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Bogus UK colleges rob students | KEMU status issue

Bogus foreign students free to flout new UK laws
Lahore, April 16: Thousands of bogus students are free to enter Britain despite new laws aimed at tightening controls on immigration due to weaknesses in the student visa system.

The Times has revealed that hundreds of colleges approved by the Home Office to accept non-European Union (EU) students have not been inspected by it's officers. It has also emerged that the vast majority of non-EU students would not be interviewed by the Home Office but admitted on the basis of written applications and evidence of sponsorship, educational qualifications and bank statements. John Tincey, the Immigration Service Union chairman, said the failure to include interviews could be exploited by terrorists. Under the present system, universities, colleges and schools must register with the Home Office to accept students from outside the EU and must agree to alert the Home Office if a student fails to register, stops attending classes or if a course is shortened. The new regime came in two weeks ago and is intended to end a scam in which thousands of foreigners enrolled at bogus colleges to work in the UK.

According to the report, the problems in the visa are highlighted by the fact that until 2005, there was no official register of education providers - allowing anyone to set up a so-called college and accept overseas students. Under the new system, only universities and colleges officially registered with the Home Office will be able to sponsor students from overseas..

Fake colleges: Last week's terror raids revealed the questionable nature of some Manchester colleges catering to for international students. At least one of the arrested students, Abdul Wahab Khan, 26, was registered as an English language student at the Manchester College of Professional Studies, which closed after a raid by the Home Office last year. An earlier report revealed the college had sold hundreds of places on fake courses to young men in the NWFP at 50 a head. A former associate of Bashir and Khan told The Times the vast majority of their college's students had never attended the college because they were all working full-time to earn money. Daily Times

How bogus UK colleges rob students of poor countries
London: As the parents of the 12 Pakistanis arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of being involved in hatching terrorist plots anxiously await the outcome of the week-long police investigation, new facts have emerged which tell a harrowing tale of how bogus UK colleges rob unsuspecting students from poor countries, including Pakistan, of billions with the British government conveniently looking the other way.

A report in The Times on Wednesday said that hundreds of colleges recently approved by the Home Office to accept non-EU students had not been inspected by its officers.

At one college in Manchester that claims to have more than 100 students - most of them from North-West Frontier Province in Pakistan - only two turned up for classes on Tuesday.

It has also emerged that the vast majority of non-EU students are not interviewed by the Home Office but admitted on the basis of written applications and evidence of sponsorship, educational qualifications and bank statements.

Under the system, universities, colleges and schools must register with the Home Office to accept students from outside the EU. They must agree to alert the Home Office if a student fails to register, stops attending classes or if a course is shortened and keep copies of the students' passports as well as up-to-date contact addresses.

The Times said one college acted as a gateway to Britain for foreigners willing to pay 50 for the letter of admis- sion that earned them a student visa.

The college, which operated for two years, shut down last July after a Home Office raid prompted by "concerns about irregularities", according to the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

The Times report also mentioned a new institution which a fortnight ago was listed - alongside Eton, Cambridge and Oxford - on the government's register of approved education and training providers.

Its Manchester campus is a series of small rooms along the second-floor corridor of a rundown business park. Students admitted to this college sought full-time work as soon as they came to Britain and contacted the college only when their 12-month visas were about to expire.

For a further payment of between 800 and 1,000, they would be issued with a certificate confirming that they had "completed the entire work and academic requirements" for whichever first-year course they were allegedly studying. The documents - a copy of one has been seen by The Times - enabled those willing to pay to extend their visa by up to three years. Dawn

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King Edward Medical University status divides medical community
Lahore: The issue of downgrading the status of the King Edward Medical University (KEMU) to a college has divided the medical community into supporters and opponents of the decision, even though the Punjab chief minister has announced that the university's status will remain intact until further orders.

The split has extended, with another group of doctors demanding the creation of a new medical college affiliated with the oldest medical university. Senior professors of the KEMU are still fighting over the issue, while the younger doctors are seeking reconciliation for the welfare of the medical community and the public at large.

The division among the doctors has now extended so far that the biggest body of King Edward Medical College alumni has also been divided, with both groups fighting for their supremacy and for the acceptance of their demands.

Kemcolians Forum (KF) is a body of former students of the college. Two groups of alumni now claim to be the real KF.

One group claims the membership of 700 members and to be the rightful representatives of the alumni. This group claims that Prof Abdul Waheed is the president of KF, Dr Taur Manzar, Dr Khalid Nawaz and Dr Sabiha Khurshid are vice presidents, and Prof Mahmood Shaukat is general secretary.

The other group claims the support of 1,500 doctors. Their president is Prof Dr Javed Akram, the senior vice president is Prof Amir Aziz, and Dr Salman Kazmi is the general secretary of the forum.

