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Financial irregularities in edu institutions | KU classes boycott

PAC finds irregularities in educational institutes' record
Karachi, April 09: A number of anomalies in the financial records of the universities and education boards of Sindh were seen during the consideration and discussion of audit reports for the year 2003-04 at the meeting of Public Accounts Committee of Sindh Assembly held with its Chairman Sardar Jam Tamachi in the chair on Wednesday here in the Sindh Assembly building.

The PAC was informed that in Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) Jamshoro an amount of Rs3.90 million was paid as computer allowance to 252 personnel, though they were not posted on computer-related jobs.

"In the Board of Secondary Education Karachi and Board of Intermediate Education Karachi, an amount of Rs1.634 million was paid to employees on account of house rent allowance, whereas they were also allotted official accommodation by the boards."

A hostel building of Sindh Board of Technical Education and two residential quarters were in occupation of Bhitai Rangers since July 1994, and all utility bills were being paid by the Board.

The rental amount worked out by the Board was Rs1.408million. In Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam, University of Sindh Jamshoro and Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur, an amount of Rs98.301 million was transferred from various department schemes without prior approval of competent authority.

In University of Karachi, an amount of Rs78.115 million was paid on account of electricity, gas and water charges, violating rules and regulations. In the same university, it was observed that there was difference of Rs34.433 million between the figures of accounts section and examination section.

In KU, an amount of Rs7.340 million was paid as overtime to Malis, drivers and other staff despite the fact that 300 persons were available as contingent paid staff. In Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences Jamshoro, an expenditure of Rs4.812 million was incurred on construction of a shopping center while without inviting tenders and fulfilling legal requirements.

In University of Sindh Jamshoro, HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry Karachi and Mehran University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro, an amount of Rs1.947 million was spent on the purchase of various items without calling of tender and obtaining sanction of the higher authority. In Board of Intermediate Education Karachi, an amount of Rs966,000 was paid to employees on account of encashment of causal leave, which was not permissible under rules.

In Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, an amount of Rs934,475 were paid by the university in respect of accommodation of employees and shopkeepers while the same was not recovered from them.

The PAC found that nine universities and boards of education of Sindh could not produce record of expenditure of Rs230.610 million to audit for scrutiny.

Later, PAC chairman said corruption got deep rooted in government departments as no importance had been given to accountability process in them for last several years. "Now when PAC meetings are being held, government departments have started to hold their DAC meetings," he noted.

He observed that a secretary of any department was considered as chief accounting officer of his department and corruption could be decreased if he checks accounts of the department on fortnightly or monthly basis. The Nation

Universities to end fixed power charges for employees
Karachi: The vice chancellors (VCs) of the University of Karachi (KU) and other varsities informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday that they were considering abolishing fixed electricity charges billed to employees residing at the university town. They claimed that instead, they were considering installing individual meters so that recoveries could be made as per unit consumption rather than the "meagre" fixed rate.

The issue was brought to the notice of the PAC meeting when it was pointed out that the KU had paid Rs78.115 million on account of electricity, gas and water charges for official and residential accommodation holders. The amount was considered "an irregular payment" as the university was supposed to install separate electric meters for around 405 employees residing at the university town.

KU VC Pirzada Qasim said that they were installing separate meters, while KU was also trying to install a separate power generation system as the KESC was charging high rates. He hoped that this process would be completed within a year. The KU charges Rs260 per month in power bill charges from each employee.

Member PAC Shama Mithani MPA observed that owing to the meagre fixed power charges, university employees were misusing electricity by operating air-conditioners round the clock.

