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HEC funds & pubic universities funding

Ministry of Finance promises to release Rs4.61 billion for HEC
Islamabad, Jan 21: The Ministry of Finance has promised to release Rs4.61 billion to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the 3rd quarter of current fiscal year and now it is expected that public sector universities would be able to give their employees both 50% and 15% increase in monthly salaries with effect from January 1, 2012, sources said here on Friday.

Sources, both from the Ministry of Finance and HEC confirmed that funds have been allocated to provide increase in salaries to employees of public sector universities as announced by the federal government on two occasions.

Sources said the increase in salaries put an extra financial burden worth Rs7 billion so the HEC was not able to release enough recurring budget to public sector universities to pay for the previous 50 per cent as well as 15 per cent additional salary increase announced by the government in the annual budget.

According to official data, recurring grant approved for transfer to universities for financial year 2011-12 was 9% (Rs2.46 billion) lower than the amount approved for the previous financial year, even though there was a 16% increase in nominal GDP of Pakistan in financial year 2010-11.

HEC has also informed public sector universities about expected provision of funds saying that employees would be paid increase in the monthly salaries with effect from January 1 this year.

Sources said that the HEC faced the same financial crunch last year, which was followed by a series of protest demonstrations in universities after which the government announced Rs5.8 billion supplementary grant.

Later, the HEC in its letter to vice chancellors of universities stated: "We do recognise that additional funding is required to pay for the previous 50% increase in salaries already granted, as well as the 15% additional salary increase announced by the government, however, no additional funding appears to be available at this time to the HEC for disbursement to universities".

It is pertinent to mention here that governors of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in their capacity as chancellors of public sector universities also informed the prime minister of their inability to implement the government's decision of giving a 50 per cent raise in salaries of university teachers until they were provided with the required funds.

At that time, the HEC was informed that the Rs5.8 billion supplementary grant provided in fiscal year 2010-11 was a one time grant and therefore the increase of recurring grant was calculated on the base grant of Rs23.22 billion.

When contacted, HEC Executive Director Dr. Sohail Naqvi told this scribe that the Ministry of Finance has promised to provide extra funds in the 3rd quarter of the current fiscal year, which means that the HEC would be able to pay 15% and 50% salary increase to faculty members of public sector universities. The news

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HEC resumes funding to varsities
Lahore: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has broken the ice and is asking public sector universities across the country to forward their development plans for funding, which had been frozen for a couple of years.

The World Bank, it is learnt, has entered into an agreement with the Pakistan government and the Higher Education Commission and agreed to give $300 million over the next three years.

HEC Executive Director Prof Dr Suhail H Naqvi said flow of funds with the financial assistance of World Bank would begin in the last quarter of this financial year. He said HEC was now asking the universities to finalise their development projects and forward these for approval.

He said the World Bank would give $300 million in three years -$100 million every year.

Prof Naqvi said HEC had circulated a notification to all public sector universities for payment of 15 per cent pay raise to all universities' employees. The 15 per cent raise in university employees' salaries was announced by the federal government in the beginning of this financial year.

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University students to have laptops
Rawalpindi: The BA/BSc and MA/MSc students, who have secured 60 per cent or above marks in their respective examinations, belonging to Rawalpindi division would be distributed 11,000 laptops by the Punjab government.

Punjab government will initiate Rs4 billion programme to distribute 100,000 laptops among the students of colleges and universities throughout the province.

Sources said that the provincial government had asked the district governments across the province to give the lists of the students who secured at least 60 per cent marks in BA/BSc and MA/MSc exams.

They said that the provincial government had allocated a quota of 9,716 laptops for Rawalpindi district and total 11,000 laptops would be distributed in the division including four districts of Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum.

It may be mentioned here that the provincial government claimed that it was observing austerity to save the money for running the day-to-day affairs of the province without bank borrowings. However, the sources said that with the start of second quarter of the fiscal year 2011-12, the provincial government had barrowed over Rs19 billion from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The sources pointed out that the provincial government's programme would be launched under the chairmanship of Hamza Shahbaz, the son of Shahbaz Sharif, who was neither a Punjab Assembly member nor an adviser to the chief minister.

The provincial government had purchased the laptops with other necessary items and would distribute red laptops among girl students and black laptops among the boy students, the sources said.

