Education sector difficulties in 2009
2009 proved difficult year for education sector
Lahore, Jan 03: The year 2009 will be remembered as the year that the
war on terror became the war for the survival of the country.
previous year was especially bad for the education sector, which seemed to be
the primary civil sector targeted by terrorists. The twin suicide bomb blasts on
the premises of the International Islamic University Islamabad claimed the lives
of female students, while hundreds of schools were burnt in Swat and other parts
of the NWFP.
For the first time, schools across the country were closed
for fear of terrorist attacks, prompting the government, security agencies and
school administrations to announce a comprehensive security plan for educational
Although in 2008, educational institutions were threatened
and a few cases were registered, the intensity and severity of the cases was
dwarfed by the threats in 2009.
Lahore suffered suicide blasts and scores
innocent lives were lost. The worst-hit were the youth as they were unable to
focus on their education and had to deal with the traumatising experiences of
living in a city turned into a virtual war zone.
bombers had earlier targeted the GPO Chowk and FIA building, the Islamic
University attacks brought about the grim realisation for the students that the
war on terror was now being fought at their doorstep.
The first time the
students of Lahore were concerned about their security was when terrorists
attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3 last year.
faculty members visited the scene and paid tribute to the martyrs who died
defending the guests of the city.
The attack was the first in a series of
attacks – storming of Manwan Police Training Centre by terrorists, blasts at the
Rescue 1122 building, Garhi Shahu mosque, Babu Sabu stop and Moon Market – on
Lahore and it played havoc with the academic year of almost every educational
institution within city limits. External and internal examinations were delayed
or cancelled, putting the academic future of a large number of students in
turmoil. The closure of all schools in the city for over a week further delayed
the academic calendar for educational institutions.
were asked to leave as all hostels ordered closed. Students from remote areas
were instructed to leave their hostels immediately and were forced to return to
their native areas or find accommodation in private hostels.
accommodations for students became much harder, adding to the already fragile
state of the education system in the city. Various educational institutions also
carried out emergency evacuation drills and held first aid exercises for their
Not wanting to become a target of terrorism, the Kinnaird
College banned students from wearing western clothes.
security of educational institutions in the province remained a challenge for
the provincial government throughout the year. However, in collaboration with
private security firms, it announced security plans for all educational
The government categorised education institutions and
accordingly handed out a number of security directives to them.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif met security personnel and schools administrators
and directed them to form joint security commissions at educational
For the first time the local government arranged training
for security guards.
The administrators of the city's educational
intuitions voiced their concerns over the security situation.
schools where students were more concerned about security as most bomb hoax were
received by private institutions, moved private schools unions to ask the local
government to ensure security for them.
The number of security guards at
various schools was increased. A number of national and international events
were also cancelled due to security concerns in the city.
Parents also suffered as schools administrations increased tuition
fees, citing heightened security-related expenses.
Parents were also
forced to send their children to private academies or hire the services of
private tutors to complete their courses. Daily times
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UAF head placated nervous employees
Faisalabad: The University of Agriculture Faisalabad vice-chancellor has
made a U-turn by assuring the employees that none of them will be shown the door
and that their cases will be forwarded to the selection boards to review the
Less than a fortnight ago, the syndicate meeting
held on Dec 21 last with vice-chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad in the chair had
declared the appointments of 63 professors, associate and assistant professors,
lecturers, deputy treasurers and deputy registrars on the plea that they were
made part of the academia during the days when recruitments were banned by the
Election Commission of Pakistan because of the general election.
Uncertainty that prevailed in the varsity after the syndicate decision
forced the vice-chancellor to call a meeting and "take the employees into
Sources quoted Dr Iqrar as saying (at a meeting with the
employees arranged on a short notice) that the Punjab government had strong
reservations over employment during the period of ban. He said the government
had directed the UAF administration to look into the issue.
He said the
administration had been advised by the legal adviser to re-advertise all
vacancies to give a legal cover to the procedure for the satisfaction of the
government. However, the VC said, they had decided to put all such employees on
notices and their cases would be referred back to the selection boards to redo
the entire process.
However, a syndicate member, Dr Anayat rejected the
vice chancellor's claim that a letter had been dispatched to the university
pertaining to ban on recruitments by the provincial government. He asked the VC
to produce a letter if he had any to substantiate his claims.
