HEC halts admissions to several departments of QAU

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has stopped admissions to 15 academic departments of top-ranked Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU).

The commission also halted all academic activities at the Area Study Centre for North and South America and Management Science departments over incomplete required criteria, Daily Times has learnt reliably.

According to the documents, HEC’s Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Program Review Committee during its visit to the university had examined a total of 26 different departments. Out of them, only nine departments were declared absolutely satisfactory for academic arrangements.

The QAU, as per the committee report, has overall 25 PhD programmes with enrollment of 1,218 students while there is a total of 230 PhD faculty members. Similarly, it has 27 MPhil/MS/equivalent programmes with enrollment of 2,304 students while the university has 52 M.Phil/MS/ faculty members.

For the two departments that were told to halt academic activities, the commission said, “The university should halt all the academic activities, including conduction of classes, examination, thesis and award of degree”.

The committee found that Area Study Centre for North and South America had only one PhD faculty member, while 56 students and 31 PhD students had been enrolled in MPhil/MS degree programme in this department.

According to the HEC rules, at least two full time PhD faculty members are mandatory to run a MPhil/MS degree programme while at least three full time PhD faculty members for running a PhD degree programme.

After review, the committee stopped the Management Science Department from offering programmes, including MBA, MPhil/MS and PhD over insufficient PhD scholars as it has only one PhD faculty member. Besides, 15 other departments were asked not to make further admissions due to excess enrollment.

The departments that were asked not to make further admissions included animal sciences, anthropology, Asian studies, biochemistry, biotechnology, chemistry, economics, mathematics, microbiology, plant sciences and statistics.

Besides, admissions to MPhil/MS degree programmes in earth sciences, pharmacy and physics were prohibited by the committee, while it also directed the university not to make new admissions to PhD programme in international relations.

For the above-mentioned programmes, the committee observed that the number of available faculty members was not up to strength set by HEC to supervise the MPhil/MS and PhD students.

Five departments that were found not meeting minimum requirement prescribed by HEC include sociology, psychology, pakistan studies, history, environmental sciences, electronics, defence and strategic studies, computer science and bio informatics. These departments were adequate academic arrangements for offering all degree programs.

The committee recommended that the university’s management seemed to have no recognition of the importance of the office of Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC) at the varsity. “It is highly recommended to strengthen the office of QEC in line with the HEC guidelines,” it said, adding that the overall management and record was also found to be very poor and improper.

When contacted, Vice Chancellor DrJaved Asharf said, “I did not stop admissions”. He hung up the call without giving any detail.

Published in Daily Times, January 24th 2018.