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NUML denied PhD degree merely on personal reasons

Another bloomer by NUML - a gold-medalist hit
Islamabad, May 07: The National University of Modern Languages (NUML), known to be run like a family business, has created another victim, a gold-medalist daughter of an ailing retired judge who has been denied a PhD degree merely on personal reasons.

Brig Aziz Ahmad (Retd), Rector National University of Modern University, has refused a PhD degree to Mehwish Mumtaz, daughter of a retired judge of the anti-terrorism court from Multan, by not allowing her to submit a synopsis of her PhD thesis, first because of her genuine absence because of her father's ailment and later because she went to the Higher Education Commission for help.

The university, surprisingly, has given an opportunity to some 90 candidates who were enrolled between the years 2001 to 2009 to submit their thesis and get a PhD degree but still did not allow Mehwish.

The Human Rights Cell of the Supreme Court has also sought a reply from the NUML about this discrimination with the daughter of a retired and ailing judge. The NUML director general admits that the girl had genuine reasons but she did not submit the synopsis and, therefore, she has not been invited to submit the thesis. The girl says she has been repeatedly asking the university to accept her synopsis but was refused every time.

The Rector, Aziz Ahmad, not only sent his daughter and son-in-law abroad for higher studies at the university's expense but the two are also being paid a hefty six-figure stipend from the NUML while they are away.

To top it all, notwithstanding serious audit objections and in violation of the HEC rules, the rector has sent yet another whopping ₤ 21,400 (three million rupees) from the NUML accounts as tuition fee for his children studying at Sussex University.

Mehwish Mumtaz Niazi won three gold medals before getting herself enrolled for PhD in English Linguistics in NUML in session 2002-2007 under registration No.066-Ph.D/English/2002. Her father, Mumtaz Niazi, the sole breadearner of the family, was posted at Faisalabad those days having the only daughter studying at the NUML and a special child at home.

After successfully passing her course work of 30 credit hours in two semesters, Mehwish started work on her synopsis for PhD thesis but her father had a stroke and was paralysed due to backbone problems and she had to come to Multan to look after him knowing that she had five years to submit the PhD thesis.

She also submitted the fee of four semesters in the NUML when she was looking after her father. When she came back to submit her synopsis in 2005-06, she found it difficult to find a supervisor those days, and when she eventually succeeded in finding one, the rector refused to accept her synopsis saying she was late.

She approached the HEC, which considered her case and declared it as genuine and wrote to NUML that either Mehwish should be given an MS degree or her synopsis be approved. She was offered an MS degree by NUML in 2006 in spite of her being enrolled as PhD student and had time for her final thesis till 2007 but she insisted on getting a PhD degree.

Mehwish wrote dozens of applications to the rector, the HEC, the president of Pakistan being chancellor of the university, the education minister being the pro-chancellor of NUML and finally one to the chief justice of Pakistan. The Supreme Court has sought reply from NUML over this discrimination.

The NUML Director General, Kamran Jahangir said that the university had finalised its reply for the Supreme Court. "Mehwish Mumtaz was among those 125 students who were not issued PhD degrees and we have cleared 90 students recently for submission of their thesis," said the DG NUML adding: "Mehwish did not submit her synopsis and, therefore, she has not been allowed to submit her thesis."

He mentioned that due to the ailing condition of her father and financial problems, she could not continue in 2004-05 but the university has approved only those students who were in the midst of their thesis.

When asked why NUML treats daughter of a rector differently than ordinary students the DG replied: "Though the scholarship holders happen to be the relatives of the rector but I was not the part of the committee which approved their scholarship and according to the committee version all the formalities were fulfilled while awarding scholarships to the rector's daughter and son-in-law."

NUML Registrar Dr Kamran Jahangir, commenting on the news item, has stated that no hefty salary was being paid to any of the awardees in six digits. The stipend paid to one awardee is at par with HEC approved rates ie 750 UK pounds. The NUML has never received any grant for scholarship from the HEC and the foreign university has not asked for any guarantee from the NUML either. In fact, it was the university requirement to safeguard its investment by getting a guarantee. The best guarantors always are the parents. It is a fact that the scholarship mentioned in the report were awarded through an open and transparent process by fulfilling all the conditions of merit. Thus, there were no violations of rules.

Kamran Jahangir said that at present there is no audit para pending to this regard. The university expenditure is not governed by the HEC rules but instead are planned and expended through approved budget by its own statuary bodies. The increase in fee is always in conformity with the HEC rules and the Board of Governors policy guidelines.

The registrar clarified that the fact that Usman Shah will be the successor to the head of department is not true. The Telecom Engineering program of NUML is well on its route to recognition by the PEC (Pakistan Engineering Council).

Concluding his statement, Dr Kamran Jahangir said that, the NUML has its strategic interest in bringing the higher education opportunities to the stake holders from different countries of the world and to this reason its achievements are innumerable. The scribe of the published report had been requested to visit the university so that he could be shown relevant record but this did not happen. The NUML is ever-willing to share any information on the subject.

Umar Cheema adds: The clarification is a kind of self-indictment by the NUML management denying the payment of a six-digit salary to any of the awardees (read rectorís daughter and son-in-law). It has also officially been admitted stipend being paid from the universityís purse is 750pounds to each awardee. Converting the foreign currency into Pakistani rupees shows the amount being paid to each is almost in six digits. As far clarification about the guarantees is concerned, it is more a question of obliging the family members than explaining whether it was required by foreign university or NUML. Payment was authorised by the rector for his children and his wife is the guarantor.

