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Sindh Universities Act | KU accord with US varsity

Teachers plan protest over new varsity law
Karachi, Jan 25: The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association-Pakistan (Fapuasa-P) at a meeting on Thursday decided that classes would be suspended for two hours on Friday morning at all public-sector universities across Sindh on account of a teachers' protest being held at Karachi University.

"We are protesting against government delay in resolving the conflict over the Sindh Universities Act 2013. Government officials have repeatedly assured us that they will table our proposed amendments in the Sindh Assembly but nothing has been done over the past few months," said Karachi University Teachers' Society president Prof Syed Jamil Hassan Kazmi. A protest march, he said, would be held from 11am to 1pm from the KU Silver Jubilee Gate to the NED University of Engineering and Technology. Members of Fapuasa-Sindh will participate in the march.

The meeting of teachers representing all the public-sector universities of Pakistan, he said, had also decided a day's strike on Feb 11 in all universities of the province while a two-hour token strike would be observed in the other three provinces the same day to show solidarity with the Sindh universities.

This would be followed by a grand general body meeting of Fapuasa-P in the first week of March at Peshawar University, where a final decision on government amendments in the universities' acts would be taken.

"Universities in other parts of the country are equally threatened by government interference. The PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is also proposing amendments to the Peshawar University Act. These changes are meant to give the government the authority to appoint the vice chancellor and empower it to interfere in the university's internal audit and administrative matters," said Fapuasa-P general secretary Prof Jameel Chitrali.

Thursday's meeting, according to sources, also discussed the problems at the Higher Education Commission (HEC), growing financial crisis in universities, elections of the teachers' federation and teachers' concerns over the issuance of NOCs in the Sindh universities.

"We reject the monthly disbursement system of funds by the HEC. It should be on an annual basis to allow respective university syndicates to act according to their budgets," said Fapuasa-P president Dr Ehsan Sharif, who chaired the meeting.

Teachers, he said, were against any multi-layered system for funds' disbursement and criticised government interference in the HEC as well as in the affairs of all universities at any level.

"The teachers demand that the government restore financial, administrative and academic autonomy of the public sector universities in the country and provide them with bail-out packages to address the financial crisis these institutions are facing," he said, adding that the financial burden must not be shifted to students and parents.

The federation, he said, would soon organise a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation level conference of academic staff associations to condemn the commercial and neoliberal approach being adopted by the provincial and federal governments.

The Sindh Universities Act 2013 restricts the appointment powers of the chancellor of the public sector universities, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, and of vice chancellors, and makes them subject to government (chief minister) recommendations. Dawn

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Another amendment in universities law on the cards to address objections
Karachi: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad has hinted at passage of a new law by Sindh Assembly to remove the reservations of academicians regarding the recent amendments made to laws governing the public-sector universities.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the foundation of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), the governor hinted at resolving the controversial issues related to the tenure and terms of service of vice-chancellors of public sector universities in Sindh.

He expressed the hope Prof Dr Masood Hameed Khan would continue serving as the DUHS vice-chancellor after controversies regarding his termination were resolved amicably.

The governor said a plan was under way to connect the DUHS Ojha campus to the Super Highway for easier access to patients from interior Sindh.

Ebad said institutions of higher education in the province had witnessed phenomenal growth in the past decade. There are about 50 public and private sector universities functioning in the province, which, he said, was a matter of great pride.

He said appointment of the new Sindh chairman of the Higher Education Commission would be finalised soon after which it would be possible to devise a composite strategy for education in the province.

Dr Asim Hussain of Ziauddin Medical University said the Dow medical college had always been the epicentre of political movements led by students while its graduates had served the nation extraordinarily in different walks of life.

The Sindh Universities Laws (Amendment) Law, 2013, was passed by the Sindh Assembly on August 19.

Under the new law, the appointment of vice-chancellors, pro-vice chancellors and directors of various affiliate institutions of public-sector universities would behave to be made from recommendations of the chief minister.

