Student fights and politics | Islamabad libraries
Student fights and politics: Religious groups venturing into QAU
Islamabad, May 20: Although there are six councils in
Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), they have never been involved in politics
due to which the environment of the university has been peaceful
compared to other universities.
However, a religious group has been trying to establish a council, and problems in the university have started increasing.
For the last one month, councils have been resisting the religious
group but the group has retorted. It lodged a criminal case against two
members of a council, and even tried to bring blasphemy in the issue due
to which both students had to quit studies.
The situation has created resentment among the students of all six councils.
A student of QAU, requesting anonymity, said there are a Punjab
Council, Pakhtun Council, Mehran Council, Siraiki Council, Baloch
Council and Gilgit-Baltistan Council in the university. These were
established over two decades ago except for the GB council, which was
established two years ago.
"Although sometimes they (councils) have differences, they have never supported involvement of politicians in the university.
Last year (in March) a religious group had tried to hold a meeting to
form a new council in the university, but the other councils stopped
it," he said.
He said that in the first week of April this year, the same religious
group had announced a meeting and had invited around 200 students from
various educational institutions of the federal capital to participate.
However, the councils stopped the meeting, resulting in increased
differences. In the last week of April, some students of religious group
had scuffled with students of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council.
"Two students of Mathematics and Defence and Strategic Studies
departments, who belong to the religious group, lodged a complaint in
the Secretariat Police Station against two other students of the History
and International Relations departments (both belonging to G-B
Councils). A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against them,
and both students were forced to leave the university or face arrest,"
Another student of QAU said students belonging to the religious group tried to make the fight an issue of blasphemy.
"He (a student of the religious group) claimed that he had a beard,
and the opponent had pulled at his hair during the fight, which should
be considered blasphemy," the student said.
Investigation Officer of Secretariat Police Station Ghulam Sarwar
Naeemi also confirmed that the students had tried to register a case of
"We told them that it cannot be considered blasphemy and registered a
case under section 337-A, 182 and 506/34 (fight and threat to kill)
between the two groups," he said.
He added that the complainants had said a patch up was being arranged
between the rivals therefore no action had been taken, but so far he
had not received the patch up in writing.
A student belonging to the Punjab Council said he had learnt that
political personalities of the federal capital belonging to a religious
party had allegedly used their influence for registration of the FIR.
"Because of the FIR, both students cannot continue their studies;
even the management of the university has given permission to the police
to arrest both students from the hostel or university campus," he said.
He said a truce was being negotiated, as otherwise both students
would be unable to join their studies, and their low attendance may bar
them from appearing for the exams.
"It seems a patch up will be made at the cost of allowing the
religious group to continue its activities within the university," he
"We don't want political activities in the university because once
political groups are established, educational activities will stop and
the students will be used for politics," he said.
Students of QAU have appealed to the management of the university to
take notice of political activities within the university and ensure a
peaceful environment for education.
Registrar QAU Dr Shafique-ur-Rehman said that an
officer of the university had been inquiring of the issue and the
decision regarding the status of the students would be taken after the
completion of the enquiry. Dawn
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HEC expanding degree attestation facility
Islamabad: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has finalised arrangements
to expand the office space and hire the services of more officials to
make the process of attestation of degrees easier for the general
public. Talking to media, HEC Chairman Dr Javed R Laghari said the
decision to expand the facility was taken after ameeting with the
officials and will be implemented by June 1. He said the commission has
also decided to hire the services of more courier companies to avoid
delays in sending or receiving degrees from other countries for
attestation. He said the degrees' verification has become veryimportant
during the previous years and it has become an essential requirement for
the overseas Pakistani to get their degrees attested for job or
business purposes. He said 500 to 1000 people are visiting HEC main
office for degrees' attestation and are bound to wait for a week or more
due to low manpower and insufficient space. But now HEC has finalised
plan to open more windows with computers by expanding the area and hire
more trained officials to facilitate the people. The people will now be
able to get their degrees attested within three or four days or in a
single day, if they needed urgently and charges would be nominal for
urgent process. The chairman said HEC has recently cleared the backlog
of around 40,000 degrees which were pending for attestation. app
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Libraries in Islamabad colleges in dismal condition
lslamabad: Libraries are a historic source of knowledge for students. But a tour around Islamabad reveals that students at Islamabad colleges have little in the way of libraries and books.
