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Non-accredited veterinary institutions

Exams expose non-accredited vet institutions
Lahore, July 13: Poor performance by graduates of non-accredited institutions offering veterinary education in a comprehensive examination, conducted by Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council (PVMC), has lent credence to much-hyped concern over the credibility of the institutions.

The PVMC had conducted the examination of 118 veterinarians of the veterinary institutions of Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB), Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan, Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi and Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences (LUAWMS), Uthal for their registration as Registered Veterinary Medical Practitioners (RVMPs) in September 2011.

The results were announced on July 6, according to which only two graduates, i.e. 1.7 percent, could pass the comprehensive exam of the PVMC.

It is pertinent to mention that, since 2006, the PVMC has been expressing its reservations through advertisements in newspapers sending messages to students not to take admissions to non-accredited institutions, with caution to the institutions not to enroll students in the DVM degree programme.

In June 2011, the PVMC refused to register the graduates from non-accredited institutions which created great hue and cry. The situation got worst in Multan where the BZU veterinary graduates and students had resorted to violation over non-recognition of their degrees by the PVMC. Many of students were booked by the police and sent to jail, though they were released on bail afterwards.

Subsequently, the PVMC published advertisements in August 2011 directing the interested veterinary graduates from Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB), Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan and Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi to appear in a comprehensive exam for registration with the PVMC as RVMPs. Interestingly, the graduates of Jhang Veterinary College, a constituent college of University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences (UVAS) which was also placed in category of non accredited institutions, were not asked to appear in the comprehensive exam.

An eight-member exam committee, headed by Prof Dr Laeeque Akbar Lodhi, Dean Veterinary Faculty, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), was constituted to conduct the comprehensive exam.

As many as 38 graduates from Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, 31 from Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Bahawalpur Zakariya University, Multan, 46 from College of Veterinary Sciences, the Islamic University, Bahawalpur and three from Veterinary Faculty, Lasbela University, Uthal, Balochistan appeared in the exam. It is pertinent to mention that a controversy also erupted over the PVMC's move of conducting the comprehensive exam. It was questioned as to how the PVMC could take the exam of non-recognized veterinary institutions as the same never happened in the history of veterinary education.

In this regard, the Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) was approached and IPC, through its letter dated September 9, 2011, directed the PVMC not to conduct the exam but the PVMC told the IPC that it was now too late to postpone the exam as all the candidates had reached in Faisalabad. At the same time, the PVMC went into an agreement that the result of the exam would not be declared. The PVMC was recently allowed by the IPC to declare the result owing to which the PVMC announced the result of September 2011 exams in July 2012.

When contacted, PVMC Registrar Col (r) Asghar Raza confirmed that only two students could pass the comprehensive examination. For the remaining 116 graduates of the non-accredited institutions, he said, the PVMC would arrange a 10-week crash training programme at UVAS Lahore and University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

When asked as to why the veterinary graduates of Jhang Veterinary College were not examined by the PVMC, he said he was unaware of the same as he joined the PVMC in April this year.

PVMC President Dr Muhammad Arshad said the crash programme would be financially supported by the HEC. After the programme, he added, the graduates would be examined once again and those who failed to pass would be given 15 days to pass supplementary exam. Afterwards those failing in the exam would not be registered with the PVMC.

Replying to a question as to why Jhang Veterinary College's veterinary graduates were exempted from the comprehensive exam, he said the college had gained accreditation of its DVM degree.

To another question, Dr Arshad said there was no bar on institutions therefore some of the students from Lasbela University also participated in the comprehensive exam.

Commenting over the poor performance by veterinary graduates by the non-accredited institutions, Dr Alamdar Hussain Malik who had remained Secretary/ Registrar PVMC from 2001 to 2010 said that the recent results had "bowed the heads" of all those in the veterinary profession.

He said that, since 2006, he had expressed his concerns over the issue before the Punjab Livestock Department, Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the respective vice chancellors of the institutions but nobody had paid heed to him.

Dr Malik said the institutions initiated 5-year DVM Degree Programme despite the fact that they badly lacked required faculty, practical and clinical facility and eventually produced "half baked" DVM graduates.

He said now all those who supported these institutions despite the PVMC warning should be held responsible, including the HEC.

The PVMC former registrar said the crash programme was like putting the cart before the horse. Ideally, he added, the institutions would have not been allowed by the PVMC to go through final exams of DVM unless grey areas were covered.

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Paper cancelled
Lahore: The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) had to cancel a paper of PMS when Paper-B of Punjabi subject was mistakenly circulated among the students instead of Paper-A in the first session on Thursday. Now Paper-A of Punjabi subject will be held on July 18 and Paper-B on July 19. The news

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Medics! Take career seriously No free entrance test and pay more in tuition fee
Lahore: Coming out 'wiser' and 'harsher' from the doctors' strike imbroglio, the Punjab government with a view to 'turning the medics more serious to their studies and career' has imposed a Rs500 fee for entrance test and increased the tuition fee for the students of all public sector medical colleges.

"The major reason behind this move is government's new policy to shift some financial burden on medical students to make them realise that taking part in protests or other
agitation-related activities may cause them financial loss," said an official privy to the development requesting anonymity.

