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University of Health Sciences status

UHS international status under scrutiny
Lahore, Dec 31: The status of the University of Health Sciences (UHS) at international level is under scrutiny after Iran's snub against the backdrop of the Fatima Jinnah Medical College's affiliation with this nascent medical university.

The Consulate General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Lahore, on the complaint of Iranian students studying in the Fatima Jinnah Medical College (FJMC), has voiced students' concern over the college's affiliation with the UHS who feel that the change of affiliation (from the Punjab University to UHS) may affect their education in Pakistan.

In a letter written to FJMC Principal Prof Abdul Majid Chaudhry, Consul General of Iran Saeid Kharazi has, however, said that they have sent all necessary documents to the Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran for recognition of the UHS where the case is still under process.

It has also been learnt that the Punjab University (PU), on the request of FJMC principal, has refused to hand over the examination record of the FJMC to the UHS. Besides, the PU had also been conducting final professional examination of the FJMC students after the Punjab Health Department's notification, dated November 26, 2009, of FJMC's affiliation with the UHS, disaffiliating it from the PU.

The old graduates, administration, faculty and students of this all-female medical college, founded by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and named after his sister Fatima Jinnah, were shocked over the development.

Terming the unilateral decision an attack on the FJMC just a day before week-long holidays (on account of Eidul Azha), the FJMC students started their protest and boycott of classes on a daily basis against the college affiliation with the UHS.

They said the move would jeopardise their future due to the lack of international recognition of the UHS.

The FJMC students' protests reminded of the agitation by students of all medical/dental colleges of Punjab at the time of their institutions' affiliation with the newly-established UHS in 2003 but eventually all the institutions remained affiliated with the UHS except FJMC and King Edward Medical College.

The students condemned the FJMC's downgrading while quoting a website (www.4icu.org) where the PU was ranked 933rd against the UHS standing at 6,563 in the international ranking of colleges and universities of the world. They said the FJMC, which was accommodating students not only from Pakistan but from 23 countries, was now facing desertion by the foreign students including Iran, UAE and Jordan.

The students had also pointed numerous complaints of anomalies in the examinations conducted by the UHS including setting of out-of-course papers of various professionals and entrance tests. They were also concerned that the continuous protests and boycott of classes was badly affecting their studies and they might lose a precious year in the process. Therefore, they demanded to immediate restoration of the FJMC's affiliation with the PU and later upgrade of the college as a first women medical university in the country.

A faculty member of FJMC said: “If, at all, the Punjab government had to go for change of affiliation, it should have been done for the fresh students admitted in the MBBS Part-I of the session 2009-10, otherwise, it would spoil degrees (examinations conducted by two separate universities) of the students in the midst of their education.“

On the other hand, according to senior professors, the UHS also failed to project itself as a medical university in its true spirit within the country and is being tagged as a mere 'examination body' since its establishment in 2002.

Prof Dr Mahmood Ali Malik, the former principal of KEMC and Allama Iqbal Medical Collge, also pointed out in an article “The main function of a university remains teaching and research whereas the UHS only thrives on its examinations, which is not the primary function of a university.“ He supported his argument by writing that the UHS consisted of only four non-functional professors in comparison with the faculty of 42 professors and more than 100 associate/assistant professors at the KEMU. He advocated a university status for the FJMC, Lahore, and the Nishtar Medical College, Multan.

The Punjab government's decision to affiliate the FJMC with the UHS also dealt a severe blow to the efforts to upgrade the college to a first all-female medical university in the country.

The students of the FJMC also regretted the fact that Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif had not listened to their grievances despite an official request through an application signed by not less than 1,300 students of the college.

“Since the chief minister is not approachable, the female students of FJMC are forced to fight for their rights on the roads and become an object of harassment,“ regretted an old graduate/member of the Association of Fatima Jinnah Old Graduates (AFJOG) and senior faculty member of the FJMC.

However, the chief minister formed a five-member committee to listen to the students' point of view on the issue of FJMC's affiliation with the UHS and submit its recommendations within five days.

The students, who from the start doubted impartiality of the committee on the basis of some members' stakes in private sector, claimed the behaviour of the committee members was extremely non-serious and they showed complete distrust over committee's proposal to accept the FJMC's affiliation with the UHS only to be granted a university status to their college in due process of time. They also criticised the role of FJMC principal also for having stakes in private sector, who they believed, was only interested to become vice-chancellor after FJMC's elevation to a university status.

When contacted, UHS Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Hussain Mubashar Malik, while vehemently rejecting students' impression vis-‡-vis international recognition, claimed that the UHS had established recognition and linkages with all countries including the USA, the UK, France, Germany and China. “The UHS is a World Health Organisation recognised university,“ he said.

