Deception or corruption in public sector universities

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By Masud Khabeki
Dr Shahid Siddiqui the ex-vice chancellor of AIOU has drawn the attention of authorities concerned by pointing many issues including financial problems faced by our public sector universities in his column dated 29th September 2019. The lack of funds for the universities creating problems for the students as the universities have raised their fees and also compromised on the quality of education. He further went on to describe that our country started with two universities since the creation of Pakistan and now we have over 200 degree awarding institutions in the country. But these degree awarding institutions are faced with the quality issues, definitely the issue of quality education. He further elaborated that how new rules were formed to improve the quality of teachers and a trend was set to introduce the research-based education and research projects were seen in each and every department within the universities; he particularly lauded the efforts of Dr. Atta Ur Rehman.
As a student of criminal justice, I want to draw the attention of concerned authorities & HEC to another fact that is causing deterioration in the public sector universities offering criminology degrees. It is traditionally proven that we are always ready to take advantage of any kind of situation whether it is bad or good, and notoriously famous in destroying the system and even mesmerize others with our negative approach and ability to maneuver things towards complete destruction.
Our many so-called intellectuals sitting in the universities are not less than anybody in performing criminal acts and are exploiting the vulnerable academic situation in a style of mafia. The professors, registrars and clerks have joined hands and support each other in fulfilling their malafide intentions. This new trend offered expedient-in-nature professors with an opportunity to manoeuvre across the existing opportunities and indulge in malpractices to capture certain position they never deserved. They have their free will and are unchecked in ‘creating merit’ according to their desire within universities from selection of students to teachers of their own liking as no system of accountability ever exist to stop this menace in public sector universities. It is an amazing fact in Pakistan that whoever violates the merit himself is assigned the duty to safeguard the “merit”. (wohee zibah kare hai aur wohee lay sawab ulta) Resultantly, the class rooms are deprived of the brilliant students, dedicated teachers and quality education. In majority of the department’s faculty is “selected” in violation of rules and criteria laid down by the HEC.Faculty is appointed on liking, based on political affiliation and personal relationship. In many instances, faculty is hired to teach certain subject they had never seen in their life or even never touched during their teaching experience.
The shortage of funds and ban on new appointments have opened a new flood gate of corruption in universities as they have started hiring visiting faculty on their own sweet will rather on the ability and qualification to teach the subject. These daring and corrupt professors/deans heading many faculties are constantly by-passing the prescribed rules in hiring visiting lecturers. The trend has eliminated the concept of subject specialist for the particular course or scheme of studies. Instead of, improving the degree courses by introducing new subjects according to the need of time they had included courses which have nothing to do with the subject rather they have included courses according to their own advantage thus compromising the entire scheme of studies and the subject. This glaring practice is being carried out in the department of sociology for the MSc Criminology program in university of Arid Agriculture Rawalpindi since long.
A new trend of deceit and deception is evolved in universities across the country. The students are also encouraged and after sniffing the weak links have taken the attendance system in their own hands and sometimes influence the results to their advantage. The students are allowed to make decision to choose the faculty members and especially in the evening programs the students are allowed to obtain degrees without attending the courses. This nexus of students and teachers has reached to a lethal point and need urgent intervention by the HEC. The exploitation of educational system by students and teachers has become a hallmark of our educational system. For example, the evening program of MSc Criminology is gaining importance day by day and many of the law enforcement officers have shown keen interest to join the program but many of them felt heart-broken because of the inability of the faculty to introduce the new topics deemed necessary in the modern-day policing and criminal justice system. The department is headed by a professor of statistics and in-charge of the criminology program is an assistant professor of sociology who has his MA in Library Sciences. If we talk about the visiting faculty the situation is even more frustrating as majority is hand picked by the two above mentioned professors who preferred to have their friends as faculty members rather to advertise the visiting faculty positions to select deserving and qualified teachers having a degree and experience in the field of criminology or criminal justice system.
Furthermore, the department of criminology has been subverted from the program initially conceived and deigned by the worthy Dr. Shoaib Suddle ex-IGP, government of Pakistan. The department of criminology was meant to provide a platform for the academicians and practitioners of law enforcement agencies to sit together and pursue research and evaluate the crime prevention strategies. There was a provision to add new courses according to the needs of law enforcement agencies like anti-fraud studies and criminal profiling etc. But the deterioration of the criminology department has reached to a level where the courses mentioned in the student’s prospective for MSc criminology are not being offered anymore and even the students are not asked to submit the required research paper.
The present authority has introduced courses not only related to the field of criminology, but they have chosen subjects they can easily manage; they are trying to stick to a field of study they have no experience in, have not studied and have any clue about at all. For instance, a course from MA statistics has been placed in MSc criminology to accommodate the department head of sociology while a course from MA sociology is made compulsory for the students of MSc criminology. Ironically, both the professors always defend this move by saying we have adopted the HEC criteria. While a retired professor has been inducted as a consultant in the sociology department instead of appointing a consultant for criminology subject as they have no permanent faculty for criminology subject. The said consultant has been hand picked by the vice chancellor just because of old friendship.
The concerned ministry and the HEC is requested to take cognizance of the worsening situation of educational institutions offering criminology courses in the country at the earliest with an in-depth inquiry into the matter, as the criminological studies are still on the verge of gaining popularity among students and especially the officers of our law enforcement agencies. Many of the departments of criminology in universities across Pakistan are run by faculties having no formal education of criminology so is the situation in Arid Agriculture University of Rawalpindi. The department of criminology at university of Arid Agriculture Rawalpindi, must be protected as no other university is offering this subject in the region.

The writer is an Adjunct Professor of Criminology at Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi