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Campaign against Punjab University VC

Elected PU body intensifies campaign against VC
Lahore, Feb 28: The Punjab University is witnessing heightened politics and a clear divide between faculty members, as the Academic Staff Association's elected body has intensified its protest against Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran. In order to counter this campaign, the pro-administration group has pulled its socks up to rebut every allegation levelled by the elected office-bearers.

The PUASA elected body had humbled the pro-administration group – Teachers Front –as it clean swept the annual elections in January. The elected body consists of Academic Group and Academic Forum that fought elections against each other in the past but joined hands this time to mount pressure on the administration.

Within a month's time, the PUASA elected body showed up at a press conference and levelled a series of allegations, most of them were rebutted by the university administration. PUASA president Prof Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar and secretary Iftikhar Tarar also levelled allegations about financial irregularities but could not produce any documents. They did produce a document saying that Prof Kamran had given eight increments to his cousin Prof Dr Mansoor Sarwar, principal of the PU College of Information Technology. However, journalists were later informed that an office-order was issued but never implemented.

They also rebutted association's claim that the Teachers Front was being given administrative positions and added that they must list the faculty members of their ranks, who were serving on administrative posts as well as members of committees looking after important affairs of the university.

The Teachers Front's leaders including Resident Officer Javed Sami and Physics Department chairman Prof Dr Shaukat Ali say it is unfortunate that Academic Group and Academic Forum joined hands in elections to protect criminals in their ranks and politicise the university's environment at faculty and administration level.

The vice-chancellor also became aggressive and vowed at a get-together with education reporters that he would neither compromise on principles and discipline nor succumb to pressure tactics being employed by PUASA leaders. He said that he was facilitating all teachers, sent 62 faculty members abroad to do PhDs at varsity's expense and exhausted Rs60 million allocated for the purpose.

While the PUASA leadership is stepping up protest against the vice-chancellor, the Teachers Front leadership came up with a new idea and organised a like-minded teachers' meeting and a rally on varsity's New Campus to protest against, what they called, "unscrupulous behaviour of PUASA office-bearers".

A number of faculty members participated in the meeting and the rally and denounced the association's efforts aimed at protecting black sheep and create unrest in the university.

The Teachers Front meeting condemned the false propaganda launched against the vice-chancellor and senior teachers. The participants were of the view that the PUASA was protecting criminals in its ranks and employees and was involved in a dirty campaign of character assassination against teachers.

The Teachers Front meeting also decided to chalk-out a line of action if PUASA "didn't stop sheltering drug-sellers and teachers who have libelled the sacred profession of teaching". The meeting also passed a resolution condemning PUASA's propaganda, demanding its office-bearers to tender an apology.

Also, PUASA has condemned the vice-chancellor's involvement in varsity teachers' politics and stressed that the VC must stay neutral and do justice to all besides creating opportunities for teachers' development and well-being. PUASA leaders Prof Akhtar and Mr Tarar alleged that the VC was showering all favours on Teachers Front and even pressurising teachers to join the Teachers Front. They say that the VC has not given a positive response to their Charter of Demands.

Besides Punjab University, the University of Education is also witnessing disturbance since the varsity's acting vice-chancellor Prof Dr Farhat Saleem sacked two teachers.

Following a number of protest demonstrations and boycott of examinations led by students, the UoE Syndicate on the recommendation of a two vice-chancellors' probe committee reinstated Dr Shaheen Pasha, who was completing her probation period, but did not revert the decision of sacking Division of Science and Technology director Prof Dr Anwaar-ur-Rehman Pasha because being on contract he did not fall in the jurisdiction of the Syndicate.

As the matter has been closed at varsity administration as well as Punjab government's level, last week some students again tried to disrupt the academic environment of the varsity and forced other departments' students to quit classes, misbehave with teachers and create panic to disturb academic activities on the campus. A group of students has also joined hands and is protesting against the students who are trying to keep agitation alive.

