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Private schools vacation | SMC made university

Summer vacation begins in many private schools
Karachi, June 02: Many private schools across the city and its suburbs were closed on Friday for a two-month summer vacation (June-July) despite the chief minister's approval for the enforcement of the July-August summer vacation accorded formally on May 18.

However, the government schools in general, along with some other private schools, which intended to start the vacation in mid-June or on July 1 remained open.

Education circles blamed the education officialdom for the uneven observance of the official two-month summer vacation.

First, the initiators of the idea to observe summer vacation in July and August to include Ramazan and save the schoolchildren from hardship woke up very late and secondly the plan was kept so vague and full of confusion. "The people at the helm of affairs played it to their chest when it came to implement the government decisions," said a source in the education department.

Following reservations among the private schools of all cadres and status, the Sindh education secretary had moved a summary in the last week of May as well for the declaration of the July-August summer vacation as "optional" for this year, which was turned down by the chief minister on May 29, leaving no justified means for change in the previously practised June-July summer vacation.

Earlier, applications were received from about 500 schools, requesting the education department for allowing June-July vacation on various grounds, including the pressure from parents and teachers. Almost all these schools, including the Cambridge, Matric, AKUEB systems, are now observing summer vacation as they fulfilled the government's requirement of "giving prior intimation" in this regard.

Syed Khalid Shah, chairman of the All Private Schools Management Association, said that the idea of observing summer vacation in July and August was very practical and in line with the climatic conditions of the province, but things could not move in the right direction only due to the "incompetence of the education department".

Today, about 40 per cent of the private schools in almost all defunct towns of the city started observing summer vacation, while some more were also planning to go on vacation soon, he said. Now the authorities were required to start working for July-August summer vacation in 2013, he said, adding that the education secretary acted very slowly for meaningful implementation of the government's decision for the 2012 summer vacation.

The acting secretary of the education department and deputy secretary concerned were contacted to get their comments on the failure, but they were not willing to speak on the "controversial summer vacation". Dawn

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SMC gets status of medical university
Karachi: An ordinance to upgrade the Sindh Medical College (SMC) into the Sindh Medical University (SMU) was signed by Governor Ishrat-ul-Ibad at Bilawal House on Friday, with President Asif Ali Zardari as a witness.

Officials say that when the SMC is upgraded, it will be the third medical university in Karachi catering to the increasing educational requirement of the metropolis in particular, and the country in general.

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Secretary General to the President, Salman Farooqui, President Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA) Dr Javed Suleman and other senior government officials were present at the signing ceremony.

Advisor to Sindh Governor on Education, Prof Dr Naushad A Shaikh, said that health and education is a priority for the PPP, and noted that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had established six medical colleges in Sindh.

Dr Naushad said that President Zardari had carried forward Bhutto's mission, and termed the decision to upgrade the SMC as "yet another manifestation of PPP's commitment to the cause of health and education."

Dr Naushad was confident that the SMU would provide and disseminate knowledge and technology and make provisions for training, graduate, and post-graduate research and services in the field of health and allied sciences.

"The SMU will adopt the latest teaching methodologies, techniques and strategies to ensure the most effective educational training and research programs," he said.Sindh Medical College (SMC), Karachi started functioning under the Government of Sindh on 7th April, 1973. To date, more than 10,000 graduates have passed-out from SMC, 2, 000 of whom are currently serving in North America, UK and Middle-East. The news

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Fireworks at KU syndicate meeting likely
Karachi: Gross irregularities allegedly committed in the pre-selection board process of a department are likely to provoke a heated debate at Karachi University's top statutory body meeting scheduled to be held on Saturday, it emerged on Friday.

Much of the criticism is likely to be directed towards the vice chancellor, who would be presiding over the meeting, as he had issued appointment orders about the highly controversial selection board without taking the syndicate into confidence despite having promised to do so at an earlier meeting.

The extent of the alleged wrongdoings can be gauged from the fact that even a candidate, appointed assistant professor, has submitted a complaint to the vice chancellor office and called for a review of the whole selection process.

During the April 14 meeting of the syndicate some of its members had raised serious questions about the transparency of the pre-selection board process vis-a-vis the computer science department and it was decided that the vice chancellor would investigate the matter and report to the syndicate at the next (June 2) meeting.

