VC Dr Tahir Amin says Corrupt mafia is kicked out
Politics and litigation culture is deep rooted in university
Private-Public Partnership is affecting education system
MULTAN: BZU is a tough university, I faced a corruption mafia after taking charge and kicked out former registrar and director of Distance Learning who were involved in embezzlement of billions of rupees. Unfortunately, politics is very high (deep rooted) in our university. Professors don’t do their work and remain involved in politics. Litigation culture is very high in BZU. This was stated by Prof. Dr. Tahir Amin, Vice Chancellor of Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan during an exclusive interview with The Educationist.
Dr. Tahir Amin won King Faisal Scholarship to study at MIT, and a Fulbright Award at Harvard University (1992), where he worked on a research project on “Reactions of the Non-Western World to the Thesis of the Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington.” He was a visiting Fellow at the Watson Institute of International Studies, Brown University, Providence, USA (1996), and at the Center for International Affairs (CFIA) at Harvard University. The details are as following:
The Educationalist: Do tell our readers about your early life, education & services?
Dr. Tahir Amin: I did my PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988, a Masters degree in International Relations from Carleton University, Canada in 1978, and M.Sc. in International Relations from Quaid-i-Azam University in 1976.
I took the charge of Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan as VC on 15 October, 2015. Previously I was working in Quaid-i-Azam University as Director National Institute of Pakistan, Islamabad. I was also a Member of the Board of Governors at the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, the National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, and at the Area Study Center for North America and Africa, Quaid-i-Azam University.
The Educationist: What are the top challenges you are facing?
Dr. Tahir Amin: BZU is a tough university because it is facing several problems from the last five to six years. I faced a corruption mafia after taking charge of the university. I kicked out former registrar and he is now in court on charge of corruption of billions of rupees. The Director of Distance Learning Ishaq Fani is involved in embezzlement of billions of rupees. He had given fake degrees in the name of distance learning. I kicked him out too, he is also in the court now. The purpose of telling this to you is that we cleaned all the garbage and implemented the merit in the university. I discouraged the involvement of media, politics and bureaucracy. I did not hire any person on daily wages after my appointment, I gave a clear message to all media and political authorities that here only merit no references.
My other top challenge was Lahore Campus, which is now resolved. Some wrong programs were started in the Institute of Social Sciences and I revamped this.
Unfortunately, politics is very high (deep rooted) in our university. Professors don’t do their work and remain involved in politics. Litigation culture is very high in BZU, which is also a big challenge. Those who did not get what they want, they go to courts and take stay orders, which is a big issue. After seeing all this, I thought that every person should also get degree in law too, so that they can easily handle the situation at their own end.
The Educationalist: BZU Lahore Campus is one of the serious issues. What is your stance on this issue and what is the solution and future of Lahore Campus?
Dr. Tahir Amin: After the court orders, Lahore Campus is now shut down and there will be no classes in BZU Lahore Campus in future. The person who allowed opening of the campus he earned bribe of more than 2 billion rupees in the name of BZU, Multan. He damaged the goodwill of the university. The administration allegedly set up a bogus campus of the BZU. They deceived the students into believing that the campus was officially recognized by the HEC and affiliated with BZU Multan.
We are also assessing the weakness and strength of the students of Lahore campus. And we are giving them admission according to their capacity. We bring all students of Lahore campus to our university’s main campus in Multan. The students of those departments which were not available in our university like Physiotherapy, we sent them to University of Health Sciences Lahore and remaining students were given admission in BZU, Multan. Those student who are unable to come Multan, we gave them NOC so that they can easily get admission to their desired university, in this way their future will be secured and their time will not be wasted. We are efficiently protecting the future of Lahore campus student.
