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Aitchison College admissions | Urdu University scam

Aitchison College admissions: setting the record straight
Lahore, Aug 09: In 2012, The News finally blew the whistle on what was going on at one of the most prestigious and oldest educational institutions in Pakistan: Aitchison College. According to the news article, 58 "failed" students were admitted in the college, managing admission through the support of influential figures, 'sifarish' and bribes. The news article went as far as naming the people whose children got through despite failing the exam. In the same news article, several members of the board distanced themselves from the admission process.

The government, due to its ex-officio members of the board, was also blamed for its indifference.Aitchison's legacy of over 125 years was left in tatters.It came to this because the admission process of the college was totally opaque.

There was no written policy on available seats, testing criteria, special quotas or in the interest of making the process fair and transparent, and to eliminate any discretionary powers, the board asked the college to share its admission process.

The college management presented the following process: (1) the admission test is a comprehensive exam conducted over three days and includes Science, Maths, Urdu, and importantly, Reasoning. It also includes activities such as peer interaction, singing and sports. (2) There are no reserved seats or quota for kinship. Kinship is applied only if two candidates are tied for a seat. (3) Grades in the written test are age-adjusted to compensate for the difference in the ages of the applicants.

The issue was discussed twice in board meetings. The board was told that no parent has objected to the admission test. In fact, parents spend months preparing their children for the test and there are many pre-schools that specifically prepare children for Aitchison's admission test.

The board unanimously insisted on two things: (1) Kinship should not be used at the cost of deserving students, and certainly not as a garb forexercising discretion. (2) Merit list should be displayed publicly, clearly showing the marks obtained by each student and the cutoff based on available seats.

That is it. Make the merit list public. Simple? Indeed! But really? No. By making the merit list public, the board ensured that no one could get admission through a backdoor. No one could exercise discretion to grant admissions in return for a favour or bribe. And apparently, that is the catch. Merit sounds good as an abstract concept, but, as we found out in the recent weeks, few want to bring it home.

Actually many parents who may feel that their son did not get in because the college abolished kinship seem to have lived in false hope. The school's policy of kinship was applied, possibly other than as a backdoor for nepotism, only when two students were tied for an available seat. Looking at the merit list, which is publicly available, there are no such cases.

As a matter of fact, UK's Eton school, after which Aitchison College was modelled, abolished kinship in the '70s. A recent article in The Guardian ( on Aitchison's admission reforms stated that the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, a body of elite UK private schools, did not have a single member school that was offering places based on kinship.

Frankly, it is not an issue of kinship. It is not an issue of the quality of the admission test or grading. It is not an issue of preserving the tradition, legacy or heritage of the college. It is not about politics, government interference or composition of the board.

It is about eliminating the culture of influence, corruption, and entitlements. It is about ensuring simple principles of merit, transparency and a level playing field for all. It is about graduating Aitchison College from Raj's colonial school for Wards of Ambala and Chief's kins, to the premier school for the Pakistanis. Fair, transparent and competitive.

As a post scriptum, starting with Aitchison, the government has also abolished the quota system in 12 universities in Punjab. I hope that we, as a nation, will continue our march towards meritocracy and reject the culture of 'sifarish', entitlements and corruption.

(The author is an alumnus of Aitchison College. He has a PhD from University of Cambridge and is currently a member of the Board of the Governors of Aitchison.)

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Al-Draiweesh IIU president for 4 years
Islamabad: Professor Ahmad Yousif Al-Draiweesh has been made the president of the International Islamic University Islamabad for four more years.

The decision to this effect was made during the 10th meeting of the university's Board of Trustees at the Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University, Riyadh of late.

Pro-Chancellor and Rector of Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University Riyadh Professor Sulaiman Aba Al-Khail chaired the meeting, whose holding was authorised by the IIUI chancellor, the president of Pakistan.

In addition to other important items of agenda, the board approved the appointment of Professor Ahmad Yousif Al-Draiweesh as the IIUI president for a term of four years with effect from July 1, 2014.

Also, it confirmed and ratified the action taken by the IIUI chancellor regarding the appointment of Dr Ahmad Yousif Al-Draiweesh as the IIUI president from October 11 2012 to June 30, 2014.

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Urdu University seeks FIA help to bust Rs150m scam
Islamabad: The Vice Chancellor of Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology (FUUAST) on Friday requested the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe transfer of Rs150 million university funds to a secret account by some employees.

The transfer was made in connivance with the manager of a local bank after an internal inquiry confirmed the massive embezzlement.According to the inquiry report, a copy of which is available with The News, an amount of Rs150 million was transferred from the evening fee account No 1742-79001307 to a secret account on July 31, 2013, by the university's director accounts, auditor and treasurer while the manager of a local bank, located in H-9, opened the illegal account without obtaining signatures of the competent authority.

The five-member inquiry committee, headed by Dr Abdul Razzaque Memon, Dean Engineering FUUAST, recommended that university's Director Accounts Asim Bukhari and Treasurer Abdul Sattar Chaudhry should be removed from the service while four other employees should also be punished for committing fraud and forgery.

When contacted, the Vice Chancellor of FUUAST Dr Zafar Iqbal confirmed that FIA has been requested to probe the matter."Yes, I have written to FIA director general for probe into this scam which is earning a bad name for the university," FUUAST Vice Chancellor Dr Zafar Iqbal said. He said the five employees, named in the inquiry committee, have already been suspended by the university management, but further action will be taken against them in the light of FIA probe.

