors and associate professors who do not have PhD degrees. Also, the HEC has the authority to take action against the people who have been illegally promoted."

He explained that the Commission had issued rules and regulations for the appointment and promotion of professors and associate professors in 2003, declaring a PhD degree compulsory.

However, he added, the criterion was not been applicable for those professors who had been promoted before 2004. Interestingly, the aforementioned five departmental heads were promoted to the position of professor after 2004. The NED's website clearly states that Neelofur Master of the Bio-Medical Engineering Department was appointed to the post of chairperson and professor on October 1, 2007 - some three years after the HEC set out the criteria. Similarly, Akhtar Nadyme of the Electrical Engineering Department was made professor and chairperson in July 2007 and Nasreen Mujahida of Humanities in October 2007.

Sources said that Hasina Khatoon of the Bio-Medical Engineering Department, who is currently pursuing a PhD degree, was appointed as professor earlier this year, whereas Syed Muhammad Iqbal of the Environmental Engineering was promoted two years ago.

Dr Rehman said that though the selection of a chairperson of a department is the university's internal matter, the promotion of a person to the post of a professor without complying with the HEC's requirements was illegal.

An official of the Quality Assurance of the Higher Education Commission corroborated and said that a PhD degree from an HEC-recognised university was compulsory for an associate professor and professor.

When we contacted Pro-Vice Chancellor of the NED University Dr Shamsul Haque for his version, he said: "Professors and associate professors without a PhD degree cannot enter the university." When he was asked about the aforementioned five chairpersons who had been promoted as professors without a PhD degree, he said: "They were made professor before the HEC's notification and thus cannot be demoted."

However, when he was reminded that they were all promoted after 2004, the pro-vice chancellor took back his words, saying: "All of them are drawing out salaries of associate professors but are listed as professors." And when we again reminded him that a PhD degree was compulsory even for an associate professor, he said, "Oh, they are on ad hoc basis."

When we contacted the said chairpersons, Akhtar Nadyme of the Electrical Engineering Department confirmed that having PhD was necessary for a professor. However, he refused to comment on the fact that he himself did not have a PhD degree and asked this scribe to contact the registrar. The chairperson of the Environmental Engineering Department refused to talk and said he was busy.

All the abovementioned "professors" only have MS degrees while the chairperson of the Humanities Department has an MPhil degree. The news

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'Degree is a degree, genuine or fake'
Quetta: Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani stunned the nation on Tuesday when he said he believed that a "degree is a degree, whether genuine or fake".

He made the remarks while answering a question here on Tuesday about the verification of degrees of members of the Balochistan Assembly.

He said he would not be affected by any such situation because he was in his place. "I have my own house and will continue to live in that house," he said, adding that no-one could oust him from there. When asked to comment on the chief minister's statement, provincial minister Jan Ali Changezi of the PPP said that Mr Raisani might have made the remark as a 'joke'.

"If any legislator was found possessing a fake degree he should resign voluntarily," he said, adding that the court verdict relating to counterfeit degrees must be honoured in letter and sprit.

Deputy Chairman of the Senate Mir Jan Mohammad Khan Jamali has indicated that 13 members of the Balochistan Assembly hold fake degrees and said that action should be taken about these people.

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Degrees of 930 lawmakers sent to varsities, madressah boards: HEC sets July 13 deadline for degree verification
Islamabad: It's the biggest scandal to hit the Pakistani academic system and unearthing its scale and magnitude is not just stretching the resources of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) but probably also the universities of this country.

On Tuesday, the HEC dispatched the academic certificates of 934 lawmakers, including those of 21 madressah graduates and 36 foreign degree-holders, to their respective universities for verification and authentication by July 13.

Sources aware of the development said that 36 degree awarding institutions, both from public and private sectors of the country, were involved in the verification of academic certificates of legislators.

The deadline has been set by the HEC in consultation with the Election Commission. However, sources feel that the strict criteria which the HEC has laid out for the verification means that the universities have their work cut out for them - especially if they are to do it by July 13.

However, it is evident that the HEC is taking the task seriously. It is learned that the education commission, which had been set up to promote higher education in the country, is adapting well to the investigation at hand.

