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President orders AIOU to address grievance of student – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Sunday directed the Vice Chancellor of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) to decide the ‘hardship case’ of a student in her favour, who was declined the M Ed degree due to maladministration of the university. The President also set aside the findings of the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Federal Ombudsman), which had closed the case of the complainant student by referring to a judgement of Supreme Court as saying that ‘the courts should not interfere with the policy matter of educational institution’.

The complainant Miss Asia Saeed Malik, had filed a representation with the President of Pakistan against the ruling of the Wafaqi Mohtasib. The President, also the Chancellor of the University, termed the case unique where a “student was made the victim of the acts or omissions of the university officials in order to overcome its own maladministration”.

Miss Asia Saeed, enrolled in the Master of Education (M.Ed) programme by AIOU, had appeared in the examination of Autumn 2017, but could not attend the workshop. She, however, was allowed by the AIOU to attend the workshop later in 2019 via letter No. F. M.Ed/MD Edu.-W/S (Spr-19) MN/115 dated 21.08.2019, but ultimately was declined the degree.

Feeling aggrieved, the complainant approached the Wafaqi Mohtasib alleging injustice on part of the university. The AIOU contended that the permission to attend the workshop had been “mistakenly allowed by the staff and it was a fake letter and that as per rules, she has to take admission again”.

Taking note of the grievance of the student, the president pointed that the university took a “shifty and shaky stance to deprive the student of her hard earned qualification.”

In his written order, he quoted the Section 12 of AIOU Act, 1974, that empowered the Vice Chancellor “to relax regulations in favour of a student in a case of ‘real hardship’ subject to the approval of the Academic Council”.

In a case of hardship, he said, the Vice Chancellor of the University had the authority to “relieve the student of oppression and injustice and order the issuance of result and degree to the complainant”.

He said in view of the peculiar circumstances of this matter, it was a fit and proper case for the Wafaqi Mohtasib to have redressed the grievance of the complainant, who was “victim of acts and omissions on the part of the university officials”.

The president, therefore in response to the representation of the student, set aside the impugned closure findings of the Wafaqi Mohtasib with a direction to the Vice Chancellor AIOU to settle the matter considering it a hardship case.

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