I have learned one thing about sub campuses especially on Private-Public Partnership. It effects the education system because private investors have only aim to earn money and they dominates because of their money. For them quality of education, academics is nothing, they have a zero knowledge of running an educational institute, this is what happened in Lahore campus. A person who was 2nd year drop out, he became the director of Lahore campus and give admissions to every person even those who did not fulfill the admission criteria. From admission to examination everything was on wrong bases. When we assessed the data of 344 students of Lahore Campus. One student did not cleared F.A but he was enrolled in Bachelors 8th semester. There are so many irregularities in Lahore campus that student cannot study economics but they get admission in economics. Art students get admission in engineering. This is not happened in anywhere in the world. The main example of that is Physiotherapy Department where 534 students were enrolled but this department is not exist here in the main campus.
The Educationalist: There is a perception that you are encouraging students politics like IJT, and other pressure groups. What do you say about this?
Dr. Tahir Amin: It’s a wrong perception that we are encouraging students’ politics. I totally discourage this thing. I am very keen to promote academic culture; students should focus on their studies and also in extracurricular activities like sports and drama. We not only offer a first-class disciplinary education, but also promote community-building activities beyond everyday student life. We guide them into a constant striving for the new and the undiscovered. It’s not students’ job to do politics in the university. I am very strict to all those unions who interfere in university matters.
I strictly watched them and those who are involved in fights immediate action was taken against them through disciplinary committee and they were expelled. Even I insured my staff that no lecturer will participate in politics. Some faculties also involved in politics. They are trying to embarrass VC for their benefits; even they try to involve media and court. This is not faculty’s job to do politics, their job is to take classes on regularly bases and deliver knowledge to students.
The Educationalist: How many sub campuses of BZU are registered with HEC?
Dr. Tahir Amin: This university is playing a vital role in South Punjab. We have two registered sub campuses of BZU which are Layyah Campus and Vehari Campus.
The Educationalist: Are you making efforts to improve QS ranking of BZU. What is the current position of BZU?
Dr. Tahir Amin: BZU is at international ranking of number 801. BZU figured out on international map. They ranked BZU on 7th number in Pakistan and I consider it as our big achievement. Previously it was on very lower number, now this university is taking its place back and making it big towards the list of international universities. You will see in future INSHALLAH this university will be standing in top universities of the world.
The Educationalist: How many students are enrolled in BZU Multan and how many PhD faculty members are teaching?
Dr. Tahir Amin: Our university is one of the largest university of Pakistan. Having 53 departments, BZU is a multidimensional university. Strength of students is 30,000 and we have 400 PhD faculty members out of total faulty strength of 750.
The Educationalist: What are the future projects of this university?
Dr. Tahir Amin: We are reviving academic and research culture in the university. Classes should be held on regular bases, research activities should be increased. International conference will be conducted in the university. We are evaluating teachers on regular bases. We have a Quality Cell which is the strongest cell of Pakistan. I have taken so many steps in a short period of time.
We measure our organizational performance according to the best international standards. Therefore we build international networks and draw on international alliances with leading teaching and research institutions to define our benchmarks.
This is my vision that how much we bring international academic culture , we are signing memorandum of understanding with international universities, especially America, UK and European universities. We are also collaborating with Chinese universities. We made a unit on CPEC so that we can focus on China. Recently I visited Beijing University in China and we signed a contract. China Study Center will be built in BZU. We are also inviting Chinese professors to teach history here. I am trying to build a broad base understanding with a good university for faculty exchange and students exchange programs.
The Educationalist: How do you see development of PHEC after 18 Amendment?
Dr. Tahir Amin: After the 18th Amendment PHEC is a reality and it should be strengthened. HEC and PHEC should have clear understanding among them and they should modify (define) their roles that what HEC has to do and what PHEC has to do.
The Educationalist: Sir what message would you like to deliver to teachers and students?
Dr. Tahir Amin: My message for students is to get excellence in their studies. Today is a technology world; students have excess to all types of world information through their laptops on their fingertips. So why not they use this media and get more information around the world, read different universities journals, financial magazines of the world market. This will not only enhance their knowledge but also gives them competitive advantage in the current competitive world.
For teachers I must say please focus all your energies on delivering knowledge to students, this is not only your job but also your moral obligation. Establish an environment that challenges each student to achieve high academic levels and each member of campus to contribute to learning and knowledge generation.