U-turn on KU plagiarism cases raises†questions
Karachi, May 07: An investigation into the recent unanimous decision of the Karachi University syndicate to withdraw cases of plagiarism against its three senior teachers shows that the decision was taken not only in complete disregard of past resolutions of the body itself but also of the results of multiple inquiries conducted by the university over the past four years.
KU sources question the validity of the decision given that the teachers had been charged under the ambit of misconduct (and not plagiarism under the Higher Education Commission policy) as mentioned in the university act.
The university was earlier producing evidence and giving arguments against the teachers before inquiry officers appointed by its former vice chancellor.
The individuals who conducted the inquiries, established charges of plagiarism and later endorsed the reports included two retired judges and one serving judge of the Sindh High Court. The latter is a nominee of the chief justice of the SHC on the syndicate.
However, no note of dissent was recorded at the syndicate meetings when the cases were withdrawn. The SHC nominee did not turn up at one meeting while at another he left the session just before a discussion began on the subject. The minutes of the syndicate meeting held in March do not explain why the plagiarism charges were dropped after four years.
They simply state that the syndicate unanimously decided to withdraw cases of plagiarism against Prof Dr Jalaluddin Ahmed Noori, Prof Dr Najma Sultan, (her husband) Prof Dr Saeed Arayen and Zakia Bibi.
The university had taken up the cases in 2008 on a request of the HEC following complaints.
Members of the university syndicate strongly defended the decision and argued that the cases were withdrawn because plagiarism did not fall under the definition of misconduct as mentioned in the university act.
"There is no mention of plagiarism, only of misconduct, in the university act. The act was drafted decades ago and at that time there was no concept of plagiarism in the sense we use the term today," said KU vice chancellor Prof Dr Qaiser.
Other syndicate members had similar opinions. "I don't think 'misconduct' as mentioned in the act covers plagiarism unless it is defined," said Dr Haris Shoaib.
The syndicate members also said the HEC policy on plagiarism was applicable only in cases in which the offence was committed after 2007 - the year the policy was announced.
They, however, could not offer any convincing explanation that why the university syndicate would initiate multiple inquiries (as it had been doing) if the university act did not cover plagiarism, nor why the university would be bound to HEC policies when the commission did not have the powers to impose its decisions on public sector universities.
They also contended that they had documents to prove that Prof Noori's case was wrongfully judged, but were not able to satisfactorily explain why they did not present these documents to the inquiry officers.
"Earlier, we were not part of the syndicate. You should ask those who were part of the body at that time," said three syndicate members.
Prof Noori (former dean of the faculty of Islamic studies), Prof Arayne (former chairman of the department of chemistry) and his wife, Prof Sultana (former dean of pharmacy), were suspended through a resolution unanimously adopted by the university syndicate in 2009 after an internal inquiry found them guilty of having committed plagiarism in their research papers.
Zakia Bibi, an ad-hoc teacher of the chemistry department, who co-authored the alleged plagiarised research paper of Sultana, and Prof Arayne were immediately sacked.
Plagiarism charges were proved in both cases.
Prof Sultana and her husband retired during the proceedings on account of the prolonged time taken by the university in deciding the case.
Prof Noori was once demoted for having dubious academic credentials. His research papers, including the PhD thesis, had been questioned by many scholars. The latest case was related to his PhD thesis. The first version of this thesis was submitted in 1988 on which he was awarded a PhD in 1989. The thesis was 'corrected' after five years in 1994. He was also accused of having given a false date of birth.
Inquiry under misconduct charges
Records of past syndicate meetings reveal that the body had initiated an investigation into these cases under the university act on charges of misconduct under the university act and not on allegations of plagiarism under the HEC policy, as contended by the present syndicate members.
A syndicate meeting held on May 16, 2009 decided, according to the minutes of the session, that a formal inquiry was to be conducted against the professors (Prof Noori, Prof Sultana and Prof Arayne) as per the University of Karachi Act.
Then at a meeting on Jan 23, 2010, the syndicate resolved that "the headline of working papers of clause No 5 (relating to investigation against the said teachers) be read as 'brief on case of misconduct (plagiarism)' and, similarly, the second line of paragraph No 2 as 'suspended on charges of misconduct'."
When these facts were brought to the notice of the vice chancellor, he said: "I am not aware of these resolutions. Besides, no objection was raised by any member not even by those who were earlier part of the syndicate."
Referring to the University of Karachi Employees (Efficiency and Discipline) Ordinances, 1962, retired Justice Haziq-ul-Khairi, who was appointed inquiry officer to investigate the charges of plagiarism against Prof Noori, writes:
"Misconduct means conduct prejudicial to the good order of service, discipline unbecoming of a university employee and a gentleman.
"Would not the good order of service and discipline of a university be highly prejudiced when its teacher has copied the work of a scholar and has obtained his PhD on this basis? Would it not also amount to fraud on the university, its students and public at large? There is no iota of doubt that 'plagiarism' comes within the ambit of misconduct.
