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HEC funds | RMC girls' hostel

HEC yet to receive additional funds
Islamabad, June 14: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has not received Rs11.4 billion additional funds the federal government had promised to release in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year.

This was stated at a meeting of the vice-chancellors of public sector universities here on Wednesday.

The meeting, presided over by Engr. Imtiaz Hussain Gilani, the chairperson of Vice Chancellors' Committee, was held to discuss challenges being faced by the higher education sector in Pakistan.

They said the government had allocated an additional amount of Rs4.6 billion for providing 50 per cent increase in salaries announced by the prime minister for this financial year. In this regard, the finance division had issued a letter to the HEC assuring that the government would release the amount during the fourth quarter.

As a result, the universities had to borrow from banks and divert funds from other budget heads to pay the enhanced salaries with the hope that the same would be provided by the federal government as per its promise.

Furthermore, they said, the delay in release of Rs6.8 billion development funds would adversely affect the studies of thousands of scholars pursuing their PhDs abroad. If payment of tuition fee and stipend of these scholars are not paid in time, it will cause huge embarrassment for Pakistan government across the world, they added.

The non-release of development funds will hamper the ongoing development projects in the rural based universities established in the far flung areas of Pakistan, they said.

The vice-chancellors hope that the education friendly democratic government will ameliorate the financial crisis by taking corrective measures and honour their commitments to the education sector.

They warned that the situation could take a turn for the worst, if the salaries for the university employees were not released in time.

During the meeting, it was further resolved that public sector universities will not be able to pay 20 per cent increase in salaries proposed in new budget.

The Higher Education Commission has already apprised the President, Prime Minister, Chairman Senate and Governor/Chancellors of respective provinces of the ongoing financial crisis in higher education sector.Imtiaz Gilani said that government should consider the demands of the VCs and the education sector should be given priority. He also demanded of the government to allocate 4 per cent of the GDP for education. He said: "If we want to build the nation, we should invest in education sector". Dawn

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Medical college girls' hostel given to RIC
Rawalpindi: The Punjab government has given the under-construction girls' hostel of Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) at Rawal Road to Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC) to accommodate its doctors.

It was decided in a meeting held on the RMC premises under the chairmanship of Provincial Secretary Health Capt. (retired) Arif Nadeem. The meeting was attended by Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Imdadullah Bosal, RMC Principal Dr. Mussadiq Khan, Executive District Officer (EDO) Health Dr. Zafar Iqbal Gondal and other senior officials of district administration and RMC.

Sources privy to the meeting said that the provincial government missed another deadline of June 30 to start its much-hyped Rs2.6 billion project of Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC). Now July 15 was set for making the RIC functional due to the late arrival of machinery and delay in the recruitment of doctors and staff to man the hospital.

They said that the recruitment would start soon however, the provincial health department recommended that RMC Principal Dr. Mussadiq Khan should be appointed as acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the institute.

However, the sources said that the provincial government was negotiating with a general, who had recently retired from Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), for this post. They said if the retired general was appointed as CEO of the institute, the Punjab government would go against its own decision that the government job would not be given to any retired army officer.

They said that the provincial government had set the deadline to start the hospital from June 30 but it failed to recruit the staff.

They said that Provincial Secretary Health Capt. (retired) Arif Nadeem asked the RMC administration that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had vacated the building of RMC girls' hostel and there was no logic that the RMC should be given under-construction hostel building adjacent to RIC.

They said that the secretary health directed the district building department to make proper arrangements for separate accommodations of female and male doctors in the under-construction hostel and also directed to complete the work within three weeks.

During the meeting, it was decided that the Outdoor Patients Department (OPD) would start working from July 15 and admission of patients would start in August. The sources said that apparently it would be difficult to meet the new deadline as there was a lot of construction work pending in the hospital including laying of sewerage lines, entrance gate, fixture of machinery as it would take more than three months.

Meanwhile, Secretary Health Arif Nadeem also chaired the meeting of Board of Management of Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC). He instructed the RMC principal to improve the fire safety measures in the three government-run hospitals.

He informed the board that the provincial government would provide one C.T. Scan machine for Rawalpindi's hospitals.

He said that the RMC administration demanded two C.T. Scan machines and a MRI machine but the funds were not available to meet all the demands.

The secretary health directed the allied hospitals to improve the services for the general patients. He said that the provincial health department would take strict action against the doctors who did not behave well with the patients and found negligent in providing healthcare facilities to the people. Dawn

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Work on RBISE complex faces delay
Islamabad: The Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (RBISE) is perhaps the only board which functions in as many as seven rented buildings and two plazas in a radius of two kilometres much to the agony of students and their parents.

The work on the much-touted complex at Morgah with 250,000 square feet covered area, began in February 2009 and the building was envisaged to be ready by February this year. However completion of work on the complex may take another year or so. This surely will invite more ire of students and parents.

This correspondent learnt that students have started opting for the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE), which functions more promptly and efficiently, due to poor working of the RBISE.

The RBISE management has conveniently given another six months to the contractor and now it expects the building, being constructed at a cost of Rs650 million, would be functional by September this year. But this ostensibly does not seem to be happening as desired. However, this will cost the board dearly, as according to the board chairman, the extension will mean additional Rs4.2 million in the shape of rent to the hired buildings.

There is no sign of work on laying of water supply lines and electricity supply at the complex. Interestingly, when approached in his office, RBISE Chairman Dr. Muhammad Ashraf claimed that the delay was due to giving the job of water supply, power and laying of sewerage lines to the contractor.

But Project Manager Haji Abdul Hayee, while talking to this correspondent during a visit to site of the under-construction complex, denied that the work of water and electricity lines has been given to them. He pointed out they had sought more time because of additional task of sewerage lines and some other factors such as bad weather and change of the building design afterwards.

