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Controversial four-year BS(Honours) exams

Tough tests for examiners
Lahore, Feb 22: The 'controversial' four-year BS (Honours) programme launched in 26 public colleges in Punjab has reached the first semester's final term examination, while the Punjab University is delaying it to come up with a credible and uniform examination system.

The University of Gujrat has conducted first semester final term examinations in the second week of this month, while the Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, and Government College University, Faisalabad, have started examinations for the candidates in their attached colleges from Saturday. The Lahore College for Women's University is holding examinations from Monday (today) and Islamia University, Bahawalpur, from Feb 28.

The Punjab University is likely to begin examinations in the first week of March as its examination department is developing papers for the affiliated colleges' students separately as they follow different syllabi, though the other varsities' attached colleges students studied courses prepared by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

PU officials say the Honours programme was launched without proper planning of affiliation, developing uniform curricula and ensuring proper teaching.

The university also faced problems because its departments, institutes and constituent colleges were not following HEC approved courses in letter and spirit. The academic departments had also developed their own nomenclature of each subject as well as issuing their own transcripts.

Consequently, the PU examination department, which was supposed to take semester system examination for the first time, had to go for development of courses through a board of studies of academic departments concerned.

"The PU examination department still not has documented syllabi for each discipline being offered by the respective colleges attached for BS (Honours) programme," a senior official said.

For this reason, the PU examination department called officials from its attached colleges and asked them to provide model papers based on the curriculum taught. The examination department's nightmare did not end here because it found that it would be required to prepare 110 papers for all disciplines being offered in colleges. The department then tried to reduce it to 86 papers.

The PU examination department is now busy in finalising nomenclature of respective papers, their coding and other formalities that needed to be completed before examinations. "The PU examination department still needs two weeks to hold the semester system examination," an official said.

The varsity's administration officials still complain that such a big initiative should have been launched with a proper ground work.

In order to meet the second semester examination in advance, the PU has constituted a committee.

Joint Action Committee (JAC) chairman Dr Zahid Ahmad Sheikh said the Punjab higher education department had finalised the BS (Honours) first semester curricula after the mid-term examinations. He said the department could not set up state-of-the-art laboratories and libraries in these colleges and recruit qualified faculty to teach modern disciplines. He also apprehends that dropouts would increase in the BS Honours programme.

He says that the JAC had given a charter of demands to the Higher Education Department that included the recruitment of faculty members against around 5,000 vacant teaching posts in public colleges across the province through Punjab Public Service Commission. The JAC plans to show its strength on roads in Lahore on March 30, if their demands are not be accepted. Dawn

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Campaign launched to control drug use in varsities
Islamabad: Ministry of Narcotics Control (MoNC) in collaboration with different universities has launched an awareness campaign to control the use of drugs in educational institutions of the country. The official of the Narcotics Ministry held a series of meetings with the Vice Chancellors of the universities and discussed the agenda points. An official of Narcotics Ministry told APP here on Sunday that management of the universities has agreed to implement the drug control plan in their respective institutes. He said that the main objectives of the campaign is to control the use of drugs including smoking and other contraband inside the colleges and universities. He further said that it was decided to arrange seminars and lectures regarding drug abuse to educate the students about its hazardious effects. app

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University teachers threaten to go on strike
Peshawar: Expressing serious concern over the government failure to recover Vice-Chancellor of Islamia College University Ajmal Khan even despite passage of six months since his kidnapping, the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) on Sunday threatened complete strike in the public sector universities across the country if the government failed to make serious efforts for the safe recovery of the academician.

Talking to The News after a two-day annual general body meeting of the federation that concluded at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Agricultural University here, FAPUASA President Prof Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar said it was a matter of shame for the government that no serious effort was made for the safe recovery of Ajmal Khan. Kidnapped in September 2010, four videotapes of the abducted vice-chancellor have so far been released.

On different occasions, the government made claims about early recovery of the vice-chancellor but his release could not be secured so far. The participants of FAPUASA general body meeting were of the opinion that the government should arrange proper security for the universities' heads and other senior members. The meeting also unanimously rejected the amendments to the University of Peshawar Act (1974).

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FEF women lecturers partially suspend protest
Peshawar: Concerned about the studies of their students, female teachers of the colleges run by the Frontier Education Foundation (FEF) partially suspended their strike with the pledge to resume protest on the completion of the study courses of the students whose annual examination is approaching.

The teachers decided to resume classes so that the time of their students might not be wasted. However, they would continue to boycott official duties like administrative and clerical work.

"We have not called off our strike. We have partially suspended it as we do not want our students to suffer. Once we complete the courses in our colleges, we will resume our full-fledged strike," said Musarrat Bibi, one of the protesting teachers.

Seeking regularisation of their services, the teachers started their protest drive from February 1. They staged several protests outside the Peshawar Press Club and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly building and also addressed a press conference in pursuance of their cause.

Musarrat Bibi said that during their protests outside the provincial assembly, Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Minister for Higher Education Qazi Mohammad Asad assured them of acceptance of their demands. "But the verbal assurance have not materialised so far," she added.

The teachers serving in the 15-FEF run degree colleges across the province complain that they have been serving as lecturers for the last 10 years on fixed salary. Appointed as a result of proper procedure, promises were made with them several times to regularise their services or at least offer them a full-fledged contract. But the teachers complained that no promise made with them had materialised.

In 2009 the teachers refused to accept the contracts. The FEF management assured them of full-fledged contracts but no contract has been issued to them for more than one and a half year at all. They subsequently moved the Supreme Court to get their services regularised.

Musarrat Bibi informed that their case was pending before the court. But the old contract, which they had already rejected, was served to them two months back, forcing them to launch the protest drive, she said. However, during the protest when they held a meeting with the managing director of the FEF, Jameel Amjad, he assured that the contract would be withdrawn. "This was of course a positive assurance, but it too could not be materialise," she added.

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Science Fair concludes at GIKI
Swabi: A three-day Science Fair concluded at the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology on Monday. The event was organised by the Science Society, GIKI. Students from all over the country participated in the fair.

Eminent nuclear physicist Dr Noor Muhammad Butt was chief guest at the prize distribution ceremony. The fair had separate sections for college and university students. The competitions included eureka, model-making, quiz and science exhibition.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Butt said that developed countries spend a big chunk of their budgets on the guidance of the younger generation. Giving the example of Germany, he said, the noble laureates meet with about 700 youngsters of the country for a week once a year. "They exchange views and noble laureates guide them as to how they could make progress and work or do research beneficial for their country and humankind.

The big science trophy was lifted by Usman Ayaz, Irtiza Sohail and Sohail Idrees, students of the Aitchison College, Lahore. Dr Butt gave away shields and trophies to the students who excelled in the competitions. The news

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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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