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Quaid-i-Azam University GRE test

QAU syndicate, Council split over GRE imposition
Islamabad, Jan 7: Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) syndicate and its Academic Council are split over the imposition of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for PhD students, while a meeting in this regard has been called on January 9 (Saturday).

GRE is designed to provide admissions to committee members, career counsellors and prospective applicants, with predictors of academic performance in graduate-level academic study, i.e. Masters and Doctoral programmes.

According to the information, the University syndicate is in favour of conducting GRE of PhD students whereas the Academic Council of the University is opposing it.

It is worth mentioning here that the University syndicate comprises only three University faculty members while the rest of its six members are outsiders. On the contrary, the Academic Council only consists of University faculty members.

The imposition of GRE for PhD has created severe unrest among the students, who also staged their protest demonstration on Wednesday at the University campus when Executive Director Higher Education Commission (HEC) Sohail Naqvi visited the campus for a meeting. Holding placards, the students raised slogans against GRE and HEC, alleging the Commission of wanting to plant a foreign system of education in the country without analysing its impact.

The University students were of the opinion that GRE should be taken before the admission in the University, as there is no use of conducting the test after completing the coursework; rather it is not fair with the students.

Meanwhile, the faculty members of the University also seemed discontent over the decision and showed concern towards the future of those students, who have completed their courseworks, with even many also having completed their thesis.

"The admission process of QAU is unlike many other universities; it is very rigorous and requires no other test to gauge the competence of the students," said a professor requesting anonymity. He said HEC should understand the fact that those students, who have completed their coursework, must be having the ability to compete on international standards and therefore, are not in need of taking another examination. "GRE is basically meant to ease the procedure of student selection for PhD, hence there is no need for conducting the test when the students have almost completed their studies," he added.

He said the most astonishing fact in this regard is that HEC only has the GRE test for a few basic courses, while the Social Sciences and even Computer Sciences tests have not yet been prepared by the institution. "What will those students do, who are studying International Relations, Defence & Strategic Studies (DSS), Anthology and even Computer Sciences?" he inquired.

Spokesperson QAU Dr Nazir said although the restriction of GRE was imposed by HEC but it raised severe controversies. "It indeed is true that the University syndicate and the Academic Council have different opinions regarding the imposition and significance of GRE," he said and added that in order to mediate between the two bodies, a meeting has been called by the University where the decision regarding its imposition or cancellation would be taken.

Member Operation & Planning HEC Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said that GRE was a decision taken by HEC not in isolation but it was a decision by the experts from different universities of the country, who make policies after recommendations, proposals, review and debate. "We have to improve the education system, for which we have to take a start as soon as possible. We are having meetings with QAU and will hopefully come up with some solution very soon," he said.

Talking about GRE for Social Sciences, he said the National Testing Service (NTS) has already been assigned for designing GRE for the subjects, which HEC does not have. "NTS has prepared GRE tests for many of the cases by now and the rest will be done in some time," he said.

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60 percent favour uniforms in schools
Islamabad: Majority of all Pakistanis (60 per cent) are in favour of having a compulsion of wearing uniforms in educational institutions, said a Gallup survey.

A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the country were asked, "Recently, the Sindh government has removed the compulsion of wearing uniform in schools and colleges. Do you think it is right or wrong?"

Most people think that the Sindh government's recent decision of removing this rule is incorrect, as 60 per cent are in favour of wearing uniforms in schools, 21 per cent believe the decision is right, whereas 18 per cent are unsure and one per cent gave no response.

The results in both rural and urban Sindh are almost identical and fairly close to the national average, as the findings of the survey reveal that support for the removal of uniforms in Sindh is 24 per cent, opposition stands at 58 per cent and 18 per cent said they did not know. There was no statistical difference in the rural and urban Sindh opinion on this issue.

The latest survey was released by Gilani Foundation and carried out by Gallup Pakistan.

The study was carried out among a sample of 2,780 men and women from rural and urban areas of all the four provinces during December last.

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PET teachers postings
Peshawar: The affected Physical Education Teachers (PETs) have urged the NWFP chief minister and education minister to restore over 500 PET posts in different schools of the province and appoint them against those positions.

Addressing a news conference here Wednesday, president of the PET Affected Teachers Association Shaukatullah and General Secretary Ibrar Khan said that scrapping of PET posts in various schools not only rendered hundreds of teachers jobless but also affected the co-curricular and extra-curricular activities of the students.

They said everyone knew the importance of physical education teachers in schools. They said the PET teachers maintained discipline in schools right from assembly till the end. They said the posts of PET and theology teachers were abolished in the newly upgraded schools in 2003. The previous government, however, restored the theology teachers but the PET posts were not revived.

Later, the PET teachers were also restored in Shangla and Dera Ismail Khan districts only while the posts were not restored in the remaining 22 districts of the province, they complained.

The office-bearers of the association said currently over 500 positions of PET teachers were lying vacant in the province, while thousands of trained and qualified youth were jobless. They urged the government to restore the abolished positions of the PET teachers or they would launch a protest drive. The news

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Education sector improvement
Islamabad: Senate Standing Committee on Education, which is presently busy finalising proposals for the upcoming National Education Policy (2009) has acquired the services of eminent educationists and scholars to determine the contours of the policy and to have their invaluable input in finalising and fine tuning the same.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Committee Senator SM Zafar here Wednesday.

He said no country could make progress in today's world without having a higher literacy rate.

Ministry of Education, he said, was continuing its efforts in this regard and seeking input from the members of the civil society and media besides, prominent educationists, teachers, professors and scholars.

He said the meeting of the Committee scheduled to be held tomorrow was also an effort in the similar direction and it has been declared open for Press and media. The nation

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Militants destroyed schools
Ghalanai: In the Mohmand Agency, a government-run school was damaged in a blast and teachers of another school received threats from suspected militants.

Residents and officials said some people had planted explosives at the Government High School in Subhan Khwar. The blast damaged the school's boundary wall.

The staff of the Government High School, Yakghund, received a threatening letter asking them to close the school, otherwise it would be blown up. Dawn

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