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SSUET budget 2012-13 | Libraries in Pakistan

SSUET's Rs 817 million budget 2012-13 passed
KARACHI: A surplus Rs 817 million budget of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) for the fiscal 2012-2013 was passed at a meeting of the institution's Board of Governors held here under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jawaid Hasan Rizvi.

A spokesman of the university said on Sunday that in the budget the university announced a 20 percent increase in the salaries of its employees while it showed Rs 815 million as current expenditure for the next fiscal.

He said that the budget shows Rs 816.89 million as current income and Rs 814.27 million as current expenditure thus making it surplus by Rs 2.63 million.

According to the salient features, the university will spend Rs 100.52 million on development, Rs 37.6 million on the purchase of additional equipment for laboratories in all the faculties including newly established telecom faculty.

Besides, Rs 16.5 million have been earmarked for financial help to deserving students and staff. The help will come out of profits on endowment fund, while Rs 23.45 million would be spent on construction of new academic block and Rs 9 million for development of new campus/IT park at its 200 acres of land in the upcoming Education City.

The university has earmarked Rs 1.5 million for research projects, Rs 6 million for research by faculty, Rs 1.6 million for PhD graduate programme while Rs 3 million set aside for purchase of new books, research journals and equipment for its library.

As per budget documents some 10,818 students had been awarded degrees in six different engineering disciplines since 1998 to date.

This year, the university allocated Rs 16.5 million for development fund and the accumulated Fund now stands at Rs 88.1 million.

The endowment fund, which was established with an amount of Rs 250 million in 2006 has now soared to Rs 310 million.

The board approved the proposition of academic council according to which syllabus has been amended with respect to the present demands and modern trends.

The board meeting was attended, among others, by Lt Gen (r) Moinuddin Haider, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, Prof Dr MD Shami, Justice Fazl-e-Ghani Khan, Engr Muhammad Adil Usman, Cdre (r) Salim A Siddiqui and Provincial Secretary Education. app

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Libraries, reading habits and publishing in Pakistan
"Egypt writes, Lebanon publishes and Iraq reads", was the mantra that used to succinctly describe the publishing industry and reading habits in the Arab world.

The problem with this mantra was that it was considered a bit trite. Then a survey a few years ago added a new dimension, rendering the old notions outdated, too. The survey revealed that the UAE was the 'most reading country in the Arab world', with Lebanon following closely behind. In the realm of publishing, Egypt, Qatar and the UAE had risen from the ranks to join Lebanon. As for writing skills, though Egypt's supremacy was unchallenged till then, according to the survey, the 'most reading Arab countries,' such as the UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, might pose some threat in the future, as these countries had left Egypt far behind in the field of reading.

During the communist era, Soviet Union claimed to be the most reading country in the world, but that indeed included a plethora of books on communist ideology. The Soviets used to publish translations in many languages and I still remember buying some Urdu books, printed in the USSR, from a roadside bookseller dealing in second-hand books. One of them was Urdu translation of Maxim Gorky's 'Mother'. But that was some two decades ago. Those translations in many languages meant for overseas readers might have qualified the Soviets as 'the most printing' nation but not 'the most reading' nation of the world.

Yet one feels the Soviets must have ranked much high on the table that reflected most reading nations, as in the Soviet era, for Moscow's population of about eight million, there were some 4,000 libraries.

After reading these statistics about the Arab world and Moscow, I naturally thought of Pakistan, particularly Karachi. How many libraries do we have in Karachi for a population of about twice as much? And the mantra for Pakistan could be something like: Lahore writes, Lahore publishes and Lahore reads.

As for reading habits in Pakistan, a Gallup survey revealed a few years ago that about 25 per cent of Pakistanis read. The optimistic survey concluded that it was quite encouraging, considering the literacy rate that was hovering around 55 per cent at that time. Some believe that since then the literacy rate has gone up to 59 per cent in our beloved country. But the 'definition' of literacy is quite different in Pakistan and it says that anybody who has elementary reading skills, such as ability to read newspaper headlines, should be considered literate. In other words, the real literacy rate is much lower than the perceived 59 per cent. That makes it all the more encouraging and optimistic.

Do Pakistanis really read that much? I am not sure, but I can tell you that quite a few publishers are doing a roaring business in the country. Those 'God's chosen few' are the ones who are smart enough to have been chosen by some bureaucrats as well.

