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Protests against four-year BS honours programme

New govt degree programme sparks protests by teachers
Lahore, Aug 17: The issue of starting a four-year BS honours programme sparked a protest by a great number of college teachers and student union representatives, giving the impression that the entire environment of government institutions has become politicised and that nothing can stop the growth of this culture.

The fact that college teachers joined hands with student union activists shows that there are elements among teachers that use these union activists to further their own agendas, and that they are behind the illegal union activities in these colleges.

Using: This week's protest was against the government of Punjab's decision to start a four-year BS honours programme in 26 colleges across the province, and included a large number of college teachers, as well as activists from student unions such as the Islami Jamiat Taliba (IJT) and the Muslim Students Federation (MSF). The rally was launched by teachers from a college that is already notorious for hooliganism. It is tragic that the rally was carried out under the banners of student unions that cannot legally exist in colleges. Apparently, these groups of teachers had a deal with the 'gangsters' of these illegal student unions in which the unions would support them against the government's plan. As such, the protesters all shouted slogans against the government's decision to launch the programme, and even claimed that the setting up off a board of governors was a step towards privatisation. The protestors even blocked roads and citizens on Mall road had to suffer for almost three hours till traffic was cleared.

The fact is that every time the government has attempted to eradicate these student unions, they have ignored the influence of these teachers that use these groups to implement their own agendas. These practices continue to take place in colleges such as MAO College, Civil Lines College, Science College Wahdat Road and Punjab University.

It is true that the right to protest belongs to each and every one of us, including teachers, but it is not fair of these teachers, who constitute such an important part of society, to use student unions for their protests and to bargain with them simply to achieve their own ends. And the simple fact is that because of these teachers' actions, violent incidents at education institutions have been increasing.

Planning: Another important issue concerning these protests is the lack of coordination on the part of the government, as the authorities launching the disputed programmes spent no time trying to get these teachers' confidence. The behaviour of officials of the higher education department suggests that they want to impose these programmes on institutions. While it is true that this programme is necessary, it needs to be launched properly, and with teachers who are responsible for the success of these programmes on board.

Teachers are now planning to start protests across the province and are planning to observe educational boycotts as well.

These college teachers and students should consider the issues the country is facing at the moment and decide if their actions are wise. Students always play a major role in helping the country overcome a major disaster such as the current flood, and it is not fair for teachers to use students to achieve their own ends at this time. On the other hand, government authorities should hold dialogues with these teachers and try to settle the issue, so that these institutions can avoid continued protests.

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Students face shortage of seats at government institutions
Lahore: Around 70,000 students out of the 126,753 who passed the annual matriculation examination under the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Lahore will be at the mercy of private schools, as government institutions will not be able to admit them due to a shortage of seats.

Around 46 government colleges, 20 boys' colleges and 26 girls' colleges, are facing a shortage of seats and will not be able to accommodate all 126,753 students.

On the other hand, private colleges in the city, having observed the situation, have increased their fees and will loot students, who have no choice but to admit themselves into private colleges.

Students from other cities of the province, who are enthusiastic about studying in Lahore's reputed colleges, will also suffer, as a majority of them will fail to get admitted.

Private: According to an official of the higher education department, there are 46 government colleges in the city where classes are held in the morning and evening shifts for Intermediate classes. He said that the capacity for these classes is only around 48,000. He said that around 70,000 students would be at the mercy of private colleges due to the shortage of seats.

While around 60,000 BISE Lahore students have passed their examinations with A plus, A and B grades, more than 60,000 cleared their exams with C, D and E grades and they will all suffer due to the high merits of the colleges.

According to the official, the 46 colleges of the city do not even have the capacity to accommodate those 60,000 students who have passed their exams with the best grades. He said that it was a failure on the part of the Punjab government that it had not focused on setting up new colleges in the city.

Dire: According to Shahbaz Hussain, a college teacher, thousands of students from other districts of the province have also applied for admission to the city's colleges as the colleges are known for their academic records, but it isn't certain where these students will go now. He said that the students' parents would suffer since they are the ones who have to bear the expenditure of a private school.