Mohammad Hanif, a student of a federal government college, was
assigned a task by a teacher to inquire that how many people are in the
He consulted the college library to complete the task but could not
get the latest information about the population of the country.
"Most of the books in the college library were published in the 1960s
and 70s. There are even books written in Bengali, although a large
number of students cannot read Bengali. I felt my assignment was not up
to the mark. I told the teacher but he did not notice. We really need
up-to-date knowledge but our library failed to provide the latest
information," he said.
Hanif is not the only student who has been facing problems regarding
the library. Most of the students cannot get the latest information from
libraries due to which the trend of research is decreasing.
A library is the oldest repository of knowledge, and it has always
remained a focus among Muslim and non-Muslim rulers. It means that
libraries have been playing a vital role in supporting and promoting
education and research in educational institutions.
Islamabad, the capital and the most modern city of the country, must
be exemplary for rest of the college libraries in this respect.
A professor of the college, requesting not to be named, said that
unfortunately the condition of libraries in the capital colleges did not
seem very good.
On the one hand, there is an acute shortage of books in these
libraries and on the other hand, most of the books stuffed irregularly
in different shelves are not only irrelevant and outdated but also lack
the latest research and intellectual activities.
Library material like books, reference material (dictionaries,
encyclopedias, maps, atlases, journals, periodicals, etc.) are mostly
outdated and in the worst possible condition, he added.
"Meanwhile, in modern educational institutions in the world, the use
of audio visuals is an integral part of libraries. The libraries of ICT
colleges are not equipped with current technology as e-books, digital
databases, HEC digital databases access, computers, internet facility,
CDs, DVDs and computer library catalogue," he said.
"There is hardly a single library among all the ICT colleges where
there is facility of photocopy in the library, if required by the
students, as it generally happens. Even in the teaching methodology and
the syllabi, there is no room for teachers to even ask students to refer
extra books on the subject being taught," he said.
The libraries of the colleges, which used to provide for the academic
needs of teachers, students and researchers, have turned into a reading
hall. One can see the students there reading only newspapers, he added.
One of the students at H-9 College said: "The library does not have
any computer so no one can get internet facility here. It's ridiculous
to look to traditional books when information today is so readily
available on computer.
We cannot enjoy turning pages as everything is available on a click
of a mouse. Here, the power supply is irregular, fans are not in working
order. The furniture is old and mostly broken. There is nothing in the
library which attracts us."
The president of the federal government college teachers association,
Prof Tahir, said that another problem is, the interiors of the
libraries, mostly with broken furniture, shabby walls, no cataloging and
unhygienic conditions. This situation has diverted the attention and
energy of the students to cell phones.
This is the reason that students sit in groups and individually in
lawns of the colleges in their free periods and either listen to loud
music or remain busy in chatting.
A teacher, on condition of anonymity, said that the library staff
with unconcerned and frustrated attitude add fuel to the fire and repel
the students away from the library. The books in cupboards always remain
locked; library staff feels a great burden to open it for a student and
to remain present while the student goes through the books.
In the oldest and the biggest college of ICT, Islamabad Model
Postgraduate H-8/2, there is not any subscribed journal even for
M.A/M.Sc students, he said.
Another teacher said: "There are two posts of Librarians in Islamabad
Model Postgraduate College of commerce H-8/4. Both the posts of the
librarians are not occupied. One is vacant because no posting has been
made ever since the college was upgraded to a Postgraduate level whereas
the other librarian is on ex-Pakistan leave since one year and no
substitute has been provided till today. What a joke it is with the
libraries of a Postgraduate college with more than 3,500 students."
