Terrorism effects on education sector
Terrorism takes its toll on education sector
Lahore, Dec 23: During the year 2009, terrorism overshadowed all the sectors
especially education which was the worst hit by militancy.
schools were blown up in Fata and the NWFP regions while most horrible incident
was twin suicide attacks on the International Islamic University, Islamabad,
which claimed lives of six innocent people, including three female students, in
The tragic incident spread a wave of panic and subsequently
educational institutions, including schools, colleges and universities, had to
face closure across the country for over one week. It also led to a massive
exercise regarding implementation of maximum security arrangements at
educational institutions and a controversy also surfaced when private schools
demanded the government ensure security for institutions in private
The deteriorating law and order situation also caused
cancellation of various education-related events which, otherwise, were
happening on a regular basis.
Nonetheless, the situation also gave birth
to some innovative ideas of teaching and learning. A number of private schools
introduced e-learning software in a bid to cover the academic loss of students
in case the schools had to be closed down unexpectedly over security
Another unfortunate aspect of the whole episode was collection of
extra charges by some elite private schools in the name of security. The
stakeholders who had been raising concerns over the absence of government
control over affairs of the privately educational institutions were exploited
A number of incidents related to prank calls by students were
also reported, highlighting the psychological impact of the prevailing
Like mainstream education, the reforms in Deeni Madaris
(religious seminaries) remained a challenge for the government as it did not
make concrete efforts to bring religious schools at par with mainstream
The new National Education Policy, which
otherwise attracted strong criticism, also asked the Interior Ministry to
establish a regulatory authority for religious seminaries with to reform them,
providing them better facilities and modernising the syllabus so that their
students could compete with others in the job market.
In Punjab, people
have been waiting for a body supposed to regulate and streamline the affairs of
private educational institutions of the province. The Punjab government made
tall claims of evolving a regulatory body for private schools besides amending
the Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion and Regulation)
Ordinance, 1984, but nothing practical had been witnessed so far despite the
passage of almost one year when Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had formed a
special 'high power' committee in this connection. There is a common feeling
that since elite private schools are owned by families of politicians, the
government does not want to 'hurt' the few bigwigs at the cost of the
As far as the new National Education Policy is concerned, it's most
important part is that the allocation for education would be seven per cent of
thenational GDP by 2015. However, meagre allocation for this important sector as
seen in previous years has been worrying educationists who believe that it
should not be merely a statement this time.
announcement in the said policy was that grades XI and XII will not be part of
the college education as intermediate level education would be merged into the
school education. This particular announcement too invited strong reservations
from the stakeholders, especially teachers, who term the move a conspiracy
against the country's education system.
The year 2009 witnessed a lot of
initiatives by the Punjab government in the field of education, however, there
were some issues which remained unattended. The teachers' training programme for
college teachers could not be launched despite the unfortunate fact that
allocations in this connection had lapsed in the previous budget.
decision regarding conversion of existing government schools of Lahore district
into English medium schools by April 2010 is another important move which has
raised concerns among the stakeholders. They are of the view that without
capacity building of teachers, the move can prove quite dangerous. They say that
the government should realise the ground realities before making a final
Nonetheless, introduction of four-year BA/BSc (Hons) programme
in public sector colleges of the country remained a challenge to the Punjab
government too. Though the provincial government launched this programme in some
selected colleges, it was done once the admission process was almost complete
owing to which criticism welcomed the government on this front as
Similarly, the Punjab government had to face strong criticism for
its decision to establish a veterinary university in Bahawalpur as the Pakistan
Veterinary Medical Council (PVMC), highlighting the lack of qualified faculty,
deteriorating standard of veterinary and animal husbandry education and lack of
practical facilities in existing institutions, questioned the establishment of
the new university. The announcement regarding establishment of a veterinary
university in Bahawalpur was made by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in November
The much-discussed possible merger of the Provincial Institute
of Teachers Education (PITE) into the Directorate of Staff Development (DSD)
finally materialised in November. It was believed that owing to overlapping of
functions, the human resource and finances were being wasted. Similarly, the
Science Education Centre (SEC) has been merged into the DSD while amended
functions of integrated set up of DSD were also notified.
initiatives which undoubtedly invited appreciation from the stakeholders were
the Punjab government's decision regarding fee waiver for students of the
government schools appearing in matriculation examinations and setting up of IT
labs in more than 4,000 schools across the province. The technology-based
initiative is being seen as an effort to bridge the 'digital divide' between the
private and public schools.
