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President directs varsity to accommodate student who missed degree course due to COVID-19

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 27 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday asked Air University to reconsider the case of granting one additional year to its student for completing her degree which as she was unable to complete the remaining courses due to suffering from COVID-19.

The president expressed displeasure that the university did not timely process her case, despite the fact that Higher Education Commission (HEC)’s Policy and University Regulations provided for remedies to resolve such issues by granting extension.

He said that there was no reason for the university to deviate from the HEC’s policy and recommendations, stating that instead of rectifying its maladministration, the university submitted a representation before the President without realizing its implications in respect of public exchequer and wastage of study timeline of its student.

He advised the Air University to not let the student’s devotion, hard work, and money go waste and take measures to help and guide students, especially in the case of women.

The president gave these directions while deciding upon a representation filed by Air University against the order of the Wafaqi Mohtasib directing it to place Ms Iqra Munir’s case before the University Functional Committee (UFC) and reconsider it for allowing her one more year to complete her BS degree.

As per details, Iqra Munir (the complainant) had filed a complaint before the Wafaqi Mohtasib alleging that she was a student of Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Psychology Programme in one of the colleges affiliated with the Air University. According to her, due to Covid pandemic, she could not complete her degree in 2020.

She approached the university to allow her for completion of her degree but she was advised to contact HEC for grant of an additional year to complete her studies. Later, HEC advised that the competent authority of the University may reconsider her case for extension keeping in view her medical history and the provisions already available in HEC Policy and University Regulations.

However, after a lapse of one year she was not given the extension. Feeling aggrieved, she approached the Wafaqi Mohtasib, who passed the order in her favour. The university then filed a representation before the President against the order of the Mohtasib.

The president rejected the representation and observed that the university did not follow the recommendations of the HEC and did not put the case before the UFC, who was competent to make a decision in this regard.

He said that the student fell ill due to COVID-19 and had been running from pillar to post to get some time to complete her degree. He said that HEC’s Policy Guidelines provided that the maximum time limit to complete her degree was 6 years, which was further extendable for one year with the approval of the Statutory Bodies.

He added that if her case had been placed before the UFC at the right time, her issue could have been resolved but it was not done.

The president said that instead of rectifying its maladministration, the university wasted time and resources and did not provide any justification to reverse the order of the Mohtasib.

He said that education was very expensive in Pakistan, both in terms of financial investment and student’s devotion and hard work, saying that steps should be taken to facilitate students, especially women, who had already invested so much in their education.

The president rejected the University’s representation with the direction to facilitate the complainant in line with the provisions of the HEC policy and recommendations without further loss of time.

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