MUZAFFARABAD: Though the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government always boasts about its ‘achievements’ in the field of education, including the opening of four new universities and three medical colleges, non-fulfillment of basic requirements in some faculties has not only put a question mark on their effectiveness but also caused frustration among the students and their parents.

One such example is the five-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) programme offered by the University of Poonch Rawalakot (UPR) through its Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences notwithstanding the fact that it is listed by the Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council (PVMC) as disentitled to run the course.

According to the PVMC Act 1996, all those varsities and institutes offering the five-year DVM degree are required to be recognised by the council.

The programme was launched by Poonch varsity’s Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

In June last year, through an advertisement, the PVMC warned people against taking admissions to the DVM programmes in UPR. The students of the DVM programme have been up in arms against the authorities concerned for their failure to get their degrees accredited.

But the students’ move led to the expulsion of five and rustication of four of their colleagues, including two girls, on May 9. The aggrieved students have files appeals against it with the vice chancellor.

It may be recalled that in 2006, the department of veterinary and animal sciences was opened at the University College Rawalakot, then a constituent of University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

In March 2012, the college was upgraded as an independent varsity (UPR) with Dr Manzoor Hussain as its VC and the department was converted into a faculty. However, in both capacities it has been offering only one course – DVM.

Interestingly, when the department was launched in 2006, Dr Hussain held the same office in UAJK.

So far, three batches comprising 210 students have rolled out with unaccredited degrees while another four consisting of 250 students are pursuing their studies.

Interestingly, even the AJK animal husbandry department has declared the PMVC registration a must not only for induction as veterinary officers in BPS-17 but also for promotion of the incumbents to the next grades.

The already rolled-out students are facing lots of trouble.

“Same problem looms large on us,” one of the students told Dawn.

In August-September last year, the DVM students boycotted classes and staged sit-ins in Rawalakot for 30 consecutive days. Afterwards, they held demonstrations in front of the National Press Club and Kashmir House in Islamabad for a week.

As a result, the government released Rs54 million to the UPR to develop the faculty.

The students claimed that during its first visit the PVMC had pointed out lack of various prerequisites for the recognition of the faculty, which has seen four deans over the past eight months.

Since April 25, the students are again on a strike and have boycotted not only their classes but also exams.

When contacted, Registrar Dr Jamil Ahmed told Dawn on Friday that UPR had fulfilled almost all requirements of PVMC for the recognition of the faculty.

The issue would be resolved very soon, he claimed, asking the students to end their ‘unjustified’ strike and cooperate with the management for the recognition of the faculty.

The registrar regretted that the UAJK had launched the department with a number of deficiencies which went unheeded in the ensuing years.

He said except for the last batch, the rest had been or would be given degrees by UAJK because they were registered there.

“In fact, it’s the UPR which has facilitated a crash programme in a Rawalpindi-based university for the students of first three batches so that they can appear in a test before the PVMC and get their degrees accredited,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2014