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VC appointments for Punjab universities

Why delay in appointment of vice chancellors?
Lahore, Jan 05: Haste certainly makes waste but inordinate delay in fulfilling obligations is not the right course of action. This observation aptly fits the case of the government's lethargy in appointing vice chancellors of six universities in Punjab.

The vice chancellors of the Lahore College for Women University and the University of Education, Lahore have already completed their tenures. They both felt they were let down after unceremonious departure from the offices.

The government had offered additional charge to the senior-most faculty members in their respective universities in November last.

The four-year term of Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad

Zafarullah is expiring on Jan 26; University of Sargodha VC Prof Dr Muhammad Akram Chaudhry's on Feb 11; Government College University, Lahore, VC Prof Dr Khalid Aftab's on Feb 25, and Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, VC Prof Dr Saeeda Asadullah Khan's tenure will expire on March 11.

As the vice chancellors of the public-sector universities are selected through the Higher Education Commission's Vice-Chancellors Search Committee and the whole process takes more than three months, the stakeholders including the prospective applicants as well as faculty members are awaiting with their fingers crossed advertisements in the press.

Many stakeholders who talked and requested of anonymity shared the opinion that the affairs of universities were being run in a haphazard manner and smacked of corruption and maladministration. As the process of advertising, shortlisting candidates and holding interviews could not be completed in the next 10 weeks, they feared, the government would either grant extension to their 'favourite' VCs or give additional charge to senior faculty members as a stopgap arrangement, compromising fair and transparent competition.

As the media is reporting this issue for a few months, even before the vice chancellors of the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore and the University of Gujrat were granted another term in their offices through an executive order, the Punjab Higher Education Department officials have been repeatedly saying (for the last two months) that a summary for approval to advertise the posts had been sent to the Punjab governor through the chief minister.

The department too seems quiescent since former higher education secretary Ahad Khan Cheema, junior in grade, was transferred and senior bureaucrat Haseeb Athar was posted as department's administrative secretary. The general perception is that Mr Athar has been posted against his will and he is not interested in running the department.

It is this attitude that has also failed the Punjab government's flagship four-year BS (Honours) degree programme in the public-sector colleges.

Those aspiring for the slots of vice chancellors demand level-playing field and urge the provincial government to show that it means good governance.

THE practice of using solved test papers is going on in private as well as public-sector schools as the School Education Department has failed to check it.

As the Class-V and VIII students studying in the public and private schools are preparing themselves for their board examinations to be conducted by the Punjab Examination Commission, most schoolteachers have taken an easy way out and asked the students to purchase model test papers. The teachers during recent parent-teacher meetings argued that there was not much time left owing to long summer vacation and other holidays and they could not complete courses.

However, reliance on test papers by students is liable to do more harm than good as such material limits understanding of the subject. Although the government has banned use of model test papers, even the Divisional Public School is allegedly encouraging their use (the commissioner is the school chairman and the DCO and EDO (education) are on its board of governors).

EDO (Education) Dr Muhammad Arshad admitted that it was illegal to ask the students to purchase model test papers. He said he would look into the affairs of the DPS.

THE Government College University's Library Society is holding a three-day book fair from Tuesday (tomorrow) at varsity's Bokhari Auditorium lawns. Noted writer and journalist Khalid Ahmed is scheduled to inaugurate the book fair.

GCU Chief Librarian Abdul Waheed says the event is aimed at reviving the love for books. He said more than 50,000 books would be on display and offered to the students on concession. Dawn

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Scholar defends his PhD thesis
Peshawar: Arshad Ali, assistant professor at Institute of Education and Research, defended his thesis to qualify for the PhD degree.

Defence of his thesis on 'Predictive Validity of the Entry Test Prepared by Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency (ETEA) for Admission to Engineering and Medical Institutions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa' was held at the Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan.