"The university administration has no powers to take action against the manager of the private bank, who opened the secret account without the approval of the vice chancellor, so we want FIA to help us," Dr Zafar added.

He said the University's inquiry committee comprised of academicians, who have their limitations, when it comes to investigating crime so the matter has been referred to trained investigators of FIA so that the requirements of justice could be fulfilled.

"There are two crimes committed by the private bank manager. First was opening of an illegal account and the second is the illegal transfer of huge amount from the university's official account," he said.

While asked how the top management could be unaware of the huge leakage of funds from the university's official fund, the vice chancellor said all the official concerned who were supposed to look after the official account connived to make some easy money.

He said the university management was informed about the scam by one disgruntled colleagues of the group involved in corrupt practices.The inquiry committee was constituted by the vice chancellor vide Office Order No Ref Reg/FUU/4-391/2014 on 15 July 2014. The other four members of the committee include Dr Masood Mashkoor, Dean Business Administration; Dr Mehmood Khan, Director Admissions; Dr Nazeer Ahmed HOD Applied Physics and Ibne Ali Jafri HOD Commerce.

The committee, recorded the statements from all the concerned departments of FUUAST, Islamabad, and found that the illegal account was indeed opened and an amount of Rs150 million was transferred to that account from university account.

"The director accounts at that time, Mr Asim Bukhari, failed to provide any documentary proof of approval from the Honourable vice chancellor to open the account. Also, Mr Asim, Mr Rasheed Bangash and Mr Shah Jee Mohammad accepted and verified their signatures before the committee on bank account opening form," says the Inquiry Report.

This is the second instance of FUUAST sending a case of financial embezzlement to FIA within the last three months. Earlier, a case was pertaining to university's former director Planning and Development was also sent to the country's premier investigation agency.

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PMDC begins processing pending applications of CPSP fellows
Islamabad: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has begun processing the pending applications of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan (CPSP) fellows for registration.

The development comes on the directions of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, which administratively controls the PMDC and the CPSP.Around 700 CPSP fellows have been awaiting the PMDC registration for quite some time.

The reason is that the PMDC insists first the CPSP has given away around 2,000 FCPS degrees to medical practitioners without examination over a period of time and second names of the training institutions are not included in the Schedule III of the PMDC Ordinance 1962 duly notified by the Ministry of National Health Regulation, Coordination and Services. Besides, the PMDC also complains the CPSP is not sharing details of its degrees with it.

However, now the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination has stepped in to the relief of 700 CPSP fellows."We've begun processing the pending applications of CPSP fellows for registration as amnesty in line with the national health services, regulations and coordination secretary," PMDC president Professor Masood Hameed Khan told this scribe on Wednesday.

According to him, the ministry has also told the CPSP to realise its responsibility and get the training institutions included in the Schedule III of the PMDC Ordinance 1962 within six months so that fellows don't suffer any more.

The PMDC president said under the law, the federal government may grant recognition to any local or foreign postgraduate medical or dental institutions, which train or grant or both train and grant additional medical or dental qualifications and the qualifications granted by them and that all such recognised additional medical or dental institutions or qualifications should be included in the Third Schedule of the PMDC Ordinance by the federal government through notification in the official gazette.

He also said if any postgraduate medical and dental institution functioning in or outside Pakistan intended to secure recognition of the institution, which trained or granted or both trained and granted additional medical and dental qualifications or qualification granted by it would apply to the federal government for it and that if an institution wished to only train for a recognised postgraduate qualifications in any specialty, it would apply to the qualification awarding body and that institution would be added in the Third Schedule after consultation and approval of the council.

Professor Masood Hameed said the federal government would transmit the application to the council after being satisfied that application was complete and was in accordance with the prescribed procedure, while the council in consultation with the examining body would formulate recommendations for the federal government after assessing the institution and the qualification as per prescribed procedure.

"Upon receiving recommendations from the council, the federal government will grant recognition to the institution," he said.The PMDC president said the notification for the grant of recognition could also direct that an entry be made in the last column of the Third Schedule against such institutions and additional medical and dental qualifications granted by them, declaring they would be recognised postgraduate medical and dental institutions and additional medical and dental qualifications only when granted after the date of notification. The news

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2,000 FCPS degrees issued without examination
Islamabad: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC) registrar has said that there is a big difference between an honorary degree and a degree awarded to a respective blue-eyed specialist/professor without examination by the College of Physician and Surgeons.He said that the CPSP, since the last few years, has been awarding FCPS degrees to their blue-eyed specialists from all over the country. "These degree holders had never undergone these FCPS trainings and had never appeared in the pre-requisite examination," he said.

Mostly those doctors are awarded with the FCPS degrees without examination that are running medical units or are in-charge of the hospitals. He said that this act has been done with the objective of enhancing the CPSP'S vote bank (to get votes from their junior fellows) for elections of their executive body.He further revealed that approximately 2,000 fellow degrees without examination had been issued to different doctors of whom the CPSP is not providing details and complete statistics of these FCPS degrees awarded without examination to the PM&DC, despite several reminders written my the PM&DC time-to-time. The registrar added that keeping in mind, all these facts, the PM&DC has decided to collect the result cards of all the FCPS degree holders in order to register them with the PM&DC. This step has been taken to segregate the actual fellows from those who do not have training or examination record.He further apprised that only those FCPS holders would be registered whose training institutes are recognised by the PM&DC and are included in schedule III of the PM&DC ordinance 1962 by the Ministry of National Health Regulation and Coordination. Daily times

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