Universities audit
Karachi: Three universities spent Rs98.301 from development funds to pay salaries, since the other option of borrowing loans on interest from banks was not deemed feasible. This issue was deferred till May 15. KU and Shah Latif University spent Rs2.004 million in conveyance allowance of their employees residing in varsity premises, which was a violation of rules. The matter was also deferred. Tandojam Agriculture University VC Mr. Mughal was instructed to hold open auction of a sugarcane farm at its premises which is spread over 40 acres and was sold at Rs2.246 million in 2004. A letter was issued to Mehran University to explain justification of "computer allowance" worth Rs3.90 million which was given to professors and others, as they were not entitled for it. The News

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Karachi University MA registration date
Karachi: The external registration unit of the University of Karachi on Wednesday announced that the registration forms for MA, Double MA and improvement of division could be submitted from April 9 to 13 with a normal fee of Rs1,800.The change of subject would be allowed on payment of the prescribed fee of Rs400 till April 13, it added. App

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Activists continue to disrupt classes at KU
Karachi: Disruptions in academic activities persisted on the Karachi University campus on Wednesday as activists of a students group, protesting against certain remarks by a teacher against the head of political party forced suspension of classes in the afternoon.

Student groups supported by political parties have been disrupting academic activities on the campus for the past many weeks on one issue or the other but there is little intervention by the KU administration, which seems to have lost its writ.

On Wednesday, trouble started around mid-day when activists started raising slogans and disrupting academic activities in the School of Business Administration, alleging that a visiting teacher had given objectionable remarks against their leader. Later, the chaos spread throughout the university and the examination department building was closed down. Students and teachers were forced to stop their routine educational and other activities. As a result, no class could be held in the afternoon and evening. Over 5,000 students take evening classes in 22 to 25 departments.

KU students adviser Prof Dr Tanvir Khalid said that she had taken the complaint of students in writing and would investigate the matter. "I met the students and assured them that the issue would be sorted out," she said, adding that the boycott was only for a day and only the evening classes were affected."

Explaining the KU administration's stance over the recent class boycotts imposed by students groups and the use of loudspeakers, she said that the administration couldn't use rigid methods to restore discipline on the campus.

"Harsh methods can't be adopted with students. We have to listen to their complaints and convince them not to use force on the campus."

About the use of loudspeakers, she said no permission was given to students in this regard and they had also been told many times not to play music loudly. "Sometimes they follow the instruction and sometimes they don't. But it is common knowledge that such use of loudspeakers is not allowed on the campus."

Dr Shakeel Farouqi, secretary Karachi University Teachers' Society (Kuts), appealed to political parties on behalf of the teachers' community not to use students as "tools" to promote their party agendas.

"I say, please, spare students and let them focus on their career. We have been receiving dozens of complaints from teachers showing concern over frequent disruption of academic activities. The administration must act swiftly," he said. Dawn

Infuriated IJT students boycott classes at KU
Karachi: Students belonging to the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba boycotted the morning and evening classes on Wednesday, alleging that a visiting faculty member had passed derogatory remarks against the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and its Amir Syed Munawwar Hassan in the classroom. The students made rounds of various classrooms urging the teachers and students to leave.

The Dean of the Faculty of Management & Administrative Sciences, Dr Abuzar Wajedi, said that the incident took place in the School of Business Administration of his faculty. "The teacher, Ghazanfar who teaches Banking and Finance, had remarked that political parties, especially Jamaat-e-Islami, had acted unwisely during the East Pakistan crisis, while leaders of political parties today hadn't done anything to stop drone attacks. A student pointed out that Syed Munawwar Hassan had spoken candidly against the attacks. The teacher retorted that the leaders like Munawwar Hassan, instead of 'barking on TV channels', should voice their dissent in the Parliament. This proved to be the last straw on the proverbial camel's back and the students were enraged and boycotted the classes", he said.

Dr Wajedi further said that a meeting was held with the IJT representatives, which was also attended by Student Advisor Dr Tanweer Khalid and Campus Security Advisor Dr Khalid Iraqi. The officials persuaded the students to end the boycott to allow the resumption of normal functioning of the university.

Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) Secretary Dr Shakeel Farooqui roundly criticised the students for their action. "It has become a general practice of various students' parties to force a boycott of classes on various pretexts. Now all the students' parties active on the campus have resorted to such action. Teachers have been threatened and their security has been jeopardised. How can they teach in such an environment?" he asked angrily.