While showing Consul General of Iran, Saeid Kharazi' correspondence with the UHS, he said the UHS was also in the process of signing an agreement of cooperation with Iran and its universities. However, he said that as many as 116 foreign students, including those from Iran, were also studying in other medical colleges affiliated with the UHS. Therefore, he said, the concern over the UHS' lack of recognition in Iran was unfounded, saying that the university did not have to earn recognition of a country, whose citizen was admitted in its affiliated medical colleges.

Mr Malik also denied the impression that the UHS was only an examination body, saying the university was producing PhDs and MPhil graduates in medical sciences, while research articles were regularly appearing in renowned medical journals of the world.

When asked about the transfer of FJMC's examination record from the PU, he said the UHS would seek transfer of examination record in a systematic manner at an appropriate time. Until then, he said, the PU would hold all scheduled examinations of the FJMC students in order to save them from any inconvenience.

PU Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem and Controller of Examinations Dr Zahid Karim said that they would transfer the FJMC's examination record to the UHS as per the government's advice in this regard. “At present, the MBBS final year examination of FJMC is being held,“ Dr Zahid Karim said.

FJMC Principal Prof Dr Abdul Majeed Chaudhry said the committee had proposed to award degree awarding status to the FJMC. In the meantime, he said, the PU would conduct annual MBBS final professional examination followed by supplementary examinations of all professionals within 40 days of their annual examinations.

When contacted, MPA Dr Asad Ashraf, chairman of the committee, said the committee had proposed grant of university status to the FJMC in due process of time. “Till the time the FJMC completes its spadework to earn a university charter, it will remain affiliated with the UHS,“ he added.

He also alleged that some political elements with vested interests like the Insaf Students Federation (ISF) and a few faculty members were inciting students to protest against the FJMC's affiliation with the UHS. However, he agreed with the opinion that the UHS needed to improve its academic and research activities in order to do away with the impression of being an examination body. “The examination is just one function of a university,“ he said.

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PU awarded PhD degrees
Lahore: The Punjab University awarded PhD degrees to nine scholars on Wednesday. According to a press release here, the scholars are Raheela Sadiq, Fakhra Sultana, Abdul Basit Khan, Altaf Hussain, Muhammad Daud, Muhammad Akram, Tariq Riaz, Maria Hussain and Iftikhar Ahmad.

Raheela Sadiq, the daughter of Mirza Muhammad Sadiq, has been awarded a PhD degree in Arabic after approval of her research thesis “The Evolution of Arabic Rhetoric in the Sub Continent.“ She completed her thesis under the supervision of Punjab University Department of Arabic Prof Dr Muhammad Qamar Ali. Fakhra Sultana, D/o Muhammad Shafi, has been awarded a PhD degree in Punjabi after approval of her research thesis “The Development of Short Story in Punjabi Language (Research Review).“

She completed her thesis under the supervision of Punjab University Department of Punjabi Chairman Prof Dr Asmatullah Zahid. Abdul Basit, the son of Malik Tahir Rasool, has been awarded a PhD degree in Islamic Studies after approval of his research thesis “Contemporary Ijtihadi Issues and Urdu Fiqhi Literature a Comparative Research Study.“ He completed his thesis under the supervision of Punjab University Department of Islamic Studies Dr Mumtaz Ahmad Salik.

Altaf Hussain, S/o Muhammad Bukhsh, has been awarded a PhD degree in the subject of Islamic Studies after approval of his research thesis “Practical Forms of Ijma in the Present Age.“ He completed his thesis under the supervision of Punjab University Department of Islamic Studies Chairman Prof Dr Shabbir Ahmad Mansoori. Muhammad Daud, S/o Ghulam Hussain, has been awarded a PhD degree in the subject of Chemistry after approval of his research thesis “Use of Various Plants as Biomonitors to Estimate Atmosphere Pollution.“ He completed his thesis under the supervision of Punjab University Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jamil Anwar Chaudhry.

Muhammad Akram, S/o Shafi Muhammad, has been awarded a PhD degree in High Energy Physics after approval of his thesis “Vacuum Standardization for High Energy Particle System.“

He completed his thesis under the supervision of Punjab University Centre for High Energy Physics Director Prof Dr Haris Rashid while Dr A Q Khan Research Laboratories, Rawalpindi, Principal Scientific Officer Dr Muhammad Maqsood was his co-supervisor.

Tariq Riaz, S/o Riaz Hussain Shah, has been awarded a PhD degree in Mycology and Plant Pathology after approval of his thesis “Investigation and Management of Fungal Constraints on Gladiolus.“

He completed his thesis under the supervision of Punjab University Institute of Mycology and Plant Pathology Dr Salik Nawaz Khan.

