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Keep HEC away from degree verification

Govt plans to keep HEC away from degree verification
Islamabad, April 18: Though the process of verification of degrees of the federal government employees is moving at a snail's pace, the government on its part has made 'complete' arrangements to keep the Higher Education Commission (HEC) away from this process, mainly due to its strict stance over degree verification of the lawmakers, the sources said here.

A letter sent to the Cabinet Division by Secretary Establishment Division Abdul Rauf Chaudhry on March 8, 2011 gave a message that the HEC would be kept away from degrees verification of the federal government employees because the respective division and heads of the government organisations would be responsible to get degrees verified directly from the universities.

"The verification process may be initiated by the respective ministries/divisions and heads of autonomous/semi-autonomous organisations at their own," the letter stated, pushing the HEC away from the process.

The letter further stated: "It will be the responsibility of the concerned secretary and head of the department/organisation to have the degrees/certificates verified. They should satisfy themselves about the genuineness of degrees/other documents which are requirement of the post, as per rules."

The only reference of the HEC given in the letter was about verification of foreign degrees in these words: "Any foreign degree/diploma should get verified from HEC."

The letter said: "The prime minister has been pleased to direct that measures should be taken to authenticate degrees/certificates of all federal government employees of the respective ministries/divisions, their attached departments, subordinate offices and autonomous bodies under their administrative control." It said: "The degrees/certificates of both the federal government as well as autonomous/semi-autonomous bodies/corporations working in BS-17 and BS-22 or equivalent may be got verified by making a reference to the universities/institutions concerned which issued the degrees/certificates."

"A certificate along with list of officers whose degrees/certificates have been verified should be furnished to the Establishment Division within forty five (45) days of issue of these instructions," the letter said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the prime minister set the deadline of April 4 for verification of degrees of some 350,000 federal government employees; however, the letter gave the deadline of April 23. The Establishment Division was first directed to make arrangements for verification of degrees but later it was decided to assign the task to the Cabinet Division.

The sources said since the verification of degrees of members of provincial and national assemblies and senators remains inconclusive, the verification of educational certificates of hundreds of thousands of the federal government employees might take years for completion.

Secretary Establishment Division Abdul Rauf Chaudhry said that the concerned authorities were informed that the HEC would have no role in verification of degrees of the federal government employees as heads of the departments would be directly responsible to carry out this task. He said heads of the departments could approach HEC only for verification of foreign degrees but according to insiders no formal request has so far been forwarded to HEC for verification of any such degree.

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Ogra chairman's degree found fake
Islamabad: An investigation by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has revealed that the master's degree of Chairman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), Tauqir Sadiq, is fake and the educational institution referred in the degree does not exist either in the United States or United Kingdom.

Director HEC said on Saturday that Islamabad High Court directed the Commission to verify the existence of an institution by the name of American University of London. After investigation, it was revealed that no such institution existed either in the US or UK.

When contacted, Sadiq said his master's degree had nothing to do with his current appointment since the qualification for the slot of chairman, as given in Section 3 of the OGRA Ordinance, is an LLB degree and 20 years of experience. "I did my LLB in 1987 and have 22 years of experience so I am eligible for the post of OGRA chairman even without this master's degree," Sadiq said. "Some corrupt elements in the institution who want to avoid disciplinary action are trying to put pressure on me."

He said the name of the university from where he got his master's degree is American University in London instead of American University of London as mentioned in his documents. He also says this university is affiliated with Quaid-i-Azam Law College.

The HEC says that when asked to investigate the case, it wasn't in its knowledge if the purpose was to verify the degree itself. "Islamabad High Court only directed us to verify the authenticity of the institution, not the degree," said the HEC official. "So irrespective of what the purpose of the query was, we only investigated whether the institution was operating anywhere in the US or UK."

Tauqir Sadiq is the brother-in-law of PPP secretary-general, Jehangir Badar, and was also employed in the Wah Ordnance Factories. The authenticity of his degree was earlier challenged in the high court, whereupon the Islamabad High Court ordered an investigation.

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900 Pak students studying in Saudi Arabia to be hired as 'Khuddam'
Islamabad: The Ministry of Religious Affairs will hire 900 Pakistani students studying in Saudi Arabia as Khuddam-ul-Hujjaj for this year's pilgrimage.

Under the Haj policy-2011, the number of local Khuddam has been increased from 250 to 900 whom's services will be hired at 100 riyals per day, official sources told APP.

"For the welfare services, Medical Haj Mission has been increased from 260 to 540, while 230 Khuddam will be drawn from Armed Forces, Civil Armed Forces and Pakistan Boy Scouts and the number of local Khuddam-ul-Hujjaj will be increased from 250 to 900 subject to availability of resources," they said.

This year, one dispensary will be set up at each residential building acquired for the Hujjaj performing the Haj under the government scheme. The facility, equipped with doctors and paramedical staff, will be functional round-the-clock, they said.

Around 180,000 pilgrims will be sent to Saudi Arabia for performing Haj under the government and private schemes. Under the government scheme, applications are being received from April 15 to May 10 through 5,000 designated bank branches from across the country. "This year, there will be no balloting for Haj as the applicants will be selected on "first-come and first-served" basis to ensure transparency in the entire process," the sources said.

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HSSC exams from May 7
Rawalpindi: The Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) Annual Examination of Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education will commence from May 7. The news

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Uncertain start to academic year
Rawalpindi: Admissions given in the upgraded classes of six schools in the city may create problems for both the administrations and students as the education department has not yet notified their upgradation and provided them with the needed facilities, it has been learnt.

At the start of the new academic year this month, the administrations of two elementary and four primary schools in different areas of the city offered admissions in higher classes after the government verbally upgraded the schools, said teachers of these schools while talking to this reporter.

The Government Girls Middle (elementary) School, Morgah, and Govt Girls Middle School, Rajar, were upgraded to secondary level, while the Government Boys Primary School, Aliot; Government Boys Primary School, Dhoke Chaudhrian; Government Girls Primary School, Aria Mohallah, and Government Girls Primary School, Dhoke Kala Khan, were upgraded to the middle level.

"We had been directed by the district education office to enroll students in class-IX but the school administration has not yet received any notification in this regard," said a female teacher at the school in Rajar on condition of anonymity.

She said the principal had been directed to use the existing staff and facilities to start the new classes. "If a school is upgraded, more staff is inducted, additional classrooms are added and other facilities are made available," the teacher said.

Another teacher in the boys' upgraded school said it would be difficult for the existing teaching staff to take extra classes until the department hired teachers for the upgraded classes.

"Every year in May the examination board seeks registration of students of 9th class in all the public sector schools.

However, students who took admissions to the secondary level in the upgraded schools may not get themselves registered with the board on time," said Chaudhry Saghir Alam, the president of Punjab Teachers Union, Rawalpindi chapter.

He said in the absence of any official notification for upgradation of the schools, the administrations of the institutions would be unable to get their students of 9th class registered with the examination board. He said higher classes in the schools were initiated only after the approval of the required staff and addition of needed facilities.

Executive District Officer Education Qazi Zahoorul Haq could not be contacted for comments on the issue despite repeated attempts. Dawn

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Middle standard results
Islamabad: The Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) announced the result of Middle Standard Scholarship Examination 2011 here on Saturday. The FBISE, in a press release, advised the heads of institutions, whose students appeared in the said examination, to depute their representatives along with authority letters for collection of result cards of their students on April 18 from the One Window Cell of FBISE from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The FBISE has despatched result cards of the private candidates on the addresses provided by them in their admission forms. Result is also available at FBISE website www.fbise.edu.pk. The news

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