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HEC degrees verification task

HEC tasked to find needle in a haystack
Islamabad, July 02: The mystery surrounding the outcome of the degree verification issue of lawmakers has further deepened, as the Higher Education Commission (HEC) is finding it difficult to complete the task on time due to various issues.

Officials from both HEC and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) are blaming each other for the delay.

These issues have now prompted the HEC to return 161 degree verification cases of lawmakers to the ECP, which included sketchy educational certificates that could not be verified.

HEC officials, requesting anonymity, have revealed that the ECP had sent ambiguous photocopies of degrees and in many cases just affidavits to the HEC.

The sources said that out of 1,095 degrees, HEC had sent back 161 cases to the ECP as some degrees did not contain any date of enrolment and others were certificates of "To Whom It May Concern" that were submitted at the time of filing of nomination papers. These certificates had been accepted by the concerned returning officers, sources said.

In some cases, a candidate submitted the degree of his father or son while filing nomination papers. Sources say these documents were accepted without any verification by the returning officers as well. The sources added that the verification process could have been far easier, had the ECP taken original educational certificates from lawmakers at the time of filing the nomination papers instead of ambiguous photocopies.

This would have allowed the ECP to verify the degrees on its own within a few days, the HEC officials said.

According to the HEC, the copies of the remaining 934 degrees have been sent to universities and institutions for verification with directions to complete the process by the second week of this month. Of these, 300 degrees have been sent to Punjab University, while 21 to Madaris boards and 36 to foreign institutions. The ECP and the HEC are blaming each other for the delay in the verification process.

ECP officials claim that they had started the process of sending degrees to HEC on May 24 when 873 degrees were delivered to the commission.

"Now, degrees of all lawmakers, excluding eight members, have been sent to the HEC, but they have not yet verified a single degree," the officials said. The official said the degrees of these eight lawmakers would also be sent to the HEC next week.

On the other hand, HEC officials have blamed the ECP for the delay, saying the Election Commission should have submitted original certificates for verification instead of sending photocopies, which in most cases were very dim and in some cases not even readable. Due to these differences the issue of verification of lawmakers' degrees is expected to be delayed longer. This would further fuel the prevailing uncertainty that is haunting the political circles in the country.

Under normal circumstances, a person can get his degree verified and attested by the HEC within two days. Officials from both the HEC and ECP have rejected claims they are under political pressure over the issue. However, the delay in the verifications of the degrees and the prevailing differences among these government departments has raised doubts about their performance. Daily times

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HEC to delay new eligibility criteria for teachers
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission has reportedly agreed to delay the implementation of "new eligibility criteria" for some time.

The new criteria considered harsh by the faculty was to be implemented from July 1, 2010.

This was stated by Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar, President, Federation of All Pakistan Universities Association, in a communication sent to the office-bearers of teachers' bodies of all public-sector "non-fauji" universities.

According to the communication, Dr Suhail Naqvi, Executive Director, HEC, in a telephonic discussion with Prof Mahr, informed that HEC approved the delay in enforcing the criteria. The criteria do not accept pre-PhD experience as valid for qualifying to apply for promotions.

Talking from Lahore, Dr Mahr, who is also President of Punjab University Teachers Association, said all issues for which FAPUASA is struggling are important. The faculty was suffering because of apathy, inaction and callous attitude adopted by HEC high-ups towards teachers' demands despite making a promise in March last to consider them sympathetically in the relevant bodies of the commission.

Dr Naqvi reportedly agreed to look into all matters initiated by FAPUASA turn by turn. The first is the new criteria in which the Federation is demanding 10 years deferment. Other issues include HEC announcement to reject all articles published in any journal before 2005 when the commission started enlisting "HEC-recognised journals." Articles even in these chosen journals will be unacceptable if published before 2005, says HEC. But now, Dr Mahr said, Dr Naqvi thinks we can sit once again and resolve it in the coming week. He, however, added that as for the matter of articles/journals was concerned, he said, "I feel they have some reservations on our point of view. We will try to educate, I believe we will do it."

Up-gradation and enhancement of MPhil and PhD allowance in the leftover universities are the other issues. FAPUASA believes and strives for uniform application of rules, incentives and practices in all the universities. The Federation also opposes making International GRE mandatory for PhD admissions in Pakistan.

The HEC is also mulling over convening another general body meeting by the third week of July. The news

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Strict scrutiny of degrees awarded by Al-Khair
Islamabad: The now defunct Al-Khair University tops the list of private sector institutions which have been directed by the Higher Education Commission to verify degrees obtained by legislators.

Ten legislators have submitted degrees they obtained from the AJK-based Al-Khair University. The university in Mirpur was stopped on April 30 last year from offering new admissions. "Therefore, at the moment, for all practical purposes, Al-Khair University stands non-operational," said an HEC official.

Knowledgeable sources said that the lawmakers who had graduated from the university would face special scrutiny because of its status.

Established in the early 1090s, Al-Khair University has been criticised for its poor standard of education. Besides churning out a large number of low-quality graduates from its campuses throughout the country, the university had also granted affiliation to a number of colleges which virtually sold their degrees.

Despite repeated reminders from the HEC, the university failed to carry out government-approved guidelines and, therefore, the commission was left with no option but to ask it to stop its operations.

According to the HEC website, the commission asked the university to stop admitting new students and said that degrees of students admitted after April 30, 2009, would not be accepted.

