Bureaucracy breathes down HEC neck
Islamabad, June 18: The federal government's recent action of putting the Higher Education Commission (HEC) under the control of a ministry is seen as illegal and violating a Supreme Court order.
Sources in the HEC recalled that the notification issued by the government on June 11, saying the Ministry of Professional and Technical Training will henceforth control the administration and finances of the HEC, follows the controversy over the verification of academic degrees of the politicians by the HEC and puts it under the direct control of bureaucracy.
HEC was formed by Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2002 but changes in its legal status became inevitable after devolution transferred several federal subjects, including education, to the provinces in 2010.
In April last year, the Supreme Court ruled that "HEC has to continue its functions and duties as it had been doing in the past unless and until a fresh legislation is promulgated."
Supreme Court gave the decision over the issue of devolution of HEC as federal government wanted to devolve the commission through a notification but the stake holders contested it in the court. On the other hand, HEC officials and management of the universities is not happy with the decision to put HEC under control of the ministry and had termed the move illegal, sources said.
An officer of HEC requesting not to be named said that HEC was formed through an Ordinance in 2002 which was validated under Article 270 AA of the Constitution. Further it was also validated through 17th Amendment Act, 2003 according to which a commission appointed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan was the only body legally empowered to exercise financial and administrative control over it.
"The operation of the commission should continue as before and controlling authority of the HEC is the Prime Minister of Pakistan and decision to put it under a ministry cannot be done without legislation," he said.
Legal Expert Riasat Ali Azad seconded the opinion and said that a bill approved by the parliament could only be changed through another bill by the same forum and any attempt to change it through notification was illegal.
According to sources, the Vice Chancellors (VCs) from public sector universities in a meeting held in the second week of June also expressed serious reservations over any decision affecting the autonomy of HEC as they considered it would have direct effect on the performance of the organisation besides creating many bureaucratic hurdles.
Chairperson Vice Chancellors' Committee, Imtiaz Gilani said that without autonomy creativity and research of the
universities would be hampered. In past schools and colleges had been
working under the ministries but
unfortunately they did not progress as much as they should have.
Vice Chancellor Karakoram University, Dr Najma Najam said that
in 2002 National Task Force visited all over the country and in the end
it was decided that universities cannot progress and compete at
international level without
autonomy. "Universities developed a lot on research front till 2010 but there will be no further progress if they are put under bureaucracy. There should be check on the universities but they should be allowed to take decisions independently," she said.
An officer of the HEC said that all members of the HEC Commission, a body that controls its financial-cum-administrative issues, are eminent academics and experts in their respective fields. All decisions are taken by the commission after extensive discussions and input from all stakeholders, including Vice Chancellors of universities in all provinces.
Spokesperson for the HEC Murtaza Noor said they had been hoping against hope that all controversies regarding the commission's autonomy would end on a positive note and future of students would not be put at stake.
Chairman Standing Committee of Senate on Professional and Technical
Training, Abdul Nabi Bangash said, "Education has
been made a rolling stone between different departments and provinces.
In 2002, no one was ready to handle the affairs of the HEC so it was
directly given under the PM's control. I have called a meeting of the
committee to discuss all outstanding issues including the future of the commission."
Plagiarism case HEC declares professor innocent
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has given a clean chit to a foreign faculty member accused of plagiarism.
The decision came just before the HEC was given under the administrative-cum-financial control of the Ministry of Professional and Technical Training.
According to documents available with Dawn, a deputy director quality assurance of the HEC in a letter to Professor Dr Ishtiaq Qadri said his case was discussed by the plagiarism committee and after reviewing the comments of independent experts as well as his opinion shared through email it was concluded that the complaint forwarded to the HEC against him did not fall under plagiarism but was an authorship dispute.
It may be recalled that about a year back a female professor of the Punjab University, Dr Ishrat Waheed, complained to the HEC that Dr Qadri's wife Kaneez Fatima had started a thesis under her supervision but at the end she published it showing her husband (Dr Qadri) as the supervisor.
It took about eight months for the HEC to probe into the matter and declare Dr Qadri involved in plagiarism. As a result, he was removed as a foreign faculty member. About three months after the HEC decision, Dr Qadri sent an email to the commission on June 3, 2012, complaining that he had been declared involved in plagiarism without being given an opportunity to properly present his point of view. Strangely, only three days after receiving the complaint, the HEC declared Dr Qadri innocent.