Staff Association President Dr Ashfaq Chattha asked the VC that the faculty
appointed on an ad hoc or a contract basis by the present regime was also in
panic. Dr Iqrar responded that only appointments of 51 employees would be
On Dec 31 last, Department of Public Relations and Publications
Principal Officer Dr Jalal Arif said that the university would refer the
issue of all 163 employees to the syndicate to decide their fate. The university
has now changed its stance owing to alleged pressure from different quarters.
It is learnt that the vice chancellor during the meeting got the
microphone snatched from a syndicate member who charged the university
administration with following discriminatory policy. He said the university's
approach to treat the issue was wrong.
The VC also avoided to answer the
question regarding fixing responsibility on the university officials who
completed the appointment process when the government had stopped the university
from doing so.
During the question-answer session, Dr Maqbool Dogar,
quoting a decree of the apex court, said the appointments made during the
election days were valid. He said no one could show the door to the university
employees recruited during the election days.
Dr Manzoor said the
university should resolve the issue as soon as possible and appealed to the VC
to advertise the vacant posts of professors and associate professors.
Sources said the VC had earlier planned to meet those affected by the
syndicate decision on Jan 1 instead of addressing the entire academic staff. The
plan was changed owing to the death of a former university dean, Dr Siddique,
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AIOU regional campus
Gujranwala: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr
Mahmoodul Hassan Butt on Saturday laid the foundation stone of the Gujranwala
regional campus (of the university) which would be completed in 18 months at a
cost of Rs 125 million. Dawn
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ICBS 5th convocation
Lahore: Punjab Governor Salman Taseer has said Pakistan is facing tough times and the youth should utilise their energies for
progress and development of the country.
He was speaking at the fifth
convocation of the Imperial College of Business Studies (ICBS) on Saturday.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Sector Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali,
Higher Education Commission's Executive Director Dr Sohail H Naqvi, ICBS
Chairman Dr F J Seyyed, Rector Dr Azmat A Syed, graduating students and their
parents attended the ceremony.
Students of various programmes such as
MBA, MBA Executive and BBA were awarded degrees while those achieving
distinction were awarded gold medals.
Salman Taseer said the government
would not rest until it eliminated the cancer of terrorism from the country. He
said in order to compete in global financial markets, Pakistani businessmen
would have to adopt international business standards. Integrated business plan,
best governance, accounting and reporting system besides cooperation and
presentation are the most important elements for promotion of financial
businesses, he said.
He said success in business was not possible without
taking risks, adding only those businessmen succeeded who took full advantage of
an opportunity. "Your vision should not be limited if you want to become a
successful businessman," he said.
The governor said it was good to see
that the number of female students pursuing higher education was on the rise
adding more than 60 percent of students studying in universities of Punjab on
open merit were females.
He urged students to play role in progress and
development of the country, saying the new generation was in fact the country's
Speaking on the occasion, Begun Shahnaz Wazir Ali said the PPP
government had always taken steps for promotion of higher education in Pakistan.
She said late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed had introduced revolutionary reforms
for promotion of science, technology and research.
Dr Sohail H Naqvi
said the government was ensuring quality education adding the country was in
dire need of business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Earlier, the governor
gave away degrees to graduates. Dr Azmat A Syed presented the opening address. The news
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GCU laser lab inaugurated
Lahore: Renowned nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand on Saturday inaugurated the high-tech 4 MeV Pelletron
Accelerator and a Laser Laboratory at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Physics
of the Government College University.
Addressing the ceremony, Dr Samar
said scientists in Pakistan should take notice of the country's vast indigenous
resources, especially coal, copper and gold, and must work on technology for
exploiting these resources. "We should not let foreigners exploit our resources
and pay us peanuts in royalties," he said.
He said Pakistan had gold and copper
reserves worth trillions of dollars in Balochistan, adding that gold will be
cheaply available across the country if the government takes measures for its
exploration. Samar also highlighted the importance of Thar coal reserves.
Commenting on terrorism in the country, Dr Samar said extremists were
not Muslims. "I don't even consider them human beings," he added. Daily times
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PU VC distributed rice
Lahore: Punjab University (PU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran distributed rice among
the low-scale employees of the varsity at VC House on Saturday. The news
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