"There is nothing either in the University of Karachi Act, 1972, or the University of Karachi Employees (Efficiency and Discipline) Ordinance, 1962, or the Higher Education Commission Ordinance, 2002, whereby any decision or direction given by the commission is binding on universities of Pakistan."
The findings of retired Justice Khairi were endorsed by retired Justice Nadeem Azhar Siddiqui. Stating the position of the university representative and the respondent on the case, he writes:"The respondent submits that the act of plagiarism is neither misconduct nor covered by the definition of misconduct as given in E&D rules and the University Act is silent in this regard.
"The representative of the university submits that copying from the books of other authors for the purpose of obtaining a PhD degree is against all norms and further submits that the respondent has acquired a PhD degree while in service of the university and thus committed misconduct as provided under the E&D rules."
Referring to retired Justice Haziqul Khairi's report, retired Justice Siddiqui states that the report has gone unchallenged in the court of law (whose intervention was sought by Prof Noori). The petition, he pointed out, was disposed of.
A 'confession' of plagiarism
Retired justice Saleem Akhtar investigated the case involving Prof Arayne and Prof Sultana. Both these teachers, according to the HEC, had submitted a letter of apology to the commission as well as to the original (foreign) author for their 'mistake'.
"The HEC withdrew their complaint against these teachers when they submitted a letter of apology along with an affidavit last year stating that they had not taken any financial benefit from the research under question," Munir Ahmed, HEC deputy director of quality assurance said.
The measure, Ahmed contended, was in accordance with the revised HEC policy.
Their case was also taken to the ombudsman in 2009 who decided it in favour of the three teachers, including Zakia Bibi, on grounds that the university did not have a plagiarism policy.
This decision, according to sources, came because the university legal team did not contest the case properly and failed to inform the ombudsman that the case was being pursued under charges of misconduct and not plagiarism.
The legal team's incapacity, they said, was brought to the notice of the syndicate which passed at least three resolutions to express dissatisfaction over its performance.
The university consulted Justice Mohammad Tasnim who gave his legal opinion that the university could not take action against the retired teachers since they were no longer university employees.
In Prof Noori's case, however, he recommended that the inquiry be conducted as per law and it be presented in the syndicate for action.
In response, the university syndicate at its meeting held on March 3 this year withdrew cases of plagiarism against all teachers, including Zakia Bibi.
Commenting on this development, senior university teachers said that
if no action could be taken against retired teachers, the university
syndicate should have at least acknowledged their offence and made it
known to all public sector universities instead
of withdrawing the cases.
As for Prof Noori, the university has allowed him to teach at the department against the legal advice.
"It is beyond all norms of justice that after holding multiple inquiries in which witnesses were produced and the accused were given ample opportunity to prove their innocence, the university syndicate decided to withdraw the cases in a single meeting," a teacher said.
Members of the KU syndicate include: Prof Dr Majid Mumtaz, Prof Dr Faiyaz Hussain Madni Vaid, Ghazal Khawaja, Justice Mohammad Tasnim, Mumtaz-ur-Rehman (governor's nominee), MNA Khushbakht Shujaat, MPA Muzaffar Ali Shujra, Haji Hanif Tayyab and Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan. Dawn
3,000 sit aptitude test for entry into KU
Karachi: The University of Karachi (KU) on Sunday conducted the aptitude test for admissions in the MPhil/PhD/MS/MD Programme 2012, in which around 3, 000 candidates appeared against 1, 043 seats.
The test was conducted in a conducive environment. Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Qaisar visited all the faculties and appreciated the arrangements.Convener of the Postgraduate Admission Committee, Prof Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi along with Prof Dr Abuzar Wajidi and other Deans kept roaming around the test venue, to monitor the transparency during the test.
The Deans of various faculties of KU, Prof Dr Zafar Iqbal, Prof Dr Ghazala Rizwani, Prof Dr Nusrat Jameel, and Dr SM Abbas remained in their faculties during the test timing and administered the test.
The list of successful candidates would be displayed, on Monday (today), on the KU website and departmental notice boards.Those who have passed the test are advised to appear for interview in their respective departments on May 24. It is noteworthy that for admission in MPhil Programme, candidates have to write a one page research proposal on the spot and a two page proposal for admission in PhD Programme. The news
KU extends last date for payment of semester exam fee
Karachi: The University of Karachi (KU) has extended the last date for paying fee of Semester Examination-2012 with a late fee of Rs 500 from May 7 to 10. A university announcement on Sunday said that the fee should be deposited in the United Bank Limited Campus Branch after the endorsement by Bursar Office. app
Some papers rescheduled as HSC exams began
Karachi: As many as 161,700 candidates belonging to the science, commerce, home economics and medical technology faculties will appear in the first phase of the higher secondary school certificate (HSC) annual examination 2012, beginning in the city on Monday.
However, the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi has rescheduled some papers in line with the Sindh government decision to observe holidays on Saturdays. The papers scheduled for May 12, 19 and 26 would now be held on May 29, 30 and 31, respectively.