The vice-chancellors would be appointed for a period of four years and their appointment could be extended by one more term on terms and conditions as deemed fit by the governor, who is the chancellor of all public sector universities in Sindh.

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Sindh awaits due representation in HEC
Karachi: The representation of Sindh is inadequate in the Higher Education Commission (HEC) which is country's only body for promoting higher education.

All the four advisers as well as the chairman and executive director belong to provinces other than Sindh. In addition to this, out of the 11 director generals, only one belongs to Sindh whereas two are from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, two from Balochistan and six belong to Punjab.

The interesting fact is that the HEC has not yet initiated endorsement process of the educational documents in Sindh due to which the students from all over the province get their documents attested from Islamabad which not only takes time but also proves to be quite expensive for them. However, the verification process of documents has been ongoing for last year in Lahore and Peshawar.

Dr Jamil Kazmi, President University of Karachi, emphasised on providing suitable representation to Sindh in the HEC. He added that not granting the sufficient representation and scholarships to the province would lead to the sense of deprivation among students. He requested the HEC to commence documents verification process in the province without delaying any further.

Meanwhile, HEC Executive Director, Dr Iftikhar blamed the hiring restraints for this issue. He said that two-and-a-half year back Sindh had a suitable representation in the commission but due to the retirement of some officials there were still a number of positions for members lying vacant. Also, there are two posts i.e. managing director and director general lying vacant and as soon as the hiring restrictions are lifted, Sindh would be given due representation as per quota. The news

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KU signs accord with US varsity
Karachi: Karachi University (KU) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with George Mason University, United States, in the area of public administration on Wednesday.

Prof Dr Roger Stough signed the MoU on behalf of George Mason University's provost while the KU was represented by vice chancellor Prof Dr Mohammad Qaiser.

"International collaboration is important in the fast-paced world today. It widens the horizon of the youth and has a positive impact on the country's economy," said the vice chancellor.

Supporting educational cooperation, Prof Dr Roger Stough said the partnership between the institutions would benefit students and strengthen Pakistan-US relations.

Funded by a grant from the US State Department, the three-year partnership will help build the capacity of the KU's public administration department by focusing on curriculum development and research skills. An international conference will be held here in 2016 to address the role of research in the formulation and evaluation of public policy. Dawn

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KU confers 27 PhD, MPhil degrees
Karachi: The Karachi University (KU) conferred PhD degrees to 24 students and MPhil degrees to three students at a meeting of the Board of Advance Studies and Research on Tuesday. KU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mohammed Qaisar chaired the board meeting.

The PhDs were awarded to Samina Hasnain in Pakistan Studies; Iqbal Saeed Khan in Environmental Studies; Tanvir Jabeen, Fauzia Batool, Fauzia Tabassum and Syeda Batool Zehra from zoology department; Farah Naz, Mohammed Mumtaz Khan, Ambrina Khatoon and Nahid Sajjad from biotechnology department; Maria Ghani, Hanif-ur-Rehman, Rashida Rehmat Zehra from AQ Khan Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (Kibge); Saeeda Nadir Ali, Naseer Akhtar and Syed Mohammed Imtiazuddin in chemistry; Altaf Hussain in Quran and Sunnah; Al-Haj Umer Mohammed Abdullah and Anwar Ali in molecular medicine; Kharsoo Mian from the Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics; Nargis Anjum in physiology; Naseer Reden Tahamer Al -Motairi in business administration; Sadaf Ajmal in genetics; and Sajida Parveen from the public administration department.

The MPhil degrees were conferred on Wajiduddin from botany department, Umair Gulzar from HEJ' s chemistry department and Mohammed Saeed from physics.

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SMIU VC given last chance to comply with court order
Karachi: The Sindh High Court has given the last chance to the vice chancellor of the Sindh Madrassatul Islam University (SMIU) to comply with a court injunction regarding the regularisation of 14 contract employees.

