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Urdu University's 1st convocation | PBTE's date sheet

425 graduate at Urdu University's 1st convocation
Islamabad, Mar 25: As many as 425 students were awarded with degrees while 20 were bestowed with gold medals at the first convocation of Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences & Technology, Islamabad.

The ceremony was held here Tuesday at Jinnah Convention Centre where Federal Minister for Education Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani was the chief guest while a large number of students, teachers and parents attended the ceremony.

Talking on the occasion, the federal minister said the draft for the new education policy has been sent to the cabinet for approval. "There had not been a lag in the formulation of the policy but in the cabinet meeting that led to the delay in the approval of the education policy," he said.

He said that action on the Farah Hameed Dogar case would be taken according to the decision of Islamabad High Court (IHC). "The inquiry on the case has been finalised but not publicised yet," he said.

Talking about the budget of the education sector, he said the economic crisis would not effect the functioning of educational institutions. "We are trying our level best to provide necessary funding to the education sector in order to ensure the functioning of various projects," he said.

Bijrani said that globalisation has affected almost all fields of life and the education sector could not be exempted in this regard. "There is a need to insert all your energies in the research sector in order to compete in today's globalised world," he said adding that it is the responsibility of the universities to develop the instinct of research among students, so they could utilise it in nation building and the country's progress. "In today's era, we need such a system of science and technology, which brings an end to poverty and illiteracy in our country," he said.

Vice Chancellor Federal Urdu University for Arts, Sciences & Technology Professor Dr Mohammad Qaiser said the University administration is trying its utmost to fulfil the educational requirements of their students despite the worst economic crisis that has lead to a cut down in the educational budget.

"The number of students in the PHD Programme in Economics is greater in the University's Islamabad campus as compared to any other university of the city, as we are determined to pull our country back from the clutches of the ongoing economic crisis," he said.

The VC said the University has the capacity to include the subjects of Industry and Pharmaceutical Sciences in its curriculum but laboratories with modern facilities are required for the purpose. "If we are provided with government support, we can do far better in various fields of science and technology in order to equip our youth with the latest knowledge in various fields," he said.

The students who were awarded gold medals on the occasion included the names of Faiza Athar Bhatti (MSC), Adnan Ali Afridi (MSC), Mohammad Shoaib (MCS), Syed Naseer Ahmed Nasir (MSC-Computer Sciences), Mohammad Faisal (MSC-Computer Sciences), Rabia Bashir (BSCS), Arshad Ali (MSC-Computer Science), Asim Mansha (BSCS), Saira Baig (BSCS), Rao Amir Ali Khan (MBA), Zain Ailya (MBA), Mohammad Ijaz Khan (MBA), Abdul Khalil (MBA), Mirza Sheraz Iltaf (MBA), Khizra Noureen (MBA), Iftikhar Ahmed (MBA), Mamoona Bashir (MSC), Rabia Sagheer (MSC) and Alia Mahmood (MSC).


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Students reject PBTE's date sheet, demand revision
Rawalpindi: Students of Rawalpindi Commerce College have rejected the decision of Punjab Board of Technical Education (PBTE) to conduct two papers on the same day and demanded of the Board authorities to revise the schedule.

The College students disclosed that it is not possible for them to appear in two papers on the same day, as the Board authorities set a timetable to conduct two papers of DCom on a daily basis, in morning timings from 08.30am to 11.30am and in afternoon timings from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

The students informed that during another year, only 30 per cent students were able to get through in the examination due to this tough schedule.

The students were of the view that the Board authorities seem all set to destroy the students' future in this way. They lamented over PBTE's decision of not arranging the supplementary examination last year and added that now 70 per cent students of the previous year would have to appear in the annual as well as supplementary examinations starting from May 6.

Rejecting the timetable announced by PBTE, the students said if the Board authorities refused to revise the schedule, they would protest and would also resort to a sit-in in front of the Board office.

Usman Ali, a student of the College talking to NNI, said those students are particularly under more pressure who are going to appear in the supplementary and annual examination at the same time.

The students on the occasion said they would start their protest against the Tevta management in the first week of April, adding that their teachers are also opposing the schedule and have declared this as an injustice to the poor students.

They said they, along with their parents, have already lodged applications in the office of Tevta for revision of the schedule. The News


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CJP directs Punjab govt to withdraw petitions against adhoc lecturers
Islamabad: Condemning the non-regularisation of 97 adhoc lecturers, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry directed the Punjab government on Tuesday to withdraw its petitions against them within a day or face a "heavy penalty". "A government is supposed to accommodate the people, not play with their lives," he said while hearing his first case since his reinstatement as the CJP. The government of Punjab removed 97 lecturers from service instead of regularising them in 2001 after they had served for almost 14 years on an adhoc basis.

