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SSUET budget | Adopt-a-school policy

SSUET passes budget for 2014-15
Karachi, July 15: The Board of Governors of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) passed a surplus budget for the fiscal year 2014-15.

In keeping with its tradition that no student would give up academic pursuits because of financial constrains, the university has earmarked Rs40 million for scholarships and Rs8.5 million for financial aid for deserving and talented students.

The budget, that has a surplus amounting to Rs2.1 million, shows an income of Rs980.91 million and expenditure forecast of Rs978.81 million while its current expenditure stand at Rs817.92 million.

Another allocation of Rs38 million was made for introduction of new technologies, including features in Electrical Engineering department and development of a new campus and IT Park.

But of the Rs160.89 million allotted for development, the university will spend Rs50.6 million on the construction of a new academic block, Rs14.9 million for research projects, Rs6 million for financial incentives for research faculty and Rs0.8 million for the PhD graduate programme.

SSUET will further spend Rs3.5 million on the purchase of new books, research journals and equipment for the library but has focused on its existing labs, allocating Rs29.3 million for additional lab equipment.

The university's endowment fund for employees, stands at Rs330 million with a development fund of Rs148 million. Financial aid for students will be drawn out of the profits from this fund.

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Dr Atta-ur-Rahman joins SSUET board of governors
Karachi: Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, a leading and internationally renowned scientist of the country, has joined the board of governors of the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology

This was disclosed by SSUET Chancellor Engr Muhammad Adil Usman, who welcomed Dr Atta on his visit to the varsity on Wednesday, and held a discussion with him over the various challenges being faced by the academic sector.

"Prof Atta has extraordinary knowledge and academic experience, and we are delighted that he has joined the SSUET Board of Governors. With his insights and unmatched skills, he will be a great addition to our team and will contribute immensely to the university's future growth," said Engr Usman.

Prof Atta-ur-Rahman is a leading scientist and scholar in the field of organic chemistry from Pakistan, especially renowned for his research in various areas relating to natural product chemistry.

He has served as the federal minister for science and technology, federal minister of education and chairman of the Higher Education Commission, a position that also entitled him to the status of a federal minister.

The Austrian government also honoured him with its highest civil award in recognition of his eminent contributions, and he is also the only scientist from the Muslim world to have been conferred the Unesco Science Prize.

Prof Rahman has also been conferred four civil awards including the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Hilal-e-Imtiaz and Nishan-e-Imtiaz.

With over 947 publications in the field of his expertise, including 135 books largely published by leading European and American publishers, he is also credited for reviving higher education and research practices in Pakistan.

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Education watchdog slams misuse of adopt-a-school policy
Karachi: A not-for-profit organisation focused on the state of public education in the city has strongly condemned the rising instances of handovers of government schools to private organisations.

"Over the past six years, the education department has handed over 250 government schools to either private NGOs or land mafia elements," Anees-ur-Rehman, the convener of the Taleem Bachao Action Committee (TBAC), said in a statement on Monday.

He accused the government, by handing over public school buildings worth billions of rupees, of actually causing serious damage to the public treasury.

"After a school is adopted, the new organisation is free to operate it in whatever way they want. In some cases, they even start charging school fees. This goes against Article 25-A, the constitutional provision which guarantees free education for all citizens," he said.

In the latest such move, Rehman alleged the Farabi Government School, a huge school located on Kashmir Road, was being handed over to a private-sector university. "If every adopted school starts charging fees, where will the underprivileged children go to study?" he said.

Sultan Masood Sheikh, a TBAC member and former headmaster of a government school located near the Farabi Government School, said, "It is not fair on the government's part to put up schools for adoption. It is a way of abdicating responsibility of its voters, who they promise free education in every election manifesto," he said.

He added that, while the adopt-a-school policy does not allow schools to charge fees or terminate teachers, the actual practices were quite different.

According to the Sindh Education Foundation, which deals with all school adoptions, the Farabi Government School is currently teaching over 500 boys and girls, and was one of the first ones to be adopted after the policy was passed in 1998.

When asked about a possible change in ownership, the SEF answered in the negative. "The school is still under the Zafar Sultan Trust, which was its first and only adopters," said Maria Ijaz, an official at the SEF. The news

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