Akbar Ali Chandio and 13 other employees have filed a contempt-of- court application against the vice chancellor for not obeying the court order.

They noted that the high court had directed the university administration on October 13, 2011 to consider their cases for regularisation without any discrimination prior to the expiry of their contracts. However, they said, despite the lapse of three years no action had been taken to decide their fate.

The university submitted that the cases of the petitioners were considered by a selection board meeting, and later it was decided that all vacancies should be advertised and filled under the university rules.

The petitioners said they had been performing duties since 2006 and their cases were to be considered without any discrimination.

A division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, observed that prima facie the court order was not placed before the selection board for consideration as minutes of the meeting did not reflect that.

It said prima facie the court injunction had not been complied with and contempt-of-court proceedings may be initiated against the alleged contemnors.

The counsel for the alleged contemnor, Khalid Javed, sought one more opportunity to place the cases of the petitioners before the selection board.

He undertook that a meeting of the selection board would be convened within two weeks and the cases of the petitioners would be considered in terms of the court order.

Giving the last chance to the alleged contemnors, the court directed them to comply with the injunction and submit a report on or before the next date of hearing, i.e. February 12.

The court directed the VC to appear in person and warned that if any further violation of the court order was found contempt-of-court proceedings "shall be initiated".

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Inter-college debate contest held
Karachi: The Inter Collegiate Bilingual Elocution/Declamation Contest 2014 was held at Defence Authority SKBZ College on Wednesday.

The Army Public College, Saddar, won the overall trophy for elocution. It also bagged the first prize in English category.

Second and third positions in the English category went to Defence Authority Degree College for Women, Phase VIII, and, CBM College, respectively.

Meanwhile trophy for the Urdu category was claimed by Defence Authority Degree College for Women, Phase VIII, while Fazaia Degree College and Army Public College stood third.

Speaking as the chief guest, Anwar Zai, chairman of the Board of Intermediate Education in Karachi, stressed the importance of communication.

He said that it was imperative that children knew the importance of education and know how essential it is for life.

He said that it was important to be able to communicate well to succeed in today's world.

Zai appreciated the standard of elocution of the students and praised their efforts.

Principal of the SKBZ college, Brig (retd) Shahid Saleem lone said that elocution and declamation contests encouraged students to hone their oratory skills and polish their personalities.The news

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Firing on LUMHS, SU point buses
Hyderabad: Gunmen fired at three point buses of Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) and one of Sindh University on Tuesday. No one was hurt.

The point buses were intercepted at three different spots filter plant, by pass and Sui Gas office. Tyres of two point buses of LUMHS were burst while one bullet hit the body of a bus of the medical university.

Sindh University's point buses were also intercepted in Phulelli area and Bhittai town.

Reports said that a political activist was arrested from Sindh University on Monday following a tussle with a rival group. Five others were also arrested. Dawn

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SSUET welcomes new batch
Karachi: The orientation ceremony for the new batch at the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) was held on Monday at the Expo Centre.SSUET Chancellor Mohammed Adil Usman presided over the ceremony. Speaking to the students, he lamented that many degree holders did not make satisfactory progress to good jobs because they failed to acquire skills the university tried to impart.

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AKU announces new degree programmes for midwives
Karachi: The Aga Khan University (AKU) on Monday announced admissions to its various academic programmes, including the recently added Bachelor of Science in Midwifery (BScM) – the country´s first higher education midwifery programme.

The midwifery programme will prepare its graduates to provide mothers with care through pregnancy, childbirth and post-delivery, besides sharing advice on newborn and infant care and family planning, according to a press release issued by the university on Monday.

"This programme is aimed at nurses who have completed a diploma in midwifery and are looking to improve their knowledge and advance their careers in this field. Women are eligible to apply regardless of their age or marital status."