According to a health department summary based on the recommendations of Admission Board for Medical and Dental Institutions of the Punjab, that has been approved by Punjab chief minister, Rs500 fee has been imposed on each candidate appearing for the entrance test while tuition fee has been increased from Rs11,500 to Rs15,000 per year.

The government has also increased hostels' utility charges by 10 per cent. The Board comprises principals and vice-chancellors of the public sector medical institutions.

The official said the board had been recommending increase in the tuition fee, besides imposition of fee on entrance test, for many years with a view to ease financial burden on the
national exchequer. However, the government had been rejecting the proposals every time in order to facilitate students despite facing financial crisis, he claimed.

Every year over 30,000 students appear for the entrance test to compete for 3,205 MBBS and 216 BDS seats in 18 public sector medical and dental colleges of Punjab.

Earlier, no fee was charged from those appearing for entrance test while the tuition fee had also not been increased since 2008 when PML-N government took charge of the province.

The changes were introduced in the 'admission policy for the session 2012-13' announced by the Punjab government for the public sector medical colleges some days back.

The admitting authority shall, however, follow the order of merit of last year while allocating weightage to the marks - matriculation 10 per cent, intermediate/equivalent, 40 per
cent and entrance test 50 per cent.

Some experts are of the view that the decisions to impose entrance test fee and increase in the tuition fee were politically 'ill-timed' as the next general elections were not far away.

"The increase in the admission fee structure is in fact a result of recent strikes by the young doctors. The PML-N government thinks that the financial relief it had been giving to the sector was bearing no fruits," the source said, quoting a health department official.

He, however, said despite the increase the tuition fee for public sector students was far less than those studying at private institutions charging up to Rs600,000 under the head.

Health Secretary Arif Nadeem, Special Secretary Dawood Bareach and special assistant to chief minister on health Khwaja Salman Rafique were not taking calls on their cell phones when this reporter tried to contact them for their version.

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Sexual harassment prevention Awareness about HEC guidelines stressed
Lahore: Speakers at a conference on Thursday observed that a vast majority of the students and teachers in the universities were not aware of the guidelines framed by the Higher Education Commission to curb sexual harassment.

The conference titled "Ensuring women leadership on campuses" was arranged by Bargad, a youth development organisation, in collaboration with Aurat Foundation, USAID and Gender Equity Programme, besides the Punjab government at the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture auditorium.

During the first session on "sexual harassment committees on campuses," the participants were informed that according to the baseline survey of the project, more than 60 per cent of the students and teachers lacked knowledge about the sexual harassment laws and the HEC guidelines.

Gender expert Dr Fauzia Saeed stressed the need to form committees to deal with the issue of harassment and create awareness about the issues and laws in the public especially youth.

Iqbal Haider Butt said a radical change was taking place in the universities of Pakistan. "There has been 250 per cent increase in women enrolment since 2003. Overall number of female students is 47 per cent in the 64 public universities in the country. However, girls are slightly more in general education universities with a ratio of 51 per cent against 49 per cent boys," he said.

Mr Butt said that according to estimates, the pattern would rise in future if enrolment statistics of degree colleges (classes XI-XV) were taken into consideration. There were 60.8 per cent girls studying at this level against 39.20 per cent boys.

MPA Arifa Khalid said there were leading enrolments in medicine, education and distant learning categories and their presence showed positive indications in the Punjab and Federal areas when it comes to regions.

Punjab Youth Affairs Department Secretary Haroon Ahmad Khan said the first youth policy of the province had recently been launched. He said women and their leadership had a major role in taking the youth policy forward.

Bargad Executive Director Sabiha Shaheen said that under the project they had worked directly with faculty members, students, youth groups and provincial departments of youth affairs for advocacy and lobbying for ensuring women leadership on campuses. She said more than 40 workshops had been organised with 800 students and 10 university youth leaders networks formed.

During the concluding session, students from different universities shared the youth network experiences. They urged the government to end anti-women laws and customs like Vani, Sawara and Karo Kari.

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PAC grills two VCs
Lahore: The Punjab Assembly Public Accounts Committee on Thursday grilled vice chancellors of two universities for not sending embezzlement cases to the Anti-Corruption Establishment.

The PAC-I meeting was held at the committee room of the assembly with its chairman, Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, in the chair.

The chairman and committee members Maj Rana Abdur Rehman (retired) and Syed Hasan Murtaza expressed concern over the Bahuaddin Zakariya University's act to pay Rs11 million in advance to a contractor. They wondered how the vice chancellor could sanction such a huge amount without a bank guarantee.

The contractor has allegedly embezzled the amount and a case has been pending in the court against him. The PAC ordered an inquiry into the matter.

The committee also examined eight audit paras pertaining to objections on an amount of Rs932 million of the Punjab University and sought an explanation from its vice chancellor.

"The PAC observed that the universities should directly refer embezzlement cases to the Anti-Corruption Establishment instead of referring them to the committees," Hasan Murtaza said while talking to Dawn.

Both vice chancellors gave explanations to the audit paras.

Zaheeruddin, who is also a parliamentary leader of the PML-Q, said the people expected that vice chancellors of the public universities should be good at administration so that they could maintain transparency in financial matters. Dawn

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