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Laptop obsession in Punjab | MAO college faculty

Laptop obsession leaves schools in neglect
Lahore, April 23: The Punjab government's obsession with its laptop scheme is costing schoolchildren and their parents dearly as many issues of the grave concerns regarding schools have been left unattended by those at the helm.

One such issue is non-acceptance and non–recognition of results of the Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) by the government and private schools while the other is about non-availability of textbooks in schools as well as in the market.

Unfortunately, quite contrary to the miseries being faced by students, the officials responsible have been sending "Sub Acha Hai" (everything is fine) reports to the high-ups which is evident from the fact that the government has yet to move to address the issues being faced by schoolchildren. Both the issues have been extensively highlighted by the media.

A number of private schools, including St Anthony's, and government schools, including the Government Central Model School, Lower Mall, blatantly refused to accept and recognise the results of Class-8 examination conducted by the PEC despite the fact that the Punjab Examination Commission was formed by none other than the Punjab government itself. These schools did not promote Class-8 students to the next class on the basis of the PEC results and instead preferred to follow results of their respective internal assessments and tests. Thus, a good number of students, even those who had secured over 60 percent marks in the PEC exams but could not perform well in the school's internal assessments or tests, were not promoted to Class-9.

It is pertinent to mention here that in 2009, the School Education Department Punjab had made primary and middle examinations compulsory by making it mandatory for all the students of government and private schools to appear in Class-5 and Class-8 exams organised by the PEC.

It was also notified that from April 1, 2010, the government schools would admit only those students to Class 6 and Class 9 who have passed the PEC exams at primary and middle standard level.

One wonders as to why the Punjab government has been spending millions of rupees to conduct primary and middle exams under the PEC, on a uniform basis, when they are not acceptable and recognized by private and government schools.

The non-availability of textbooks to students is another issue which has been irking schoolchildren and their parents alike.

What to talk about provision of textbooks to students of private schools who have to buy books from market when students of the government schools, who are supposed to be provided free books, are unable to find the same. There are reports of non-availability of a number of books of different classes in the market.

The Government New Model Girls High School, Sant Nagar, near the Commissioner's Office, though has provided almost all the textbooks but the students of Class-6 are still deprived of Home Economics book despite the fact that first month of new academic session is about to over. Interestingly, and quite unfortunately, the school has now asked the students to buy the book from the market as it had not received the book from the government.

The students and parents are still hopeful that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will certainly spare some time from his busy schedule devoted to his education-friendly e-Youth Initiative and look into these grave issues as well.

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South Asia Education Tour 2012
Lahore: South Asia Tour 2012, an education fair funded by the United States, made a two-day stop in the provincial metropolis at a private university recently.

A large number of students from Lahore and across the province obtained information about studying in the United States and student life in America directly from representatives of US universities present at the two-day fair.

The representatives from the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York; the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa; Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana; and Educational Credential Evaluators from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had joined the tour to demonstrate the unique benefits of a US university education.

EducationUSA, US Department of State-funded global network of student advising centres, organised the event. This was the second South Asian annual education fair tour organised by the network.

Last year, US university representatives travelled across the region from Sri Lanka to Bangladesh, to Nepal, and then to Pakistan. The program was so successful it was repeated again this year and it included Afghanistan as well. The news

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MAO dept makes do with incomplete faculty
Lahore: The MAO College mass communication department is one of the many public-sector departments, which is working without a regular faculty. The department imparts education to more than 300 students pursuing master's in mass communication (morning and evening shifts) as well as BS (Honours), a recently-launched initiative.

The Punjab University has warned the department of withdrawal of affiliation if at least six regular faculty members including a PhD and two MPhil degree-holders are not inducted at the earliest.

College Principal Prof Dr Farhan Ebadat Yar Khan says he had moved a requisition to the Punjab Higher Education Department to create six regular faculty member posts and appoint qualified academics.

With the launch of the BS (Honours) programme, he said, the college would not admit students to the MA mass communication programme in the morning shift alone.

Established in 2004 on grant of an NOC by the Higher Education Department and affiliation by the Punjab University, the department has been running on a no-profit-no-loss basis. It was being run by faculty hired from within and outside the college, including senior journalists and teachers, until recently.

The teachers say they are being given remunerations at the rate of Rs500 per lecture and earlier there was a proposal to double the amount. However, the appointment of new college principal has led to an impasse as the incumbent says the college lacks funds to pay even Rs500 per lecture.

There was a hue and cry when the college administration offered all faculty members a remuneration of Rs15,000 per month across the board with a condition of taking a minimum of four periods a day spread in two shifts from morning to evening. The only person to go was head of the department, Rana Latif Athar who refused to work against such a meagre salary. The college students protested the 'removal' of the head of the department.

