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Universities self-finance scheme buried

Self-finance scheme buried for now: Universities told to rationalise expenditure
Lahore: The Punjab higher education secretary has directed public sector universities to rationalise their expenditure and not even consider re-launch of self-finance scheme because it is a violation of merit.

Higher Education Secretary Ahad Khan Cheema has, however, hinted at the option of increasing fee in public sector universities in the wake of cut in the budgetary allocation for the Higher Education Commission. He asked the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, vice-chancellor to work out at funds required to the universities.

The higher education secretary issued these instructions to the vice-chancellors of public sector universities at the second meeting of the Punjab Higher Education Council on June 22.

Earlier, UET Lahore VC Muhammad Akram Khan said that admissions under self-finance scheme or any similar scheme should be discontinued. He said the self-supporting programme might be allowed and students enrolled on SFS basis might be allowed to complete their studies.

University of Sargodha Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Akram suggested that tuition fee for market-based subjects should be revised and income generation schemes should be introduced. Dawn

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Education boards increase services fee
Lahore: All the eight education boards of the province have increased fees for different services like issuance of duplicate certificate and correction of name.

The chairman of a Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education (BISE) said on condition of anonymity, that the decision to this effect was taken in recent meeting of the Punjab Board Committee of Chairman (PBCC).

He said the increase was inevitable owing to the financial deficit being faced by the abolition of registration fee of the government students by the chief minister, increase in remuneration of examination staff and the most recent increase in salaries and pensions of the government employees.

The official said no increase was made in registration fee, adding that each board would notify the revised fee structure soon.

He said that at present, fee of duplicate certificate, change of name, some other forms, etc, had been increased.

All Pakistan Private Schools Welfare Association (APPSWA) president Syed Zulqarnain Shah claimed that earlier the boards of intermediate & secondary education (BISEs) did not collect separate fee for issuance of certificate to students but now a fee of Rs 100 had been fixed for this purpose.

He criticized the collection of inspection fee by the boards without even visiting the affiliated schools. He said the government should not put the burden on the poor people, adding that if the CM had waived off registration fee of the government schools students, the boards should be provided funds. The news

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KEMU to hold special convocation
Lahore: Governor Punjab Salman Taseer has asked King Edward Medical University (KEMU) administration to hold special Convocation for the medical graduates of 1998 to 2006 in October 2010.

A doctor said seeking anonymity that in the convocation more than 2,000 old graduates would be awarded medals, awards and degrees for their achievements. An advertisement in this regard would be published in all leading newspapers by July 15 next month after which registration of the graduates would commence.

Punjab University administration has also been asked to facilitate the KEMU in this regard. 150 gold medal winners from 1998 to 2003 would also receive their medals in this convocation. It is worth mentioning here that through 150 years of history of the varsity only 16 convocations were held to ward degrees and medals to the students. The nation

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Schools and mindset
The root cause of militancy has become a pressing issue in our society. In many places roadside tea shops, cafes, offices and government buildings debate rages on about how it has arisen and assumed such menacing proportions. The growth of madressahs has been repeatedly cited as a key factor in this. But is this really the case? The Brookings Institute in Washington has raised doubts. In a new report it has pointed out that less than ten per cent of Pakistani parents send their children to seminaries and the institutions are probably not instrumental in fuelling militancy. The report, however, also points to the terrible state of mainstream schooling in the public sector and calls for reform. This is indeed an essential requirement for more reasons than one. The decline in the quality of government-run schools has been a key factor both in the drop-out rate, which stands at over 50 per cent for the first five years of learning, and in the resort to madressahs. The food and shelter offered by these institutions offer a further incentive for poverty-stricken parents. There is a need to put everything into perspective. Poor mainstream schooling denies people opportunity. This in turn creates the frustration that so often pushes them towards militancy. The answer to militancy then lies, at least in part, in ensuring access to quality learning.

That, however, is just one part of the equation. Through madressahs, and also through narrow curriculums offered at regular schools, we have created a mindset that lends itself to militancy. The problem exists everywhere and has grown over the decades. We need to find ways to counter it. At the same time we must also re-think schooling as a means to enhance the lives of people. This at present is not the case. Only when a holistic approach is adopted can there be any realistic hope of defeating militancy. It is obvious that terrorism presents an immense threat to the well-being of our country, even to its future survival. We must therefore think carefully and at some length about why it has grown such deep roots in our soil. More important still is the need to pluck its roots out from the base. The means to do so will need to be multi-pronged, addressing the many factors that give rise to militancy and drive it on across our country. The news

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BS (Honours) Programme
Lahore: University of Gujrat Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Nizamuddin told council members that the sub-committee recommended that 26 selected colleges should be affiliated with their nearest universities where such programmes were already under way. These universities would exercise academic control of the BS (Honours) Programme in their affiliated colleges and provide academic, training and curriculum resources to their affiliated colleges. The universities would be responsible for enriching the curriculum on the basis of research and new knowledge. These universities would conduct annual examinations of students admitted to the four-year BS (Honours) Programme after the conclusion of two semesters for four years.

The examinations conducted by the four-year degree programme faculty would carry 40 per cent weightage, while the annual examinations conducted by the universities after two semesters would carry 60 per cent weightage.

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Teachers' Training
University of Education Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Munawar S Mirza suggested that college teachers' training should be conducted by willing institutions/universities and the participants should be given pre and post-training tests to measure the effectiveness of the training.

The higher education secretary asked the participants for resource sharing for effective implementation of teachers training programme.

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PhD for teachers
The council discussed opportunities for college teachers to acquire doctorate degrees without leaving their jobs. The higher education secretary told the meeting that the higher education department had some 12,000 faculty members and those interested in doing PhD sought study leave.

Punjab University Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jamil Anwar said PhD was a four-year programme and college teachers might join during summer vacation and continue working at their colleges with the consent of their supervisors.

University of Education VC Prof Mirza suggested that PhD candidates must be spared for two-semester course work in M.Phil and one semester course work in PhD.

Education Secretary Cheema formed a four-member committee headed by Bahauddin Zakariya University VC Prof Dr Zafarullah to submit proposals on PhD course work during summer and winter vacation or in the evening. Three committee members are vice-chancellors of the Punjab University, University of Sargodha and Islamia University Bahawalpur.

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PITB online admissions
Lahore: Education Secretary Cheema told the council members that the chief minister signed an agreement with the Microsoft Corporation regarding electronic citizen services that would be implemented by the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB).

Mr Cheema directed the vice-chancellors to coordinate with the PITB chairman for implementation of software of Online Admission to Universities. He asked the VCs of all Punjab universities to coordinate and finalise online admission schedule to facilitate the candidates.

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Punjab Community colleges
Lahore: The higher education secretary formed a four-member sub-committee to work on the idea of community colleges in the province. The committee to be convened by Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Saeeda Asadullah was tasked with working on the idea and bringing the matter to the next meeting to be taken up by the council. Committee's three members are vice-chancellors of the University of Sargodha, University of Gujrat and University of Education, Lahore. Dawn

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