The UoE administration is now planning to reschedule examinations on Monday (today) so that the academic activity could resume in the university. However, the students Joint Action Committee is still not in a mood to return to their classes until the case registered against them be quashed and Prof Pasha restored as director of UoE's Division of Science and Technology. Dawn

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Aitchison wins debate
Lahore: The fifth edition of the Annual Inter School Parliamentary Style Debating Championship organised by The City School Debating Society Shalimar Campus was won by Aitchison College. Sixteen teams from renowned schools of the provincial metropolis participated in the debates held from February 25 to February 27.

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Teachers' body announces strike
Lahore: The Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) has announced setting up a hunger strike camp against the government for not fulfilling demands of schoolteachers. In a press statement, the PTU office-bearers demanded the Punjab government increase salary of schoolteachers in the wake of ever increasing inflation. They demanded the government give qualifications allowance to all the teachers having MA qualifications without any distinction of subjects.

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BISE helpline
Lahore: The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Lahore, has set up helpline 042-99200147 to facilitate candidates in online submission of admission forms and to resolve all matters related to computerisation. According to a press release, Mian Tariq Masood, system analyst (0321-4012250 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0321-4012250 end_of_the_skype_highlighting), will be in charge/ focal person of the helpline while computer operator Azam Rashid (0300-4389364 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0300-4389364 end_of_the_skype_highlighting) and senior data entry operator Naveed Nasir (0323-8818685 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0323-8818685 end_of_the_skype_highlighting) would assist him. Meanwhile, the candidates appearing in Secondary School Certificate (Matriculation) Examination 2011 have been divided into two groups, morning and evening.

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New university with Turkish collaboration on the cards: CM
Lahore: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan and Turkey have historic and cultural relations and people of both the countries are bound together in strong fraternal ties.

Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of boys' hostel in the main campus of Pak-Turk International School and College at Khayaban-e-Jinnah Road here on Sunday, he said Turkey was a sincere friend of Pakistan and it always helped the latter in the hour of need. He said schools and colleges of Pak-Turk Foundation were playing a commendable role for promotion of quality education and the provincial government would extend all-out cooperation to them for the purpose.

The chief minister said the Turkish investment in Pakistan was encouraging; however, there was need for further promoting economic and trade ties between the two countries. He said the Punjab government was working on the project of setting up a university in the provincial metropolis with the collaboration of the Fatih University, Istanbul, and an agreement was signed in this regard during his visit to Turkey. He said the Turkish experts had reached Pakistan for implementation of the agreements reached during his visit for cooperation in different sectors. He said the Pak-Turk Foundation School, Lahore, was on a par with any prestigious institution of the country and he had personally observed this fact during his visit to the school.

Earlier, the chief minister visited different sections of the school where he was briefed on curricular and co-curricular activities of students. He also laid the foundation stone of boys' hostel. Rector Fatih University Istanbul, Prof Dr Serf Ali Tekalan, Chairman Pak-Turk Educational Foundation Unal Tosur, Regional Director Turgat Puyan, members of the high-ranking delegation from Turkey and people from different walks of life were present.

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UVAS & PADFA signed MoU
Lahore: A memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) and Pakistan Agriculture and Dairy Farmers Association (PADFA) to enhance the livestock production potential in the light of advanced scientific research.

The MoU was signed by UVAS Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz and PADFA Chairman Ch Ghulam Murtaza Buter on Saturday at the Syndicate Room.

The primary purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding is to engage both parties in collaborative and cooperative efforts for the development of small farmers and to educate the modern dairy farms practices and good quality semen of farm animal and mixed ration (animal feed). The agreement intends to bring the university and association on a platform to coordinate efforts, work together and jointly contribute to dairy development.

UVAS Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz said that "livestock sector has faced tremendous challenges but we have to deal out with the collaboration of Livestock Departments and academia research.