They said that the scheme would be launched in five phases in February and would be completed within two months. In Rawalpindi district, they said that total 1,000 laptops would be distributed among students in the first week of February, 600 in second week, 3,000 in third week of next month and remaining would be distributed in March.

They said that the students of medical college and engineering universities would also get the laptops from this scheme. They said that the provincial government directed the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) to arrange the functions at every college and university to distribute the laptops by the PML-N MNA or MPA of the respective constituencies.

When contacted, PML-N MNA Malik Abrar said that the provincial government was working to improve the education system in the province and encouraging the students belonging to middle class and lower class to get higher education.

"It is not politically-motivated scheme as the government will also provide computers and laptops to the school students," he said.

I suggested Punjab chief minister to announce 25,000 laptops for the students of other provinces as a goodwill gesture," Malik Abrar said and added that the provincial government had enough money for the deserving students and in this regard, it named the scheme Future

Leaders (Mustagbil Kay Quaid).

Another PML-N MNA Malik Shakeel Awan said that it was a wrong perception that the provincial government wanted to grab the attention of the students. He said that the track record of the provincial government was evident that it had taken a number of steps for the betterment of students in the province.

He said that the provincial government awarded scholarships to students for higher studies, improved the educational institutions and started merit-based admissions to the educational institutions. Dawn

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AEO holds education expo
Islamabad: The Australian Education Office (AEO Pakistan) organised a successful education expo/seminar at Serena the other day, says a press release. The official Australian Education Expert and IELTS Test Centre in Pakistan were present on the occasion.

The expo was the second event of the series of seminars after conducting the first one in PC, Lahore. The seminar provided an excellent opportunity to Pakistan students to study in Australia 2012. In the seminar/expo, the AEO offered live on spot interviews to the prospective students with representatives of top Australian universities.

Australia being a latest hub of quality education abroad provides everything student dreams of. From scenic beauty wildlife safaris and passion of sports, to most importantly universities that are ranked among top in the world. Australian education office Pakistan is the market leader having most facilitating procedure making study in Australia all too easy and simple for every student. The next seminars of this series will be held in Karachi, Faisalabad and Peshawar on 22nd January and in Multan January on 28. The news

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AJK medical colleges Quota system challenged
Muzafarabad: The AJK High Court here on Friday admitted for regular hearing a petition filed by five girl students, challenging the govt's decision to give admissions in the region's two nascent medical colleges through quota system.

The petition was filed on January 13 and after preliminary hearing, Chief Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal constituted a division bench, comprising besides him, Justice M Tabassum Aftab Alvi to hear and decide the case speedily.

While giving his arguments, Raza Ali Khan, counsel for the petitioners, recalled that the government had initially announced that all admissions against 150 seats for AJK nationals would be given on open merit and the same policy was mentioned in the December 25 advertisements seeking applications from the eligible students.

However, the government had gone back on its announcements in what was a blatant infringement of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) regulations and could risk the recognition of the degrees of both colleges, he said.

Mr Khan also referred to a Supreme Court of Pakistan judgment of 2001 whereby the apex court had abolished quota system and instead directed that all seats in medical colleges, barring a limited number, should be filled on open merit.

He also pointed out that while the principle of parity with the Punjab was being followed in almost every official matter in AJK, the same was being overlooked in admissions in medical colleges.

In Punjab, admissions against 2889 out of 3205 seats in medical and dental colleges are made on open merit and only 316 seats are reserved for physically challenged persons or underdeveloped areas which are less than 10 per cent, he said.

Due to quota system in nominations for different medical colleges in Pakistan through the AJK Nomination Board, a candidate with 63 per cent marks would get admission as against the one with 82 per cent marks, Mr Khan said.

He further pointed out that the two medical colleges were constituent part of AJK University Muzaffarabad and Mirpur University of Science and Technology which had a policy of filling 75 per cent seats on open merit.

The counsel for the government, Raja Hanif Khan, defended the enforcement of quota system saying it was in vogue in government jobs as well. Abolition of district-wise quota in admissions would deprive the under-developed areas of their rights, he said.

During the arguments by the government's counsel, Fatima Abdullah, one of the petitioners, stood up in the courtroom and challenged his contentions regarding the merit list. Mr Hanif said he would file his objections to the petitions on Saturday.

On this, the bench adjourned the hearing until Monday. Dawn

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