GUJRAT: Technical flaws and poor system of scrutiny for online admissions to the University of Gujrat (UoG) have perplexed the students and their parents as the first merit lists in most of its departments have been changed twice.

The UoG had launched the first-ever online admission application system for the fall semester of the current year but was facing criticism from the students due to ambiguous merit lists of admissions to bachelor and master’s degree programmes being displayed on UoG website.

The merit lists of BS English, Environmental Science, Botany, Zoology and many more are under severe criticism due to a non-uniform merit policy.

The university had announced admission on the basis of first year of Intermediate as per advertisement in newspapers whereas the lists displayed by English department and many others have different criteria of their merit for every stage.

The top candidate in BS English first merit list, Hasnat Ahmed, having an aggregate 90.92pc, has actually much more lower percentile, compared to that shown in the list. His merit is so low that his name is not there in the later list. The department had given him admission in the first list without scrutinising his documents and marks. He has even submitted the university fee. Now the university asked him to take back his fee.

Similarly, more than five students have been accepted in first merit list of BS English, based on second year marks against the university’s advertised admission policy 2016.

Likewise, a large number of complaints were received against Environmental Sciences department where candidates with low merit are selected, ignoring the more deserving ones.

In the Government College for Women, Marghzar College, the UoG constituent college, more than 10 cases of alleged wrong entries in merit lists have been reported.

A student, Muhammad Zakriya Zahid, from Lahore was selected in first merit list of PhD in Islamic Studies at merit number 8. Two days later, his name was replaced by some other student.

The online system of UoG displayed the reason of rejection of Mr Zahid’s application that he did not have a BA degree but he says he had dispatched two separate degrees of BA, one from the Punjab University and second from Wafaqul Madaris.

Islamic Studies department head Dr Muhammad Nawaz, when contacted, stated an entirely different reason for the rejection, saying that in the initial list, the marks percentage of some applicants was missing due to a system-generated error and the students with 3.5pc and more CGPA in the MPhil had now been selected but Zahid’s CGPA was 3.4.

However, as per the university’s admission policy, students having more than 3 CGPA would be having same marks whereas the applicants marks in test/interview as well as the printing of research papers written by an applicant in the Higher Education Commission (HEC) recognised journals would be given additional marks which are the bases of merit.

Mr Zahid told Dawn he had three articles published in HEC recognized journals but he had been denied the admission despite meeting the criteria and the department head was not ready to pay any heed to his complaint, saying now all the 15 seats for PhD had been filled and nothing could be reversed.

In the same department, a student with 3.3CGPA has got admission while one with 3.5CGPA whose name was included in the first list has been denied admission in the final list.

A source said the UoG online admission systems had started developing issues during the introduction session of its software by IT director Arshad Bosaal at a syndicate meeting some months ago.

Mr Arshad was previously IT consultant in the UoG and his appointment as regular director with additional increments was questioned by a senior dean in the syndicate meeting.

Sources said Dr Tahir Aqeel, the UoG registrar, who is the custodian of the Seal, has separated himself from the entire admission process and there were no checks and balances which created the chaos.

Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, director media and publications and spokesman for UoG, said there had not been a single violation of merit and admission policy.

Asked why the initial merit lists were removed and new lists were displayed two days later, he said since the initial data was entered by the applicants which had to be verified but some of the data could not be verified timely that’s why there were problems in initial merit lists which were removed on Saturday and then verified lists were displayed on Monday.

Rasheed said the number of applicants had increased this year largely due to the online admission system. He said that the UoG administration was ready to entertain any valid complaints for the rectification of the mistakes and such applicants had already been asked to file written complaints.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2016