He said "the university's prime objective is to conduct indigenous research and trained human resource that can employ modern techniques and get high yield of livestock".

PADFA Chairman Ch Ghulam Murtaza Buter said that "academia and farmer association relation would play a pivotal role for the welfare of the farmers".

Meanwhile, another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) and Pakistan Wetland Project (PWP) to pursue a programme of MSc in wetland management.

The MoU was signed by UVAS Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz and PWP Dr Masood Arshad on Saturday at Syndicate Room. Dean faculty of Fisheries and Wildlife Prof Dr Nureen Aziz Qurashi and PWP Coordinator Tahir Mehmood attended.

According to agreement, PWP will only provide internship facilities to those students who will be in their last semester of final year Master programme.

The PWP will provide all-out financial and technical support to the university to start Master programme.

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Recognised courses in Tevta welcomed
Lahore: One OF the recent initiatives of the Technical & Vocational Training Authority (Tevta) to introduce internationally recognized courses, especially those related to information technology (IT), is being dubbed as a step in the right direction.

Over the years the province's sole body tasked with promotion of technical education and vocational training witnessed many ups and downs. Nevertheless, what seemed missing was the spirit of ownership.

It is generally observed that lack of political will and inconsistency in policies mar the public institutions, an unfortunate reality in this part of the world. It seems it was this fear which prompted Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to timely react and personally take a number of measures for a kind of overhaul of Tevta in recent months. There is no doubt that the dimension of technical education and vocational training has been changing in the rapidly changing environment with emerging demands of the modern day. Recently, the CM approved separation of commerce stream from the ambit of Tevta, directing the authority to focus its real mandate of promoting technical education and vocational training in the province. One of the mega projects of Tevta, the establishment of Tevta-Microsoft IT Academies, has now started turning into reality under which internationally accepted IT courses will be offered to the youth.

Over 300 institutes of Tevta will offer three different courses, each comprising duration of three months, in collaboration with the world's leading Microsoft Corporation. However, in the first phase, the IT academies have been set up at 50 institutions of Tevta across the province and admission schedule has also been announced for each three months course, including Microsoft Certified Computer Technician, Microsoft Certified IT professional and Microsoft Certified Application Developer. Another worth mentioning initiative of Tevta, as envisaged by its Chairperson Saeed Ahmad Alvi, is signing of an agreement to introduce Britain's City & Guilds International Vocational Qualifications (IVQs) amongst the authority's constituent polytechnics across the province.

The IVQs would be offered in addition to the currently offered technician and technology related national qualifications by Tevta. The move is most likely to result in adding to the options available to students of polytechnics by giving them the opportunity to sit for International City & Guilds theory examinations and to be assessed for practical work through their polytechnics. According to the TEVTA chairperson, the IVQs are highly recognised in the international technician, tradesmen, technology and vocational job markets. He says in the initial phase, City & Guilds qualifications would be introduced in the fields of Telecommunications, Construction, Quantity Surveying, Mechanical, Electronics, Electrical, Automobile, Refrigeration/Air Conditioning, Machining, and Computer Aided Design & Draughting. The news

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GIKI to hold arts festival in March
Lahore: The Cultural, Dramatic and Entertainment Society (CDES) of Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Science and Technology (GIKI) will hold its 13th All Pakistan Performing Arts Festival in next month. The CDES is the oldest and the most prestigious society of GIK Institute aimed at promoting cultures, bridging gaps between various social and ethnic groups, creating awareness about intricate and sensitive issues, along with providing quality entertainment to the audience.

According to the Chief Organizer of CDES, Rai Shahzaib Nazar, this cultural society follows the eternal philosophy of "Propagating Knowledge in the form of Art". He said for that very reason, CDES recently staged a memorable Drama 'Writer's Block' at LUMS, Drama Fest 2010, which went on to win Best Technical Award, besides nomination in the categories of the Best Actor and the Best Serious Play, among 26 top performances by different educational institutions from all over Pakistan. The nation

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