A number of cases are already pending in courts about the validity of the university's degrees offered in almost every discipline, from computer sciences to zoology, law, engineering, pharmacy Arabic and Persian languages.

Two legislators have submitted degrees issued by the University of East Hyderabad, which is categorised as 'Y' degree-awarding institution on the HEC list. The universities in this category do not meet the minimum requirements of a university.

Two legislators have submitted degrees issued by a little-known Newport Institute of Communication & Economics in Karachi. It is in the 'W' category which means that it meets the minimum requirements of a university.

As per the instructions of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Education, the HEC is carrying out an across-the-board verification of degrees of all 1,170 legislators, members of Senate and national and provincial assemblies.

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UoP to verify degrees of 105 lawmakers
Peshawar: The Higher Education Commissioner has sent 105 degrees of parliamentarians to the University of Peshawar (UoP) for verification.

The university has set up a committee under additional controller, which will submit its report to Vice-Chancellor Dr Azmat Hayat in two weeks, UoP Controller Iftikhar Hussain Khan said.

"It is confidential and we will complete our job fairly in two weeks," he said, refusing to provide any details about the names of parliamentarians whose degrees have been sent for verification to the university.

The National Assembly's Standing Committee on Education had asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to get more than 1,000 graduation degrees of MPAs, MNAs and senators verified from universities. The Supreme Court, taking notice of the issue of fake graduation degrees of parliamentarians, had also directed the Election Commission to take action in this regard. The EC had sent the degrees to the HEC and directed it to verify them from respective universities.

Analysts say graduation is no more a condition for contesting general election, but the issue has become a hot topic because submitting a fake degree is considered 'misconduct' and a person charged with misconduct is unfit to hold public office. Dawn

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FDE DG assures to resolve problems of Humak College
Islamabad: Director General of Federal Directorate of Education Dr. Shaheen Khan visited FG Fatima Jinnah Degree College, Humak the other day and stressed the need of using energies to groom students.

Besides taking round of the college, the Director General also held a meeting with the office-bearers of Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) and agreed to their most of the demands.

Dr. Shaheen Khan assured the PTA that she would play her part in getting these demands fulfilled and appreciated the role being played by the institution in serving the cause of education in both curricular and co-curricular areas despite limited resources and a number of other problems being faced by its management.

Dr. Shaheen, who visited the College on the special invitation of PTA, also had a special session with the college staff. The college is catering to the educational needs of the a vast area spread over 150 square kilometres mainly comprising semi-urban and rural population. PTA President Tanwir Hussain Syed briefed the Director General about the problems being faced by the college. The DG pledged that she would play her role in getting the adjacent plot to the college for a playground.

Dr Shaheen said co-curricular activities were equally important besides curricular activities for the overall grooming the students.

During the visit, she was apprised of the construction work for expansion of the college building, due to which no space has been left for a playground.

Taking advantage of Dr. Shaheen Khan's presence, DPE Ms. Shamsa showed the trophies and shields won by the college students in various sports competitions.

Principal of the College Ms. Roudaba Shujah gave a brief resume of the college's performance over the past few years. The news

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60th anniversary of Fulbright programme
Islamabad: The 60th anniversary of Fulbright academic exchange programme between the US and Pakistan is being observed and the president of the United States has said that educational cooperation between the two countries would continue to grow.

In a statement released by the US embassy the Pakistan Fulbright programme was initiated in June 30, 1950, and on the occasion the US president has welcomed 158 Pakistani Fulbright students coming to study in the US.

"Our countries are strengthened by the people to people ties built by this programme and the alumni of other US sponsored academic and professional exchanges," the message of President Obama said, adding "Both America and Pakistan care deeply about the education of our young for the jobs and economies of the future." Dawn

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Students of Ali Trust College excel in SSC exam
Islamabad: The students Ali Trust College got remarkable success in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Annual Examination of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, says a press release.

All the 53 students of the college appeared in the examination, got A1, among all candidates 25 are included in top 60.

The GPA 6.00, is the highest among all institutions affiliated with FBISE. Among all the male candidates of Science Group, Imran Haider of Ali Trust College got second position in the board.

Ali Trust Pakistan has congratulated the students, their parents/guardians and the staff members on achieving tremendous success.

Ali Trust College, providing free of cost education to the selected students from across the country.

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Abbottonians excel in exam
Islamabad: The Abbottabad Public School (APS) achieved enviable results for the HSC annual examination 2010 held under the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Abbottabad when as many as 75 out of 105 students achieved 'A1' grade.

The Abbottonians, as the APS students are generally known, achieved 100 per cent results in the examination.

Aniq Rahim topped in the APS by securing 940 marks out of a total of 1050. "Aniq Rahim stood first among the male students in the board but was placed sixth overall as the first five positions were bagged by girl students, who certainly have outdone the boys in the exam," Principal of the APS Mehboob Alam told from Abbottabad.

"Another student of the APS secured 930 marks and bagged third position among the boys and 13th position in the overall results. Malik Furqan Mehmood and Basharat Hussain shared 5th position among the boys and 19th overall by securing 922 marks each.

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Distinction
Rawalpindi: The students of the JJS Montessori and High School, Tulsa Road, Lalazar, Fatima Amjad obtained 849 marks, Mina Arif got 816 marks and Fatima Tuzzehra obtained 749 marks in the Secondary School Certificate Annual Examination of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, says a press release. The news

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