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Sindh education budget | EU scholarships

Education budget increased by 3.7 bn
Karachi, June 13: The Sindh government has increased the education budget by almost Rs3.75 billion to establish new institutions and appoint teaching staff in the fiscal year 2011-12. The budget for the sector now stands at Rs26.2 billion, compared to Rs22.45 billion last year.

According to the Education Department, the government realises the importance of the education sector. In the provincial budget, Rs26.2 billion has been allocated for schools, colleges, technical and medical education, which is 15 per cent higher than the current allocation of Rs22.8 billion.

During the current financial year, an SNE (Sanctioned New Expense) of Rs271.69 million was released for the establishment of 20 new colleges. Meanwhile, 8,414 new posts of teachers are being created in the education set-up devolved to district governments.

In addition to the provincial allocation of Rs26.2 billion for current revenue expenditure on education, the district government's allocations for the devolved set-up of education is estimated at Rs52.05 billion as against the current year's allocations of Rs45.26 billion.

As against allocation of Rs5.14 billion for financial year 2010-11, Rs5.19 billion with an increase of one per cent, has been allocated for 2011-12 for the Sindh Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority.

The education department would provide 40 million free textbooks to students enrolled in the government educational institutions in Sindh.

According to the education department, there are 2,566 primary, 196 elementary, 244 middle, 37 higher secondary school (HSS) and 588 secondary schools in Karachi. Meanwhile, overall there are approximately 44,000 primary and 3, 000 secondary and HSS institutions, including colleges in Sindh in which around 17.5 million students are enrolled.

In Karachi, there are 4,835 male and 10, 550 female teachers in primary schools, while 398 male and 1247 female teachers are at elementary schools. Furthermore, 468 male and 777 female teachers are in middle schools, whereas 266 male and 630 female are teaching in HSS and 2,677 male and 5, 905 female are associated with secondary schools.

A principle of one of the government school located in Keamari Town said on condition of anonymity that numbers of government schools were used as relief camps when the displaced people arrived in the city. However, these people damages the school buildings and furniture during their stay, he added.

The flood had destroyed the lifestyle of IDPs in their native towns and the government made temporarily arrangements for them in public sector schools in Karachi and other districts. But, the education department was not able to repair the buildings and furniture. Now as the budget has been passed in the assembly, the education department should focus on this issue on a priority basis as the students suffered a lot in such schools, he added.

There are a number of schools where clean drinking water, electricity and washroom facilities are unavailable. Several schools have no proper infrastructure and students used to attend classes in an open area of the school, an officer of the education department said on condition of anonymity.

Several schools located in Gulberg Town were encroached by the land mafia but the education department and concerned town officials failed to take necessary action. Similarly, there is a government school in Shah Faisal Town with broken boundary walls. The large portions of the classrooms were broken. It might be an innovative way to encroach the school, the official added.

President of Sindh Government College Principal's Association Professor Saeed Uz Zafar Khan said that budgets of April, May and June 2011 were seized by the education department and no funds were released to the colleges till now.

The principals of the colleges were supposed to be directors of the expansion and development projects and after completion of the project; they would clear the bills of the contractors. But now, the government has changed the scenario and everything is controlled by the secretariat and secretary education and the principal has no information regarding the project and the cost. "I personally believe that it would leads towards corruption and there would no accountability," he believed.

Owing to the situation, college managements are unable to pay their utility bills on time. In interior Sindh, school and college students have no proper furniture or facility of clean drinking water, he added.

Sindh Professors and Lecturers' Association (SPLA) suggested the government improve primary level teaching as cannot progress without rectifying grassroots level faults. Opening new universities is not a proper way to handle the situation, the government should hire educated and trained teachers at primary and secondary level schools so that students could have strong base, the spokesperson of SPLA advised.

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Students throng expo to get admissions to overseas institutes
Karachi: Hundreds of students appeared at the education expo organised by Students Solution on Sunday at a local hotel.

The Students Solution is a counselling organisation which provides opportunities for Pakistani youngsters who are willing to get admission to overseas colleges and professional institutes, Managing Director of the organisation Saima Asim said.

"We offer admissions to several colleges and universities of Australia, USA, Canada and the UK." The candidates, who enrolled themselves during the day-long education expo, said that they would apply for admission to the autumn semester. The organisation offers admission and visa counselling for the UK and Australia against Rs15,000 while the package for USA and Canada is Rs19,500.

"I would take classes for IELTS, an English language test, which will complete in two months and after that I will appear in the test before applying for admission to a UK-based university," said Muhammad Adeel who had come to the expo to get briefed about the technicalities of admission process.

Another student, Aziz, said that he had scored 7.0 bands in the language test and now he would apply for admission to an educational institution in the USA.

"I came here to get information about universities and their requirements. I was informed that the admission process would take at least three months," Aziz said.

The organisation has a vast experience of over 10 years in counselling and almost 8,000 students have applied through Students Solution, Saima said.