BScM Director Dr Rafat Jan said the university was committed to women´s development and was geared to provide additional preparation to candidates who it felt would benefit from the extra help before the start of the formal programme

She said the other programmes offered included Master's of Science in Health Policy and Management, Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Nursing, Master's of Education; and Master of Health Professions Education, Advanced Diploma in Health Professions Education and Human Development, Bachelor of Science, Post-RN Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.

AKU Registrar Lou Ariano said that the university operated a needs/means blind admission policy that said admissions to all its programmes were based on individual merit and leadership potential.

These attributes are assessed for each candidate and comprise test scores, interview evaluations, interests, the student´s individuality and distinctive qualities, which are all taken into consideration in comparison with the student's peers, according to the university.

During the entire selection process, the statement said, no reference was made to a candidate's financial background, while there were no quotas or reserved seats and no admissions against donations.

"The university also operates a generous financial assistance programme for students who are unable to afford the tuition and other expenses. The university subsidises the cost of tuition.

Tuition fees are, on average, at a quarter of the actual cost. This means that, on average, every student receives a 75 percent tuition fee subsidy. Besides the subsidy, almost half of the current students receive some form of assistance," he added. The news

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Students flock to Dawn Education Expo
Karachi: 'Study in UK', 'Study in Canada', 'Study in Australia' … The banners, posters and floor stands beckoned long queues of students inside the Expo Centre, where the two-day Dawn Education Expo 2014 began on Sunday.

"I want to do master's in petroleum from an Ivy League university but I am unable to find what I am looking for. Now I'm headed to Hall 1 to see if some German university can offer me the same," said Hassan Zaheer, a Bachelor's

student from NUST, who was looking around in Hall 2, before continuing with his search in the next hall.

Zohaib Ali Khan was there with his little sister Mina Khan, an intermediate student still not sure what she wanted to do next. "She was thinking of taking up architecture earlier but then thought that physics would be better. Now she seems interested in accounting," the brother laughed. "We are also looking for a university in Malaysia for her to go to because our elder brother is stationed there and it always helps when you have family nearby."

Saud Ur Rehman, coming out of Hall 1 that mostly had stalls of Asian universities and many consultants, said he was glad to learn from one of the consultants there that they were about

to pass a legislation for work permits for students in Turkey. "Working while studying is the only way I can study abroad. I can't imagine paying $7,000 to $11,000 tuition fee per year otherwise," he said.

Meanwhile, inside Hall 1 there was a big crowd of youngsters at the United States Education Foundation in Pakistan stall. "Most students coming here are looking for scholarships and there are so many here because we have the US consultants, advisory department, choice of programmes and testing all going on here in one stall," said education adviser Faraz Naqvi, who did not even have time to have lunch in peace and dealt with students' queries as he ate.

Sadia Saif, marketing and BD manager for Alma Matters (pvt) Ltd, said that they in their capacity as partners with universities in Turkey, Cyprus, the UK, Canada and Australia were able to help a lot of students at the expo. "We are here to recruit students for the universities in these countries. Most students coming to us are looking for scholarships as well as information about the work permits in different countries. They have limited budgets and from their inquiries about getting nationalities of the various countries it is also quite evident that they do not intend to come back to Pakistan," she said.

In contrast to all the crowded stalls there was also the Ural Federal University stall with no representative, just two empty coffee cups on a small table.

Hall 3 was all about Pakistani institutions of learning. Most of the students there were gathered around technical universities. It was surprising to see girls at the Institute of Space Technology. "This is a highly specific subject and out of the 5,300 students who have applied to us, we will only pick two to three as we only have batches of 30 to 35 students. Space technology is not for 100-student classrooms," said Ishaat Saboor, registrar at the institute. "But it is heartening to see girls more inclined towards space while the boys remain rooted to the ground," he remarked.Qamer Jehan Aziz, a teacher from Canada, said she just happened to be in Pakistan and thought to visit the Dawn Education Expo. "Well, it is amazing exposure for the kids and they can get a lot of information from the various stalls as all representatives there seem very helpful. The Expo Centre is a central location, which is good, too," she said. Dawn

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