Maria Hussain, D/o Arif Hussain, has been awarded a PhD degree in Mathematics after approval of her research thesis “Data Visualization Using Spline Functions.“ She completed her thesis under the supervision of Punjab University Department of Mathematics Prof Dr Malik Zawwar Hussain. Iftikhar Ahmad, S/o Bashir Ahmad, has been awarded a PhD degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences after approval of his research thesis “Optimal Control of Multiple Reservoirs System under Water Scarcity.“ He completed his thesis under the supervision of Punjab University Institute of Geology Director Prof Dr Nasir Ahmad.

Meanwhile, PU awarded HEC Outstanding Research Award to Prof Dr Muhammad Sharif under the category of Best Research Paper Award. He has also been awarded Pakistan Academy of Sciences Gold Medal in Mathematics for his research.

A press release here on Wednesday said that Dr Sharif has already been awarded Izaz-e-Fazeelat and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the Pakistan government during 2007 and 2008 respectively.

He was also awarded Best University Teacher Award by HEC during 2008. He has worked on research in general relativity.

He has been supervising number of MPhil/PhD students and has helped produce 22 MPhil and four PhD scholars. He has published more than 100 research papers in journals with non-zero impact factor and participated and delivered over 41 seminars in different international and national conferences.

He has been a member of different International societies and acting as a referee for different international journals.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has felicitated Dr Sharif terming his achievements as “excellent and marvellous“.

He said mathematics was the mother of all sciences.

The VC also congratulated chairman of Mathematics Department, Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui, and all faculty members. Prof Kamran said his administration was encouraging all faculty members to focus on research and all-out support was being extended to teachers and research scholars in this regard. The news

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KC principal's supporters refused to endorse sackings
Lahore: At least 24 of Kinnaird College's senior faculty members have refused to support the sacking of seven of their colleagues by KC Principal Dr Bernadette Louis, it has been learnt.

The principal tried to pressure the senior teachers to support the sackings, and accused them of politicising the matter while she herself was trying to “push others into politics“, sources said. At least 30 senior faculty members – who were considered staunch supporters of the KC principal – met Dr Bernadette Louis to discuss the matter, but 24 of them refused to back the decision to sack the teachers.

The sources said Dr Bernadette Louis had convened the meeting to seek their opinion in “justifying“ the sacking of the teachers, and did not invite those she thought would oppose the board of governors' decision. KC Vice Principal Dr Seemi Khan did not attend the meeting.

Those who attended the meeting include Nasreen Pasha, Qaisra Sheikh, Dr Nadia Anjum, Nadia Mubashir, Munaza KC Registrar Dr Naima Khursheed and others. Those sacked are Saira Malik, head of the Political Science Department; Farukh Sohail, head of the Islamic Studies Department; Helen Khokhar, head of the Physics Department; Shiba Syed, Head of the Urdu Department; Asma Jamil of the Psychology Department; Zareena Rizvi of the Urdu Department; and Sadaf Munir of the Philosophy Department. These teachers were among 97 faculty members who objected to the appointment of the KC's first-ever registrar, Dr Naima Khursheed.

The KC principal has also tried to win the sympathies of the Old Association of Kinnaird Students (OAKS), but OAKS members have said they would never support a “dictatorial move“. Shireen Iftikhar, an OAKS member said that her association would never accept a “dictatorial, one-sided decision“.

“We will not allow anyone to harm KC's reputation by implementing unfair decisions,“ she said. With classes set to resume on January 4 after the winter vacations, the sources said the principal was trying to “engineer opinion“ to evade resistance from students and faculty members. Students, educationists, members of the civil society and other citizens have also been criticising the decisions made by the KC administration.

Sajida Mir, an MPA from the ruling party, also said that the decision to sack the teachers was “dictatorial“. She said the KC principal's decision was totally unfair. Daily times

KC teachers plea
Lahore: Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif stayed repatriation orders of the two Kinnaird College for Women teachers on Wednesday and sought comments from the college's principal and the Higher Education Department secretary.

Kinnaird College teachers Farrukh Sohail and D Helen Khokhar have challenged their repatriation to the Higher Education Department. Principal Dr Bernadette L Dean through a letter on Dec 23 sent these teachers to the Higher Education Department.

Petitioners' counsels submitted that their clients had been serving as regular faculty members at the college for a long time. They said the Punjab Higher Education Department asked the principal on Dec 3 not to transfer any regular or contract employee.

But, they said, the principal in sheer disregard to the orders issued transfer/repatriation orders of the petitioners and two other teachers on Dec 23 surrendering their services to the Higher Education Department.

Counsels say that the action of the principal was also against the Punjab Kinnaird College for Women Ordinance, 2002.

Counsels added the action of the principal was based on mala fide intention as the petitioners had filed a complaint before the board of governor of the college against the principal. They requested the court to declare the repatriation orders illegal and suspend the operation of impugned order till the final decision of the petitions.

