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Virtual University spring 2010 final exams

35,000 students to appear in VU Spring 2010 final exams
Lahore, July 31: Around 35,000 students will appear for Virtual University's Spring 2010 final term examinations in 108 exam centers in 85 cities across the country. The exams will be held from August 07 to August 23, including weekends. Around 700 overseas students will also sit for the examination. The university is conducting examination in a unique mode, whereby students have developed their own date sheets, time and selected exam centres themselves. The unique examination system enables students to solve separate questions on the same subject. VU has been endeavouring to facilitate students and working to provide trouble free mode of education. pr

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QAU employees demand 50% raise in salaries
Islamabad: More than 500 employees of Quad-i-Azam University (QAU) held a protest demonstration on Friday against what they term as an open injustice as the university administration have not increased their salaries up to 50 per cent which was announced in the budget 2010-11.

Raising their voice against the massive budget cut in Higher Education Commission (HEC), which was affecting the universities adversely, the protesters demanded increase in the budget of HEC so that universities could pay 50 per cent adhoc increase in salaries, 15 per cent increase in medical allowance and 15 per cent to 20 per cent increase in pension to its employees, as announced in the budget for the fiscal year 2010-11.

The protesters were holding placards inscribed with slogans for the increase in budget of HEC and saving the future of education in the country. The employees were of the view that the inflation has increased manifold within the time span of a year and it was not possible for them to make both ends meet in the current income.

They said that it was an open injustice that the salaries of other government sector employees have been increased except those working in public sector universities due to the inability of HEC to pay required funds to the universities.

According to the information there were currently 1500 employees working in BPS in university and the administration could not possibly pay the increased salaries in the available funds. "We have been given a budget of Rs525 million for this fiscal year while Rs600 million is required only to pay the salaries of the employees," an official said.

According to the officials there are several other expanses, which a university has to pay which include utility bills, vehicles patrol, laboratory maintenance, purchase of chemicals and equipments. "The universities would only be able to pay the increased salaries if the budget of HEC would be increased," he said.

QAU Registrar Dr. Shafiq-ur-Rehman said that it was impossible for the university to increase the salaries of its employees as it was already in severe financial crunch. "The income of the university is equal to none to meet with the huge expanses of the universities," he said.

However, QAU Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr. Muhammad Masoom Yasinzai addressed to the protesters on the occasion and assured that he would take every possible measure to increase the salaries of employees. "We are already having meetings with HEC and requesting them to release our funds so that we can pay the increased salaries of our employees," he maintained.

It is worth mentioning here that the Vice Chancellors of 52 public sector universities on Wednesday held an emergent meeting where they urged the government to restore the budget to its original level of Rs28 billion. Recurring Budget and Rs30 billion Development Budget as was agreed by Ministry of Finance for fiscal year 2010-11.

The VCs were of the view that under current circumstances it would not be possible for the universities to provide 50 per cent adhoc increase in salaries, 15 per cent increase in medical allowance and 15 to 20 per cent increase in pension to its employees They urged the government to provide a supplementary recurring grant of Rs7 billion to cater to salary increases.

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AIOU reaches far-flung areas to educate people
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is extending educational facilities to far-flung and backward areas of the country where people do not have access to formal education.

AIOU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Nazir Ahmed Sangi said while taking oath from unopposed elected members of Officer Welfare Association (OWA) of the university. Sangi said that AIOU is striving to accomplish the goal of providing education home to home, following the vision of Founder of University and former prime minister of Pakistan, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Employees are great asset for the university and their problems will be resolved on priority, he said. The university will enhance facilities for the teachers, officers and employees so that they can work with more dedication, Sangi said.

Those sworn-in included Qasim Haider (president), Abdul Wadood (vice-president), Muhammad Umar Khan (general secretary), Malik Touqeer Ahmed (joint secretary), Mazhar Hassan Saeedi (finance secretary) and Muhammad Shabir Budhra (secretary information).

While Engineer Dr. Syed Attaullah Shah, Ch. Hassan Muhammad, Liaqat Hussain, Shahab-ud-Din Shahab and Mrs Arifa Sulman are elected the executive members of the association. Newly elected president OWA, Qasim Haider and Former President OWA, Muhammad Umar Khan thanked Professor Dr. Nazir Ahmed Sangi for understanding and resolving the issues of the university staff.

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Bilal Jamaee buried at KU graveyard
Karachi: Bilal Jamaee, a University of Karachi (KU) student killed in the Islamabad air crash, was buried at the KU graveyard on Friday after the Juma prayers.

The funeral prayers were offered at Masjid Ibrahim. The burial saw moving scenes as a large number of KU students, friends and class fellows of the deceased gathered to perform the last rites of the talented young man.

