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Delay in PEC accredition of four DUET depts puts students’ future at stake

Delay in PEC accredition of four DUET depts puts students’ future at stake

KARACHI: Future of hundreds of students enrolled with the Dawood University of Engineering and Technology (DUET) is at stake, as the university is yet to acquire the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) accreditation for its four key departments, it emerged on Thursday.

According to sources, there are about 160 students in each department of Energy and Environment, Petroleum and Gas, Telecommunication, and Computer System Engineering. The four departments were established in 2010-11 when the institution was a college.

However, the step was taken without acquiring the mandatory approval from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the PEC.

In 2013, the college being run by the provincial government was granted university status through an act passed by the Sindh Assembly.

Speaking to Dawn, varsity students expressed serious concern over the university failure in getting the PEC accreditation for its new four-year programmes. They said the delay would have a negative impact on their job prospects.

“We are in contact with some graduates and they have told us that they are being refused good jobs because their departments were not accredited with the PEC,” said a DUET student, fearing that he and his colleagues would face a similar fate when they would pass out later this year.

The students said they had informed the university officials about their concerns multiple times but it seemed no progress had been made on this issue, as the departments were still without PEC accreditation.

Upon contact, DUET vice chancellor Dr Faizullah Abbasi admitted that some students were facing problems in getting employment due to non-accreditation of the university programmes. But he argued that such students were few and being helped by the university. “I am personally contacting high officials of the companies refusing jobs to our students and explaining to them that the university is actively pursuing the PEC accreditation process and that our students are as capable and talented as students of any other university,” he said.

Initially, the college offered programmes of Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Metallurgy and Industrial Engineering and all had been granted the PEC accreditation. But a lot of problems were faced when efforts were made to get accreditation for the four new programmes.

When the four departments — Energy and Environment, Petroleum and Gas, Telecommunication, and Computer System Engineering — were established in 2010-11, the then engineering college had serious academic deficiencies. There wasn’t a single PhD teacher at that time, according to Dr Nasir Khan, heading the PEC accreditation division.

However, the vice chancellor said: “PEC officials have inspected the institution and we have received positive signals from them in our last meeting.

“The institution has already received approval from the HEC,” he said, claiming that the process of acquiring accreditation was slow.

Dr Khan said the legal hitch in the DUET accreditation had been their violation of the mandatory condition relating to approval of the HEC and PEC before the launch of the programmes.

The obstacle was removed as the council’s board of governors in its recent meeting took up the issue on humanitarian grounds, he said. “The council considered the efforts the university have made to improve their poor infrastructure and status of their faculty,” he added.

Dr Khan said: “The university has also received funding from the government, while the present vice chancellor has shown commitment to work towards facility improvement at the university.”

The board of governors, he said, had directed the PEC officials concerned to take up the DUET accreditation issue on a priority basis. However, he said: “I can’t say when accreditation will be awarded. We will see DUET’s progress.”

According to Dr Khan, the council publicises the names of its accredited institutions on its website as well as in the newspapers and it’s the responsibility of students to check the status of an institution before getting admission.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2016

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