ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has closed down 24 PhD academic programmes of the International Islamic University (IIU) Islamabad for not fulfilling the commission's required criteria.
The HEC also directed to stop all academic activities in these programmes till fulfillment of the prescribed requirements. According to the PhD Programme Review Report compiled by the PhD Programme Review Committee of the HEC, copy which has been obtained by Daily Times, the Committee visited the various departments of the IIU and examined the status of different PhD degree programmes.
The PhD Programme Review Committee is constituted by the HEC to assess the implementation status of prescribed criteria by the Commission for all public and private sector universities and Degree Awarding Institutions (DAIs).
During the course of inspections, the Committee found that many of the PhD programmes are not fulfilling the criteria regularised by the HEC.
As per the Report, the Committee reviewed 32 PhD degree programmes being offered in the various departments of the said varsity. Out of them, 24 programmes were not fulfilling the required criteria for their functioning and only 8 programmes were complying with the policy of the HEC.
Seven programmes are completely halted for lack of faculty members for the teaching of these programmes.
As per rules it is mandatory that at least 3 relevant full time faculty members should be appointed in the department. According to the Committee analysis, the list of halted programmes concludes as PhD in Econometrics as there is not a single full time PhD faculty member, Mechanical Engineering is also short of 3 permanent PhD faculty members, PhD in Engineering Management lacks such criteria, PhD in Marketing did not fulfill the requirement of permanent PhD faculty members as it possesses only one such faculty member. Beside above, three other programmes have also been halted by the Committee due to shortage of the same arrangements.
These programmes include Technology Management, Islamic Banking and Finance, Pakistan Study and Political Science that have one, zero, one and two Permanent PhD faculty members respectively.
The Committee directed that IIU should halt/stop all activities of these programmes including classes, examination, thesis, defence, award of degrees until the appointment of required staff on permanent basis.
The 15 other PhD programmes in the varsity include Computer Sciences, Physics, Mathematic, Urdu, English, Electrical Engineering, Management, Finance, Media and Communication, Law, Shariah, International Relations, Sociology, Psychology and History and were asked by the Committee to stop 'fresh induction of students.'
"The university should admit the scholars subject to the permission of the HEC. The programmes for enrolled students would run provided that other indefinite deficiencies are rectified," recommended the Review Committee.
The Review Committee is of the view that another PhD programme in Natural Sciences needs to be split as the Natural Sciences Programme is part of the Centre for Inter Disciplinary Research in Basic Sciences. In its findings, the Review Committee said that the university is more focused in quantity instead of quality at the doctoral level. It also directed the IIU to revise this approach. Moreover, the Committee also noticed the procedural errors in PhD programmes. The Review Report compiled by the Committee cited that new PhD programmes were launched after October 2013 without seeking a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the HEC.
It further cited flaws in the examination system, foreign evaluation of scholars, delays in PhD programmes and likewise irregularities.
The Committee, however, directed to remove these delays on immediate basis. The Committee also observed that Dr. Muhammad Sher, Dean Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences, is named in the blacklist scholars by the HEC but he is still supervising PhD scholars.
The Committee also observed the lack of lab research equipment and directed for enhancement of research facilities. When approached Rector Masoom Yasinzai referred Dr Amir to brief in this regard. Dr.Amir said that the university mended the deficiencies as per Committee directives and a Compliance report was also submitted to the HEC. The HEC confirmed that the IIU, so far, has not submitted the compliance report. "Still waiting for response from the university", it said.