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Lahore schools | PU Dr Haris plagiarism

Plight of schools in Lahore
Lahore, May 06: Lahore, the provincial headquarters, is no different in terms of educational facilities to children – ranging from infrastructure to teaching, learning outcomes and number of out-of-school children – than any other district in Punjab.

There is total disconnect in the available data, formulation of policies and provision of budget. Of the 976 school upgrade schemes, in 2011-12, only 5.53 per cent schemes of those identified by the Programme Monitoring and Implementation Unit (PMIU) were executed. While, 94.47 per cent development schemes in Lahore schools were undertaken on the basis of political priorities.

The plight of Lahore education scene was presented by Ahmad Ali, Research Fellow at the Institute of Social & Policy Sciences (I-SAPS), at the All-Party Consultation meeting on "Elections 2013: Problems faced by education sector in Lahore and opportunities", organised by I-SAPS in collaboration with Alif-Ailaan last week. The APC was attended by senior politicians of all major parties.

The PESRP website says Punjab School Education Department Secretary Aslam Kamboh had given a declaration of commitment on May 25, 2011 that roadmap would be his highest priority and achieve its goals – every child enrolls in school, every child is retained in school and every child learns and makes progress. However, two years have gone by and the education-sector indicators are as bleak as ever.

Presenting the fact-sheet about Lahore, the politicians were informed that in Lahore city alone, the public schools are in need of 887 new classrooms, while there are 296,879 out-of-school children (5-16 years age cohort) – putting a big question mark on the performance of the Punjab Education Sector Reform Programme (PESRP) and the Chief Minister's Schools Reforms Roadmap.

As many as 10 government schools in Lahore are functioning without building; while 66 schools including 30 girls' schools are without boundary wall. As many as 60 schools including 35 girls' schools have no drinking water facility; 46 schools including 20 girls' schools have no toilets; 145 schools including 81 girls' schools do not have functional electricity; 802 schools including 389 girls' schools have no playgrounds and some 909 teachers and 54,049 students do not have the luxury of furniture in their respective schools.

In terms of learning outcomes, some 42 per cent students in Lahore public schools cannot do subtraction, 25 per cent students cannot even read a single sentence in English and 33 per cent students cannot read an Urdu sentence correctly.

With regard to the student-teacher ratio, the presentation revealed that the Government Boys Primary School, Firdous Cooperative, Gulshan Ravi, in provincial constituency 149, has eight teachers but not a single student. The Government Boys Elementary School, Barkat Town, (PP-137), has 115 students with only one teacher.

The Government Girls Elementary School, Khokhar Pind, (PP-138), has 161 students with only one teacher. The Government Boys Elementary School, Chah Miran, has 298 students and again only one teacher.

Similarly, there are 14 other schools in the city that have over 100 students but one teacher each.

With regard to legislation to make provision of education a fundamental right of every child aged between 5-16 in line with the 18th Amendment of the Constitution, the presentation stated that the Punjab government failed to do subordinate legislation in its last 36 months in power.

Later, various political parties' representatives presented their respective visions and party policies on education and expressed serious concern about the plight of public education sector.

Meanwhile, talking to the media, I-SAPS Executive Director Dr Salman Humayun said the institute in collaboration with Alif-Ailaan had held APCs in all provincial capitals and 12 districts in the country and apprised politicians of the ground realities regarding state of affairs in public education sector.

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College of Home Economics ceremony
The College of Home Economics last week organised its 14th annual prize-distribution ceremony and rewarded hard-working students for their year-long efforts. As many as 120 prizes were given to the girls who earned distinguished positions in their respective classes and other co-curricular activities including Na'at and Qira'at competitions, debates, flower arrangement, food competition, 'gharara' competition and poster competition.

For highest marks in BS (Honour) classes, the top prizes were received by Maha Maghfoor (BS Part-I first year), Hira Zahid (BS Part-I second year), Zoya Murtaza (BS Part-II first year), Saba Zahid (BS Part-II second year) and Nehdia Ahmad (BS Part-I third year). The winners of the Punjab Youth Festival and Student Council also received certificates of appreciation.

