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Universities In Pakistan => Universities In Sindh => NED => Topic started by: معلم on August 01, 2009, 07:28:49 AM

Title: NED University of Engineering questions HEC's powers to rank universities
Post by: معلم on August 01, 2009, 07:28:49 AM
NED University of Engineering questions HEC's powers to rank universities

Karachi: Recalling the somewhat strained relations between the Higher Education Commission and the NED University of Engineering and Technology on Thursday, the vice-chancellor of the university said his institution was ranked low by the HEC in 2006-07 because it had refused to provide any details to the HEC, which is a funding agency.

Abul Kalam was speaking at the 17th meeting of the university's senate, which approved the university's annual budget and its annual report, besides making some amendments to its statutes. The chancellor, Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ibad, could not make it to the event.

Presenting the university's annual report, Mr Kalam said that during 2006-07 the HEC had ranked universities, giving the NED university what appeared to be quite a low position. That was actually because the university had refused to provide any details to its funding agency — "that being considered clearly unethical, if not actually illegal".

When the university's registrar, Javed Aziz, was contacted and asked why the university had refused to provide details about its performance, he said the university believed that it was unethical for a funding agency to rank universities.

"Our stance is the same today and we believe that the HEC should hire a third party to do the ranking," he said.

Mr Kalam also pointed out during his presentation that the university was alone among all universities that refused to follow the HEC's guidelines on research and doctorate faculty.

The HEC, he said, had from the very beginning, that is in 2002, laid emphasis entirely on the research and doctorate faculty. The NED university, however, refused to go for the quick fix, as it believed in long-term solutions.

The first objective, he noted, was to produce first-class bachelor degree holders and then introduce postgraduate and master's level programmes to help working engineers improve their qualification. Both objectives were achieved by December 2008.

"The university now offers 27 master's level postgraduate programmes. Only after achieving excellence in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes did the NED university begin emphasising research. The university also started a doctorate programme in 2000 and now has 50 PhD teachers while 91 doctorate scholars, 54 of whom are studying abroad, are enrolled with the university," he said, adding that the university now published two research journals.

NED Varsity approves Rs989m deficit budget
The senate approved a recurring budget of Rs989.219 million with a deficit of Rs185.115 million for the financial year 2009-10 on Thursday.

The budget details show that the university's deficit is expected to increase from Rs10.458 million in 2008-09 to Rs185.115 million in 2009-10. The situation has developed mainly due to sudden cuts in government grants at a time when the number of disciplines is increasing with a corresponding increase in the personnel strength.

It is estimated that there would be a further increase in the deficit amount of Rs37 million if new pay-scales were implemented, as the finance department has recently decided not to increase the recurring grant.

The expected income from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) is Rs540 million while the income from other sources is estimated to be Rs264.104 million. The budget would be effective retrospectively from July 1, 2009.

Presenting the university's annual report, the vice-chancellor said the university had always avoided deficits until 2007. Sudden slashing of grants in 2007-08, however, resulted in the setback which could only partially be corrected this year.

Pointing out the increase in expenses, the vice-chancellor said that the per student expenses had increased from Rs92,900 in 2007-08 to Rs147,200 in 2009. Several private donors, however, had been providing support and the number of scholarships had increased.

"In 2008-09, private scholarships of Rs15.5 million were awarded, besides the University Assistance Scholarships," he said while appreciating donors.

Change in statutes
A major amendment approved by the senate to the university statutes was to reduce the privileges being given to professors emeritus. That was done in view of the fact that a number of professors were retiring and it was becoming difficult for the university to bear additional expenses.

According to the amendment, the syndicate would approve the status of professor emeritus for five years that would be extendable for another five years. After that, though the professor would retain the title, the university would withdraw other perks. Earlier, a professor emeritus would hold the position for life with an office and a monthly honorarium.

The senate approved the raise in the grade of meritorious professor from grade-21 to grade-22.

It also approved that patents would be given marks as well as research funding of Rs1 million, or more. Dawn