An official of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) said that
education had never been on the priority of any of the governments, the
administration also took it for granted to address serious issues of the
educational institutions well in time.
Library funding is stagnant and no extra funds are put towards purchasing new books.
Students have lost interest and given up the reading habit because of
unavailability of quality books. One of the students said "We need
credible information but outdated books give us misinformation."
An official of the ministry of CAD said that with the passage of
time, libraries are becoming e-libraries, digital libraries and virtual
libraries. But in colleges there are not any directions towards this.
Even the library fund, which is deducted from the fees of students, is not utilized for the improvement of the libraries.
On questioning a librarian of a boys' college regarding outdated
books and shortage of books he replied that the principal was not
interested in the purchase of new books because they were costly.
"Library committees are formed in the colleges for better management
of libraries but their meetings never held. The members of the committee
are college teachers but they do not show interest in the improvement
in the infrastructure of the library and in purchase of books," he said.
"The library staff is not equipped with the modern technology and
there are no training programmes for Librarians and library assistants.
Internet facility is not provided to libraries which is an essential
source of knowledge and library automation," he said.
"There is not any service structure of librarians and they are never
promoted. Once a librarian is appointed in BPS-17 he retires in the same
scale after serving more than 35 years. Librarians are selected by
Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC).The procedure and requirement
is similar to a lecturer who retires from government service in BPS-19
or above," he said.
Professor Deedar Ali Baloch, General Secretary FGCTA said that for
the improvement of libraries and to create the reading habits among the
students and teachers, revolutionary steps should be taken. Libraries
should be supplied the latest textbooks and reference materials.
Training programs for library staff should be started. Books seminars
and books exhibitions should be arranged in ICT colleges.
It is encouraging that the habit of reading in girls is increasing.
The library assistant at Margalla College F-7/4 was very much satisfied
with the number of readers in the college. Girl students spend most of
their spare time in the libraries of the colleges.
The shortage of books in the library is a problem, she pointed out.
Moreover, our library is consisting of five rooms and it is difficult to
move in these rooms in search of books.
Library must be in a big room (hall), she said.
Director General FDE, Dr Shahnaz A Riaz said that considering the availability of funds, FDE has been purchasing new
books and trying to upgrade libraries.
"Every month we instruct educational institutions to purchase three
to four books of renowned authors. I am also working to equip libraries
with modern technologies," she said. Dawn
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AIOU enjoys high rating on quality assurance
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is enjoying best rating on quality
assurance providing education through distance learning system as
compared to other open universities in the world.
This was stated
by Open University Sri Lanka's former vice-chancellor Prof Uma
Coomaraswamy who had been appointed by the Commonwealth of Learning
(COL) as an external verifier on quality assurance.
As per the
survey conducted by the COL-RIM, the university performance indicators
on quality assurance were highly satisfactory and it was noted that the
AIOU was moving ahead to achieve the international standard in providing
quality education to its students across the country.
addressing a reception, hosted by AIOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir
Ahmed Sangi at the conclusion of her weeklong visit to Pakistan.
underlined the need of inculcating quality culture within the
university premises. She hoped that the university would successfully
review itself to meet the international standard.
Coomaraswamy further said that she found a lot of commitment and
enthusiasm among the staff of the university for achieving the targets
on quality assurance. She held useful interaction and programme-review
exercise with the university's staff during her stay in Pakistan.
called for undertaking necessary exercise to improve the capacity
building of their staff. She added that the AIOU was doing much better
work in promoting skill-based and job-oriented education, as compared to
other universities in the region.
Speakingon the occasion Dr
Sangi highlighted the steps being taken by the university for quality
assurance as per the requirement of COL. He also mentioned the
incentives being provided to the drop-out needy students, helping them
to continue their study.
The AIOU has recently entered into
agreements with various regional and international educational
institutions for exchange of academic programmes and research-based
material to improve the teaching plan through distance learning system.
said that university is planning to set up science laboratories at
almost all the regional campuses to promote science education in the
country and mobile laboratories will also be deployed. app
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