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New four-year bachelor degree programme in Pakistani colleges

New bachelor programme in colleges planned
Islamabad, July 26, 2008: The steering committee of the provincial education secretaries has decided to execute the plan of a four-year degree programme in a phased manner in degree colleges of all the provinces.

The decision was taken at the 8th meeting of the steering committee. "The transition will be brought about in a phased manner initially through degree colleges to be identified and developed by the provincial governments," said Prof (Dr) Sohail Naqvi, Executive Director Higher Education Commission (HEC), while presiding over the meeting.

The committee, which was constituted in 2003 to ensure cooperation between the HEC and the provincial education departments, is responsible for deliberating upon issues of mutual interest and evolving better strategies for their resolution.

Dr Naqvi informed the members that the four-year programme had already been running successfully for all the professional degree courses like agricultural sciences, animal husbandry, architecture and town planning as well as city and regional planning, engineering and medical and pharmaceutical sciences.

He said following the HEC initiative, almost all the universities have switched over to the new scheme of study for their BS degrees in computer sciences and IT, basic and natural sciences, management sciences and social sciences. "The model system for adoption of the four-year programme through selected degree colleges, to be finalised by government of the Punjab, will be provided to other provinces", he said.

The committee appreciated the idea of monitoring the collaborative degrees between local and foreign institutions and desired that inspection of such institutions be made after regular intervals to keep vigilance over standards of education. The concept of collaborative degrees is aimed at providing local students a foreign degree at relatively cheaper rates without actually going abroad.

The local partner institutions are required to follow curricula, scheme of studies, assessment and evaluation processes of the foreign university.

The committee was informed about the progress made regarding the fulfilment of the cabinet criteria for private degree awarding institutions. The members appreciated the commission's efforts and agreed on pressing sponsors of private institutions to satisfy the parameters of the cabinet criteria.

The meeting was attended by Jan Mohammad Dashti, secretary education Balochistan; Maqsood Mumtaz, additional secretary, education Punjab; Hazrat Masud Mian, additional secretary NWFP education department; Taj Mohamamd Seelro, additional secretary (academics and training), Sindh; Mohammad Javed Khan, director general attestation and accreditation HEC; Anwar Amjad, consultant IT, HEC; Ms. Ghayyur Fatima, deputy director curriculum, HEC, and Hassan Zaidi, project coordinator, digital library programme, HEC. Dawn

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New degree plan not to be rushed
Karachi: "There is no plan to execute the four-year degree programme abruptly. The transition will be brought about in a phased manner initially through degree colleges to be identified and developed by the Provincial Governments." This was stated by Professor Dr Sohail Naqvi, Executive Director, Higher Education Commission (HEC) while presiding over the 8th meeting of the Steering Committee of Provincial Education Secretaries held at the HEC Regional Centre, Karachi.

According to a press release on Friday the committee, constituted in 2003 to ensure cooperation between the HEC and the provincial education departments, deliberated on issues of mutual interest and evolving better strategies for their resolution.

Dr Naqvi informed the members that the four-year programme has already been running successfully at all the professional degree courses like Agricultural Sciences, Animal Husbandry, Architecture and Town Planning, City and Regional Planning, Engineering and Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences etc.

He said that following the HEC initiative, almost all the universities have switched over to this new scheme of study. "This model system for adoption of four-year Bachelors through the selected degree college, to be finalised by the govt. of the Punjab, will be provided to other provinces," he said.

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Bahria University asked to refund interest money
Islamabad: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has directed the Bahria University to refund the interest amount up to Rs10 million to the students who have purchased the laptops from the university on instalments.

Responding to the notice issued by the CCP, the senior officials of the Bahria University, Islamabad, appeared before the commission to explain as to why proceedings under Section 38 of the Competition Ordinance may not be initiated against the university.

The hearing of the case was held on June 16, 2008 at the CCP Office. Dr. Joseph Wilson, Member CCP conducted the hearing. Rear Admiral Shahid Latif, Commander Mumtaz Raza and Captain Tashfeen Riaz appeared on behalf of the university.