Expressing concern over the new dates, a number of students complained that the papers on three consecutive days would not allow them to prepare for the exams. They demanded that the board review its decision.
Of the 84 exam centres set up for male candidates and 68 for female candidates, 18 centres had been declared sensitive, said BIEK chairman Anwar Ahmad Zai. He added that extraordinary security measures had been demanded for the 18 sensitive centres. Sources said that they were situated in Gadap, Orangi, Korangi and on the outskirts of Lyari.
Claiming that elaborate arrangements had been made for peaceful and fool-proof conduct of the exams at the centres across the city, Mr Zai said the law-enforcement agencies, the power utility and other relevant authorities had been asked to cooperate during the exams, which would continue till May 31.
On Monday, about 43,500 candidates of the science and home economics faculties would take the first-year exam of Islamic Education, Civics or Akhlaqiat, said BIEK controller of examination Imran Khan Chishti. The exam would be conducted from 9.30am to 11.30am, while there would be no exam on Monday evening, he added.
Thirty candidates from the medical technology group, 800 from home economics, 33,850 from premedical, 63,200 from commerce, and 63,800 from pre-engineering group would take the exams, he said.
Use of unfair means
The board chairman said that the civil administration had assured the board of support in checking the use of unfair means by candidates and outsiders' interference in the exams.
Mr Zai said it was decided at a meeting chaired by the Karachi commissioner that anybody found taking exams in place of a registered candidate would immediately be handed over to the police and the registered candidate would be debarred from taking the exams for the next three years.
He said that at least 10 policemen with their two officers would be deployed at each centre.
In reply to a question, the BIEK chairman said there would be no deployment at or visit of vigilance officer on the board's behalf to the examination centres. But, he added, a super vigilance team to be headed by himself and comprising director general of colleges, director of schools, director of private schools and others would take rounds of the centres during the exams being conducted in two shifts.
Besides, a central examination control unit would function at the BIEK, he added.
According to him, necessary notifications by the deputy commissioners were being issued to keep photocopier shops in the vicinity of the exam centres shut from 8am to 5pm. Dawn
IBA kicks off global conference on marketing
Karachi: The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi celebrated the fruition of the first International research based conference in Pakistan to impart marketing education through empirical research. An inaugural ceremony was held at the Main Campus, IBA Karachi on Saturday. Yasmin Zafar, Convener of the ICM 2012 and Chairperson Marketing Department, IBA, opening the conference, welcomed academicians, practitioners and students from Pakistan and overseas. She described the vision of the conference as an endeavor to provide a platform to bring together academia and professionals in a quest to uncover some of the most celebrated and latent aspects of marketing in Pakistan and international marketing.
Dr Ishrat Husain, Dean & Director IBA, expressed his sincere gratitude at the presence of international speakers, academicians and practitioners at a time when the common view is highly tainted by the media of this country.
He further elaborated upon IBA's vision of evolving into a global business school and discussed how detachment from International academia would hinder its fulfillment. Dr. Ishrat appeared excited at the prospect that this conference will serve as a manifestation of IBA's efforts to build relationships with academic providers internationally. Talking about world trends he identified four unique trends that are capable of disrupting international business practices.
Encouraging the enthusiastic crowd of young audience present at the occasion, he said "This is your opportunity to learn, to question and to interact with experts. You will not get such a large galaxy of experts under one roof for two days anywhere. Let your curiosity be the beginning of a learning process.'
Professor Kriengsak Chareonwongsak, President, Institute of Future Studies for Development, Thailand identified the benefits of nation branding and how the concept needs to evolve with the changes that have occurred across economic and social environment.
Startling facts were revealed by Dr Jikyeong Kang, Professor of Marketing at Manchester Business School, UK about the consumption on digital technologies. In Pakistan alone, she disclosed that 6.5 million people are Facebook users, these numbers represent a new medium for communication. Globalisation and immigration have led to a cross cultural environment because of which marketing includes not only reaching out to consumers but aimed to match their distinct set of styles. Dr. Ahmed Jamal, Program Director at Cardiff Business University, UK elaborated on this concept while highlighting consumer preferences of Muslim Consumers in Britian.
The event comprises various dialogue sessions, seminars and panel discussions on several issues including marketing, strategic marketing, brand management, E-marketing, marketing communications, distribution networks, pricing, consumer behavior, marketing research, relationship marketing, international marketing, not-for-profit marketing, service marketing, entrepreneurial marketing, Islamic marketing and agriculture marketing.
Through the two-day conference, IBA was aimed at promoting marketing education, and was providing a platform to relevant practitioners and scholars to present their ideas and research that was emerged as a result of their curiosity regarding the mechanics and effectiveness of the discipline. The conference was also aimed to bridge the gap between the academia and industry. It allows marketing professionals in Pakistan to evaluate the work of researchers and judge the potential of the future of marketing in Pakistan. Daily times