Similarly, the award of hefty prizes to top
position-holders in matriculation, intermediate and BA/BSc examinations
continued to be the hallmark of the Punjab government while the exchange of
delegations, comprising position-holders of different provinces, also continued
this year. Like last year, a delegation of toppers of Punjab, including two from
other provinces as well, will also be visiting foreign universities in the
In the year 2009, one of the oldest and biggest libraries of
the country the Punjab Public Library (PPL) Lahore, established in 1884, also
celebrated its 125th anniversary celebrations. The library has approximately
450,000 books including dozens of rare manuscripts while those looking after
affairs of the library have been demanding maximum funds for preservation of
rare manuscripts and much-needed expansion of the library.
Government College University (GCU) also made the headlines during this year
when 31 members of university's Computer Science Department, including its
chairman, teaching and non-teaching staff, presented their resignations to the
vice-chancellor in protest against the alleged undue interference of the
registrar's office in March 2009.
Similarly, the Punjab University (PU)
also remained focus of attention owing to its 'students-politics' and a number
of violent incidents were reported from the university.
brain-drain of HEC-funded Pakistani scholars, the Higher Education Commission
(HEC) evolved a comprehensive strategy in 2009 to prosecute against the scholars
who refused to return after the completion of their PhD programmes during the
year 2009. The commission has vowed that integrated efforts will continue to
improve the monitoring and vigilance of the foreign scholars. It also warned
that the name of the absconding scholars would be posted on the HEC
Another important issue which remained a subject of heated
debate among the academic circles was the delay in issuance of UK visas to
Pakistani students. Subsequently, various universities instructed their non-PhD
faculty members to get admissions to the universities of China, Germany,
Malaysia, Russia, Sweden and other countries to save time and money.
"it is not good ,,all things must be on merit."
City, Country: fsd
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CM formed body to deal with FJMC affiliation issue
Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday formed a
five-member committee to hold a meeting with the students of the Fatima Jinnah
Medical College over the issue of its affiliation with the University of Health
The committee will be headed by MPA Dr Asad Ashraf and comprise
Secretary Health and UHS vice-chancellor, FJMC principal and Dr Amer Aziz as its
members. The committee will meet the representatives of the FJMC students on
December 26 and discuss the issue before submitting its recommendation to the
chief minister within five days.
However, the students of FJMC have
rejected the constitution of the body, terming it a ëpartial committee.í They
demanded the government constitute a neutral committee. They suggested that the
new committee should include MNA Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, MPA Mohsin Latif, MPA Dr
Asad Ashraf, Advisor to Chief Minister Zakia Shahnawaz, PML-N (Women Wing) joint
secretary and representative of old students of FJMC Dr Farzana Nazir and
FJMC/SGRH Principal Prof Dr Abdul Majeed Chaudhry.
students of FJMC continued their protest and boycott of classes on Tuesday for
16th consecutive day. The students and members of Association of Fatima Jinnah
Old Graduates (AFJOG) expressed serious reservations against the collegeís
affiliation with the UHS.
Holding banners and placards and raising
slogans against the governmentís decision, the protestors demanded the
government restore the FJMCís affiliation with the Punjab University and later
grant it a university status. Later, MPA Mohsin Latif approached the protestors
and assured them to address their grievances.
Meanwhile, a five-member
delegation of students of the FJMC met MNA Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, who, according to
them, had assured full support to them and promised to arrange their meeting
with Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif at the earliest. Later, they also met
the special secretary Health and claimed that he had sent a new summary to the
chief minister regarding the issue. The news
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GCUF admin saved governor's blushes
Faisalabad: The Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF)
administration has saved the governor's face by obtaining a written undertaking
from the position-holders that they will not do anything likely to cause
embarrassment to the guest of honour.
The university took the
undertaking to prevent repetition of any incident like the ones in which
students (in individual capacity) refused to receive degrees from Governor
Salmaan Taseer in front of the audience representing various callings. The
governor graced the second convocation of the GCUF held at the University of
Agriculture Faisalabad auditorium (that was hired) on Tuesday.
written undertaking from the distinction-holders, sources said, the university
warned them that their degrees would be cancelled and they would be proceeded
against if they did anything wrong during the convocation. They said the
undertaking was obtained on a simple page and the relevant departments prepared
They said the GCUF administration sent directions to the heads
of departments to bind their students (in writing) not to commit any wrongdoing.
A high achiever said the university obtained her signature on a handwritten text on the pretext that "the
exercise is being conducted for security purposes". She said she was shocked to
read that it was an undertaking seeking the students to behave in the governor's
"I will not commit any wrongdoing during the convocation, if
so, the university is eligible to proceed against me by holding my medal,
canceling degree and punishment under the relevant law (sic)," she read out the
She said the GCUF administration had done so to conceal its
inefficiencies and protect the governor against public criticism. She said the
governor, being the chancellor of the university, was supposed to listen to the
problems related to academia through a question-and-answer session with the
young learners. "In fact, I had prepared a questionnaire for the governor, but
the effort has proved futile."
