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Pakistan: Ethnic clashes in University led to loosing rank

Sunday 7 October 2018, by siawi3

Source: https://wp.me/p4psWk-2Ze

QAU’s Presence Shrinking in THE World Universities Rankings 2019

by Irfan Khan

October 7, 2018 at 12:33 pm

The Times Higher Education (THE) World Universities Ranking 2019 includes more than 1,250 universities. It is the global university performance chart to measure research environment, teaching standards, knowledge transfer and international outlook. COMSATS Institute of Information Technology of Pakistan has secured rank 601-800 in the world and ranked top among Pakistani Universities in officially released ranking on Tuesday, September 26, 2018. While Last year, Quaid-i-Azam university (QAU) Islamabad was ranked top in Pakistan and 401-500 in THE ranking 2018, it appears out of the ranking this year.

There are many known reasons behind such ballup position of flagship academic institution. The educational and research environment was largely abrupted by student unions in the university. The chief persona of the QAU valley, the student council denominated as Quaidian Student Federation (QSF), patently delineate a mini-Pakistan. The QSF, comprising Baloch, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun, and Gilgit councils, make an attractive simple pentagon to many peoples but a complicated zig- zag shaped path to others concerning ethnic, racial and linguistic basis. The same differences were ground reality behind the World War I and II. The two groups, Sindhi and Baloch, wrangled each other during spring semester 2017, spitefully injuring many. The Islamabad force was then brought into action alongside with campus administration, expelling the students involved in clash from the institute. After being bandaged in hospital, the student groups started their strike against administration, during fall semester 2017. With a charter of demands, they claimed protesting for the needs of common students and raised many issues like fee hike, insufficient number of buses and lack of facilities in hostel etc. Sole purpose, however, was the restoration of expelled students, and other points were just to justify that protest.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan is indirectly responsible for such sad state of affairs. It charmed the research field by associating it with promotions, high pays, and perks in an attempt to promote increase in number of publications. This led professors to orient themselves towards research in defective manner. With poorly installed labs and research room carrying crude setting and old aged and damaged computers, what teacher’s job now is to enroll students for PhD and keeping them busy in earning their degrees for the sake of degrees, and not for adding quality research in the pool of knowledge. Likewise, M.Phil scholars are left on the clemency of PhD students. In the classroom setting, teachers show lack of interest, and fail to inspire. All they do is to vomit some selected text from books, and leave their student confused at the end of the day.

Coming back, the continual episodes of strike didn’t end with restoration of expelled students, but are molded to new shape, where many of faculty members walked out to VC’s office, demanding his removal during winter vacations and beginning of spring semester of 2018. The VC was deemed incompetent, as well as accused of lacking financial integrity and leadership acumen by the Academic staff Association (ASA). The matter halted the new semester.

Also Read: The QAU Strike Explained

The government must enforce rule of law rigorously, whether they are professors or students. Anyone who use vehemence to disrupt academic activities should have no place on the campus. The Government must take a notice of current ranking of the university and order strict instruction to administration to make sure culture of healthy research and knowledge transfer environment in the campus.

Hope so QAU will make a good position in the next year THE ranking.

The writer, Irfan Khan, is a Researcher of Natural Sciences at Physics Department, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.