In 2002, the apex court directed the provincial government to regularise all the sacked teachers. The Lahore High Court also directed the government to comply with court orders, but the government challenged this order in the apex court. The provincial government also advertised the posts vacated by the adhoc lecturers. On Tuesday, the CJP asked the AAG to provide the name of the officer refusing to comply with orders. He said that even if these people were recruited on political grounds, they were not at fault. The people who had inducted them should be removed instead, he added. The three-member bench comprising the CJP, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan and Justice Nasirul Mulk also expressed displeasure over the fresh advertisement. The court adjourned the hearing until today (Wednesday). Daily Times

IIUI to celebrate Pak Day on March 26
Islamabad: The International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) would organise "Pakistan Day Celebrations" on March 26 at the Women Campus. IIUI Rector Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik would be chief guest on the occasion. Meanwhile, the varsity is also organising 'Islamic World Dress Show' on March 27 in the same Campus. The News

NUML students at odds with administration
Islamabad: The students of National University of Modern Languages (NUML) have blamed the University of dishonouring its commitment regarding the conferring of degrees.

Several students of International Relations department of NUML reported that they did complete their course and research work subsequently in December 2008 but when they applied for degrees they came to know that they were not eligible for MSc as offer was only for those students who took admission after January 2008.

The graduates were of the view that earlier University administration pledged that after successful completion of their research work, they would be conferred with MSc degrees but later administration tried to confer them MA degrees which was clear violation of well-settled rules and regulations of the university's academic council.

The students of the IR department conducted research during their studies and wrote thesis but administration of the university did not consider them for MSc degrees. Owing to sheer negligence on the part of authorities concerned, the future of these graduates is at risk, one of the students maintained.

They demanded of the Higher Education Commission to take stern action against culprits who defying to confer their rights to them. These students denied to accept their degree with MA title.

They said that they would not accept the cruel decision of the university administration till the title of the degree would not be replaced.

Professor Farukh Zaad, a senior teacher of IR department in NUML, when contacted, said that as per academic council decision only those students would be conferred MSc degrees who were enrolled after January 2008. He said that the decision of academic council did not apply on those students who completed their studies before January 2008. He further said that there was no such commitment with these graduates, as university did not advertise this on the time of their admission.

Those students who are between 15 to 30 credit hours to be suggested to do extra research work to prove their eligibility for MSc degree, adding 72 credit hours is basic requirement for MSc degree, he informed. Professor Farukh further said that before January 2008 the university made no such commitment with these graduates who were claiming for MSc degrees.


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Saving Swat's schools
With the wanton destruction of over 200 girls' schools in the restive Swat Valley, women once again become the targets of obscurantist wrath. Too frightened to attend school in fear of being killed, young girls are forced to stay indoors.

Though relative calm has returned to the Swat Valley after the acceptance of a controversial peace deal and the imposition of Sharia law, the restoration of the decimated schools requires urgent action. Even though some girls' schools have been reopened, the attendance rate is an abysmal 40 percent largely owing to fear of further attacks.

This policy of intimidation has severely compromised education for girls and is particularly lamentable as historically Swat set an exemplary precedent with its sustained and committed investment in education. The first Wali of Swat, Miangul Gulshahzada Sir Abdul Wadood, popularly known as Badshah Sahib, built the first girls' school in 1933 in Saidu Sharif, the capital of Swat. Education for boys and girls was compulsory and the scenic Swat Valley gained renown as a peaceful and progressive valley with a flourishing school system.

Forbidding girls from receiving education is just another brute tactic to disseminate fear and attain control. Without education, girls will be limited, ignorant, malleable and highly exploitable. Depriving them of education is effectively robbing them of awareness, independence and critical life skills. They will remain lambs for the slaughter, wholly dispensable, as grimly witnessed with the burial of women in Balochistan and recently in Sindh where a woman was fed to the dogs.

According to the Pakistan Social & Living Standards Measurement Survey, the literacy and primary school enrolment rates in Pakistan have shown improvement during last five years but they are still low compared with other countries in the region. A number of studies of the education system in Pakistan have revealed that the quality of education being provided by government primary schools is poor with many schools lacking adequate teachers and resources.