A university official confirmed the
undertaking exercise which, he said, was meant to spare the governor's blushes
by pre-empting any protest against him or the government policies.
university administration, however, denied having taken any undertaking from the
position-holders. Zohaib, a university spokesman, quoted vice-chancellor Dr
Shahid Mehboob Rana as saying the university had not taken undertaking from any
Quoting Controller of Examination Javed Aslam Bajwa, the
spokesman said the exercise was meant to avoid uproar.
Two students, one
in Lahore and the other in Faisalabad, had refused to accept awards by the
governor. The governor was flabbergasted on Oct 11 last when Punjab University
student Muhammad Shahid refused to receive medal from him "in protest against
On Nov 16, Atta Rasool, a textile engineering
student of the Faisalabad University, declined to receive bronze medal from the
governor "for he nurtured a grudge against him". The governor stood embarrassed
on both occasions.
Sources said the GCUF vice chancellor had gone for
the unprecedented step to save the governor from embarrassment. The governor,
they said, had appointed him by violating the rules. When the chief minister
came to know about the illegal appointment of Dr Shahid Mehboob, they said, the
Higher Education Department had declared the seat vacant and sought applications
for the VC slot.
The Punjab government also issued an advertisement in
the press and fixed Aug 8 last date for submission of applications. However, Dr
Mehboob obtained stay against the decision from the Lahore High Court and the
matter was pending with court. Dawn
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GCU physics conference
Lahore: A three-day national conference on 'Radiation, Particles
and Matter', kicked off at the Government College (GC) University Bokhari
Auditorium on Tuesday.
According to a press release, the conference is a
joint collaboration of the GCU Physics Department Rafi Mohammad Chair and the
National Centre for Physics (NCP), Islamabad. The conference features nine
technical sessions on 'Ion Beam Analysis', 'Nanotechnology', 'Plasma Physics',
'Thin Films', 'Material Science' and 'Laser Applications'.
across the country, will present 39 research papers at the conference. GCU Vice
Chancellor Dr Khalid Aftab was the Chief Guest at the conference's inaugural
Addressing the participants, Dr Khalid Aftab advised scholars to
discourage plagiarism. He called for more research, based on the works of noted
scientists. He said strengthening of institutions is necessary for the society's
GCU Dean of Sciences Dr Amin-ul-Haq said the proceedings of the
conference would be published, so that students could benefit from the research
papers presented here. Rafi Mohammad Chair Dr Nisar presented a research paper
on 'Ion Beam Analysis'.
NCP's Dr Aqeel Ahsan Khurram presented a paper on the
'Strengths of backscattering spectroscopy for characterization of thin films'.
GC University researchers presented a paper on 'PIXE analysis of tap water of
Lahore'. NCP's Tajamul Hussain presented a research paper on 'Titanium dioxide
supported gold nanocatalyst for greenhouses gas emission control'.
conference will continue until December 24, 2009 (Thursday). Meanwhile GCU, Lahore, won the All
Punjab Essay Writing Contest organised by the Punjab National Accountability
Bureau (NAB) to create awareness among students about combating corruption. Daily times
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PMDC not playing due role
Lahore: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) said Tuesday that Pakistan
Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) had failed badly in fulfilling its duties and
this sinking ship was currently occupied by the owners of private medical
colleges who were working for their vested interests.
According to a
press release issued here, PMA Punjab chapter general secretary Dr Akhtar
Rasheed Malik, Lahore chapter general secretary Dr Tanveer Anwar and central
joint secretary Dr Shahid Malik, in a joint press statement, said that PMDC had
failed to fulfill its responsibilities regarding the regulations of medical and
dental education and related practices in Pakistan.
They observed that the stake
holders were not represented properly in the PMDC, adding it was the need of
hour to increase seats for elected members in PMDC along with representation of
PMA in each committee.
It is observed that PMDC, by recognizing private medical
colleges, had been involved in financial, administrative and legal
irregularities. And the nexus of private medical colleges & PMDC is working
for glorification of private medical colleges. The news
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Course on Information Management
Lahore: A one-day training course on"Information Management in Learning
Organizations: A Challenge for Information Professionals" would be conducted in
the Punjab University Main Library. The inaugural ceremony will be held on
Wednesday, December23 at 9:00am. Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran will be
the chief guest on the occasion. PPI
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