PhD scholar falls prey to falsehood

LAHORE :November 24: Having spent thousands of rupees and investing almost eight years, a PhD candidate from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is being dragged from pillar to post ‘in the pursuit of knowledge’ in the provincial metropolis. Not knowing the institute he got admission in for PhD studies was not authorised by the government to offer the programme, Jalil Abbas from Dera Ismail Khan was all satisfied after securing his PhD seat. He had actually got transferred from another private university in Lahore. The task left at hand was PhD research thesis, its write-up and final evaluation. However, the first university to which he got enrolled in 2009 informed him in 2014 that the university did not have any faculty member to guide him towards completion of the remaining study programme, so he got transferred himself to another private university. Forgetting the injustice meted out to him by the first university, he looked for a peaceful learning experience at another private university. Jalil submitted his dues and was happy to ‘secure’ his future not knowing what was in store for him. The university offered him six courses initially. However, of these, three courses were exempted after several considerations and he passed all the three courses and even got the transcript. However, later on the PhD scholar did not notice any progress while now the time limit for his PhD programme is also about to end. During a recent visit to the university, he was told by the new management that the university had, in fact, no legal cover to offer the programme. This was not less than a bombshell dropped on him. Jalil has now written to the federal Higher Education Commission (HEC) seeking necessary assistance, including extension in time limit to complete his PhD and compensation for the funds he ‘wasted’ at the university. When contacted, Dr Muhammad Zakria Butt, the newly-appointed registrar at the private university, said the management was replaced recently and added the new management would definitely find some way so that the student did not suffer. He said the university held the meetings of its Board of Studies, Advanced Studies & Research Board (ASRB) and Academic Council, etc, recently. He said the new chairman of board of governors (BoG) was also trying hard to clear the mess created by the former management. Dr Zakria said the HEC and Higher Education Department (HED) Punjab had been very helpful and had assured all-out support to save future of the students. A government official, seeking anonymity, said this was not a story of just one student rather there were hundreds of such cases in different private universities. He said the government had now starting tightening noose on such institutes, and in the best interest of the students the government was trying to find ways so that their future could be secured. A senior official at the federal HEC said the commission had been warning students and their parents through advertisements in newspapers to be aware of the unrecognised and unapproved programmes and illegal campuses. “So, the students and parents also share responsibility,” the official added.The news.

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