The HEC in the letter further said the university concerned – University of the Punjab – may decide the matter in the light of its rules. Besides, Dr Qadri was also allowed to work in any institution of the country.
According to sources, the management of HEC knew that soon it would be put under the control of the new ministry after which it would be difficult to give decisions independently.
Dr Qadri said: "The decision of the HEC has finally proved that I was not involved in plagiarism."
Adviser to the HEC, Dr Riaz Qureshi said they had examined the case of Dr Qadri and found that he was not involved in plagiarism. "It should be called a case of 'ethics' rather than plagiarism."
He said Dr Qadri would not be reappointed as foreign faculty member but he was free to work anywhere. Dawn
Margalla bushfire reaches Quaid-e-Azam University
Islamabad: A bush fire, which erupted on Margalla Hills due to the extreme heat wave, continued spewing ash all around, and has reached the premises of Quaid-e-Azam University.
Fire erupted on Margalla Hills near Bari Imam shrine at various spots, and was spreading at an alarming pace, engulfing a large area and destroying precious woodland and wildlife on thousands of acres.
The intensity of the flames could be felt at the Diplomatic Enclave, and even at Melagah Lohi Dandi and Bhara Kahu.
It is feared that if not controlled, the fire can reach Daman-e-Koh and the forests of Pir Sohawa. "The fire has already engulfed a police checkpoint, a mosque and high-power electricity transmission line passing through the area," a resident said.
However, none of the departments concerned took steps on war footings to extinguish the flames. According to Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials, the fire broke out due to scorching heat. inp
'Invention to Innovation-2012' Summit today
Islamabad: Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) is organising 'Invention to Innovation Summit-2012' in collaboration with the Institute for Research Promotion (IRP) and University of the Punjab, Lahore, here on Monday.
Minister of State for Science & Technology Rahela Shahadat Baloch and Federal Secretary for Science & Technology will inaugurate the summit.PSF Chairman Dr. Manzoor H. Soormro, Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab, Lahore Dr. Mujahid Kamran and CEO, Institute for Research Promotion Abid Sherwani have joined hands to establish industry-academia linkages for the uplift of applied research.
Dr. Farid A. Malik, Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation will present a keynote address on Technology Competitiveness-S&T Policy for Pakistan.Feroze Khan will deliver a talk on stimulating private investment in New Technologies-Solution for Pakistan. The purpose of this summit is to pass on domino effect of science to the society to establish strong linkages between industry and scientists for commercialisation of indigenous technologies.
The people having technologies engrossed with local R&D have been invited to show their ideas through posters presentations, documentaries and physical prototypes etc. The industries and academicians will also present their innovative products and research experiences.
Free computer course for flood-hit youth starts
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has started free six-month computer training programme for the flood-affected youth of southern Punjab. A total of 2,000 students will be trained in four phases. A well-equipped laboratory with support of the American Institute of Electronic Engineering has been set up for the purpose at DG Khan.AIOU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Nazir Ahmed Ahmed Sangi inaugurated the computer-training programme through video-conferencing from the main campus of the university in Islamabad. He said the university is also working on a plan to set a world-level computer-training centre in the region.
Iranian team visits Bahria University
Islamabad: A delegation from the Damghan University, Iran, visited the Bahria University and held a meeting with Bahria University Rector Vice Admiral (r) Shahid Iqbal, pro-rector, registrar and directors. The delegation from the Damghan University comprised President Dr Ali Haghighi Asl and Chairman International Collaborations Dr Abdolali Basiri. During the visit, both universities discussed various areas of collaboration, including student and faculty exchange, joint research, conferences and seminars, exchange of visits and other joint academic activities. They also signed an MoU highlighting areas of collaboration.
Forward Public School shows 100 pc result in SSC exam
Peshawar: Keeping the past academic record intact, the Forward Public School, Dilazak Road, Peshawar has showed 100 per cent result in the recently announced secondary school certificate examination.
A press release quoted the Principal Hameeda Zafar as saying all the students of the school qualified the SSC examination conducted by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar.
The principal said Wajeeha Maqsood (Roll number 86707) secured 13th position in the Science Group by securing 958 out of 1050 marks under. Ammara Bari (Roll number 86706) obtained 17th position in Science Group by securing 954 marks.
The successful students attributed the success to their hard work, guidance of teachers and prayers of their parents. The news