Verification of 105 MPs degrees
Peshawar. July 05: Verification of the degrees of 105 parliamentarians is going on in the University of Peshawar and the final report would be submitted to the vice-chancellor of the university by July 13 and then forwarded to the Higher Education Commission in Islamabad.
The university has formed a three-member committee comprising Controller of Examination Iftikhar Hussain, Additional Controller Mohammad Shafi and Deputy Controller Badshah Muneer to verify the degrees.
“Degrees’ verification is a routine process in the university and we have to verify thousands of degrees on a daily basis. There is nothing special in it. But since in this particular case parliamentarians are involved and confidentiality is a must, therefore, we formed a committee of the top officials of the examination section for the purpose,” Iftikhar Hussain said.
He refuted the statement attributed to him that several degrees among the 105 sent by the HEC to the UoP for verification were of dubious nature. “The process of verification was still going on and the report was not yet finalised, then how could I give my opinion about some degrees,” he asked.
Majority of the degrees challenged so far as fake have been acquired from institutions other than University of Peshawar. The lone degree allegedly obtained from Peshawar varsity, which is a fake according to the university officials, is that of Akhunzada Chittan, the PPP member of the National Assembly from Bajaur Agency.
His degree has been challenged in the Peshawar High Court by his rival candidate Nawabzada Shahabuddin and the court was about to give its verdict in the case several weeks ago, but the MNA managed to transfer his case to Abbottabad Circuit Bench of the court at the eleventh hour.
Additional Controller of the university Mohammad Shafi had categorically told the division bench of the Peshawar High Court that the degree of Akhunzada Chittan was bogus. Sources told this correspondent that the UoP had never issued any degree to Akhunzada Chittan. He had managed to get a forged degree from outside, the sources said.
The other controversial degrees of parliamentarians hailing from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are those of Federal Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Najmuddin Khan, Provincial Senior Minister Rahimdad Khan and Senator Ghulam Ali.
Ghulam Bilour managed to get his graduation degree from Jamshoro University, Sindh, at the age of 60 years. Najmuddin Khan first obtained a certificate from some religious seminary and later managed to secure a degree from a university in Sindh. Rahimdad Khan secured a degree from Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan.
Ghulam Ali was lucky enough that by the time he contested for a seat in the Senate, the graduation condition had been done away with. He had failed his English paper in his graduation examination.
S ALMA Masood Khan did her Masters’ in Economics and Education from the University of Peshawar followed by various courses from the UK and USA under the auspices of the USAID scholarships. She has a vast experience in gender sensitisation, guidance and counselling and skill-based education. Currently, she is working on her research thesis leading to a PhD.
Salma has worked as education consultant for Fata Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) under the USAID and ICUN for the year 2006-7. She serves as Peshawar cluster coordinator for British Council’s Connecting Classroom’s Project and is Unesco’s Consultant for textbooks on gender sensitisation. Besides this Salma also runs her own private School — Learning Institute of Modern Studies (ILMS).
“Working on SDP was extremely challenging as I had to travel to all the tribal agencies including the militant-hit Waziristan as well as other semi-tribal areas. There, clad in big a chador, I sat with the tribal Maliks and held jirgas with them at their hujras on women’s education. I found all of them insisting on educating girls.
“I even moved into their muddy houses, spoke to the tribal women who said they did not want to be seen by male doctors and wanted women to be given medical education. It is hard to believe that tribesmen blow up girls’ schools at least in Fata. My first hand experience says that tribal people are not against female education, contrary to this notion they have a strong thirst for educating their girls,” she informs me.
Having gathered first hand information on women’s education from the tribal areas, Salma has in her report laid stress on skill-based education .
“Gone are the days when tribesmen were found to be against female education. There has been a big change in their lifestyle and we need to harness this change. The problem is that when a poor man sends out his children to school to receive education for 10 years and at the end of it sees his children emptyhanded with no skill or art to bring any monetary benefit, his frustration naturally mounts up. As a result he pulls his children out of school while inspiring many other parents to do the same. This is where the gap widens. I, therefore, suggest that this mindset be changed through rigorous campaigns for creating awareness among the general public to get formal as well as informal education. Both are possible. Morning schools can be used for imparting formal education while there can also be an afternoon shift in the same institution to impart informal or skill-based education to the students,” she advises.
