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Karachi colleges attendance decline

College principals in a fix over minimum attendance rule
Karachi, Jan 17: Poor law and order prevailing in the city since the start of the current academic session, especially in the wake of recent targeted killings, has resulted in massive decline in attendance at public sector colleges in particular and at private colleges in general, leaving no choice for principals to issue unlawful certificates of 75 attendance to students, a requirement mandatory for appearing in annual examinations.

Confirming that the worst law and order situation the city periodically witnessing over the past one year was keeping students away from their educational institutions, Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) secretary Prof Iftikhar Azmi said that attendance at public sector colleges located in the inner areas of the city had decreased by more than 50 per cent and even less than that in the colleges located in the suburbs - specially those falling under the jurisdiction of Orangi, Malir, Lyari, Landhi, Korangi and Shah Faisal towns.

"In fact, principals of the colleges are compelled to issue unlawful certificates of 75 per cent mandatory attendance to the students of their respective colleges," he said.

He said that the problem of shrinking number of academic days for the first-year students of public sector colleges whose process of admissions under the centralised admission policy was delayed by months had become a more complex issue this year mainly because of the poor law and order situation prevailing in the metropolis for the past four to five years.

Describing the poor law and order situation as alarming, he said that parents often prefer not to send their children to their educational institutions whenever riots erupted in the city following targeted killings and, as such, attendance at most of the colleges, particularly at those located in Orangi, Malir, Lyari, Landhi, Korangi, had become quite thin.

Giving an example of the DJ Government Science College located in the heart of the city, he said that the attendance even at this college on average remained about 50 per cent so that one could imagine what would be the case in other colleges of the metropolis.

When he was asked if the recent Sindh education department decision of increasing the timings of colleges by one-and-half hour would help students to complete their course before their examinations, Prof Azmi said that it would not help much because science students already used to stay at their colleges up to 2.30pm or 3pm doing their practical courses.

"How can students, specially those belonging to first-year classes, complete their courses in just 130 days when there is an acute shortage of teachers," he said, adding that there was a shortage of around 3,500 teachers in public sector colleges across Sindh and of them, more than 2,000 teachers were required in government colleges of the metropolis alone.

Prof Azmi, who teaches at the DJ Science College, said that even at his college where over 2,220 students studied, there were only nine associate professors against 18 sanctioned posts, besides there was a shortage of five assistant professors and 24 lecturers.

"Isn't it a joke that there are only two teachers of English for over 2,220 students," he remarked.

Endorsing the views of Prof Azmi, SPLA president Prof Ather Hussain Mirza said that on the one hand there was an acute shortage of teachers at government colleges across Sindh and, on the other, their science laboratories were also ill-equipped. Dawn

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'Lyari Medical College to meet PMDC criteria'
Karachi: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) supports establishment of new medical colleges in the country, including the proposed Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Medical College in the Lyari area of Karachi to meet a shortage of doctors in the country.

PMDC President Prof Sibtul Hasnain Syed said this to journalists at a conference on 'Building Bridges for Medical Education Reforms" organised by the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) on Saturday.

The professor said the envisaged medical college in the downtrodden area of Lyari would meet the PMDC criteria that include the minimum 60 percent marks for candidates aspiring to seek admission to any medical college in the country.

Similarly, he said, that the college was also on its way to hire services of faculty in basic medical sciences as well as clinical sciences.

The college was already annexed with the Lyari General Hospital manned by senior medical professionals, he noted.

Answering a question, the PMDC president said that the country was exposed to a shortage of medical teachers in basic medical sciences, but different medical universities were in process of producing MPhils and PhDs in those subjects. "The country is self-sufficient in teachers of clinical sciences,".

Replying to another question about members of teaching faculty found simultaneously associated with different medical colleges, the PMDC president said that the trend had been strictly contained through a rule under which all medical teachers were required to seek annual registration with the PMDC. The news

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SSUET students bag positions in declamation contest
Karachi: Students of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) bagged position in the Allama Iqbal Shield declamation contest organized by Higher Education Commission.

An announcement of the institution here on Sunday said that the event was organized to raise awareness about the benefits of education.

In the first spell of English competition held at Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, Fatima Saima Ahmed, Umar Ali and Muhammad Umar Khan secured top three positions respectively while Muhammad Umar Khan, Muhammad Athar Hassan and Aariz Mahmood clinched the first, second and third positions.

Second spell of the debate was held at NED University in which teams from all over Sindh participated.

Muhammad Umar Khan of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology won second position along with cash prize of 5000. app

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Closure of schools in kutcha areas criticised
Khairpur: Speakers at a discussion here have criticised the closure of schools in kutcha areas and described it as part of a conspiracy by feudal lords to deprive children of education.

They stressed the need for launching a campaign to press the government to reopen the schools, mostly set up during the British era.

The discussion was organised in Bhambho village in the kutcha area of Keti Mir Mohammad by the Young Boys Association, Bhitai Social Welfare Association and Bhandar Sangat to create awareness among villagers about the importance of education. The theme of the discussion was 'Peace if people's right'.

Left-wing activist Punhal Sario said that banditry was a conspiracy hatched by feudals and police to keep people of Sindh illiterate. When the government could hold talks with terrorists it could also negotiate with bandits to bring them back to society as responsible citizens, he said.

He said that feudal lords were using the fear of dacoits to keep people of kutcha and rural areas away from education. He said that the situation was forcing peace-loving people to leave the area. The situation in kutcha areas was similar to that in Karachi where killings and kidnappings had become the order of the day, he said.

Khairpur Civil Society chairman Mir Munawar Talpur said that education was the basic right of people and it made them aware of their rights and problems.

Khadim Hussain Mirani, Dr. Ghulam Rasool Ghumro, Comrade Hussain Bux Narejo, Mumtaz Rid, Shabbir Bhutto, Ramzan Memon, Aurangzeb Ghumro and Sultan Ghumro said that Autaqs had been a culture of kutcha areas and provided a forum to settle issues.

They stressed the need for restoring the forum and said that till 70s primary education was common in kutcha areas which was later raised to the middle level.

They said that teachers used to educate children of fishermen in schools set up on boats in the Indus. They called upon the government to take measures to revive that culture in collaboration with social organisations. Later, a musical programme was held in which Abdul Ghafoor Soomro and others performed till early in the morning. A tableau presented by village boys depicted how feudal lords rigged votes with the help of police. Dawn

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