During the exhibition, the consultants of the organisation briefed the students and parents on the procedure of admission and visa policies. Founded in 1998, the organisation helps students in getting answers to their problems, before they actually face them abroad, Saima claimed.

"My husband, Asim Mairaj, the founder and CEO of the organisation, got his higher degree from a UK University. During his stay, he learned that Pakistani students were not able to get highly paid jobs due to their language skills and educational background and I noticed the same problem during my education career in the USA. We then planned to establish a platform to guide the students so that they can overcome their problems," she elaborated.

Students Solution asks its candidates to prepare and appear in the IELTS before applying for admission and visa in foreign universities. The organisation does not deal with cases without IELTS, Saima Asim added.

"Students Solution not only helps the students in learning about the academic policies and their impact on students' visa but also guide them about alternatives available in travel, accommodation, and scholarships," she said.

"Almost 80 per cent Pakistani students, especially people belonging to middle and lower middle class segments of society, have language issues. As such they usually get back-office jobs, which have low salary packages."

Besides counselling the students, the organisation also helps candidates in immigration, work and visit visa category as well accommodating families in the UK.

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KU students receive EU scholarships
Karachi: Vice-Chancellor Karachi University (KU) Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui handed over award letters at a special ceremony on Sunday to seven students who have successfully qualified for European Union (EU) scholarships.

Siddiqui said that these accomplished recipients would act as ambassadors of Pakistan at their respective foreign universities, and were testament to the fact that Karachi University's (KU) education standards were at par with the academic quality of institutions abroad. Pro Vice Chancellors Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi and Dr Nasiruddin Khan along with several department deans as well as the Registrar were also present on the occasion.

Siddiqui expressed his appreciation for Kazmi's efforts to help students apply for these scholarships along with Ziauddin Sheikh and Maria Khan from the Board of Advance Studies and Research's who also facilitated the award process. The vice chancellor added that that he believed that the university would continue helping students in this regard in the future.

On the occasion Kazmi explained that KU had first submitted proposals for the concerned foreign programme, which was then approved by the European Union (EU) after passing the stringent requirements for the university's expertise in the field of research.

Under the supervision of Vice Chancellor Siddiqui KU was the first Pakistani university to be selected as a consortium member of the EU project Erasmus Mundus Europe Asia. The news

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MBA entry test held
Karachi: About 600 candidates appeared in an aptitude test held on the Karachi University campus on Sunday for admission to MBA (Banking) in the KU evening programme. The test was conducted by the University's Business School in collaboration with the Institute of Bankers Pakistan (IBP) and supervised by senior faculty members of the university.

A KU spokesman said that around 700 candidates had applied for the 50 available seats.

Sources in the KU said that the results would be uploaded on the KU website - - in a couple of days.

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DUHS raises alarm over CHK security arrangements
Karahci: The Dow University of Health Sciences' (DUHS) senate committee has called for legal cover for its faculty members as well as other medical professionals serving at the Civil Hospital Karachi.

During the university's fifth senate meeting held on Thursday, members of the committee expressed serious reservations about security arrangements at the CHK, the teaching hospital, affiliated with the university.

At the meeting, DUHS vice chancellor Prof Masood Hameed Khan sought the faculty's support to help the university sustain its ongoing development programmes.

In response to a submission made by a senior faculty member for a rise in the allowances of the clinical side faculty members, he said that the university was faced with a paucity of funds.

"In the given situation we have to set our priorities right and expect faculty members to support the university administration," he said.

The DUHS senate committee members said that funds must be increasingly diverted towards research projects as this was a major responsibility of a university level institution.

They said that research grants must be provided to faculty members undertaking authentic research work.

Prof Khan disagreed with another submission regarding issuance of No Objection Certificate (NOC) to university faculty members availing leave to serve at foreign institutions.

"The NOC for Ex-Pakistan Leave cannot be granted to faculty keen to maintain their jobs in the university at the expense of the public," he commented.

Prof Khan said that an insurance programme for DUHS overseas faculty members was about to be introduced and that this facility already existed for all employees of the university.

The fifth meeting of the DUHS was presided over by DUHS Vice Chancellor Prof Masood Hameed Khan and attended by DUHS Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Sindh Medical College Prof M. Umer Farooq, Prof Junaid Ashraf, Dr Zeenat Ayub, Ms Fatima Suriya Bajya, Prof Abdul Ghaffar Billo, Prof Jamal Raza and Prof Salahuddin Afsar.

The DUHS syndicate members and senior faculty members, including Prof Naheed Sultana, Prof Idress Adhi, Prof Shahnawaz Marfani, Prof Atta-ur-Rehman, and others also attended the meeting.

Prof Khan presented the annual progress report of the university and discussed in detail various development projects under way at the university.

He particularly referred to the university community health projects and appreciated efforts of the faculty members in bringing up the university on a par with international level institutions. app

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