Dr Farooqui appealed to political mentors of the student wings to arrange an All-Parties Conference (APC) to rein in their students and advised students to hold their functions at the Nishtar Park to bring "a sense of sanity to the teaching environment of the university". The News

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Privatisation of SBTE opposed
Hyderabad: Activists of the Jeay Sindh Students Federation in Government Technical College, Hyderabad protested outside the press club on Wednesday against proposed privatisation of the Sindh Board of Technical Education.

JSSF leaders said that the privatisation of institutions was depriving poor students of their right to education.

They warned of expanding their protest if the decision to privatise Sindh Technical Board was not rescinded. Dawn

Rangers 'misusing' SBTE hostel, PAC told
Karachi: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was informed on Wednesday that the Rangers were allegedly misusing the hostel of Sindh Board of Technical Education (SBTE).

In its audit report, the PAC revealed that a hostel building and two residential quarters in SBTE premises were being occupied by Bhittai Rangers since July 1994, while all utility bills were being paid by the Board.

The amount in lieu of rent from July 1994 to June 2003, as calculated by the Board, totalled Rs1.408 million. As per the agreement between SBTE and Rangers regarding the payment of utility bills, it was decided that both entities would pay 50 per cent of the total amount. During 2003-04, the board paid utility bills of Rs0.792 million, and half of this amount - Rs0.396 million was still owed by the Rangers. The total outstanding amount up to 2004 totalled Rs1.805 million, which had not been recovered.

SBTE Chairman Prof. M. Saeed Siddiqi said that the Rangers were "misusing" the hostel, adding that they had now turned it into a "guest house". He said that the Rangers were continuing to occupy the hostel despite the fact that a residential complex has been provided to them on Super Highway. He urged the PAC to help the Board get the hostel vacated.

The PAC chief said they would write a letter to the Sindh Chief Minister to provide alternative residence to the Rangers.

PAC Member Bachal Shah said that the Rangers had occupied hostels of many academic institutions across the province, and this issue had been raised in Cabinet meetings and at the Sindh Assembly session.

When a participant of the PAC meeting said that the Rangers might have some justification behind the continued occupation of the hostel, Sindh University Vice-Chancellor (VC) Mazhar-ul-Haq Siddiqi said that the Rangers had no justification to occupy the hostels. He lamented that the Rangers had also occupied the hostel in the historic Noor Mohammed High School in Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, the PAC was informed that the Board of Secondary Education (BSE) and Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) had paid Rs1.634 million to their employees on account of house rent, whereas they were also allotted official accommodation by the boards, which was a violation of the rules.

Tamachi said a letter should be written to the Governor Sindh to immediately stop this illegal house rent. However, on the request of BSE Chairman BSE Brig. (retd) Shafiullah Qureshi, the PAC said that recoveries should not be made from former employees.

The BSE chairman also justified the purchase of different items worth Rs368,782 for Governor House as board employees were working there, following which the PAC settled this para. The News

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Court stays appointment of teachers
Sukkur: The Sukkur circuit bench of the Sindh High Court on Wednesday barred provincial education department from making any appointment to 28 posts of school teachers in Khairpur district by granting status quo on a petition filed by candidates who had passed tests for the posts.

Razia Sultana, Benazir Dasti, Atia Shar and others stated in their petition through advocate Shabbir Shar that they had taken the written test and interview for the post of high schoolteacher and primary schoolteacher in 2005 and passed.

They said that they received offer orders in 2007 but then the government refused to issue them appointment orders.

The court had in this connection issued notices to secretary of education and Khairpur's EDO of education but the secretary did not appear in court, they said.

The court then issued non-bailable warrants for the officer and fixed April 8 for hearing, they said. On Wednesday, additional secretary of education appeared before the division bench comprising Justice Yasmeen Abbasi and Justice Mohammad Ismail Bhutto and stated that the chief minister had stopped them from issuing appointment orders.

According to the petitioners' lawyer, the court expressed displeasure over the official's statement and granted status quo, ordering the education department not to appoint any teacher to the posts till next date of hearing on May 5, 2009. Dawn

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