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Reform needed in university education

Academicians call to reform university education, Concern over 73% cut in universities' budget
Islamabad, Mar 30: Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Association (FAPUASA) on Sunday urged the government to introduce long-lasting reforms in the university education, aiming at uniform salary structure, across-the-board accountability and more teachers' say in policymaking.

The federation criticised the government for imposing 73 per cent cut on the annual budgetary allocations for the Higher Education Commission (HEC), which had adversely affected public sector universities in the country.

The federation's general secretary, Prof Badar Soomro, made these remarks at a press conference held here at the National Press Club. The press briefing was organised at the end of the two-day general body meeting of the FAPUASA.

About the reports that the government was considering a proposal to abolish the autonomous status of the HEC, Prof Soomro said instead of taking such an extreme measure, the commission could be downsized, properly audited and a serving professor should be appointed its head.

He said the federation was also of the view that instead provincial governors, who acted as ex-officio chancellors of the public-sector universities in their respective provinces, professors should be appointed chancellors with the status of federal ministers.

He also criticised the habit of appointing retired persons as head of the universities.

However, Prof Soomro said the FAPUASA believed that there should be an evaluation, monitoring and accountability procedure for all the vice-chancellors to assess their performance.

He also called on the government to restore teachers who were forcefully retired from various universities during the tenure of Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf.

The federation also demanded revoking of the Model University Ordinance imposed on the newly-established universities by the Musharraf regime, saying instead they should be managed as envisaged in the constitution of 1973.

Dr Soomro said the decision of The University of Punjab to grant Rs10,000 as PhD allowance should be implemented in all public-sector universities of the country. He expressed serious concern of the teachers' community on the stoppage of HEC scholarships to teachers for doing PhDs abroad.

In response to a question, he said the FAPUASA had criticised NED University of Engineering and Technology's vice-chancellor for not granting upgradation to its teachers as announced by the government back in 2007.

Similarly, the issue of International Islamic University came under discussion, where its teachers were yet to receive 20 per cent raise in the salaries announced by the government in the 2008-09 budget.

Answering a question, Prof Soomro said on the one hand the government was cutting the budget of universities, but on the other, it was paying hefty salaries under the Tenure Track System (TTS) to a limited faculty.

Prof Quddus from Bahauddin Zakaria University said the TTS was creating dissension and discrimination among teachers by having different standards not only in different provinces but also in different universities.

AIOU Academic Staff Association general secretary Prof Zahid Majeed said they completely rejected the controversial TTS.

In the end, Prof Soomro said if the demands of the federation were not accepted by April 22, a black day would be observed and press conferences would be held on April 29 in all public-sector universities of the country.

He also announced to hold another general body meeting of the FAPUASA in the University of the Punjab in the last week of May to chalk out new strategy.

The meeting also expressed its pleasure and satisfaction at the restoration of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry as Chief Justice of Pakistan.

The meeting on the occasion elected new office-bearers for the next one-year term including Dr Inayatullah Shah from Sindh University as president of the federation, Prof Kaleemullah Bareach from University of Balochistan (vice-president) and Prof Badar Soomro (general secretary).

The meeting also elected presidents of provincial chapters. The provincial heads are: Dr Saeed A Nagara (Punjab), Prof Liaquat (Balochistan), Dr Arbab Khan Afridi (NWFP) and Prof Liaquat Ali Tunio (Sindh) and Dr Iqbal Shah (Federal).

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Colourful cultural week at IIU concludes
Islamabad: The three-day colourful celebrations of cultural week 'A World Beyond Achievement' at the women campus of International Islamic University (IIU) concluded on Saturday with a prize distribution ceremony.

The position holders of different competitions were awarded with prizes and certificates as an acknowledgement of their extra-ordinary performances in different fields.

The awards for the 'Islamic world exhibition' distributed on the basis of national and international category where Arabic Department stood first in international category for depicting China while the second and third positions went to Department of Sharia and Law for depiction of Kenya and Malaysia respectively.

While in national category Social Sciences stood first for the portrayal of NWFP, Faculty of Management Sciences (FMS) stood second for depicting the culture of Gilgit while the third shared by English Department and Sharia and Law for depicting Mughal Empire and Global Warming respectively.

In the category of dress show the Department of Usuluddin got the top honour for depicting the dresses of Somalia while Social Sciences stood second for depiction of Red Indian and Arabic Department declared third for the depiction of Indonesian dresses.

There were two categories including national and international for the food competition where FBAS stood first for Sindhi food, Sharia and Law stood second for Punjabi food while the third prize was shared among English Department and FMS for the food of Hazara and Kashmir respectively.

In the category of international food Usuluddin stood first for Afghani food, Usulludin stood second for Algerians food and Arabic Department stood third for Chinese food.

Abrar Ahmed from the Department of Bio Informatics took the top honour in Arabic short story writing while Festoon Abdullah and Saima Abro from Usuluddin stood second and Sobia Qurban from Sharia and Law stood third.

In the category of English short story writing Habiba Shaukat from English Department stood first, Maryam Manzoor and Sehla Samara from English Department stood second while Maham Sajjid from Social Sciences stood third.

Sobia Shaheen from Usuluddin and Firdous Akhter from Urdu Department stood first and second respectively in the category of Urdu short story writing.

In the category of Arabic essay writing, the department of Usuluddin got the top positions as Nadia Irum stood first, Saima Fayaz stood second and Fartoon and Samina stood third.

