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USAID launches scholarship scheme
Islamabad, Jan 11: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC) has launched USAID Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Programme for the financially disadvantaged students to study Business Administration, Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences, Social Sciences, Medical/Nursing and Engineering & Technology Programmes. Students across the country are strongly encouraged to apply for these scholarships.

There are 31 partner universities/institutions for this scholarship programme. The students can get admission in under-graduate and graduate programmes of participating universities/institutions. The scholarship provides funds for tuition fee, books, transportation, boarding & lodging and other academic costs.

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FJWU holds annual bookfair
Rawalpindi: The library of Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) organised a two-day Annual Bookfair within the premises.

The bookfair was inaugurated by acting Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Naheed Zia Khan.

Speaking on the occasion, she said that bookfair is very important and highly remarkable intellectual activity specifically for the promotion of higher education. It's a regular feature of FJWU and very well organised activity. "We are obliged to the vendors who participated in the bookfair and provided exposure to our students and faculty members who may not have enough inspiration to go to bookshops," she said.

Dr. Naheed Zia Khan called for promotion of the culture of book reading. All educational institutes must arrange bookfairs. She added that it's encouraging to see that students purchased books and faculty recommended books to them in their respective disciplines. Thirteen registered book vendors participated in the fair and exhibited their books.

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AIOU admissions
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will open its SSC to Master level admissions in various disciplines for the Semester Spring, 2014 from January 20.

Prospectus and admission forms for Spring 2014 Semester can be obtained from the sale points of university's main campus in Sector H-8, Islamabad, and country-wide Regional Campuses and Coordinating Offices.

The admission forms along-with prescribed fee can be submitted in countrywide branches of Bank Al-Falah, Habib Bank Ltd, First Women Bank and Allied Bank and in the nominated branches of National Bank of Pakistan and Muslim Commercial Bank. This was announced by Director Admissions, AIOU Syed Zia-ul-Hasnain.

Director admissions said that the admission forms and prospectus of Matric, FA and BA level programmes for Pakistanis in the Middle-East can be obtained/download from website del.aiou.edu.pk of the university. Computerised admission forms have been sent to all the continuing students as well as they can also download the continuing admission form from website www.aiou.edu.pk of the university.

For further detail about admissions for the Semester Spring can be obtained from Information Management Unit, Admission Department at Ph. No.051-9057151. The candidates can also contact for further information about Teacher Training Programmes on 051-9057428, Secondary Programmes on 051-9057431, Higher Secondary on 051-9057432, Bachelor Programmes on 051-9057435 while the Postgraduate Programmes on 051-9057422. The news

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AIOU to set up model tele-study centres at district level
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) would set up model tele-study centres at each district headquarter in the country to facilitate its students for the easy accessibility to quality education.

This was decided at a meeting of Special Task Group (STG) on Tuesday under AIOU Vice Chancellor Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi.

It was also decided that these centres would be electronically linked with the university's main campuses to help students acquire knowledge through video-conferencing and e-learning system.

This arrangement would mainly facilitate students living in the country's remote regions, said the vice chancellor while addressing the meeting.

It was also decided that part-time coordinators and other necessary staff would be appointed to run the study centres. The staff, mainly AIOU's own students, would be engaged under "Earn to learn" scheme.

The vice chancellor briefed the participants about his recent visit to regional offices in Sindh and Balochistan and said that infrastructure network in remote regions was being upgraded to ensure accessibility to the quality education across-the-board.

He said a technical centre would be set up in Gwadar to provide skill-based education to the local people and the Balochistan government had agreed to provide a suitable building for the purpose.

Ten acres have also been acquired to build university's own campus in Gwadar while an information office has been set up there at a girls high school for the time being.

The meeting also reviewed matters related to admissions to new semester, mailing of books and timely declaration of results.

Those who attended the meeting included Faculty of Social Sciences Dean Dr Rashid A Naeem, Registrar Bashir Muhammad Chaudhry, Controller of Examination Dr Hamid Khan Niazi, Director (Admissions) Syed Ziaul Hasnain and Students Affairs Director Mian Muhammad Aslam.

Separately, a group of 12 selected scholars of National University of Modern Languages (NUML) would proceed to University of North Texas (UNT) on January 15 to attend a two-month UNT-NUML Research Fellowship program at UNT, USA.

This was announced during a ceremony where six male and six female PhD and MPhil scholars of English Studies Department of NUML were handed over tickets and health insurance cards by NUML Rector Maj Gen (r) Masood Hasan and Director General (DG) Brig Azam Jamal.

