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SSC examination admit cards delay issue

Admit cards delay: 'Action against schools responsible'
Karachi, March 26: Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) Chairman Syed Anzar Hussain Zaidi said Thursday that action would be initiated against the schools that did not submit the examination forms of their students in time, resulting in delay in issuance of admit cards.

A three-member committee has been constituted in this connection under BSEK Secretary Hoor Mazhar.

He said after a two days' postponement, the class IX and X annual examinations would now commence from Friday (today) in accordance with the original schedule.

The BSEK chairman pointed out that the papers of March 24 and 25 had been postponed as some of the private schools had not submitted the examination forms of their students and the number of these candidates was up to 1,500 from 26 private and government schools.

Due to their delay in submitting the examination forms, many candidates could not be issued admit cards, he said

The BSEK chairman said the schools were allowed to submit the examination forms of the candidates on March 24 and were issued admit cards on March 25.

Fresh dates for the postponed papers of March 24 and 25 would be announced later, he said.

More than 300,000 candidates, both regular and private, would appear at 431 centres in different parts of the metropolis.

In order to discourage the chances of usage of unfair means in the examinations, more than 100 vigilance teams have been formed by the BSEK. In addition to these, five vigilance teams have been formed for each district of the metropolis. app

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SSC exams set to begin today; outstanding issues remain unresolved
Karachi: Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Annual Examinations-2010 are set to begin on Friday (today), with the General Sciences assessment being the first evaluation to take place.

Despite the postponement of SSC exams, a number of contentious issues remain unresolved, sources said. The issuance of admit cards, re-allotment of examination centres as well as the choice of invigilators in various vigilance teams may blight aspirations for a transparent exam process this year as well, sources said.

On Wednesday, Board of Secondary Education, Karachi (BSEK) officials had told media personnel that exam forms of over 1,000 more students had been accepted by the Board. This number turned out to be an understated estimation, as about 2,000 admit cards were issued on Thursday.

"We could not count the actual quantity of forms received yesterday (Wednesday). When we started tabulation of these forms, we realised that the number of forms was in excess of 1,500, and went up to about 2,000," Board officials said.

Sources however maintained that Board officials continued to accept exam forms on Thursday. Due formalities were completed the same day, and cards handed back as soon as possible. A Board official, when contacted around 8pm, said that only a few admit cards had to be collected by the candidates/schools, while the rest had already been handed out.

Interestingly, while the governor's intervention on Tuesday was meant only for regular candidates of private and some government schools, the Board had barred private candidates on Wednesday from applying for admit cards. Sources said that many private candidates had submitted their forms as regular students registered in public and private sector schools, albeit with the help of the "mafia."

The matter of issuance of admit cards is only half the story, sources said, claiming that the involvement of junior teachers as members of vigilance and super vigilance teams has irked senior teachers and other officers of the educational department.

Education Executive District Officer (EDO) Muhammad Ibrahim Kumbhar had sent suggested names of invigilators from his department to the BSEK, sources said, claiming that this list contains a number of controversial figures.

Sources cited the name of a man named Abdul Latif Mughal, who is simply a headmaster, but claims to be Education Deputy District Officer (Secondary and Higher Secondary, Male). Mughal had been removed as the assistant district officer (ADO) of Jamshed Town on charges of corruption, but he was nominated as a member of super vigilance team for this year's exams.

Moreover, while 13 subject specialists have been assigned the responsibility for monitoring exam procedures across the city, head masters of various private schools are also entitled to act as members of vigilance teams.

Several of these principals either own or run these schools, sources said. This in turn breeds apprehensions over the transparency of the exams conducted, especially given the conflict of interest, sources said.

Meanwhile, a three-member committee has been constituted by BSEK Chairman Intizar Hussain Zaidi to probe the reasons for the delay in issuance of admit cards, a statement released by the BSEK on Thursday read. The committee, formed on the directives of the Sindh governor, will submit its recommendations by April 6, 2010 to the BSEK chairman. The news

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Education issues cause alarm among MPAs
Karachi: The Sindh Assembly on Thursday echoed with reports of mismanagement in the secondary education boards and falling standards of education as well as corruption in the department.

The other issues taken up by members in the assembly session included prolonged and frequent power outages, the plight of fishermen owing to the unsettled border issue of Sir Creek and commuters' hardship because of a ban on pillion-riding.

Besides administering the oath to the two newly returned MPAs - Mir Hasan Khoso from Jacobabad and Sidique Memon from Thatta - the house also witnessed an impassioned call for lifting the ban on pillion-riding. Speakers said the ban had nothing to do with the law and order problem and its prime beneficiaries were transporters while the worst-sufferers of the ban were poor people, who were being deprived of an easily accessible mode of transport.