Prof Dr Omar Ali, director of the Institute of Education and Research, Gomal University, who is the only Higher Education Commission re-cognised scholar in the province for the discipline of education, supervised his PhD studies.

Prof Dr Saeed Anwar, chairman of Department of Education at the Hazara University, Mansehra, served as his external examiner.

The thesis was already recommended for award of PhD degree by eminent researchers from the USA and Europe in their external evaluation reports.

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Urdu writer passes away
Mansehra: Known Urdu writer Dr Mumtaz Manglory has passed away. Late Mumtaz Manglory was laid to rest on Saturday at his ancestral graveyard in Manglor, a village sited some 20 kilometres from here. The deceased was the member of Punjab and Khyber Pakh-tunkhwa textbook boards. He wrote dozens of textbooks for both the boards.

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Professor shot dead in DI Khan
Dera Ismail Khan: Two motorcyclists shot dead a professor here on Monday in what appeared to be a sectarian killing, sources said. The sources said that Prof Muneer Hussain Shah of Economics Department in Gomal University was waiting for the university bus at the main entrance to the campus when two bike-riders arrived and sprayed him with bullets, injuring him critically. The educationist was rushed to the District Headquarters Hospital in Dera Ismail Khan where he succumbed to injuries. Though the motive behind the murder could not be ascertained, sectarian-related target killing incidents often occur in the city. The news

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Teachers want communal schools in Fata reopened
Parachinar: The teachers of communal schools have demanded of the government to reopen these educational institutions as hundreds of people have been rendered jobless after closure of the literacy centres in militancy-hit tribal areas.

They also appealed to Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of closure communal schools in Fata. "The government should take back its decision of closure of these schools as educational institutions are needed in the tribal areas," the teachers told journalists. They said literacy rates were very low in tribal areas and there was shortage of educational facilities owing to conflict in Fata.

"The communal schools had not only imparting education to students of tribal areas but also provided jobs to educated people. But closure of these schools in Mohmand, Bajaur, Khyber and Kurram agencies has rendered hundreds of teachers jobless," they said.

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School in Lakki village enrolls girls for first time
Lakki Marwat: The National Commission for Human Development has enrolled 26 girls in a government primary school in Wanda Fateha Khan Jatt village for the first time in the history of the village as part of a plan to boost female education.

The village primary school's headmaster Khushdil Khan raised the issue of out-of-the-school girl children in review meetings of the commission held in Oct and Nov 2010", said an official of the NCHD on Saturday.

The village Wanda Fateh Khan Jatt situated 26 kilometres in the south of Lakki city has 120 households with zero female literacy rate. Main occupation of the villagers is cattle rearing as they have limited resources for agriculture because the land is arid and rain dependant.

Low income resources and cultural barriers are the main reasons for keeping the girl chidden away from schools.

The NCHD official said that after identification of the issue by school headmaster the authorities of elementary and secondary education department and officials of NCHD assigned the task to the headmaster concerned, ex-mentor Fazlur Rehman and markez coordinator Naseerul Islam to approach community members in this regard.

"The ESED and NCHD officials were also directed to arrange a broad-based community meeting in the village to find an amicable solution to the issue of non-enrollment of girl children in schools", he maintained.

The NCHD official said that in a recently held broad-based community meeting attended among others by village prayer leader, chairman of parent-teachers council and notables the officials discussed the issue with community members and chalked out a comprehensive plan to ensure girls' enrolment in the school."The meeting directed the headmaster to prepare a list of out-of-the-school children and also requested the elders to launch a door-to-door campaign to educate parents on the importance of girls education", the official added.

He said the successful meeting with local community paved the way for holding enrollment ceremony in the village wherein 26 girl children were enrolled in the village primary school.

NCHD district general manager Javed Afzal Marwat, district programme manager education Illyas Khattak, MCs Naseerul Islam and Nisar Ahmad, ESED assistant district officer Mohammad Ayyub and community members participated in the ceremony. Dawn

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