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College remains in NGO hands | Teaching hospitals

College remains in NGO hands despite 'violations'
Karachi, June 15: The Sindh education department has not been able to take back possession of a government girls degree college from a non-governmental organisation, although the deadline fixed for the purpose expired about two months ago, it was learnt.

The Sindh education department had handed over the building of the Govt Girls Degree College, Shireen Jinnah Colony, to an NGO, the Pak-Turk International Education Foundation, on a 25-year lease basis.

A fixed nominal yearly leasing rate of Rs10,000 was agreed upon after signing an agreement of lease/rent in March 2007.

According to sources, the initiative to have the college built was taken by the late Benazir Bhutto, as there was, at the time, no college to cater to the girls of Shireen Jinnah Colony, Clifton and Defence.

The college building was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs50 million in 2007 and the same year it was handed over to the NGO by the then provincial government for the promotion of higher education.

However, when the provincial education department came to know that the NGO was violating the terms and conditions of the agreement, it served a notice to the NGO on April 11, 2008, asking it to vacate the building and hand over the same to the provincial directorate-general (colleges) by April 10, 2009 .

The notice, which was served to the NGO on behalf of the provincial director-general (colleges), has cited a number of violations of the agreement whereby the college building was initially handed over to the NGO.

For instance, the DG (colleges) in his notice has stated: "The name of the college, i.e. Govt Girls Degree College, Shireen Jinnah Colony, is not mentioned at any place in the college building, despite the fact that the said building is the property of the Government of Sindh."

Citing another violation of the agreement, the DG (colleges) has also pointed out that though the building was to be used for the promotion of higher education, particularly for college education, the building was being used for school education, from Class VI and onwards.

Besides, the third floor of the building was being used as a hostel for school students without prior permission of the education department, the notice states.

Through the same notice, the NGO was also accused of charging Rs3,000 to Rs5,000 from students of the school which the NGO had opened on the premises of the college building. It said the fee structure had not been approved by the education department, and that the fees being charged were "huge."

Another charge levelled against the NGO was that though it was bound to provide 20 per cent free scholarships to the enrolled students, it did not grant free scholarships to students and the enrolment in the college was very low (only about 100 students) and, as such, the students of the locality were not benefiting from the institution.

Citing all these violations, the NGO was asked by the education department to vacate the building and to hand it over to the directorate-general (colleges) by April 10, 2009.

When a senior official in the education department was asked whether the NGO had handed over the possession of the building as the deadline fixed for the purpose had already passed, he replied in the negative, saying that the department had been asked by some higher-ups in the provincial education ministry not to pursue the case for some time.

'We are imparting quality education'
When Mesut Kacmaz, principal of the Pak-Turk International Education Foundation, was approached to seek his opinion concerning the notice served on the foundation by the provincial directorate-general of colleges, he said that shortly after the foundation received the notice, it had assured the officials concerned that irregularities pointed out in the notice would be removed.

Asked if it was true that the foundation had shifted the boys section of its Gulshan-i-Iqbal school to the premises of the Govt Girls Degree College, Shireen Jinnah Colony, he replied in the affirmative, saying that this was done to help provide hostel facilities to students belonging to the interior of Sindh.

In reply to another query, he said that there were, in all, 120 male students (100 in school and 20 in college) enrolled in the foundation's school being run on the premises of the Shireen Jinnah girls college, and the tuition fees being charged from them ranged between Rs1,000 and Rs3,000 per month. In this regard, he pointed out that a number of deserving students had either been given free scholarships or considerable concessions in their fees, besides which the foundation intended to send six students to Turkey for higher studies on free scholarships.

About the number of students residing in the school-cum-college's hostel, also located on the premises of the Shireen Jinnah Govt Girls Degree College, he said that 35 to 40 students were availing themselves of the hostel facility and they were being charged, depending upon their overall academic performance and, as such, the amount they had been paying for both accommodation and food ranged between Rs900 and Rs5,000 per month.

Claiming that the foundation's administration was imparting quality education to its students by "providing them well-equipped physics, chemistry and computer labs", Mr Kacmaz said three students of the school had won bronze medals at the Spanish national Mathematics Olympiad, while some other students had won various prizes in national academic competitions.

Meanwhile, some teachers of the school complained that although they were employed a long time ago, the school's administration had not yet given them employment letters. Dawn

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Teaching hospitals likely to get Thalassaemia, burns centres
Karachi: The Sindh government plans to set up thalassaemia centres and burns centres during the next financial year 2009-10, besides urological and cardiac services would be strengthened at five teaching hospitals in the province, according to official sources.

The need for such specialized services was felt because these were not affordable for the poor people, they said.

Except Karachi and now Sukkur, urological centres were not available in other districts of Sindh, prompting the poor people to travel to the city. Similarly, except Karachi, burns centres were not available in the public sector hospitals in other districts. In case of burns, the exposed body parts catch infections and the patients reach in the city in a critical stage after passing a long journey. It was because of this reason that mortality rate was very high in burn cases. The government was also contemplating to seek technical help from major blood banks for thalassaemia patients, as it was already getting help from Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) for setting up urology centre in Sukkur.

Such cooperation would help the government establish these centres with little difficulty as well as providing necessary training to the staffers, the officials said.

With the help of Sukkur district government, the government has already provided Cheblani hospital in Sukkur to the SIUT where initially OPD services, diagnosis, operation theatre and a 20-beded dialysis unit would be set up.

SIUT head Dr. Adibul Hasan Rizvi was also considering establishing full-fledged SIUT branch outside Sukkur city. With the strengthening of urological centres, the burden on the SIUT in Karachi would be reduced to a large extent, besides benefiting the poor immensely in terms of time and travel cost.

One each teaching hospital is located in Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana, Nawabshah and now Sukkur (Ghulam Mohammed Mahr medical college). According to the sources, the government was also trying to rehabilitate district hospitals and in the first phase, four district headquarter hospitals have been identified in Khairpur, Badin, Shikarpur and Mithi.

Out of seven newly created districts, three districts have been selected where additional facilities would be provided to the former taluka headquarter hospitals.

These new districts are Jamshoro, Tando Allahyar and Tando Mohammed Khan where additional beds, indoor facilities, laboratory, diagnostic and infrastructure facilities would be strengthened and revamped in the next financial year.

Mirpurkhas and Thar remained neglected in the past with regard to the provision of better medical facilities, forcing its residents to travel to Hyderabad for treatment.

Sources, however, said that the present government was trying to strengthen Mirpurkhas Civil Hospital where services would be strengthened to cater to the needs of Mirpurkhas and Thar people.

National Blood Transfusion Services Project is likely to be executed with the assistance of Germany (GTZ and KfW) during the next financial year, the sources said. Under the project, three regional blood banks would initially be established in major cities. One regional blood bank would be connected to six hospital-based blood banks, which means that 18 blood banks would be connected for the provision of blood screening facility. The News

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