Arid varsity likely to end several postgraduate progs

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  • HEC officials point out incompetence of Rawalpindi-based university’s administration

ISLAMABAD: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has stopped over a dozen of postgraduate programmes of the Arid Agriculture University for not meeting the required criteria of the commission.

The HEC Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) recommend that the university administration should halt all the activities of the programme including conducting classes, examination, thesis defence, award of degree etc until the permission from the commission.

According to the documents, the HEC has stopped 15 PhD, 13 MPhil/MS and 13 MSc programmes for not having a sufficient qualified PhD faculty members and excessive enrolments. A team of experts, constituted by the QAA, visited the university on February 9, 2018, to review its PhD and MPhil/MS/equivalent programmes.

During the visit, the team observed that the university offered a total of 30 PhD programmes, which has 137 PhD qualified faculty and 473 students, while there are 39 MPhil/MS/equivalent programmes, which has 75 MPhil/MS faculty and MPhil/MS students 2182. In its findings after reviewing the situation, the team stated that the Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC) of the university was not updated about the HEC rules and regulations which is reflected in admission, processes and awarding of the degrees.

Besides, it was stated that the record of the admission test is not available in student files and there are many rules being followed by the university which are violation of the HEC regulations; for example in some cases, PHD degree is being awarded without publication of a research paper. Moreover, it was observed that there was no proper mechanism to categorize the PhD thesis.

On the basis of the finding of the review panel findings, the Arid University was advised to comply with the review panel decision, while considering the definition of status of the programme. The QAA has directed the university to stop all the activities of the programme from the next semester including conduction of the classes, thesis defence etc until HEC permit.

Moreover, it was directed that the university should not admit any scholar in the programme until HEC permission. The PhD and MSc (Hon) Agriculture economics and agriculture extension programmes have been halted due to shortage of the qualified faculty members.

Similarly, PhD and MPhil biotechnology, biochemistry, economics, veterinary medicine/surgery and poultry science programmes along with the MBA, MS and PhD management sciences programmes have been halted. The commission also halted the PhD programmes in the livestock management, veterinary microbiology and veterinary parasitology of the university.

In addition, the HEC stopped further intake in MPhil and PhD education programmes and MS and PhD sociology programme. Sources told Pakistan Today that HEC directed repeatedly to remove the deficiencies; however, the university administration paid no attention to the repeated warnings and eventually, the HEC has to take the step to stop over a dozen of PhD, MPhil/MS and MSc (Hon) programmes.

They said that the programmes have been stopped due to the negligence and incompetence of the university administration, otherwise the damage could be averted. However, the university’s seriousness could be judged from the fact that no selection board meeting could be held for the last two years due to which around 300 vacant posts could not be filled.

They said that it was a great loss because it was a daunting task to re-launch these halted programmes since the procedure is quite tough.

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