HEC's Prof Dr Shahid Mehmood presented prizes and certificates to the students who had won distinctions.

College Principal Dr Samia Kalsoom lauded the creative skills of the students and tireless supervision of the dedicated staff together, which earned laurels for the students and the institution. "A teacher effects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops," she said.

Dr Kalsoom told the students that hard work was key to progress as well as urged the parents to continue taking interest in the progress of their children. Stating that there was no substitute for parental interest, she stressed that parents must spend some quality time with their children and instill in them values of honesty and integrity.

College head girl Zoya Shakeel presented the vote of thanks.

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PU Syndicate seeks VC's views on extent of 'plagiarism by Dr Haris'
Lahore: The Punjab University Syndicate members have asked the vice-chancellor to present a report in the next meeting after analysing a research article (retracted in 2007) whether the alleged plagiarism committed by Prof Dr Haris Rasheed was 19 per cent or 59 per cent.

The issue came under discussion while members confirmed April 20 Syndicate meeting proceedings on Saturday. In the previous Syndicate meeting the case against Prof Dr Haris Rasheed of being co-author of a plagiarised article was referred to a committee seeking a report.

A member had informed the Syndicate the research article in question was retracted over seven months before the complaint was lodged in 2007. It was also stated in the meeting that case against Prof Haris, who is science faculty dean and director of the Centre for High Energy Physics, was based on mala fide and an attempt to malign him. Prof Haris is the senior most teacher in the university and a potential candidate for pro-vice-chancellor slot.

Syndicate member Razina Alam, according to sources, pointed out that she had discussed the case with the Higher Education Commission officials and learnt that the similarity index of the research article comprised only 19 per cent, which was permissible, while the vice-chancellor insisted that plagiarised content was 59 per cent. She agreed that when the research paper was retracted and the accused had not taken benefit of the paper, there was no point in processing the case.

She also agreed the HEC had also notified that the plagiarised articles published before 2007 and retracted should not be discussed any more.

The Syndicate was told that Mr Haris had become professor in 1996 and the article in question was written in 2005.

The sources said another member, Raghib Naeemi, pointed out that the Syndicate was only discussing Prof Haris and had ignored two other authors of the research paper.

According to PU spokesman, the Syndicate also included research paper's two other authors – Muhammad Ayub Faridi and Fazal-e-Aleem – in the plagiarism inquiry.

When the Syndicate decided to take up the case of personal hearing on show-cause notices issued to former PU Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences dean Prof Dr Mugheesuddin Sheikh and former Institute of Communication Studies director Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran said he would not like to sit in the meeting since he remained involved in court cases against Dr Sheikh. The newly appointed Syndicate member, as a representative of Lahore High Court chief justice– Justice Mazhar Ali Naqvi, also declined to chair the meeting stating that Dr Mughees was his hostel in charge when he was studying at PU.

In the absence of both officials, Syndicate member Prof Dr Liaquat Ali chaired the meeting and decided not to discuss the case because both officials had produced stay orders given by a division bench.

Meanwhile, the PU Syndicate refused to process the request on humanitarian grounds of an MBBS student's migration from University of Health Sciences' affiliated Rashid Latif Medical College to PU's affiliated Sheikh Zayed Medical College.

The Syndicate approved regular appointment of PU College of Art and Design's principal and mathematics department chairman. The meeting also approved amendment to rules regarding librarians in the light of a Punjab government notification.

According to PU spokesman, the Syndicate approved vice-chancellor's all anticipatory orders passed under section 15(3) of PU Act, 1973, in anticipation of the approval of the Syndicate, without mentioning the exact number of the orders. Dawn

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GCU to set up medical college
Lahore: Government College University Lahore has announced establishing a state-of-the-art medical college with hefty donations from a group of eminent Old Ravians.