According to Ausaf Ahmad, another teacher, most students have also applied to private colleges, as they are uncertain they will be admitted to government colleges. Thousands of students are applying while colleges have seats for only hundreds.

Muhammad Akram Kashmiri, the chairman of BISE Lahore, said that there was a need to develop our infrastructure and set up new college buildings. He said that besides this, all colleges should start evening classes so that they could accommodate more students, but that there was a dire need for a greater number of colleges.

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Flag-hoisting ceremonies held at PU and GCU
Lahore: A flag-hoisting ceremony was held at the Punjab University New Campus on Saturday morning to commemorate the country's Independence Day. The vice-chancellor of Punjab University, Prof Mujahid Kamran, the pro vice-chancellor, Prof Jamil Anwar, the registrar, Prof Muhammad Naeem Khan, the controller of examinations, Dr Zahid Karim Khan, the deans of all faculties, administrative officers, employees and a large number of students attended the ceremony.

Addressing the gathering after the hoisting of the national flag, the vice-chancellor stated that freedom is a great blessing. He said that the value of independence could be gauged from the miserable plight of Muslims living in India, Kashmir and Palestine.

The vice-chancellor said it was incumbent upon every Pakistani citizen to carry out his or her individual and collective responsibilities justly and honestly in his or her respective field. He said the unprecedented devastation and heavy economic losses caused by the worst floods in Pakistan's history provide proof of the negligence of those who were responsible for organising effective protective measures well ahead of the rainy season. He expressed a hope that the Pakistani nation, with its countless abilities, would once again rise to the occasion and survive this national crisis.

An 11-member committee headed by the principal of the Hailey College of Commerce, Prof Liaqat Ali, had arranged the flag-hoisting ceremony.

Government College University (GCU) Lahore marked Independence Day on Saturday with special prayers for flood victims and the prosperity of Pakistan. Addressing the university's academic and administrative staff, the acting vice-chancellor of GCU, Dr Khalid Pervaiz, appreciated the philanthropic spirit of the GCU staff who have voluntarily decided to donate two days' worth of their salaries for the flood victims. He paid glowing tributes to the martyrs, workers and leaders of the Pakistan movement whose sacrifices paved the way for our independence. A flag hoisting ceremony was held after Dr Pervaiz's speech. Daily times

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THE Times College awards ceremony
Lahore: The Times College, Samanabad, last week organised its annual awards ceremony at Hamdard Hall on Lytton Road to acknowledge the performance of its students in Punjab University examinations.

At the ceremony Shaista and Shabnam Ishaque were given shields for their performance in Punjab University's M.A. English examination. Hifza Iqbal, Huma and Shadab were awarded for their performance in the spoken English course conducted by the college. Shahzad Ansari and Nadeem Qaiser were awarded for their performance in Virtual University's MBA programme.The college students enthusiastically participated in English and Urdu debates, songs, poetry, skits, dress show and plays.

The best performers were presented awards by former Lahore High Court Bar Association general-secretary Sarfraz Cheema, DSP Civil Lines Pervaiz Husain Butt, Khalid Irshad Soofi and a journalist. Times College principal Mudassar Ahmad Saeed and director Munawar Ahmad Saeed, programme coordinators Asim Khawaja and Safraz Abbas Naqvi were also present.

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Warid Telecom and GCU Endowment Fund
Lahore: Warid Telecom has joined hands with the Government College University Endowment Fund Trust to help bright and deserving students of the university complete their education.

To begin with, the telecom network has given a donation of Rs800,000 to the university to meet academic expenses of bright students who cannot afford costly higher education.

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Punjab Board DAE position holders
Lahore: The Punjab Board of Technical Education last week organised an awards ceremony for 38 top position holders in different disciplines in Diploma of Associate Engineer (DAE) and Diploma in Commerce.

Senior Adviser to Chief Minister Sirdar Zulfiqar Khosa presented medals and cash prizes to position holders.

PBTE chairman Dr Muhammad Shafiq said a large number of students were being attracted towards technical education. He said some 170,000 candidates this year appeared in the DAE examination alone. He said it was a challenge to organise the examination for such a large number of students across Punjab and ensure security and transparency during the process. Dawn

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