Regarding the gender bias, she says that whenever she comes across a Pakhtoon father, who is tightfisted about money, he prefers to educate his son rather than the daughter because he knows that the daughter will eventually go to another home, making educating her not a very good investment in his eyes. “The gender bias is not due to peoples’ mindset but due to the economic constraints,” she observes.
Talking about teachers’ training, Salma says: “Sending teachers to classrooms without proper training is like sending out soldiers to the battlefield without any know-how in warfare. Guidance and counselling is primarily a must for teachers as they need to know how to handle the various problems confronted by their students for a properly counselled child will never become a wrong member of society. Teachers need to be motivated and guided for this. The guidance activity should be in harmony with the teaching profession.” Expressing her views on corporal punishment, Salma observes that it is the teachers overloaded and burdened by economic constraints who resort to hitting the children, which is very unfortunate. She suggests that elders and parents play a role in removing this hurdle, also the main cause of the high dropout rate in schools. “Beating up children is like putting the wheel in reverse motion rather than making it move ahead. In most cases, it is the teachers, who need more guidance and counselling than the students,” Salma stresses.
Remarking on school syllabus, she ascertains that it is never prepared by the university professors in the developed world. It is the school teachers who are given the task to design and prepare a school syllabus according to the aspirations and capabilities of the children keeping in view their long experience with them.
“In our context, the teachers should prepare themselves to go ahead with even a flawed syllabus as a well-trained teacher can even make a boring subject seem interesting for the students,” she says.
On our students’ capabilities she points out: “Recently, I coordinated a project based on Connecting Classroom activities in which five schools each were selected from the UK and Pakistan. Among the five in Peshawar, one was a religious seminary and after the completion of different activities, the British teachers, to my wonder, were much impressed by the potential of our school children who they said being multilingual exhibited excellence in carrying out various activities despite the lack of resources and facilities.” Salma insists that education should be given top priority.
“Unless we declare an emergency on education in our country we won’t be able to raise the literacy rate to 100 per cent even in the coming 50 years. The rest of the world has gone far ahead, we must invest in girls’ education, adult and skill-based education is yet another area where we need to yield practical results as we just cannot afford retrogression in this era of fast communication,” she concludes. ¦ The interviewer teaches English at a public school and college in Peshawar. (dwan)
The Law of Higher Education Commission Ordnance LIII of 2002 dated September 11, 2002 (vide section 10 (1) clause o) empowers the Commission to “determine the equivalence and recognition of the degrees, diplomas and certificates awarded by the institutions within the country and abroad”. Accordingly the degrees, diplomas and certificates granted by the following Chartered Universities/Degree Awarding Institutions in public and private sectors are recognized by the Commission: * (Universities are not being recognized/attested by the Commission because of non-availability of infrastructure requirements as set out in the Cabinet Criteria). ** ( Not Allowed to Admit Students Beyond April 30, 2009) *** (Provisionally recognised – degree awarded by these universities will not be recognised till time their Acts are amended and infrastructure is developed as per cabinet criteria) ****( Multi-Campus Universities/Degree Awarding Institutions)
|( khyber Pakhtoon khawan ) NWFP
|Azad Jammu & Kashmir
Larkana: More shocking than the fake degrees scandal is the fact that even some seemingly sensible people are falling for the lame excuses and defences being presented by those who have been hit by the scandal. The issue is not whether or not the degree requirement still exists, since it clearly has been done away with. The issue is not whether it was a good law or a bad one, because it clearly was a bad law as the people have the right to elect anyone they want to represent them. The issue is that those who presented fake degrees perpetrated a massive fraud on the people. Does their dishonesty not matter at all? Are such dishonest people fit to rule and decide the fate of the nation, not to mention be the guardians of the national wealth? That is the issue here.
I know that today dishonesty is regarded as a positive and laudable merit rather than a crime and breach of ethics worthy of condemnation. But mercifully there still exist among us such souls who cringe at the thought of being ruled by dishonest people. It is said that since fake-degree holders were not targeted in the 2002-2008 period, there is no reason for this to happen now. They are right in pointing out that fake-degree holders should have been prosecuted in 2002 and the fact that they were not is an unpardonable crime. But should dishonesty be now condoned as a fait accompli just because some crooks got away with it back then? This is like saying that if someone got away with murder in the past no one should be tried for murder now. The very idea is utterly preposterous and indicates that the fake degree holders are only grasping at straws. -By Ameer Bhutto
Islamabad: What surprises me most is that a large number of our politicians and even our president (going by his statement reported on July 1) seem to be of the opinion that it’s fine to have fake degrees and that since parliament is sovereign, representing popular will in a sense, it can get away with anything. But this is not really the case. In elementary political terms, an elected parliament is indeed the sovereign representative of the people but it has to be of high repute and able to safeguard the public interests and aspirations.