University premises: Dr Akram, who claims to be president, claimed he was recently elected president of the forum in elections that took place on the university premises. He said a large number of doctors had voted in the polls. He said Prof Waheed and his supporters had virtually killed the forum by not holding any activity or elections. He said the fresh elections had been held on the demand of young and elderly doctors, who wanted to communicate with the people and the government through the forum.

No legal standing: Prof Waheed, who also claims to be the president of the KF, said his team had held elections of the forum in 2006, and revived it to protect the rights of King Edward doctors. He claimed the other group, led by Dr Akram, had no legal standing. He said it was only a few people who had got together.

Dr Kazmi, who claims to be the general secretary, said no one had objected when the elections took place, but Prof Waheed was now claiming to represent the real KF. He said the issue of downgrading or changing the status of KEMU was a bone of contention between the entire medical community and each group was trying to gain an upper hand in achieving their goals. Dr Kazmi said that the recent split would leave a long lasting impact on the medical community and would decrease the respect of the senior practitioners. He said most of the students of the university wanted that the university be expanded by the developing a new college by the name of King Edward Medical College, and affiliating it with the KEMU but in separate campuses.

KEMU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zafarullah Khan chose not to comment on the issue, and said the university's administration was waiting for the government's decision. Daily Times

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School heads get more powers
Lahore: The school education authorities have issued special circular regarding empowerment of heads of educational institutions of primary to higher secondary level.

According to a notification issued on Wednesday by School Education Secretary Nadeem Ashraf, all the heads of schools may employ temporary teachers or part time teachers for teaching science and English subjects with minimum prescribed qualification on the salary fixed by the government for this purpose under the Farogh-e-Taleem Fund. However, temporary staff will not be given salary during summer vocation or holidays. The services of part time sweepers may be hired by the school heads from Farogh-e-Taleem Fund.

The notification stated that all heads of institutions from primary to higher secondary level would have full authority to assign any teaching or administrative duty to their staff during or after office hours including additional classes or periods, co-curricular activities, sports duty, library duty, plantation, examination duty, record preparation or any activity mentioned in Dastur-ul-Amal and Taleemi Calendar.

The schools' heads have also been authorised to record the ACRs. Primary and elementary school heads will be reporting officers for recording ACRs of all teaching and non-teaching staff. The AEOs, Deputy DEOs will the countersigning officers.

The results and achievement of targets will be incorporated in the ACRs of primary and elementary teachers as well. Second examination duty in same academic session and sanction of casual leave will be subject to the discretion of the heads of schools concerned according to instructions of government on the subject. Insubordination to the heads of schools and use of extraneous pressure will be treated as gross misconduct and would be dealt with accordingly. The News

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Workshop for Editors of HEC organized
Lahore: Higher Education Commission organized a workshop for Editors of HEC recognized social sciences journals in collaboration with the Department of History and Pakistan Study Centre. The workshop was inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran. 19 Editors of HEC recognized research journals participated in the workshop and gave presentations to improve the quality of journals and identified their problems regarding indexing/abstracting, peer review process of the social sciences journals. An open discussion was hailed among the editors and HEC officials. HEC has spent an amount of Rs.15 million during last fiscal year and this year distribution of funds is under process so that editor could get out from their financial problems. F.P. Report

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LCWU seminar on drug therapy concludes
Lahore: A two-day seminar on Ensuring the Best Drug Therapy through Quality Pharmacy Services concluded at the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) on Wednesday.

The seminar's speakers said the therapy for drug use was based on pharmaceutical care that needed to build responsibility and accountability with the basic objective being to achieve productive clinical outcomes.

LCWU Pharmacy Department and UNESCO jointly organised the seminar. LCWU Vice Chancellor Dr Bushra Mateen said LCWU students would be able to produce expensive medicines generally produced by multi-national companies. "It's a great achievement that the field of pharmacy is rapidly flourishing in Pakistan and its services are now recognised by the government as well. Young pharmacists should do their job with full devotion, sincerity and honesty to keep this recognition alive," she said.

The chief guest, Lahore Anti-Narcotics Force Commander Brigadier Sajjad Ahmed Bakhshi said such seminars, conferences, workshops and training programmes were extremely significant in enhancing the students' skills. He said such professional help was vital for students to get a good grasp on the field of pharmacy.

The government would also cooperate for the uplift of pharmacy in Pakistan, he added. Professor Dr M Jamshed said health in any country depended primarily on physicians, research professionals (pharmacists) and consumers (patients).

LCWU Natural Sciences Dean Professor Dr Kauser Jamal Cheema said LCWU had always served as the platform for exploring new ideas in the field of education and development. "Moreover, it has also provided unique opportunities, information and research work to groom its students in various fields," she said. Daily Times

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