They publish, say, 1,000 copies of a book and find some good bureaucrats. Yes, believe me! Just like cops, there are good bureaucrats and bad bureaucrats, too. The good ones are those who tell these publishers that they are well-read, cultured and understand the importance of libraries and literature. They are always willing to promote reading habits in our beloved country by helping some publishers. Through the magnanimity, cultured-mindedness and courtesy of these 'rightly placed' bureaucrats a few hundred copies of these books are purchased by our culture-loving, beloved government. In the case of the province of Punjab, this figure may go as high as 700 copies as there are more government libraries in Punjab (don't even think of comparing these figures with the libraries in Moscow, ah, those infidels!).

There are some even better bureaucrats. These are the ones who can write, or at least that's what they think. They look for some good publishers. Yes, believe me! Just like cops and bureaucrats, there are good and bad publishers, too. The good publishers are those who help our beloved government promote reading habits in our beloved country by sending books to the government libraries, though they have to charge a bit of money for this philanthropic little deed (handling and postage charges are not included, they are billed for separately). Now the surest way to promote reading habits in the country is to write a book, get it published by a 'good' publisher and, just by chance, get paid in the process. Somebody has said that when men and mountains meet, great things happen. Similarly, when good bureaucrats and good publishers meet, great things happen: great purchasing orders are generated, great amounts are paid, libraries receive great books, some great writers are born overnight and, call it a coincidence or bonus, economy gets a boost since bank deposits, too, get a boost. In such cases, the 'royalty' paid to such bureaucrats who at the same time happen to be writing geniuses could be astounding in a country where merely uttering the word 'royalty' makes publishers burst into laughter.

But then what happens to the books shipped by the good publishers to these libraries? Though the visitors to our public libraries may not be in great numbers, the permanent residents of these libraries, rats, cockroaches and, in some cases, termite, have great literary 'tastes' and are very 'fond' of books. Unlike readers, the discourtesy of library staff cannot discourage them (though some of them suffer from bad breath after devouring the books written by good bureaucrats).

I have seen libraries where bookshelves are locked and they have been locked for ages as the rust on them will tell you. Even the librarian may not remember where they had put the keys after locking the shelves years ago. The biggest hindrance in promoting reading habits is the staff at some of our public libraries.

But let me add here, in all honesty, that some of the most courteous human beings I ever met in our society were library staff.

For example, the staff members at Punjab University Library were astonishingly courteous and cooperative. During my visit last year, I found the library well-stocked, well-lit and well-managed. The notoriously long load-shedding was not a problem since generators kept the power supply uninterrupted. With huge number of rare books and with what is known as 'open access' in library science's terms, I found some old gems and got them photocopied at my convenience. The library opens early and remains open quite late into the evening. What was a treat to watch was the fact that all the reading halls were filled with readers - though mostly students, teachers and scholars - till the closing hours. The recording and issuance of books is fully computerised.

Similarly, the halls and shelves at Lahore's Government College University Library are a sight for the sore eyes. Its staff, its collections and the facilities are of the kind a book lover dreams of. Another library that has the most courteous and cooperative staff I have ever found in a library is Karachi's Bedil library. But more about it some time later.

What we need most is the libraries with courteous staff who does not consider the visitors a cause of inconvenience but a guest and incidentally a reason for the very existence of the library that employs them. by (Dawn)

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KU offers admissions in Masters, Diploma
Karachi: The University of Karachi (KU) Evening Programme Director Prof Dr Abuzar Wajidi announced admissions for the Masters and Diploma programmes, here on Sunday. Admission forms and prospectuses can be obtained and submitted at the UBL Counter, Silver Jubilee Gate till July 4 from 09:30am-05:00pm.

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KU announces MA subject change date
Karachi: The University of Karachi has announced the date of subject change in MA private on Saturday. As per details, students who want to change their subject in MA private can submit their forms till June 25 with Rs 500 fees. It is pertinent to mention here that examination of MA private I and II will start from July 2 and 3 respectively. Daily times

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Environment at KU
Karachi: Though I am proud of being a student of the University of Karachi, one of the prestigious universities of Pakistan, on the other hand I am quite depressed at being left at the mercy of politic4al activists at KU, who often use force to disrupt educational activities at the varsity.

They not only spoil the environment of the university, but also beat up innocent students. They mostly force students to attend their events or meetings, and students have no choice but to attend the events if they wish to remain unhurt.

Though these students belong to political parties, they don't know how to protest. Whenever they protest, they create tension.

The university walls are disfigured with graffiti featuring slogans of political parties.

The authorities concerned must take strict action against all such anti-democratic elements at the university. IQRA EJAZ, Karachi University (Dawn)

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