The privilege motion of Saleem Khurshid Khokhar could not be taken up as he was absent from the house. The other business on the order of the day, including question hour, was covered within 90 minutes and the house, which was called to order by Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro at 11.50am was adjourned at 2.10pm to reassemble on Friday at 9.30am.

Except the duration of the points of order, the day's proceedings lacked enthusiasm, shortly after the question hour the other items were disposed of within 15 minutes.

Shama Mithani of the Pakistan People's Party was the first to speak on the agitation and a protest sit-in staged in front of the Board of Secondary Education Karachi and on M.A. Jinnah Road against the BSEK authorities for the inordinate delay in issuing admit cards to candidates appearing in the SSC examinations and the governor's intervention, postponing the examination for two days to save the affected candidates' future.

She demanded action against those responsible for playing with the future of students.

Heer Sohu of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement drew the attention of the house towards closed schools in Thatta and unavailability of water coolers in schools. She said she had tried to draw the attention of the department to the problems by writing and sending reminders to the officials concerned but had received no response.Marvi Rashdi of the Pakistan Muslim League (functional), demanding the removal of all teachers posted as officials on the basis of OPS (own pay scale), referred to the falling education standards in Sindh termed postings of teachers on an OPS basis and corruption responsible for it.

Giving an example, she said Grade 14 Arabic teachers were posted in the Zakat and Ushr department. Likewise, she said, a lecturer of physics was heading the planning department.

Ms Rashdi said she came from Khairpur, where a "corrupt official" was occupying the office of the executive district officer.

Jam Madad Ali, the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, pointed out the hardships being faced by lower staff of the education department in Matiari district, who were appointed a year back but for the last many months they were not being paid salaries, which was adding to their miseries.

Responding to the pressing issues raised through points of order about his department, Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq said as far as the boards of education were concerned, their controlling authority lay with the governor who had taken due notice of the delay in the issuance of admit cards and besides postponing examination papers scheduled for March 24 and 25, had also ordered an inquiry into the matter.

He said that according to his information, the private schools' administrations were responsible for the situation. He said it would create a mess if examination forms were received up to the eve of the examinations.

Teacher goes off with fee money

The minister also pointed out the case of a teacher in Sobho Dero, where the teacher after collecting examination fee from 35 students went on leave without depositing the fee and exam forms in the board.

He said that not only the money was recovered from the teacher, but he was also suspended and an inquiry ordered into the matter. The minister gave an assurance that steps were being taken to save the future of students.

He told the MPA that action would be taken against the EDO in Thatta for his non-compliance of orders about opening all closed schools and restoring the facility to students.

Assuring the house that he had not appointed any official on an OPS basis, he also appealed to the MPAs to refrain from pressing him for any such posting. He said he had asked the local government administrators that there would be no official posted on an OPS basis in the education department.

He conceded that in Matiari district some employees of the education department were not paid salaries, which he blamed on the DCO who had misspent the funds allocated for salaries. He said even the Rs100 million granted by the World Bank had been consumed by the officer, and the matter was under investigation.

However, he said, he had asked the finance department to arrange payment of salaries to the staff.

Referring to the use of unfair means in examinations in Dadu, he said he had directed the DCO, now an administrator in the local government institution, to take action against not only the student concerned but also against the teachers found involved in copy culture and rusticate them.

He urged the MPAs also not to pressurise officials for letting go the students caught for cheating in examinations.

Fishermen's plight

Humera Alwani of the PPP referred to the press report about the Indian Navy who had taken away more than 80 Pakistani fishermen of the Shah Bunder and Jati taukas.

She called upon the Sindh government to take up the issue of determining the boundaries of Sir Creek from where the Indian navy off and on seized boats and took away Pakistani fishermen.

Nadeem Bhutto of the PPP asked if there was a government move to wind up the Fishermen Cooperative Society, a representative body of the fishermen "with whose votes four MPAs and three MNAs were returned to the assemblies".

He said if there was any such move, the government should roll it back. He demanded the restoration of the FCS by repealing its suspension order.

Minister for Fisheries Zahid Bhurgari said there was no move under consideration of the government to wind up the FCS. He assured the house that his department had taken up the issue of Sir Creek with the federal government for resolving its boundary issue with India.

The minister for inter-provincial coordination, Makhdoom Jamil-uz-Zaman, told the house that a committee had been formed at the federal level, comprising ministers and secretaries concerned of the four provinces, which would ask the federal government to take up the issue with the Indian government at an appropriate level to sort out the fishermen's issue.

Power outages

Shaheryar Mehar of the PML-Q recalled the sufferings of the people, particularly those living in small towns where power breakdowns continued for two to three days, causing great inconvenience to them. He asked for taking urgent measures to overcome the power crisis.

Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of the PML-F asked the ministers that they must pay foreign visits but also make it a point to tour such small cities as Khairpur, Sukkur and Larkana, where power outages were adding to the miseries of people as prolonged power breakdowns were affecting water supply also.

She said the government had completed two years in power but the people remained deprived of basic amenities. This sorry state made people think that the previous government was better as people had not been facing such power, water and sugar crises then.

Senior Minister Pir Mazhar said had their government been in power for eight years, it would have taken concrete measures by now, and the problems would not have been there.

He said the coal-fired power plant could not be implemented over the indecision of half-a-cent with a Chinese firm. This indecision might be because of involving commission, he added.

After the questions hour, which was regarding agriculture and the Bureau of Supply Department, the Sindh Local Government (second amendment) Ordinance 2010 was laid in the house while the speaker announced that the governor had given assent to the bills pertaining to the Commecs Institute of Business and Emerging Sciences Bill 2009, the Agricultural Produce Markets (amendment) Bill, 2009 and the Sindh Public-Private Partnership Bill, 2010.

This was followed by laying before the assembly the auditor-general's report on the accounts of the Sindh government for 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 which were referred to the public accounts committee to examine that the expenditures conformed to the authority which governed it and that every re-appropriation had been made in accordance with the rules. Dawn

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Government plans 7MW power project for KU
Karachi: Keeping in view the ongoing energy crises and frequent electricity breakdowns in the city, the government plans a project - Establishment of Power Generation System for University of Karachi - which would generate seven megawatts, official sources said on Thursday.

The power generated under this scheme would not only meet the electricity requirements of the university including its residential colonies, but also surplus electricity would be provided to Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), which was unable to meet its total demand of power from its own generation, the sources maintained.

The total cost of the project would be Rs 504.906 million and the university would purchase six gas engines and steam turbines for power generation.

The scheme would help ensure uninterrupted power supply to the university's research centres and laboratories. The project would also reduce tremendous monthly electricity bills of millions of rupees paid to the KESC. The sources claimed that it would also support the external development requirement (electricity connection) of newly and under constructed buildings.

About the existing facility, the sources said the university was connected with the KESC's 11 kilovolts (KV) network. The 11KV feeder connected the university from its grid station.

The feeder was enough to meet the requirement of the university, but frequent power breakdowns particularly in summer affected the university's labs, departments and residential colonies.

The government has allocated Rs 10 million in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2009-10 for this project, and Higher Education Commission (HEC) is the sponsoring agency while the KU was the executing agency. The project would be completed within 18 months. After the completion of the project, the sources said that the KU would save and earn Rs 71.53 million per annum in terms of bills paid to the KESC and sale of electricity to the utility during off peak hours. The cost of the project would be recovered in six years.

The KU is one of the largest universities of the country, spread over an area of approximately 1,350 acres. It was established as a federal university in 1951 under the Act of Parliament.

Since its inception the university has been developing at a reasonable pace. There are over 24,000 students enrolled as regular students, besides that the university conducts graduate level examination of over 150,000 students of its 145 affiliated colleges or institutes. The university presently imparts education at honors, master, M Phil and PhD levels under Faculties of Arts, Science, Pharmacy, Islamic Studies and Management and Administrative Sciences.

Project consultants (M/S AR Associates and M/S United Engineering Services International) have carried out the feasibility study of the power project. The scheme has been designed by these consultants in line with the Karachi Master Plan with the view of catering to the current and future requirements of the university.

According to the capital cost summary, the total spending of the project was Rs 254.200 million on purchase of imported power generation machinery, Rs 153.700 million on local power generation machinery, Rs 41.400 million would be spent on civil work, Rs 32.332 million on service charges, Rs 4.795 million as cost of programme management unit, Rs 13.479 million would be spent on consultancy and Rs 5 million for contingency services. The total sum of all these expenses was equal to Rs 504.906 million. Daily times

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Teachers continue protest
Larkana: Criticising government's 'dubious' policy about the 'time scale and teaching allowance, a large number of primary teachers demonstrated outside the local press club on Thursday.

It was led by the central president of the association Rafique Ahmed Jarwar.

After holding a general body in a local primary school, the teachers chanted slogans and marched on the main roads of the city.

Addressing the gathering, the PTA leaders flayed Sindh government's indifference towards solving their problems. This has further compounded the problems, they added.

They said while teachers of Punjab, NWFP and Balochistan were getting 'time scale and teaching allowance since 2007 while in Sindh, they were being denied the same.

They threatened to assemble outside the Karachi Press Club on April 14 and stage a sit-in outside the chief minister house if their demands were not accepted by then. Dawn

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