19 academics call for probe into QU affairs

May 25, 2012 - 1:23:00 am

DOHA: Some 19 members of Qatar University’s Academic Council have urged the state to set up an inquiry committee to look into the university’s state of affairs.

The members have demanded that the university’s handling of its finances and appointments of foreigners on key academic and administrative posts be probed.

It also needs to be looked into as to what extent the university complies with the directives of the State Cabinet and the Supreme Education Council (SEC).

“The employment contracts of the foreign recruits should be looked into to make sure that prescribed procedures, rules and standards have been followed,” the members said.

In a letter addressed to Al Sharq which was published yesterday, the members said the committee they are demanding to be set up must make sure that Qatar University authorities are accountable.

The letter was highly appreciative of the daily for publishing critical reports and columns by Qatari contributors about the university and its affairs.

The local media have been carrying articles and columns about the university for a while criticising the university for its failure to ensure an education system that caters to the needs of the local job market.

Questions have been raised over the university’s contribution to pushing the job nationalisation policy of the state forward and helping the country meet the lofty goals of national development and vision.

The letter lauded the daily for writing that decision-making at Qatar University is in the hands of foreigners and that there are several irregularities.

The members raised the issue of the university’s controversial admission policy in their letter as well, and said it must be accountable to the Qatari student, his or her families and the Qatari community as a whole.

It is the right of the families of those students who have been denied admission, the letter said, implying that over the past few years due to its tough admission criteria tens of hundreds of Qatari students had been denied admission.

Critics, meanwhile, criticising the university for its admission policy and for denying entry to many Qatari students, ask: “Where do these students actually go?”

Do they enter the job market after finishing secondary school, sit at home or go overseas for higher studies? “”But then, what happens to families who cannot afford to send their children for studies overseas,” asked a critic.

He said that if a student is not proficient in English language, it is the fault of the school system. “So why blame a student for that and deny him admission,” the critic said.

Significantly, some students who were denied admission to Qatar University understandably due to lack of proficiency in the English language approached the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) and lodged complaints.

The NHRC has in its report for 2011 has raised the issue and said that it did receive complaints from some parents against Qatar University saying that their children could not get admission because of low marks in English.

“Many students suffered with no option with them to look for admission elsewhere,” the NHRC said in its 2011 annual report.

It has urged Qatar University to have separate faculties with English as the medium of instruction for those students who do not know Arabic.

Local social networking sites are also abuzz with criticism of Qatar University for its admission policy and for the choice of English as the medium of instruction for certain key streams.

“All over the world universities have local languages as the medium of instruction,” said one commentator, implying that Qatar University stands alone in that matter.

In the past few years, some 1,800 Qatari students have been denied admission to Qatar University, said another commentator.

The Peninsula