KU to enroll PhD, MPhil students under old policy

Varsity decides to seek legal advice on suspension of two-year undergraduate, master's programmes

Safdar Rizvi April 14, 2021


The academic council of the University of Karachi (KU) has decided to enroll students in both MPhil and PhD programmes under the old policy of 2019, ignoring the Higher Education Commission's (HEC) new policy that does not cover admissions to MPhil programmes.

A meeting of the academic council, chaired by KU vice-chancellor (VC) Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi, finalised the decision on Monday.

Besides, the meeting decided to get legal advice on whether to continue or discontinue two-year undergraduate and master's programmes in light of an advertisement by the Sindh College Education Department, which announced that it would not involve itself in the matter.

A committee, headed by Dr Jameel Kazmi, has been constituted to give its recommendation on the matter. Admissions to two-year undergraduate and master's programme, however, have been suspended for an indefinite period.

After the meeting, KU VC Dr Iraqi elaborated while speaking to The Express Tribune that there were "ambiguities" in the new HEC for PhD.

"For instance, [there is no explanation] for how can a student enrolled in a PhD programme pass out with an MPhil degree," he said. Giving another example, the VC added, "Under the old policy, a PhD student on an HEC scholarship was required to complete the degree under an HEC approved supervisor. Now, every student is required to complete the PhD degree under an HEC approved supervisor."

According to Dr Iraqi, a report will be sent to the HEC and meanwhile, admissions will be given under the 2019 policy.

Moreover, Dr Haris Shoaib, a member of the academic council who pointed out in the meeting that as per the new policy, instead of getting a PhD dissertation evaluated by a qualified person abroad, Pakistan-based National Distinguished Professors or Tenure Track Professors were to evaluate dissertations, said the HEC had not defined who a National Distinguished Professor was.

Additionally, not sending dissertations abroad for evaluation will lead to a decline in the quality of research, according to Dr Shoaib.

He further pointed out to The Express Tribune that the HEC had made it mandatory for students to complete 48 credit hours of course work and it was impossible to complete research for dissertation alongside it.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2021.

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