According to a press release issued here Sunday, the announcement was made by Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Khaleeq-ur-Rahman at the fundraiser of the GCU EFT, in which donations of Rs 20 million were raised for the financially-challenged students of the university. Federal Minister for Law Ahmar Bilal Sufi, Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister Zia Haider, Lahore High Court Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan, EFT Secretary Dr Khalid Manzoor Butt and eminent Old Ravians businessmen from all over the country attended the fundraiser.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor Prof Rahman said that the world over nations had progressed by developing their educational institutions but unfortunately in Pakistan education was not given due priority. He also said that culture of supporting education was still developing in Pakistan and people did not fully understand its importance. He said the endowment fund trust of Harvard University, US, alone stood at 40 billion dollars and this was what made America a superpower.

The vice-chancellor said he wanted to provide free education to all GCU students, but unfortunately resources didn't allow him. However, he said that despite all budgetary deficits, he had not increased a single rupee in fees for the last two years despite pressure from the university's treasury.

He also announced constituting a committee comprising Old Ravian donors and the university officials for mobilizing resources and speedy work on the project of the medical college. Speaking on the occasion, Iqbal Z Ahmad pledged that he and other Old Ravian fellow businessmen would provide extensive financial support to GCU for establishing the medical college. Also for the seventh consecutive year, Iqbal Z Ahmad announced a donation of one million rupees to the GCU Endowment Fund for initiating a life-time golden scholarship for deserving students.

He also said that the GCU Endowment Fund Trust was also planning to hold fundraisers in other cities of Pakistan including Karachi where there was a large community of Old Ravians.

An eminent Old Ravian, seeking anonymity, donated Rs 5 million to the GCU Endowment Fund Trust to initiate five golden scholarships in the name of his Old Ravian family members. He said that only education could bring about change in Pakistan.

GCU EFT Secretary Dr Khalid Butt said that the trust endowment funds never spent the principle amount but the profit, they earned from the principal amount, was spent on deserving students and development projects. He said if philanthropists, Old Ravians and the government supported, the trust would be providing scholarships to all needy students of the university in 10 years.

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World Bank to support HEC programme
Islamabad: The World Bank's Tertiary Education Support Program (TESP), in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and provincial governments, aspires to take steps towards improving quality standards of college education in Pakistan.  

This was stated by Executive Director Higher Education Commission Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed while addressing participants of a meeting in Islamabad.

He said college education was an important pillar of higher education in Pakistan, and after the 18th amendment, HEC was working closely with the provincial higher education departments to bring college education at par with the international standards.

He also emphasised the dire need to join hands with the provincial education departments and concerned affiliated universities to develop a joint strategy in this regard. The news

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HEC takes steps for improving quality of college education
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) directorate of education, provincial bureau of curriculum & training, provincial governments and the affiliated universities in collaboration with the Tertiary Education Support Programme (TESP) of the World Bank, have decided to undertake collaborative steps for improving quality standards of college education in Pakistan.

"College education is a very important pillar of higher education in Pakistan and after the 18th amendment, the HEC is working closely with the provincial higher education departments to bring college education at par with international standards," said HEC executive director, Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed.

Earlier, HEC's director general academics, Farman Ullah Anjum said that under the TESP, 800 college administrators throughout the country would be trained over a period of three years.

He also informed that the programme is aimed at enhancing the standard of education and to train people for international examination and assessment best practices, as these colleges are likely to follow semester system.

The HEC would implement this programme by involving all the relevant stakeholders, that is, designated colleges, directorates of education, provincial bureau of curriculum & training, the affiliated universities and provincial education departments, he said. The World Bank has also agreed to support HEC's Medium Term Development Framework-II (MTDF-II) for the year 2011-15 through Tertiary Education Support Program (TESP).

For effective execution of the programme, implementation modalities have also been agreed and Government of Pakistan and World Bank signed an agreement in 2011. Daily times

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