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Fuuast VC plagiarism report draws educationists’ ire

Fuuast VC plagiarism report draws educationists’ ire

KARACHI: A day prior to the meeting being held at Karachi University (KU) to launch a formal discussion on the Higher Education Commission (HEC) plagiarism report against Prof Sulaiman D. Mohammad, the acting vice chancellor of Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (Fuuast), the senate of the university concerned held a long fiery debate on the same issue on Thursday during which some members demanded the VC’s resignation.

The senate meeting presided over by Prof Sulaiman, the acting vice chancellor of Fuuast, was attended by HEC nominee Prof Ghulam Raza Bhatti, Prof Manzoor Akhtar Tahseen Faraqi, Dr Fatima Hasan, Dr Abdul Qadeer Rajput and Dr Tahir Masood, among others.

According to sources, though Prof Sulaiman’s case was not part of the agenda, the matter dominated the entire proceeding of the meeting.

Some members, they said, were of the opinion that it was not appropriate on the part of Prof Sulaiman to continue to hold the post of vice chancellor after the HEC had established that his PhD thesis, as well as 22 research papers (on the basis of which he received multiple promotions), were plagiarised.

Continued media reports on the vice chancellor’s academic status, they believed, was ruining the university’s image and was a source of frustration for teachers and students alike.

Though most members, sources said, were convinced of the severity of the issue, the house couldn’t come to a consensus over how the matter should be sorted out.

“The deputy chair was of the view that since the HEC had asked KU to revoke the doctoral degree it had awarded to Prof Sulaiman, officials at Fuuast should wait for KU’s reply on the issue,” said a professor who attended the meeting, adding that the one-and-a-half hour long debate concluded at this point.

Another serious issue brought to the house’s notice was the appointment by Prof Sulaiman of five junior teachers as heads of departments at the university’s Islamabad campus. The vice chancellor during the meeting couldn’t give a satisfactory reply to a number of objections raised against these appointments.

Members decided to set up a committee comprising Dr Iftikhar Tahiri, Dr Ismail Moosa and deans of relevant departments to look into the matter.

On the cases of ‘fake degrees’ recently identified by the university administration, it was decided that their details would be presented in the next senate meeting and they would be cancelled.

The house also discussed land issues of the Islamabad campus and accorded approval to the revised budget of the institution.

Meanwhile, the KU plagiarism committee is meeting on Friday to take up the HEC report on Prof Sulaiman and the findings of an in-house inquiry against two Islamic learning teachers who have been accused of plagiarism — Dr Ubaid-ur-Rehman and Dr Shahnaz Ghazi (both candidates for professorship).

Sources said the university had received a detailed reply from Prof Sulaiman on the HEC report which would also be discussed in the meeting.

Other plagiarism cases pending with KU include the doctoral thesis of Dr Naeem Qureshi who retired from Fuuast a few years ago.

It is noteworthy that the KU had awarded a PhD degree to Prof Sulaiman in economics in 2010.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2016

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