ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is delaying issuance of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the Okara University for the last two years through various lame excuses, officials said.
The university has been running without accreditation for the last two years, as the HEC did not even ready to issue NOC in this regard, they told Pakistan Today on condition. They said that they wrote various letters to the HEC to get NOC to resolve the issue; however they said that the HEC pointed out some shortcomings in the university.
As per the HEC requirements, they said that almost all the weaknesses have been overcome to great extent but the matter is yet to resolve due to which the students are feeling uneasy. Hence, they demanded a commission to sort out the issue at the earliest so as to ease woes of the administration, staffers as well as of the students.
It is pertinent to mention here that the University of Education, Okara Sub-campus, was announced on May 2, 2005 during the visit of then prime minister Shaukat Aziz to Okara. The sub-campus of the University of Education Lahore started at Okara in the building of Kalsoom Girls High School, Samadpura Road in Okara, on May 28, 2005.
However, the Punjab government upgraded the sub-campus of the University of Education at Okara as an independent full-fledged general university with the name of University of Okara on April 1, 2016. Presently, 3,800 students are enrolled at the university with faculty strength of 42 in eight disciplines (Zoology, Botany, Chemistry, Mathematics, IT, English, Business, and Education) leading to BS, (8 programmes), MSc (5), MPhil (4), and (1) PhD degree programmes with a plan of starting PhD in 2 other programmes (Zoology and Botany) from 2018.
Some 100+ visiting faculty members are also associated with the university, and training students in their fields of specialisations. However, when sent a questioner to HEC Director Media Aayesha Ikram, asking her to provide detail about the universities and institutes functioning without accreditation and affiliation and how many of them have been closed hitherto.
On her request, she was told that like the Okara University and the Indus International Institute (III) in DG Khan owned by Hafiz Abdul Kareem, which are functioning without accreditation hitherto. “Please check our website for recognised universities. There is another list of unrecognised universities,” Aayesha in her short reply said. She said that the university is legal. However, when went through the long list of the recognised and unrecognised universities given on the HEC website, the University of Okara existed nowhere in the lists. About the Indus Institute, she said that they were stopped for new admission. Issues of already graduated are with the chancellor of the Government College University (GCU Faisalabad) for approval.
Talking to Pakistan Today, a student who was part of the sit-in Islamabad in January 2018, confirmed that the new admission has been stopped; however he said that during their protest in Islamabad, Lahore High Court (LHC) issued decision in their favour and the Indus administration was given one month time for the implementation of the court’s order.
However, the affected student said that the Indus administration did not obey the court order and the Indus administration and the GCU have been summoned in contempt of court on April 19. The Indus in Dera Ghazi Khan is allegedly involved in selling fake degrees since the last seven years, but no one can dare take action against the owner, Federal Minister FOR Communication Hafiz Abdul Kareem. Due to his position and standing in the ruling party, the provincial government had refrained from taking any action against him.