It is also subject to checks and balances of a constitutional nature that are set up to regulate its conduct and activities just as it is there to provide checks to other state institutions. There is no ‘absolute license’ in a democracy such as being portrayed presently. Moreover, do these parliamentarians with fake degrees really and truly represent the popular aspirations? It seems from the strong public response on this issue that people feel angry and befooled. -By Omer Saleem
Islamabad: This is regarding the Fake-degrees issue. Treason aside, this goes on to prove that our country is, in fact, being run by uneducated cheaters. I, for one, am sick of the two-bit circus clowns embarrassing my country and me at an international level, and would request that these jesters simply be sent back. I feel certain that my sentiments are shared by all citizens of our country. -By Aatiqa Lateef
Islamabad: Lots of strange but interesting, nay, hilarious, things happen in our beloved homeland. But hearing ‘a degree is a degree, be it real or fake’ and that too from no less a person than the chief minister of a province is an all-time insuperable! As if to supplement it, it is no less amusing to see a lady MNA and that too the daughter of a leading leader of one of our deeni parties, making the remark, “It is not proper to bring this matter into the limelight and defame the members who belong to different parties.” She has, at least, succeeded in convincing us that the chief minister is not the only supporter of fake degrees. -By Dr M. Zafar Iqbal. (The news)
Karachi: Three acting deans at the University of Karachi are awaiting confirmation for the past many months.
Professors Shaheed Nomani, Ghulam Mehdi and Drakhshan Jabeen Haleem of the faculties of Arts, Islamic Studies and Science, respectively, have been working in a limited capacity dealing with “routine matters” only.
A former chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and a member of the KU syndicate, Prof Dr Rafeeq Alam Khan criticised the Governor’s House for what he said “dragging its feet” in taking a decision in this connection.
According to the general practice, the vice chancellor sends names of three senior-most professors to the governor, who also happens to be the chancellor of the university, while they also appoint the senior of the three as acting dean.
Then follows the gruesome wait for the three candidates while the acting dean’s hands are tied in the meantime as they cannot act decisively until a final decision is taken.
This creates an impasse which affects the functioning of the faculty as some teachers do not take the acting dean seriously.
A senior professor in the Arts Faculty, who requested anonymity, criticized the Governor’s House for the inordinate delay in deciding the matter.
“It is disgusting. Years of research and academic rigour are dragged through the mire as the principal secretary to the governor ‘interviews’ a professor,” the senior professor said.
It may be recalled that the dean of Islamic Studies, Prof Jalaluddin Noori, is currently under suspension on charges of plagiarism, and Prof Ghulam Mehdi is holding the charge of the faculty.
Meanwhile, Prof Dr Ghazala Rizwani took charge of the dean of the faculty of pharmacy on Friday from Prof Dr Syed Waseemuddin Ahmed who had completed his three year tenure.
Karachi: The University of Karachi has announced that all the exams scheduled to be held on Saturday have been postponed.
The new dates for the exams will be announced later, said Vice Chancellor KU.
Karachi: In response to the declaration issued by the United Nations for the year 2010 as the Year of Biodiversity, The University of Karachi (KU) is organising a series of events to celebrate life on earth and the value of biodiversity in our lives.
The first programme of the series is a seminar is titled, “Conserving Biodiversity: Threats and Impact”, which will be held on June 17,2010, at 9am in the Auditorium of the Faculty of Arts.
The event will be presided over by Professor Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, Vice-Chancellor, KU. The programme is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Anjum Perveen ñ Director for Plant Conservation.
It is pertinent to mention that the series of events during the biodiversity year is being jointly organised by the Centre for Plant Conservation, Centre of Excellence in Marine Biology, Institute of Marine Science, Institute of Environmental Studies, Department of Zoology, and Department of Microbiology.
Karachi: The Director of Evening Programme, University of Karachi, Professor Dr M. Abuzar Wajidi announced on Tuesday that the aptitude test for MBA (Banking & Finance) scheduled to be held on June 13 will be held on June 20. This test will now be held at the Faculty of Arts, University of Karachi, at 11aM.
New UK rules discriminatory for immigrants
London, June 10: Immigration campaigners have expressed fears that the new English language tests would disproportionately target spouses and partners, hailing from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, but a key cabinet minister says the immigrants have everything to gain from the new rules.
The Conservative co-chair and Lib-Lab coalition government cabinet member Sayeeda Warsi hailed the new English test rules compulsory for immigrants from outside the European Union who marry British citizens and move to the UK.
Warsi welcomed the new, fast-tracked package and said it would go a long way in strengthening the communities and dismissed fears expressed by some groups that these rules may disproportionately target some ethnic communities and may prove to be too harsh.
The applicants will have to show their grasp of English, at least at the level of five to seven-year-old.
“It’s all a gain-gain situation as the very basic level English language test will go on to benefit and empower those who want to come and live in the UK. It’s all for their benefit and will help them in multiple ways to obtain jobs, communicate better, be better parents and useful members of the society,” Warsi said.
According to the government statistics, last year, some 38,000 visas for spouses were granted and a further 21,000 people were granted indefinite leave to remain. The new measures are going to have a particular impact on South Asians communities — Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi — who make up a large proportion of these figures. British Asians continue to retain strong blood and cultural relations with their countries of origin.
The campaigners have expressed their opposition to the new measures. Hina Majid of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said she supported helping immigrants to learn English, but the plans were discriminatory. “It’s unnecessary, it’s costly and it will tear migrant families apart.”
Don Flynn, from the Migrants’ Rights Network, said the benefits of learning English were obvious but couples should not be penalised for wanting to be together. Isabella Sankey, of Liberty, labelled the news ‘disgraceful’ and said some people may be unfairly penalised.
In a statement the Liberty said: “While a good command of English is clearly beneficial for someone settling in the UK with their partner or spouse, making this a prerequisite to entering the country is disgraceful.”
The rules will apply to spouses, fiancees and unmarried couples who already live in Britain as well as new applicants. UK Home Secretary Theresa May said being able to speak English was a pre-requisite for anyone wanting to settle in Britain.
“The new English requirement for spouses will help promote integration, remove cultural barriers and protect public services,” she said in a statement.
May said the measures were a first step in tightening up English language requirements across the visa system.
Warsi said the level of English test was seat at a basic and easy level and fears that it will keep the family members apart were unfounded because the news rules are aimed helping those men and women, who plan to make Britain their home and its only right that learned the language and make their life easier.
There will be no strain on relationships that sets in because of the lack of communication. It will enable the new arrivals at a practical level to go to doctor on their own, communicate to teachers and community workers and be able to understand what their children are talking about.
PMDC in grip of fresh controversy
Islamabad, June 10: Fresh controversy hounds Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, the regulator of medical education in the country, after the council administration charged its own secretary for blowing whistle on the scam involving malpractices in registration of doctors.
A charge-sheet issued by PMDC’s acting president Mr Asim Hussain against Council’s Secretary Sohail Karim Hashmi reads: “The secretary is also charged with writing letters to various (investigation) agencies without the permission of president/executive committee of the council.”
Hashmi is believed to have disclosed to the FIA that his colleagues at PMDC had registered four Afghan nationals as doctors on fake letters from Foreign Office. Foreign doctors require consent of interior ministry or foreign office for getting a permission to practice in Pakistan.
PMDC is also facing allegations of registration of graduates from Central Asian countries, who had failed the mandatory National Examination Board exam to get the permission for practicing medicine.
In his detailed charge-sheet, he also accused the secretary of blocking development initiatives of the Council including a new website for which the developer had been paid Rs4 million. The website was to replace the previous Council’s website that had cost Rs15,000.
The secretary is currently involved in a legal battle with PMDC administration against whom he has filed a contempt plea with the Supreme Court for not fully complying with reinstatement judgment.
Other charges in the new charge-sheet range from allegations of legal, financial and administrative irregularities, to committing acts of misconduct, negligence and violation of rules during his tenure as Secretary from 2001 to 2007.
The 12-point charge-sheet by PMDC further accuses Hashmi of disregarding High Court and Supreme Court orders pertaining to inspection of a private medical college and provisional recognition of certain institutes.
The secretary, who has already filed a reply to the allegations leveled by the Council said: “A similar charge-sheet was prepared against me back in 2007, but I vindicated my position”.
In his reply, he also questioned the eligibility of Mr Asim Hussain as the acting president of the medical regulator and the competent authority to file charges against him.
He has also called for suspension of the proceedings against him pending the outcome of the contempt plea filed by him.