The member, after hearing the case observed in his order issued on Friday that the university is providing educational services and now have committed to comply with the competition law in future, the Commission is not imposing any penalty on it. However, they have to refund the interest amount up to Rs10 million to the students who have purchased the laptops from the university and have been paying the interest cost. Further the university was ordered to stop the practice immediately.

Taking notice of a news item published on 16-02-2008 alleging that the students seeking admission in the Bahria College were being forced by the university authorities to buy old laptops, the CCP decided to initiate an inquiry. Vide their letter dated March 04, 2008, the CCP asked the Rector of the University for comments on the allegation made in the said report, mainly:- Bahria College (the College) has made it mandatory for the new entrants to buy laptops imported by the college; 4500 Acer Laptops purchased in 2006 have been sold as a pre-condition to those who got admission in certain disciplines during 2007 and 2008; A large number of students were reluctant to buy these laptops as they already have their own but still they were made to buy these 'obsolete' machines to qualify for admission in the college; and almost 1500 machines still remain unsold and would be provided to the next batch of admission seekers of the college.

In their reply vide letter dated April 11, 2008, the university authorities admitted that they have been selling the laptops to the students as it was considered the helpful tool for the students in their education especially in information technology. The University, however, informed the commission that they have revised the policy and from the next semester, no student would be required to mandatory purchase of Laptops from the university stocks.

The university in its reply stated that it has initiated the scheme only to facilitate the students and enable them to make use of the digital library, e-teaching by faculty and other steps taken by the university to make the campus WiFi. The university also clarified that they bought the laptops through a loan from Bank of Punjab and they were passing on all the payments received from the students to the banks for repayment of their loan and the interest amount.

During the hearing, officials of the Bahria University explained that the university imported 4500 laptops keeping in view the number of students in both the campuses of the university in Islamabad and in Karachi. He further explained that so far they have sold 3,649 laptops to the students, out of which 2,327 have been sold on instalments and 1322 on lump sum payment. The University, however, admitted that due to ignorance of the competition law they were unaware of the violation and as soon as they received the notice of the commission, they stopped the sale of laptops in the campus and also removed the mandatory requirement of purchase of laptops.

They further requested the commission to take a lenient view in their case as they are a prime institution providing educational services to a number of students and they were ignorant of the violation.

In an another matter on the 24th of July CCP also heard 4 senior cement sector executives who were witnesses at the CCP inspection of APCMA office on 24th April, 2008. The witnesses made their statements under oath. These statements will assist the CCP in its further proceedings.

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Konpal tops GIK entry test
Peshawar: Konpal Shaukat Ali, a girl hailing from Hayatabad has topped admission test for Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology.An official of student affairs said Friday that the GIK Institute would offer her maximum financial support because of her outstanding merit. A sum of Rs83 million has been provided to the needy students since the inception of the institute in 1993. The News

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Poetry, short story competition at FJWU
Rawalpindi: A short story writing and poetry competition was held at Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) on Friday in connection with the Independence Day.

Shabnam Shakeel, a poetess, was the chief guest. Begum Shamim Ikramullah and Shama Khalid were the judges.

Students from various departments took part in competition with full zeal. The first prize in poetry competition went to Hifsah Saeed, second prize to Rabia Batool and the third to Tayyaba Abid.

In the short story competition, Tayyaba Abid got the first prize, Saima Khaliq the second and Saboohi Sadiqqui the third.

Shabnam Shakeel gave away prizes to the winners. She said the competition had revived the memories of her university life and such activities should be promoted. "The poems are full of patriotic sentiments. They show the students' love for their country," she said.

Saadia Ishtiaq, of the Department of Communication Sciences, delivered the welcome speech at the start of the competition.

In the end, University Souvenirs were presented to the guests. The FJWU Campus Radio has recorded the programme and will broadcast it on August 14. Daily Times

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