Quaid-i-Azam University tops varsity rankings, IIUI `drops out`
By Kashif Abbasi | 5/26/2015

ISLAMABAD: Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) has, once again, been declared the top varsity in the country.

The Higher Education Commission`s (HEC) universities` rankings for 2014 which were released after a delay of several months on Monday put the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad and University of the Punjab in second and third place, respectively.

Talking about his university`s achievement, QAU faculty member Dr Ghaniur Rehman told Dawn that their secret to success was an extensive focus on research. `We have a large number of PhDs in the faculty and are producing more doctoral candidates every year,` he said.

However, another major university, the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), has dropped out of the rankings, despite featuring in the top ten from 2013.

IIUI, which ranked ninth in the `general` category in the last rankings, was not among the top 10 institutions in any of the six categories; namely, General, Engineering, Medical, Arts, Business and Agriculture/ Veterinary Sciences.

Senior faculty members Dawn spoke to said the varsity`s standards had begun to decline ever since the current IIUI president, Saudi national Dr Ahmad Yousif A.

Al-Draiweesh, took over.

Dr Draiweesh also happens to be the head of the university`s Board of Advanced Study and the Research and Academic Council.

However, the fact that he cannot communicate in Urdu or English has hindered research and academic work at the university, faculty members say.

In addition, six of the nine faculties at the university are being run on an `ad-hoc basis`.

`A graduate is looking after academic affairs, an assistant professor is running the Quality Enhancement Cell, so one can`t expect much achievement under them,` a faculty member said.

An IIUI spokesperson claimed that the university was making great strides and that the president`s language barrier had nothing to do with the university`s performance.

Like IIUI, Khairpur`s Shah Abdul Latif University and Islamia University in Bahawalpur were also missing from this year`s rankings, despite scoring in the top ten last year.

Change of criteria From a total 168 degree-awarding institutions, HEC didn`t include 48. These included distance-learning institutions such as Allama Iqbal Open University and Virtual University, or military institutions such as the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad or the Pakistan Naval Academy.

The list does not include universities that were set up after June 30, 2009, either.

`For ranking purposes, we require a lot of data from universities that spans the past several years, so those universities which were set up after 2009 are not included in this ranking, HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said on Monday.

Talking about the criteria for the rankings, the HEC chairman said the process included assessing various markers, such as quality assurance; teaching quality; research; finance and facilities; social integration and community development.

`Our rankings are based on data shared by universities. If there are any complaints, universities can contact us for rectification of errors, if any,` he said.

Categories In the general category, QAU leads the pack, with COMSATS, Punjab University, Karachi University and Peshawar University comprising the top five.

In the engineering category, NUST Islamabad is the leader, with PIEAS, UET Lahore, GIKI and UET Peshawar rounding off the top five.

IBA Karachi leads the business category, followed by the Lahore School of Economics and SZABIST, Karachi. Agriculture University, Faisalabad was judged the top agricultural/veterinary varsity, followed by the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore and the Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi.

Agha Khan University was declared the best medical school in the country, followed by the University of Health Sciences, Lahore and Dow Medical University, Karachi.

The National College of Arts, Lahore and the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture were judged to be the best arts schools in the country.

Published in Dawn