Prof Khan admits it is highly insufficient salary but the college is supposed to stay within its means. Though there are claims that the college earns Rs1.8 million from evening students and the salary expenditure is not more than Rs0.5 million, the principal says people do not count other expenditure like logistics, library and others.

Answering a question, the principal admitted that a senior political science teacher had been given the charge to look after the administrative matters of the department. A faculty member, who accepted the paltry salary package, had been made academic in charge. Currently, two journalists and four college graduates are serving as faculty members.

A political science department teacher is also taking national and international affairs class at the mass communication department.

Prof Khan said the situation at the department would improve as he expected that the Higher Education Department would create posts and appoint regular faculty members with the beginning of next academic session in September.

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B.Com student commits suicide
Lahore: A B.Com student hanged himself after failing to find job to meet his studies expenses in Ghaziabad on Saturday.

Ghaziabad police said Aamir of Aamir Street wanted to continue his studies and was searching for some job as his parents were poor.

On Saturday, he locked himself in his room and committed suicide by hanging with a ceiling fan. Dawn

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KEMU wasted public money: YDA
Lahore: The Young Doctors Association (YDA), Pakistan, has alleged that the administration of King Edward Medical University (KEMU) has wasted around Rs 2 million from public exchequer by sheer incompetence in the establishment of KEMU's private diagnostic centre.

According to a press release here on Sunday, the YDA Pakistan office-bearers claimed that KEMU had hired a building at Shadman Chowk, Jail Road, reportedly on Rs 400,000 per month rent on November 15, 11 and it had been lying vacant for the last six months as no lab could be started till today.

They claimed that the machines were yet to be purchased for the centre but the staff to operate them had been hired who were sitting idle in the empty building and getting salaries too. The YDA office-bearers demanded probe into the matter.

PNB meeting: The Pakistan National Board (PNB) will hold its executive board meeting and the fifth national seminar of postgraduate education at King Edward Medical University (KEMU), Lahore, on April 28. The purpose of the meeting is to make uniform standards of MD, MS, MDS, PhD, M Phil and Diploma postgraduate programmes being run by all medical universities, faculties of medicine of general universities and postgraduate medical institutes at Pakistan level and to raise the quality of these programmes in the light of 'Best International Practices.'

PNB President Prof Azam Hussain Yousifani, the vice chancellor of Peoples Medical University, Nawabshah, will preside over the meeting.

Prof Asad Aslam Khan, the vice chancellor of King Edward Medical University will be the organiser while Prof Syed Muhammad Awais, the national coordinator of the PNB, will act as a coordinator.

Doctors greeted: The Punjab Medical Association (PMA) has congratulated doctors after promotion of doctors from grade 18 to 19. The Punjab Health Department has promoted 236 senior medical officers to posts of additional principal medical officer. According to a press release here on Sunday, PMA office-bearers including Dr Ashraf Nizami, Dr Tanveer Anwar and others also thanked the Punjab government for promoting the doctors after a long time.

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Female students at IIU awarded prizes
Islamabad: The female students who showed extra ordinary performance during the 24th annual cultural week of the International Islamic University (IIU) were awarded prizes at a colourful ceremony held here.

The prize distribution ceremony was attended by Ambassador of Bangladesh in Pakistan Suhrab Hussain whereas High Commissioner of Kenya in Islamabad Mishi Mashika, the wife of the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Prof. Fateh Muhammad Malik, Rector of IIUI, Professor Dr Mumtaz Ahmad, President of IIU, and Professor Dr Sahibzada Sajidur Rehman, Vice President of IIU.

Suhrab Hussain said that he is delighted to say that the students both male and female of IIUI did really hard work to exhibit the cultures of various Islamic countries in the cultural week. Regarding students exchange programme he said that both Pakistan and Bangladesh need to exchange students to expand the bilateral relations and develop understanding about one another.

At the end, the guests gave away certificates and prizes to the female students who demonstrated outstanding performance during cultural activities.

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Academicians Panel wins IIU ASA elections
Islamabad: The Academicians Panel of the International Islamic University (IIU) was declared successful in the elections of Academic Staff Association (ASA) for the year 2012-13.

The Academicians Panel included (President) Professor Dr. Muhammad Sher Joyia, Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, FBAS, (Vice-President) Ataullah Wattoo (Male), Department of Law, and (Vice-President) Zara Sabeen (Female), Department of Management Sciences, FMS. Dr. Zafar Iqbal Baloch, Department of Media and Communication Studies, was elected as general secretary, Ameer Usman (Male), Faculty of Usuluddin, and Shagufta Khanum (Female), Faculty of Arabic as joint secretaries, Faiz ur Rahim, International Institute of Islamic Economics (IIIE), as finance secretary, and Muhammad Aamir Khan, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, as information secretary. The news

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