As far transparency in award is concerned, it was not observed. This correspondent would be glad to see any document showing the award was approved from the Board of Governors. Instead, it was done separately from the Chairman of the BoG, a serving three-star general and representative of army chief.

A document made available from the HEC shows the NUML budget amounting Rs228.4 million (2009-2010) doesnít contain any allocation for faculty development. And article 25 (2) of NUML Ordinance 2000 states: No expenditure shall be made from the funds of the university if it is not included in the approved budget of the university. The news

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FDE directors enjoy double financial privileges
Islamabad, May 07: Most of the senior officers at the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) are enjoying double financial privileges by using official cars and drawing conveyance allowance simultaneously, it has been learnt.

According to the rules, a government official can either draw car maintenance/conveyance allowance or use the official transport. But in the FDE, most of the directors are enjoying both the facilities.

According to sources in the FDE, those who are enjoying official transport facility as well as drawing conveyance allowance are: director education, director schools female (car No GT-753), director students male (GD-008), director colleges (GT-221), director planning and development (GV-055), director administration (1DL-9862), director colleges male (IDD-1796), deputy director legal (IDB-2196) and director training (GT-977).

The federal secretary education had, through an official order issued on March 15, 2010, taken strict notice of the violations being practiced in the ministry and departments attached to it, including the FDE.

The order read: "It has been noticed with serious concern that the staff cars/official vehicles are being used by the entitled as well as non-entitled officers of the ministry of education, its wings, subordinate officers, and attached departments."All such officers using official vehicles/staff cars should surrender their conveyance allowance with effect from July 2009," it added.

The order, however, could not make these officers surrender their conveyance allowance to date and neither the FDE has made any response to the directive.

"The order was received a month back but the usual practice is continuing in the directorate. Copy of this order was not even circulated among the officials for implementation," said an FDE official seeking anonymity.

He said not all the officials availing the privilege were entitled to it. Some of them are in BS-17 and 18 and working in the FDE on deputation, he added.

Besides, the transport facility is also being misused by the families of these officers. The official said that children and spouses of these officers independently used the vehicles for multiple purposes, like picking and dropping in schools or for shopping."There are also directors using more than one official vehicle. They keep the official vehicles in their possession even after office hours, which is again a violation," he added.

As per rules, government vehicles should be parked on the office premises after working hours. However, all the vehicles used by these directors remain at their residences

When contacted, some of the directors maintained that they were not aware if they were violating any rule. They also denied that they were misusing official vehicles.

Ms Tanveer Kiyani, the spokesperson for FDE, acknowledged that an official letter from the education ministry seeking recovery of conveyance allowance from all those using official vehicles had been received by the FDE.

"I am not aware of the whole issue as I have joined the office recently, but a letter from the education ministry was received by the FDE in this regard," she confirmed.

To a question, she said the use of government vehicles by non-entitled officials was not very common as the directorate lacked transport even for its entitled staff. Dawn

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Number of Prep, class-1 seats in FDE schools increased
Islamabad: The number of seats for admission in Class Prep has been increased from 30 to 40 and for class one from 25 to 30 in all educational institutions under the administrative control of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) to accommodate maximum number of students, said Advisor to Prime Minister on Education Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali.

He stated this while addressing the audience after the inauguration of the upgradation of Federal Government Junior Model School, I-9/4, on Thursday.

He said special attention was being paid to the professional training of teachers. The minister said the government was keen to launch an E-Education Programme with the support of foreign donor countries, initially for the 9th class on experimental basis in six schools out of which two were in Bhara Kahu two in rural areas of Islamabad and two schools in the urban area of Islamabad. He said under this programme English and Mathematics would be taught through the computer and after the successful implementation of this programme it would be adopted in all educational institutions under the administrative control of FDE.

He said a proposal regarding the annual medical investigation of all students of 418 educational institutions of Islamabad was also under consideration and will be implemented very soon. Ali said under the programme the health related statistics of all students would be kept in the form of database in the computer and it will help in ascertaining the status of mental and physical health of all students. He said the students would also be provided proper medical care facilities. app

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Jackonites enjoy a summer day
Rawalpindi: The junior section of Jack & Jill Montessori and High School enjoyed a well-conceived and well-implemented 'A Day in Summer', a theme relevant to the tender ages of the young students.

To start off, the classroom wore a festive look with buntings, flowers and streamers flowing all over. The children were dressed in summer attire and sipped cold drinks.

The teachers meticulously explained the concept of summer and the cycle of the changing seasons. Integrating Geography, History, English and Islamiat skilfully, the children were told how seasons change, what fruits are available in summer and why.

The pupils were then explained the choice of summer garments, the use of fans and the need to wear light clothing. The detailed explanation of the choice of colours during summer and the need to cover oneself to protect the body from the scorching sun was a good reminder of how to avoid heatstroke, while the importance of sitting under the shade of trees was another lesson learnt.

Another important aspect of the season explained was the changing of moods due to which we tend to feel lethargic and slow whenever it is hot but when it is cloudy and rainy in summer, there is a reason to enjoy and have fun.

Allah's blessings cannot be forgotten at a time like this, said Montessori teacher Anum Ikram, who explained that it is God's wish that seasons change and every season brings with it its own particular bounty. She explained the importance of eating certain vegetables and fruit in summer and how these protect us from getting sick and also raise our energy level.

The children were also taught why animals and birds hibernate and migrate respectively in the beginning of summer. The little children listened with rapt attention and looked forward to celebrating all seasons in a similar way.

The activity proved that if less emphasis is laid on rote learning and chapter by chapter cramming of book knowledge and instead if the everyday concepts are more practically and enjoyably integrated into the curriculum, the overall learning output of the students will be much more positive and long lasting. The news

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