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Higher Education Commission GAT-General test

HEC reviews GAT for Languages, Islamic Studies
Islamabad, Dec 01: Consultative Committees met here Saturday at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Secretariat to review the GRE Type (GAT-General) test for Pakistani Languages, Arabic and Islamic Studies. Prof Fateh Muhammad Malik, Chairman Sub-Committee on Pakistani Languages, chaired the meeting, held under the auspices of Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Pakistan, which was attended by faculty members of languages from all over the country, says a press release.

The main agenda of the meetings was to analyse the suitability of the GAT-General test for these disciplines and finalise the recommendations to improve the test as per requirement of the PhD studies.

The meeting was briefed that candidates of these subjects get an average of 65 per cent marks in the verbal sections of the test while a large number of students fall below passing marks, which reflects a negative skewness in the data.

The quantitative (arithmetic) section provides a supplement support and candidates obtain marks with an average of 70 per cent marks while a maximum number of candidates fail in the analytical section of the test.

Dr Riaz-ul-Haq Tariq, Member (Academics) HEC, briefed the participants about the analysis carried out for the verbal, analytical and quantitative parts of the test and the problem faced by the candidates of these subjects.

He emphasised over the members to play an active role in the promotion of research and teaching in these disciplines and to launch a four-month pre-doc programme for students aiming to study MS leading to PhD.

He also assured that HEC would welcome new ideas and suggestions in strengthening Pakistani languages in educational institutes in particular.

The Committee members lauded the efforts of the Commission for initiating a number of programmes to strengthen the Pakistani languages in the country's general universities and also assured their utmost cooperation in this regard. The News

Your Comments
"where is Gat-2 candidate list? "
Name: sadia khalid
City, Country: lahore

"Thanks. Its a good scheme such tha the genral subjects higher eucation should be come on high quality level. "
Name: M. Waqas Ahmed
City, Country: Mirpur AJK Pakistan

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Experts stress need for central library
Karachi: Libraries and the number of readers they attract represent a society's psychological and moral evolution and growth. However, the number of libraries in Karachi is woefully short of what it should be, while various stakeholders are of the opinion that there is a dire need to make the existing libraries more user-friendly, along with increasing their numbers.

The need to prioritize the building of a central library in the city was also expressed by experts.

Uzma Abdul Rashid, a teacher at the University of Karachi, is of the opinion that even though the university's Dr Mahmud Hussain Library has thousands of books on various subjects, including a brilliant collection of rare books, as things stand, it is quite a hassle to actually go through the process of locating a book (sometimes never finding it) rendering the library's collection almost inaccessible.

Naheed Jahan, the librarian at Karachi's Liaquat Memorial Library, is also of the opinion that libraries should fulfil their function and be as accessible to the general public as possible.

"We have about 500 visitors daily men and women who only need to deposit their identity cards in order to use the library." However, Sindh's biggest library is only a reference library.

When asked what educational and cultural initiatives the government has taken in this regard in the recent past, Saifur Rahman Grami, a former City District Government Karachi official, said: "The government has not promoted these programmes as much as we need them in the city however, while I was working for the CDGK, they did manage to start an initiative called 'Markaz-i-Ilm-o-Saqafat' (Educational and cultural centre). At this point, a library is being constructed there and they have also started book selection for it.

"We also started some new libraries in North Karachi, Lyari and some other parts of the city. But it is a pity that although governments spend on constructing buildings all over the place, they tend to neglect the real function that those buildings should be serving," Mr Grami said.

"The libraries we currently have in the city are not being used to their maximum advantage, sometimes because of a dearth of good books, which we are in constant need of. It is a myth that people read less books because of the increased use of the internet once provided the books, people will read them," he said.

This claim was supported when, during a visit by this reporter, every seat in the various reading rooms at the Liaquat Memorial Library was seen occupied, so much so that people were seated in the walkways to be able to study.

This showed there is no dearth of library-goers in the wake of the communications revolution. And it is precisely for this reason that the Liaquat Memorial Library is converting its auditorium (with a capacity of 350 plus seats) into a fully-fledged reading room, while a separate auditorium is being constructed within the library's premises.

Ms Jahan, however, bemoaned the fact that while Liaquat Memorial Library was open to the general public and also very accessible, there are libraries in the city which have become literally physically inaccessible because of security issues.

Library off limits

Mr Grami said that while the Frere Hall's Liaquat Hall Library has one of the richest collections of books in Karachi (with countless rare books), it has become off limits to citizens since 9/11.

"We managed to start a book fair at Frere Hall, but that programme has also been halted. Apart from that, the Liaquat Hall Library has become a haunted house."

Despite various initiatives at different levels, some of which have failed in the long run, it is evident that Karachi badly needs a central library which should be easily accessible to citizens.

"A central city library is very important for many reasons. Currently, we do not have one in Karachi. Whenever you go to a big city, its central library, among other landmarks, represents its heritage. Lamentably, the plans for a central city library near Nipa seem to have failed. The land allotted for the library was used to construct a hospital building. As of now, that building neither houses a hospital nor a library. That land was acquired for the purpose of establishing a library, but the idea was never properly worked upon.

"Karachi has 18 towns and there should be at least one town library apart from the central city library. A lot of us might not realise, but it is a serious need of the hour," Mr Grami said.

Moreover, Uzma Abdul Rashid spoke of how she has been to certain libraries in the city and how disappointing it was for her "to find only general and reference books rather than subject-specific books, which many people need.

"Also, there are libraries in the city which are accessible only to people of a certain area or class, so their books are automatically inaccessible to others. At the same time, with the dearth of useful bookshops and the cost of books increasing by the day, we in Karachi are in genuine need of an accessible-to-all and hassle-free central library," she affirmed.

By Qurat ul ain Siddiqui (Dawn)

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