The chief justice suspended the impugned order and asked the respondents to submit comments on Jan 8. Dawn

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Madaris demanded status of Secondary Board
Lahore: A draft legislation regarding the ambitious plan of bringing madaris into the mainstream of education has been sent to the Provincial Law Division.

The Punjab Education department earlier formulated a draft in consultation with the madaris executives and Punjab Auqaf and Religious Affairs department. A series of meeting took place before finalisation of the draft. However, it has been delayed for an inordinate period as earlier visualised because of the stubborn attitude of functionaries of madaris.

The administrators of five boards of madaris representing Tanzimul Madaris (Brailvi), Wafaqul Madaris (Deobandi), Wafaqul Madaris (Shia), Waffaqul Madaris Salphia Ahle Hadith and Rabitatul Madaris (Jamaat-e-Islami) insisted to give them the status of secondary Board separately to conduct examination by themselves and issue certificates equivalent to Matriculation.

The government insisted that there should be one secondary board of all the wafaqul madaras representing all sects to be run by the state.

The government had offered the madaris hitherto issuing their own 'sanad' of religious education, that their students would read the additional subjects of Mathematics, English and Pakistan Studies at their madaris and appear in the secondary Board examination to get secondary school certificate (Matric) equivalent to the Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education for matriculation examination to get them in the main stream of education.

The five Wafaqul Madris however, insisted to occupy the status of Board but to be governed by madaris and the government jointly. The madaris also did not agree on any govt role in the Board. The nation

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Professional Development Day
Lahore: The Government College University, Lahore, Career Guidance and Placement Centre (GCU GCPC) Wednesday organised 'On-Campus Professional Development Day' in collaboration with the US Consulate, Lahore and the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP).

According to a press release, training workshops, presentation sessions and other activities were held to inform students about new techniques and professional and higher education opportunities.

A large number of students of BA/BSc (Hons) final year took part in training workshops and presentation sessions.

US Consulate Education Adviser Ms Lubna held a training workshop on plagiarism and integrity and highlighted importance of creativity and productivity. She said that most students cheated and indulged in plagiarism to get good grades in exams. She said students did not become Allama Muhammad Iqbal or Professor Dr Abdus Salam because of their high grades but due to their creativity and learning. She also told students how to avoid plagiarism during research.

USEFP Senior Adviser Ms Mehreen Noon told students about writing personal statement for getting admissions to foreign universities. She said that the personal statement should not contain academic and professional records as they were already evident from transcripts and other certificates. “The personal statement should be about your character development,“ she said. Mehreen Noon also told the students that they did not need to portrait themselves as perfect students and human beings. “The admission committees prefer the people who are also honest towards their weaknesses,“ she added. She also told students about tips to make personal statement interesting to read.

GCU Placement Officer M Waqar Ahmad trained students in resume writing which he believed to be the most important for students entering professional life. He informed the students about standard formats of resume writing. He also discussed various mistakes which people usually made in preparing their resumes.

USEFP Education Adviser Ms Rukhsana Monnoo gave presentation on Fulbright Scholarship.

In reply to questions about visas for Fulbright Scholarship winners, she said the USEFP assisted students in getting visas but the Foundation did not guarantee it. “It depends on your interview with the visa officer,“ she added. She told the students about the priority fields for Fulbright Scholarship which included education management, health and journalism. Rukhsana said that it was obligatory for Fulbright Scholarship holders to come back and serve their country for at least two years. US Consulate Public Affairs Officer Jamie Dragon delivered a lecture on the education in United States and told students about study opportunities in the US.

He informed the students how to select a better university for higher education in their relative filed. He said there were 623,000 foreign students in the US in 2008 out of which 5,300 were Pakistanis.

Later, students individually interacted with the resource persons and took guidance from them in their relevant fields.

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Tevta banned postings
Lahore: Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Tevta), after the approval of Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, has imposed a ban on all types of transfers/postings till June 30, 2010, with immediate effect.

According to a press release on Wednesday, the Tevta spokesman said transfers/postings on administrative grounds and upon promotion would be exempted from the ban.

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PPSC appointments
Lahore: Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), on Wednesday, recommended 78 candidates for appointment on 80 posts of Computer Operator (BS-12) in the Finance Department/Punjab Treasuries Establishment.

Two vacancies are still lying vacant. Besides, PPSC also recommended two candidates, Arshad Ali and Abdul Hafeez, for appointment to the posts of District Zakat Officer (BS-17) in the Zakat & Ushr Department.

The PPSC also recommended a candidate, Asif Ali, for appointment to the post of Assistant Secretary (E&L) BS-17 in the Zakat & Ushr Department. The results can be seen on Commission's website www.ppsc.gop.pk. The news


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