President Dr. Arif Alvi ordered Islamabad Air University to provide a student who was unable to finish her degree because of COVID-19 an extra year.
Arif Alvi criticized Islamabad Air University for failing to handle the student’s case on time, even though the university’s laws and HEC legislation offer ways to address these kinds of problems by extending the deadline. Rather than correcting its mismanagement, he claimed the University had arbitrarily diverged from HEC’s policy and recommendations.
Arif Alvi instructed the administration of Air University to take action to support and mentor students, particularly those who are female, and to ensure that the students’ commitment, diligence, and financial resources are not wasted.
Iqra Munir, a student, allegedly claimed in a complaint filed with the Federal Ombudsman that she was enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in psychology at one of the institutions connected to Air University, with honors. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented her from finishing her degree in 2020.
She had asked the university to let her finish her degree, but she was told to get in touch with HEC to get an extra year to finish her coursework.
The commission recommended that, in light of her medical history, the provisions of the commission’s policy, and university laws, the University’s competent authority review her request for an extension.
She did not receive the extension, even after a year. She went to the Federal Ombudsman, who granted her the order. Subsequently, the University appealed the ombudsman’s decision to the President.
The president dismissed the representation and noted that the institution had disregarded the HEC’s recommendations and had not brought the case before the UFC, which had the authority to decide on the matter.
He claimed that the student had been rushing from one pillar to another in an attempt to gain more time to finish her degree when she became ill from COVID-19.
According to him, the HEC Policy Guidelines stated that she had a maximum of six years to finish her degree, with an additional year’s extension possible with the Statutory Bodies’ consent.
He continued by saying that her problem might have been handled if her case had been brought before the UFC at the appropriate time, but it was not.
The president claimed that rather than correcting its poor management, the university squandered time and money and offered no explanation for overturning the ombudsman’s ruling.
He claimed that the cost of education in Pakistan was quite high, taking into account both the financial outlay and the dedication and diligence of the students.
He advocated for the implementation of policies that would help students—particularly women who have made significant educational investments. The complainant was instructed to be assisted in following the HEC policy and recommendations without further delay, but the president dismissed the University’s representation.