Bilal, who was a third year student at the Department of Mass Communications (MC) and the Information Minister of the Youth Parliament, was hugely popular among the students, teachers and the non-teaching staff.

Later, in a well-attended condolence reference in the MC Department, the teachers and students recalled the qualities of the deceased. Bilal was known for his personality and an attitude full of energy along with his bright smile.

Pro Vice Chancellor Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi reminded the students and teachers that one should live the life of Bilal who did so many things at a time but managed it in such a way that no task was affected. She expressed her astonishment over the fact that Bilal was chosen to be a Youth Parliamentarian out of 1,200 applicants at the KU. "It is a great achievement indeed and it shows what a dynamic and intelligent person Bilal was," she observed.

Chairperson MC Dr Rafia Taj praised the sensitivity of the students of the MC who had shown their grief and sorrow on the sad demise of Bilal and two other students of the department but advised the student organisations not to use the occasion for political manoeuvring. She mentioned Pyare Ali who had a Masters degree in Geography but sought admission to MC Evening Programme and Aisha, also a former student who had worked for many TV channels and magazines and was recently married. She was on the flight with her husband for Islamabad and beyond for honeymoon.

Former Dean Faculty of Arts and a Professor at MC Dr Shamsuddin reminded the mourners that death was a reality and it could only be borne by the prayers for the departed soul and the understanding that everybody has to face it. Former Chairman Dr Tahir Masood recalled the occasion when Bilal had come to him for admission in the department. "I was impressed by his determination and mercurial quality," Dr Masood recalled. Bilal's father is a graduate of the same department.

Former Associate Professor MC, Prof Inam Bari termed Bilal as a civilized and refined student who had the spirit and energy to perform so many tasks simultaneously. He also recalled two other students Aisha Abdus Samad and Pyare Ali who also perished in the same air crash.

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Boat school harbinger of new hope in Dadu
Karachi: A community-based boat school has created a ray of hope among the children of the fishermen living in boat houses in Manchhar Lake, Dadu district. Two community teachers as well as children from several localities use small boats to reach the boat school, where classes are conducted regularly.

The boat school was launched three years ago by local community organizations in collaboration with Sindh Education Foundation, and ever since, has been running successfully, local activists said. They added that the initiative was taken as there was no government school for the communities living in boat villages.

Moreover, given that most of the children studying at the school are underprivileged, they do not dream high and want to be teachers except one little girl, who wants to be a doctor. However, parents are optimistic and hope that their children might be successful in getting good jobs in future if they continued their education at the boat school.

Life in the Manchhar Lake is colorful and mobile. In daytime, beautiful boat-houses could be seen moving with entire families onboard and even cooking and eating is done while the boats sail in search of fish. After the sunset when the fishermen return from the local market after selling the fish catch there, the boats are anchored in apposition that they make a village.

However, these boats might be the last ones to keep alive a centuries old lifestyle, as now hardly 100 mobile boat houses have left out of more than 1000 about 40 years back. Poverty and growing unemployment have shrunk the scenic boat villages in the Manchhar Lake.

In this regard, vice chairman of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), Mustafa Meerani, said that now people could not afford to invest Rs0.5 million to build a new boat. Recalling the past, he said that there was enough fish as well as there were flocks of birds, aquatic plants and vegetables and life was prosperous. All these things have depleted now due to pollution and degradation of the major water bodies, he said.

It is claimed that some 45,000 fishermen, including those living in residential boats, would derive livelihood from the Manchhar Lake about 40 years back. Hundreds of small boats would work in the lake, which consists of 233 square kilometers.

Meerani said that a large number of the fishermen families migrated from the area over the years most of whom shifted to Karachi coastal areas after 1995.

In the past, it has been a tradition among the people living in the boat houses to build new boats before the wedding of a son or daughter.

"The parents used to build new boats every year to make arrangements for their children, but now the parents can't follow the old tradition due to acute poverty," Meerani said. He added that the time of building boats would be a happy occasion when the relatives would sit together, exchange greetings and sweets would be distributed.

Meerani said that just like vanishing of the majority of human population in Manchhar Lake, many fish species have also depleted. There were 52 species of fish 40 years ago but now hardly a dozen could be found there which too face the threat of being wiped out. Besides, there used to be 30 species of aquatic plants. River Indus was the source of feeding the lake, bringing more fish in the monsoon season. The lake used to feed about 100000 acres of the cultivated lands. The major crops were cotton, wheat, tobacco, oil seeds, vegetables etc. Manchhar Lake, being the first declared wetland of Sindh, is also located on one of the routes of migratory birds, he added.

The communities living in the Manchhar Lake are facing a number of problems including dominance of middle men, no fish storage facility and lack of educational and health institutes. Though some organizations initiated boat clinics at different times but the mobile health centers could not be sustained. The news

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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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