Archive for the ‘Academia’ Category

Plagiarism and Academia

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

While plagarism is a problem that plagues all arenas of academia (can be as subtle as overlooking a reference to a source), this particular story concerns the International Islamic University in Islamabad where two (probably graduate) students and a professor are accused of plagiarising a paper by industry security guru Bruce Schneier and colleagues.

While the professor claims only to have appended his name to the paper, I agree with Schneier’s commentary that he is still responsible for lack of due diligence.

In the vast web of information, it’s getting increasingly difficult to track down plagiarism and in a sense, the whole plagiarism business ( etc) is compromising the academic culture and true worth of having a degree.

Further, stories like this bring considerable harm to the reputation of not only the institution in question but also Pakistan educational institutions in general. In my opinion, these students should be made an example of to not only strongly discourage this practise but also to make it clear that the International Islamic University in Islamabad’s integrity is intact.

Plagiarism and shame in the academic Industry

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist and author. Described by The Economist as a “security guru,” Schneier is best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic and commentator. When people want to know how security really works, they turn to Schneier.

It’s no surprise that Khawaja Amer Hayat, Umar Waqar Anis, and S. Tauseef-ur-Rehman, three professors from the International Islamic University in Islamabad did as well.

More than looking to refer to Bruce, they plagiarized his entire paper on Cryptanalysis of some encryption/cipher schemes using related key attack and published it on SIGCSE, a forum for computer science educators.

Seems like these professors have a stubbed a lot of other academic institutions and taken credit for it. Plagiarism in any form is not kosher and credit must be given for someone elses hard work.

Read Bruce’s rant here which includes seemingly insincere apologies from the three professors.

Pakistan blocked from contests

Friday, July 8th, 2005

CSIDC (Computer Science International Design Competition) is held every year in Washington D.C. for three days - it provides an opportunity for undergraduates from all over the world to participate in a design contest, and invites the top ten teams to D.C. to present their ideas to a panel of international industry judges. For the three years, Pakistan (e.g. LUMS, SSUET) has continually been selected as one of the top ten teams. This year (’05), “Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology” (SSUET) was selected for the top ten, but unfortunately they couldn’t participate in the final round due to visa difficulties. Last year, two team members made it to D.C. on the 2nd day of the competition and one member wasn’t able to get a visa at all. It’s quite irritating that our country can’t do anything to expedite the process. Are there any ideas that how to prevent this situation from happening again? These past experiences are not going to encourage new teams to participate for upcoming contests.

Youngest MCP gets her wish

Monday, June 27th, 2005

2 months ago, we covered the youngest MCP, Arfa Karim at age 9. One of her wishes was to meet Bill Gates. Didn’t think her wish would be granted this soon. She will be visiting Microsoft headquarters in Remond, Washington, to meet with CTO, Bill Gates.

We raised the question as to what can be done to promote the youth and intellectual capital in Pakistan. Granting her wish and generating more press around this seems like a good start.

I might be meeting her on July 12 to give her words of encouragement. If you have any questions or would like to relay words of encouragement, post them here.

Pakistan Launches E-Content Awards

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

Pakistan’s National Committee for the World Summit Award announces the launch of nation wide WSA Pakistan competition to recognize and award the best e-Content practices in Pakistan

The World Summit Award in Pakistan is the first of its kind in the country, which emphasizes the importance of Content in bridging the digital divide. The main aim and purpose of organizing this competition is to recognize, encourage and further disseminate Pakistan’s best e-Content practices to bridge the information gap, break the information barrier and let the rest of the world know about Pakistani e-products.

Read on for more from Digital Opportunity.

800 new IT awarness centres planned

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Provincial Minister of IT for Sindh, Mustafa Kamal announced 800 IT awareness centers.

This is not an official press release. It came during his speech at the golden jubilee commemorations of the chemistry department of Karachi University. He offered his profound inisght by adding that IT had significant role to play in the fields of science, especially chemistry and Karachi University’s IT department would play a significant role in the scientific development of the country.

Further, the Chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr. Attaur Rehman was honoured with the “Best Student Award”. I think this is a misprint as he is nowhere close to being an academic student.

Anyone have details on these IT centres? What do they have? Who was contracted with building, deploying and managing the existing 35 IT centres?

Bill Gates Foundation to give $6.5 million to Pakistan for Health Care and Education

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

Dawn reports:

Bill Gates Foundation pledges $6.5 million to support health, education efforts LONDON May 11 (APP).

The Bill Gates Foundation pledged US$ 6.5 million to Pakistan Human
Development Fund (PHDF) for supporting its health care and school education programmes in neglected districts of the country. State Minister and Chairman for National Commission for Human Development, Dr.Nasim Ashraf, announced the contribution while speaking at a dinner hosted by the patrons and trustees of the Pakistan Human Development Fund UK Chapter on Tuesday.(Posted @ 17:50 PST)

Pakistani girl sets record for youngest MCP at age nine

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

Arfa Karim Randhwa of Multan, Faisalabad, Pakistan has been accredited as the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) at age 9. The requirements for MCP are by no means trivial. No details on which exam she wrote but Desktop Support Technician seems like one of the easier routes to MCP with 4 courses requiring installation, management and troubleshooting knowledge of the windows environment (hardware, filesystem, networking etc) and applications (office, outlook, etc). She studied through Applied Technologies (APTECH) (whose website is a disgrace) in a single summer vacation. She comes from a rural, agricultural background with her father working for United Nations in Congo and her mother acting as the landlady in his absence. She also won a national singing competition. Not an astonishing story, but it does set an excellent precedent for Pakistani youth — a little encouragement goes a long way. Pakistan could use a lot more intellectual capital. What can be done to promote the youth and build intellectual capital?

Ministry of IT approves Rs 38.4 million project for IT Services Academy in Lahore

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Business Recorder reports: “The Ministry of Information Technology has approved a project worth Rs 39.458 million for the IT Services Academy in Lahore”. The 2 year project is prepared by the Electronic Government Directorate (EGD). The 2004-05 Projects page does not have any details on this yet. Some already implemented projects include Salary Disbursment through ATMS. It would be nice to see other solid work coming out of this department.