The profound injustice of denying girls an education and excluding them from decision-making processes in economic, social and political spheres is endemic in Pakistan. The crusade to improve Pakistan's abysmal literacy rates must be embraced wholeheartedly. Mehnaz Aziz's exemplary work in the field of education through the Children's Global Network must be applauded, encouraged and emulated. Rather than building new schools CGN raises education standards in existing schools to international levels by enhancing teachers' pedagogical skills. Her devotion to the cause of education is reaping manifest rewards particularly in areas like Sibbi, Vehari, Mianwali, Bannu Khushab, Hyderabad and the earthquake hit areas of Muzzafarabad, Rawalakot and Bagh.

Appalled at the destruction of schools in Swat, Mehnaz provides a soberly realistic assessment of the consequences of denying Pakistani girls an education, emphasising the urgent need to take action: "By destroying girls' schools and stopping girls from being educated, we have sealed the fate of future generations of Swat and have started an irreversible process of ignorance and severance from global connectedness. In the absence of educated mothers, we will have an illiterate nation.

"Balochistan is another area that has been completely ignored as far as education is concerned. Schools remain closed in the absence of teachers...the province is starved of attention and any real social development initiatives. Time is short so we need to alter the strategy on the ground before it is too late in NWFP."

When asked about what inspired her, she spoke of becoming a mother and how she felt angry that her child had access to quality education, while other children were effectively precluded from receiving any sort of formal education.

Mehnaz also spoke of the mounting fear and insecurity felt by the elite who continue to erect higher walls to keep out the unruly uneducated mob terrorising cities with crime and violence. Mehnaz does not view this as a viable solution; instead she proposes to break the walls down, educate people, arm them with knowledge and opportunities to brighten their prospects for social and economic ascendancy. Low literacy rates, unemployment and poverty will only build up the seething anger and sense of alienation felt by a huge swathe of Pakistan's population.

The comprehensive failure of successive governments to deliver on education means that more private-sector initiatives like Imran Khan's outstanding NAML College in Mianwali need to be established on a priority basis. At present, schools are too few and woefully under-resourced making Pakistan's literacy levels among the lowest in South Asia.

As the religious parties continue to gain ground in Pakistan, it would be instructive to remind them of the high premium that Islam places on acquiring knowledge, encouraging discovery, innovation and rational enquiry. Angel Gabriel's first pronouncement from God to Prophet Muhammad (May God's blessings and Peace Be Upon Him) was Iqra: "Read".

Until the destroyed schools are reconstructed, the government must provide alternative educational facilities to the children of Swat. As long as education continues to flounder on the margins of public debate, women will remain easy prey as retrogressive notions of honour which effectively endorse cruelty against women continue to hold sway. As successive governments continue to flagrantly disregard education, particularly in budget allocations, Pakistan's shameful catalogue of violence against women will remain an ominous reality where women are subjects of abuse, violence and exploitation, too often without redress or the hope of protection, deepening their disenfranchisement. -The writer is a freelance columnist (The Nation)

Scholarships for talented students
Islamabad: National ICT R&D Fund, Ministry of IT & Telecom, Government of Pakistan fund has launched its National ICT Scholarship Programme 2009 for students of rural/non-metropolitan areas of Pakistan to pursue undergraduate degrees in Information and Communication Technology related disciplines.

This programme by National ICT R&D Fund was initiated in the year 2006 and has been successfully progressing since then with more than 1,000 scholarships awarded until now. This scholarship program provides fully-funded scholarship opportunities to deserving and talented students of F.Sc. From rural/non-metropolitan areas in government schools and colleges across the country. Like previous years, once again in year 2009 National ICT R&D fund will facilitate training of teachers and students to enhance their skills needed to compete and perform well in aptitude based university admission exams.

The aim of this initiative is to provide access to deserving and competent youth from rural marginalised communities to enter the ICT profession, National ICT R&D fund's objective, through this program, is to develop human resource capacity in ICT related fields and empower the economically challenged groups of citizens. The News

Education deptt okays vacations in NWFP
Peshawar: The Elementary and Secondary Education Department NWFP with the approval of the competent authority has notified the schedule of vacations for 2009-2010 for all the schools within the province. According to detail, in plan areas there will be no spring vacations in 2009, while summer vacations will be observed from Ist June to 31st August 2009 (for primary level) and 15th June to 31st August 2009 (for middle and above level). Moreover winter vacations will be observed from 25th Dec, 2009 to 31 st Dec 2009. Similarly in hilly/snowy areas there will be no spring vacations in 2009 and summer vacations will be observed from Ist July 2009 to 31st July 2009, while winter vacations will be observed from 25th Dec: 2009 to 28th Feb 2010. It was notified here on Tuesday. F.P. Report


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