This second cohort of scholars is proceeding to UNT under Research Fellowship Program which is part of a three-year academic partnership between NUML and UNT to boost the research and academic culture in the university. The first cohort consisting of faculty members attended the fellowship programme in August 2013.

Talking to faculty members, Masood Hasan said this would be a golden opportunity for scholars to learn and assimilate latest research and pedagogic practices at UNT and then apply them to their own environment and class.

"Moreover, you would be representatives of your culture, society and nation and it is up to you that how you make them to see your country through your eyes", he added.

Asma Zahoor, a scholar proceeding to UNT, said, "Getting the UNT-NUML Research Fellowship offers me the unique opportunity to continue developing as an academic researcher."

"It will undoubtedly help me cultivate the skills necessary to be a researcher and teacher by interacting with some of the most experienced people in the field of research from the US and around the world," she said.

The scholars, who are at advanced stage of their PhD/MPhil programmes, would conduct their dissertations or research projects under the supervision of American supervisors at UNT. They would observe graduate and undergraduate classes studying research, have extensive interactive sessions, and participate in cultural events under this programme.

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AIOU announces matric result
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has announced the final results of its matric programme for the Spring Semester, 2013, and placed the results on its website, www.aiou.edu.pk.

AIOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi pushed a computer button to declare the results. Controller of Exams (CE) Dr Hamid Khan Niazi was also present on the occasion. He said the results cards of the matric programme are being sent by post to all the candidates, and the students who do not receive their result cards by January 15, they should contact the superintendent exams personally or at phone number 051-9057323.

The students can also download their results from website www.aiou.edu.pk.

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'Annual enrolment in AIOU rises to 1.4 million'
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) achieved some unique milestones in four years and now it annually enrols 1.4 million students, who are taught 200 courses by 62,000 tutors in 50 regional centres across the country.

Efforts of AIOU Vice Chancellor Dr Nazir Ahmad Sangi during the past four years helped the university meet its targets.

In a briefing to reporters on Friday, Dr Sangi said that when he took charge four years back, the university was one semester behind its schedule and 12,000 complaints of students were pending.

"Now the university is taking examinations right on schedule and there are no more pending complaints of students," he added.

Dr Sangi said now the university was financially independent and like others did not look towards the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to meet its recurring and development expenditure.

The salaries of employees were increased by 150 per cent from the university's own resources, he said.

Financial resources were increased by 40 per cent through efficiency and wastage and corruption was ended, he added.

The student enrolment now stands at 1.4 million from 1.1 million in 2010, he said, adding that despite increase in its expenditure, student fee was only increased by 10 per cent.

He said that the university, established in 1974, put on its payroll 15,000 more tutors and now their total strength had reached 62,000.

"The university has expanded its network to 50 regional centres and campuses present all across Pakistan, in bigger cities as well as far flung areas of Turbat, Kalat, Chitral, Mithi and Umerkot."

In his tenure, Dr Sangi religiously followed the university charter, bridging the gaps in provision of education for underprivileged and students from the rural areas, especially girls.

"Our objective has been to provide quality education which is affordable and people have equal access to it," he said.

Sangi said he was proud that to have introduced innovative practices and technologies like video conferencing, linking regional centres, which cut the cost and reduced need for travelling, besides setting up dozens of computer labs and workshops for technical courses.

He has approved an SMS service so that the university can keep the students updated on admission and examination schedules.

"Pursuing doctoral-level studies is expensive everywhere but the university is running a PhD programme for which a student has to pay only Rs 5,000 per month," he said.

The vice chancellor focused his efforts on streamlining examination systems and boosting standards by setting up Directorate of Quality Assurance.

He said the university had constantly strived to increase collaboration with foreign universities using models of distance learning.

Now AIOU is member of the executive council of Asian Association of Open Universities and has collaborative arrangements with China, India, Bangladesh, Japan and Korea, he added.

Dr Sangi said he succeeded in increasing enrolment in short-term technical courses of agriculture, poultry, electrical and plumbing to 7,000, which was only 700 three years back.

The university also established a Directorate of Technical Education and successfully convinced the federal and provincial governments to hand over affairs of some of the dormant technical institutes.

Dr Sangi said the university had plans to start technical institutes in Toba Tek Singh, Attock, Loralai, Kalat, Hala and Gwadar, which would increase future prospects for youth of those less-privileged areas. Daily times

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