The project director was confident the complex would be ready by September if all related factors like availability of funds and weather did not come their way.

The RBISE chairman declined to provide a copy of the agreement to this scribe, when asked whether or not extension in completion of work was mentioned in it and was there any penalty for the delay. He asked this correspondent to contact the board secretary, Iftikhar Shah, in this connection. When the RBISE secretary was contacted on phone, he hinted at obliging only after taking permission from the chairman. The secretary took this scribe's mobile and office numbers but never contacted for the provision of the copy of the agreement.

This indicates how casually the project is being handled by those who matter and are supposed to keep an eye on the pace and nature of work being done. However, the chairman said they had a separate committee to look after the project besides the Nespak, which is being paid reasonable amount in this context.

"The reason for this unpardonable slackness is that no monitoring body is in place from any other department to ensure things are done as scheduled," conceded a senior board official and said despite all this mess, he does not see the possibility of anyone being pulled up or fined.

The board has its offices at Saidpur Road, Sixth Road, Seventh Road and at Commercial Market. This 'division' of the board offices has been a constant headache and agony for all those who have to visit these for one reason or the other. Difficulties compound naturally for those who come from other districts for obtaining an NoC, duplicate roll number slip or duplicate certificate.

"It is time consuming when a board official will casually advise you to visit tomorrow or day after for a job which the FBISE or any other board in Punjab does within four or five minutes," said some students, standing outside the board's office located at Sixth Road, requesting anonymity.

RBISE entertains annually around 0.25 million students hailing from Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum. Established way back in 1977, different chairmen of the board failed to construct a building despite having ample funds.

The entire board branches working under one roof has been a dream for over three decades. Once the complex is completed, it will provide s huge relief to its visitors but when would this happen is anybody's guess.

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QAU's 'Anthro Alumni Gala' on June 22
Islamabad: The alumni of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Anthropology Department will gather for a dinner gala here on June 22.

It will be the first-ever meeting of the alumni of the Anthropology Department since its establishment in 1974 under a programme of collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, USA, and the Heidelberg University, Germany.

The event will provide a social networking opportunity to the alumni besides updating them about one another's accomplishments and success stories. The gala will be followed by cultural performances.

An invitation from the Anthropology Department chairman to old students says: "It's time to say goodbye to nostalgia and rejoice the sweet memories."

The old students have been asked to contact Chairman Professor Dr. Hafeez-ur-Rehman on telephone number 051-9064-3103, anthro_hafeez@yahoo.com or Sajjad Haider for queries on 051-9064-3190, or sajjadhaider786@gmail.com

Old students are required to fill up a registration form to get enrolled as alumni members and for the compilation of the members' directory.

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Air chief lauds Fazaia College for distinction
Islamabad: Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt awarded cash prizes to faculty and students of the Fazaia Inter College, Islamabad, for earning the distinction to be chosen as the 'Super School' in entire Asia by the Royal Commonwealth Society, says a press release.

The college earned the rare honour for Pakistan in general and PAF in particular for contributing more than 150 essays in the Essay Writing Competition arranged by Royal Commonwealth Society.

While talking to students and faculty members of the Fazaia Inter College, Islamabad, the air chief appreciated the hard work put in by students to earn this international recognition, not only for their own institution but for the entire nation. He also appreciated the guidance provided by Professor Iffat Hashmi in motivating and encouraging students for participating in the essay competition.

In recognition of earning the distinction, the Royal Commonwealth Society also chose the Fazaia Inter College, Islamabad, to celebrate the diamond jubilee event in connection with 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation. To celebrate the diamond jubilee event, various colourful events were planned at the college, which included a poster competition on the theme of 'Beauty in Diversity', face painting competition and a band display. A large number of students and faculty members participated in the event. The news

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AIOU, Sudanese schools ink MoUs for exchange of students, teachers
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University on Wednesday signed four separate memorandums of understanding with as many Sudanese universities at a ceremony held at the AIOU's main campus. The MoUs aim at promoting common objectives in the educational sector.

The Sudanese universities are: University of the Holy Qur'an and Islamic Sciences, Al-Neelain University, University of Nyala and University of Khartoum. The vice chancellors and/or heads of these universities signed the MoUs on behalf of their respective institutions.

Under the MoUs, the AIOU will have regular arrangements with the four Sudanese universities to exchange academic know-how and expertise to strengthen their educational programmes. The two sides will also have exchange of students and teachers for taking benefit of their experience and knowledge.

The two sides will also facilitate the students of each other countries for providing scholarships and fee concessions to carry on their higher education, especially job-oriented and skilled based programmes. The vice chancellors are currently in Pakistan attending OIC member countries' vice chancellors' conference. They visited the AIOU and evinced their keen interest in its educational network and expressed the hope this university will serve as a model for the rest of the Muslim world in the field of distance-learning education system.

Professor Dr Hasan Kaplan, the representative of Turkey's Pamukkale University, also visited the Allama Iqbal Open University and expressed his desire to enter into an agreement with AIOU in the promotion of distance-learning system. Talking with the visiting academicians from the Muslim countries, AIOU Vice Chancellor Prof Sangi said that they will develop their linkage with the universities of the Islamic countries to promote mutual benefit in the educational fields and to meet new challenges, enabling their students to take part in the socio-economic development of their respective countries.

He said the AIOU would provide special fee concession to students from the Islamic world if they took admission for e-learning through online educational network. This offer will be available for about 3,000 students from these brotherly countries as a gesture of goodwill. He briefed the visiting guests about the working of the AIOU and its latest initiatives to fight illiteracy on all levels. He said the AIOU has now emerged country's largest institutional educational with 1.3 million students, enrolled in its various programmes. Daily times

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