Copyright violations : HEC struggles to get varsities to act against plagiarists

The number of faculty members facing such charges now exceeds 50.


Riazul Haq February 08, 2016
The number of faculty members facing such charges now exceeds 50. PHOTO: fb.com/Higher-Education-Commission-Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: A list of faculty members blacklisted for plagiarism by the Higher Education Commission is getting longer, crossing the figure of 50 but neither the HEC nor the universities have shown much interest in punishing the perpetrators.

Not a single plagiarist has been punished as recommended by the plagiarism policy.

Recently, the HEC submitted to the Sindh High Court (SHC) minutes of the 20th meeting of its plagiarism standing committee held on October 16, 2015. The minutes included names of 17 more teachers blacklisted from different universities across Pakistan.

The minutes, acquired from the court, carry details about how universities were not responding to the HEC’s instructions and staying silent to HEC’s letters and notifications.

Fayyaz Ahmed, a lecturer at the National University of Modern Languages, is still teaching at the Persian department even after the university issued him a warning letter and forced him to withdraw his plagiarised paper. The HEC also requested Islamabad’s Quaid-i-Azam University to take action against another teacher but the university did not heed to its request.

Dr Shamraz Firdous from Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) was also awarded best research award in March 2015, though the cash award payment was stopped by the HEC while the certificate has yet to be returned as she was charged with plagiarism.

The HEC, besides blacklisting the plagiarists, withdraws others benefits such as eligibility as approved supervisor, membership from national curricula review committee, sponsored trainings, best teacher and researcher award, project funding, travel grants etc.

However, none of the teachers has been removed from their position.

Similarly, the HEC is also struggling to handle two of its own staffers accused of plagiarism. The commission’s former head Dr Javed Leghari was also accused of plagiarism while co-authoring a research paper with a scholar.

Leghari has yet to submit an affidavit of apology, withdraw the authorship of the research paper from his CV and submit a stamp paper that no benefit was taken from the paper nor would be taken in past nor will be taken in the future.

Similarly, the HEC’s adviser in Learning Innovation Division had also been found plagiarising for her PhD degree. The adviser later moved the court. Initially, she was on the blacklist but for unknown reasons her name was removed. Interestingly, she was also promoted to grade-21 in 2013 in a clear violation of the anti-plagiarism policy.

However, the HEC adviser is not the only one to seek a court’s injunction. There are around five other individuals who moved the court after charges of plagiarism surfaced against them.

These include Islamabad’s Comsats University’s Pro-Rector Haroon Rashid, Dr Abdul Quddus Suhaib from Bahauddin Zakaria University, Dr Azhar Ali Shah from University of Sindh, Dr Javed Ahmed Phulpoto from Ghulam Mohd Mahar Medical College and Federal Urdu University’s Vice Chancellor Dr Salman D Mohammad.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th,  2016.

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