The syndicate's agenda which carries the names of all appointees of many other departments does not show the names of computer science department appointees for approval.

Two criteria for one post
According to sources, the university twice advertised the post of assistant professor for the computer science department with two different criteria; first in 2008 and then in 2010.

The 'modified advertisement' published in 2010 allowed a candidate holding a first class master's degree from a local university and six years teaching experience at some professional institution to apply for the post, although usually the
minimum criteria stated for the post of assistant professor is a PhD or master's degree (foreign) or MPhil (Pakistan) or an equivalent degree awarded after 18 years of education in the relevant subject.

The university announced a selection board in January for the post advertised in 2010 which was postponed when candidates raised the objection that how the university could call the selection board for an advertisement published in 2010 when it had not called the candidates who had responded to the 2008 advertisement.

The selection board was announced again in the following month but was postponed, this time, too, on candidates' reservations. Reportedly, the university had sent interview letters to only two candidates. Another date was announced but withdrawn.

Finally, a combined selection board for all candidates who had applied for the post under different criteria was held in March, still not without a controversy. A number of candidates approached the university administration to protest against what they called a 'violation of merit'.

Sources also question the scrutiny of applications in the absence of the department chairman and the dean of the science faculty, both of whom are important part of the scrutiny committee.

At least three candidates alleged that the university administration declared them ineligible though they were very much qualified for the post. One of them was sent a letter, informing her of being ineligible, by the then registrar before she could submit her equivalence certificate on the date set by the university.

The university also declared a candidate ineligible who had acquired a PhD degree from the KU computer science department and was teaching at the same department as a foreign faculty staff.

He was considered unqualified on the grounds that his basic degree was of electrical engineering.

"I have done my MS from Concordia University, Canada, after studying in its department of electrical and computer engineering. All top-ranking universities of the world have electrical engineering and computer science department today.

Besides, I also taught computer science and software engineering to BS and MS students for four years at the KU computer
science department. How could I be declared ineligible?" the candidate asked.

The affected candidates also alleged that the administration manipulated the entire pre-selection board process only to benefit the university's regular lecturers. They also alleged that some of the appointed candidates even then did not meet the required criteria and stated that they raised their voice against 'this injustice' in writing.

According to sources, the university also received complaints from some external candidates who were neither declined nor called for interviews held in March. These candidates alleged that the university did not call them though they met the selection criteria.

A recent complaint filed with the administration was from an appointee, who states in his letter: "The anomalies in the process of the advertisements, scrutiny, selection board, appointment and joining proceedings have seriously jeopardised the lawful and legitimate rights of a number of applicants including the undersigned who deserves to be appointed as the assistant professor with effect from Oct 24, 2009 (as had been done with two other candidates) and not 2010."

Upon contact, Prof Dr Majid Mumtaz, a syndicate member, said it was unfortunate that one of the top departments of the university was being destroyed by a group of teachers.

"I have protested in writing against the minutes of the meetings to be presented today. We had asked the vice chancellor to look into the matter and inform the body of his findings at the next meeting. But instead of doing that, the vice chancellor issued appointment orders of seven candidates," he said. Dawn

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KU dept organising workshop on intellectual property rights
Karachi: Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation, University of Karachi, is organising a workshop entitled 'Intellectual Property Rights/Patents/Copy Rights Laws/Trade Marks in collaboration with Pakistan Scientific and Technological Information Centre (PASTIC) here on Saturday (today) at Audio Visual Centre of University of Karachi. KU Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Mohammad Qaiser, will preside over the event whereas PASTIC Chairman Prof Dr Manzoor Soomro will be the chief guest. Daily times

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Teachers end protest
Karachi: Senior faculty members of the DJ College headed by Vice-Principal Dr Mohammad Arshad called on Karachi Commissioner Roshan Ali Sheikh on Friday and urged him to ensure due protection to teachers.

After discussing with the delegation the issue of manhandling of a senior teacher at the DJ College centre on Thursday, the commissioner assured them of all protection to the teachers community. Later, the delegation declared an end to their boycott of the remaining papers at the centre. Dawn

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