South Asian University in soup
New Delhi, March 13: India's plans to start courses from August in the first South Asian University established in New Delhi as a knowledge hub for the region have gone awry because of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal disputing not only its proposed statute but also rules for appointment of its president, funding and issue of visas to students and faculty.
Unable to sort out the differences, all matters have been now been referred to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) standing committee of foreign secretaries that is scheduled to meet in Bhutan (ahead of the SAARC summit) in its capital Thimpu, on the 28th and 29th of April.
The university has been set up as part of a resolution of the eight-nation SAARC, with its linked campuses supposed to be established in the seven remaining South Asian countries.
Pakistan is in the forefront raising objections to the way India wants to run the university and it has roped in Bangladesh and Nepal to stall the statute under which the university is set to function. India was all set to start the first academic session from August to coincide with the new session in various Indian universities.
Since the main campus is in New Delhi, land for which was allotted last year, India wanted an Indian to be the president for the operational reasons, and hence it amended the draft statute that otherwise provided for, "filling the topmost post of the university by rotation from all eight countries".
The draft statute provided that the first president will be from the host country for a "certain term", and then the post will be filled by rotation from the SAARC countries by the governing council from the "panel of names sent by the concerned country".
India has changed this clause to provide that the "president shall be a nominee and representative of the host government".
Islamabad has also objected to the visa rules proposed by India for the students and faculty joining the university. An Indian Home Ministry representative suggested at a meeting convened for finalising the logistics that India will be granting the visas as per the existing bilateral arrangements with various countries.
Sources said Pakistan is insisting that there should be a more liberal and separate mechanism for issuance of visas for the university since it is going to be a SAARC institution in which the host country should not impose its own rules, at least not the bilateral arrangement.
Rejecting India's proposal that the university will be responsible for recommending and facilitating visas, Pakistan wants the university statute to have a provision for the special category visas.
The SAARC resolution provided for India bearing 50 percent cost as the host country, and the remaining 50 per cent to be shared by the seven-remaining members. Accordingly, India had sought $7 million dollars from Pakistan as initial cost. Pakistan and other countries have, however, disputed the cost worked out by India and demanded a meeting to finalise the budget. There is a dispute also on the salary structure of the faculty.
The university is the brainchild of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had proposed the idea of launching a South Asian University at the 13th SAARC summit held in Dhaka, and made the governments of all SAARC nations sign an agreement at the 14th SAARC summit held in New Delhi in 2008. Daily times
Dispute between SU and MUET settled
Hyderabad: The land dispute between the University of Sindh and Mehran University of Engineering and Technology was amicably resolved on Friday, lingering on for last 60 years, in a meeting between the two vice chancellors, reports our bureau.
Later, University of Sindh decided to shift the Centre for Health and Physical Education from Faculty of Social Sciences to that of Natural Sciences.
The decision was taken in a meeting on Friday, presided over by the Vice- Chancellor, Prof Dr Nazir A. Mughal and attended by the Dean Faculty of Social Sciences Dr Parveen Shah, Dean Faculty of Natural Sciences Dr Mohammad Tahir Rajput, Director of the Centre Dr Yasmin Iqbal and others.
Dr Yasmin Iqbal said that presently the Centre was offering a four-year bachelors degree in Health and Physical Education, MPhil, PhD, BHPE, MHPE in evening programme and postgraduate diploma in sports therapy degree programmes.
She said that some universities were offering Masters of Science in Health and Physical Education under science degree and the difference of cadre was posing problems for students in job markets. The Board of Studies had approved the proposal for changing the cadre of centre from social sciences to natural sciences faculty, she said. Dawn
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