LAHORE: In a recent development regarding the appointment of the new Higher Education Commission (HEC) chairman, the Virtual University (VU) has widely rejected the plagiarism allegations against former HEC chief Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, a strong candidate for the said post.
A senior VU official, wishing not to be named, Sunday told Daily Times that Dr Mukhtar Ahmad never wrote a book for his lectures delivered at VU. “Instead he was asked to compile lecture handouts and power point slides as a helping material for students.”
Dr Tahir Rasheed, a candidate for the post of the HEC chief, had accused Dr Mukhtar of plagiarism in his two books.
“Plagiarism laws are applicable to research articles, thesis, books and other research papers. Lecture notes, slides, handouts and other material provided by a teacher during a class are exempted. Ergo, the handouts of Dr Mukhtar for VU are not plagiarised,” the official explained.
Taking about the teaching method at the VU, he said: “The VU hires a professor who is supposed to record his lectures at VU studios, which are also on aired on VUTV and are also available on Youtube. Besides, the VU demands the professor to provide slides, handouts, related web links and books, which can help students during their studies. So teachers usually convert their video lectures into handouts to help students understand lectures easily.”
Sources at HEC told Daily Times that more than 90 percent teachers in universities of Pakistan provide helping and reading material copied from different websites and such a practise is not illegal.
Dr Mukhtar’s tenure as the HEC chief ended on April 15. A search committee had interviewed more than 100 candidates from across the country and had sent three names to the prime minister for approval.
Published in Daily Times, May 14th 2018.