In English essay writing Mehak Liaqat from English Department got first position, Maria Fatima from English Department stood second while the third prize was shared by Maham Sajjid from Sociology and Maryam Manzoor from English Department.

Salsabeel Inftikhar from English Department stood first in English essay writing competition while Shazia Naureen and Anam Tariq Butt from Usuluddin got second and third position respectively.

In the category of Arabic debates Naila Khan and Samina from Usuluddin stood first, Nafeesa Habeeb from Sharia and Law stood second while Ibtihal Jasir from English stood third.

In the category of English debate Mehak Liaqat from English Department stood first, Sara Masood from English Department stood second while Mawra Ilyas and Shazia Rehman from English Department stood third.

While in the category of Urdu debate Nafeesa Habib from Shria and Law, Anam Tariq Butt from Usuluddin and Kausain Kausar from Applied Sciences stood first, second and third respectively.

Afafa Fuad from Usuluddin and Abrar Ahmed from Bio Informatics stood first and second respectively in the category of Arabic Research Article while Huda Qasim from Usuluddin stood first in the English Research Article.

In the category of Hifz-ul-Quran (LEVEL 1) Jamila Ali and Attia Abdul Wadood from Usuluddin stood first. In level 2 Abeer Hasan from Faculty of Applied Sciences stood first, Asma Abro from Fas stood second and Anam Anwar from Usuluddin stood third. In level three Bushra Abro from FAS stood first, Haadiya Batool from Arabic stood second while Rozina Safdar from Usuluddin stood third.

Department of Usuluddin took the top positions in the category of Tajveed-ul-Quran as Sameena Afghan and Zainab Ismail stood first, Razia Jamshed stood second and Rozina Safdar stood third.

In the category of Hifz-ul-Hadith Sayyida Uzma from Usuluddin stood first, Marya Ali from Usuluddin stood second while Nabeela Khalid from Arabic department stood third.

Madiha Khalid from FMS stood first in Henna competition while Najam Hafeez from economics and Samra Naz stood second and third respectively.

In fresh flower arrangement Naveed Ahmed from FAS stood first, Ammna Bajwa from FAS stood second and Mahira Arood from Bio Informatics stood third.

In dry flower arrangements Fazeela Istiaq from FBAS stood first, Zarmeena Rashad from FMS stood second and Rabia Rauf from Arabic department stood third.

In glass painting Zara Ali from Arabic department, Mahru Najam from English department and Tayyaba Hina from English department stood third.

In Pencil sketching Uzam Farooqi from English department stood first, Maryam Javed from FBAS stood second and Madiha Aslam from FMS stood third.

Uzam Farooqi from English Department stood first in poster painting while Tayyaba Hina from English Department and Maryam Javed from FBAS stood second and third respectively.

In calligraphy Bushra Abro from FBAS stood first in Atrabic while Tayyaba Hina from English and Amna Aftab Usuluddin stood second and third respectively. In English Calligraphy Salsabeel Iftikhar from English stood first, Tayyaba Hina from English and Rukhsana Durrani from Education stood second and third respectively while in Urdu calligrapghy Mudassir Tahira from Usuluddin stood first, Naheed Laqman from Usuluddin and Salsabeel from English stood second and third respectively.

On the occasion the ambassador of Jordon Dr Saleh Ahmed Al-Jawarneh highlighted the diversity and dynamism of the Islamic culture, saying that Islam is religion of peace but is being misunderstood and misinterpreted in some parts of the world.

Bangla school opened in Islam
Islamabad: The Bangladesh high commissioner opened a Bangla language school at Sector F-10 here on Saturday.

According to High Commission's Press Counselor Ishtaque Hussain, the school - Eso Bangla Shiki (Come and learn Bengali) - will provide Bangla teaching to the children of the chancery staff as well as Bengali origin children. Classes will be held every Saturday.

The school comes a day after the high commissioner hosted a reception on Thursday to celebrate the country's 38th national day.

Senate Chairman Farooq H. Naek cut a large birthday cake on the occasion. The reception was attended by about 500 guests, including past and incumbent ministers, parliamentarians and elite of the town. Dawn

FUUAST recognised by PEC
Islamabad: Federal urdu university of arts sciences and technology islamabad has been awarded recognition by PAKISTAN ENGINEERING COUNCIL.This was decided in the meeting held at PEC headquarters islamabad on thursday and firday.Students,faculty and parents have expressed their satisfaction over the progress university has made in 4 years. -By Saima,

Students take exams under umbrellas in Dir
Upper Dir: Students of the Girls Middle School in Bibyawar Town here are taking their annual examinations under umbrellas due to torrential rain in the area as the school building was blown up by militants last year.

The school situated amid fields in Bibyawar Town was destroyed with explosives in June last year. Some of the rooms were completely destroyed, while others were partially damaged.

However, the process of education was not stopped despite threats and unfavourable atmosphere.

The girl students continued their studies in the courtyard of the school for about nine months.

Even after a period of nine months of classes being conducted in the open, the government and education department failed to make arrangements for the annual examinations and now the students are forced to take their papers under umbrellas.

The Child Rights Committee Upper Dir on Saturday demanded of the government to facilitate the students of the school so that they could take their annual examinations comfortably. The committee asked the education department and the district government to provide tents to the school immediately. Dawn

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