In a departure from routine degree-checking procedure, the HEC has bound the vice-chancellors concerned to countersign each certificate sent to them for authentication, making them responsible for the whole verification process.

"There will be considerable pressure on the attestation departments of universities in the coming weeks. In a bid to prevent this, we, at the commission, decided to directly involve the heads (VCs) in the corroboration process," said an official who did not want to be named. Therefore, in case of any possible backtracking of the university departments, the vice-chancellor would be held responsible, he said.

Secondly, the HEC has directed all concerned universities to follow their own prescribed procedures for checking degrees without any concession. This means that the institutions will need academic documents as well as other details such as photo IDs and copies of the computerised national identity cards of the legislators, the official said.

Explaining what had been discovered so far, sources at the HEC said that 22 of the lawmakers had been elected on the basis of degrees issued by various madressah boards. About the madressah degree-holders, the sources said, the HEC maintained a list of 10 madressah boards the degrees of which are accepted as equivalent to the graduation degree. Certificates have also been sent to the respective madressah boards for verification. Dawn

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Degrees of 36 MPs sent to foreign varsities for verification
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has sent 36 degrees of parliamentarians to foreign universities for verification. Earlier, 36 lawmakers out of a total of 1,170 MNAs, senators and MPAs, had submitted degrees obtained from foreign universities. On the other hand, 21 lawmakers possess degrees from religious schools, which are equivalent to graduate level education. Official sources said that out of the total 1,095 degrees that had been received by the HEC so far from lawmakers, 161 were either illegible, irrelevant or were certificates of education below the graduation level. On June 28, the HEC had sent the copies of 934 degrees to domestic universities for verification. The process is expected to take 15 days to complete. Daily times

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Protest against AJK varsity for fake degrees
Lahore: Different political and social groups on Tuesday staged a protest demonstration outside Lahore Press Club against the AJK university administration and the president of Azad Kashmir Raja Zulqarnain for allegedly issuing fake degrees.

Demonstrators were holding placards and banners inscribed with their demands and raising slogans against the AJK authorities.

They blocked the road, hindering the flow of traffic for a couple of hours.

The protestersí leaders alleged that the AJK University authorities had put up a sale of fake degrees for political purposes. They alleged that AJJK president Raja Zulqarnain and his son Ali Zulqarnain were backing the AJK university administration which was avoiding presenting the record before the Supreme Court in the case against Malik Riaz, MNA from NA-118. They said the action of AJK university administration amounted to challenging the writ of the government.

They demanded strict actions against the AJK university administration. They said the government had authorized the Election Tribunal to take every action against the fake degree holders but the AJK government was ignoring the directive to protect the accused.

Demonstrators also demanded the dismissal of president AJK Raja Zulqarnain as he was supporting the fake degree holders and his son influencing the university administration. 'We shall continue the demonstration if the university administration of AJK does not stop issuing fake degrees', they said.

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Fake degrees
Peshawar: On the advice of the Standing Committee on Education, the Higher Education Commission has recently dispatched a directive to all the universities that they must submit copies of the terminal degrees of all their employees in BPS-17 and above (teaching and administration) to the HEC for verification. This seems to be a clear overstepping of the mandate of the HEC on several counts. Firstly, awarding degrees is the job of the universities and not the HEC, therefore, the universities should have been tasked to carry out the verification at their end and submit the report to the HEC for onward submission to the Standing Committee on Education for information. Secondly, why doesn't the HEC take lead and carry out verification of degrees of all of its employees to become a role model? Thirdly, verification of almost all types of testimonials of the employees and students of universities has been in vogue for a long time as a standard operating procedure and as such this exercise may turn out to be a waste of time. Last but by no means the least, why only terminal degrees? If submitting a fake degree is a crime, so is a fake birth certificate, fake domicile, fake DMCs or Matric/Intermediate and fake experience certificate etc.

Now is the most appropriate time not only for the judiciary but for the government as well to ensure that fake documents must be cancelled and all perks, privileges and other benefits accrued by the holders of these documents must be withdrawn. Let us also widen the net and not just keep it limited to politicians or university teachers. How about including all the civil servants at district, provincial and federal levels, the judiciary, lawyers, medical practitioners, engineers and employees of autonomous corporations etc.? - Prof S.S. Rehman, Peshawar University. The news

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