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HEC to end MPhil, PhD programme

HEC to end MPhil, PhD programme due to financial cut in the HEC's budget
Karachi, Nov 22: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to stop sending students abroad on scholarships for MPhil and PhD programmes due to financial cut in the HEC's budget by the present democratic government, it was learnt on Friday through its sources.
The HEC was used to spend Rs 5 billion yearly on account of scholarships, while previous scholarship programme, advertised in January 2008, will be continued but now the programme has been terminated due to inappropriate policies of the government.

It is pertinent to mention here that HEC, from its inception to date, has sent around 3000 candidates to USA, China, Austria, Germany, England, Italy, France and other countries for higher research (MPhil/PhD).

It is also worth mentioning that the government funding to HEC had been stopped when PPP-led government came into power.

On the other hand, educationists have welcomed the initiative of the senate body to retain Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rehman as chairman of the HEC. The senate body unanimously has called for the retention of Dr Atta on his job.

Former General Secretary Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS), Prof Dr Syed Abid Hussnain said that the teachers' community warmly welcomed the call of senate body to retain the HEC chief as the services of Dr Atta to higher education sector could not be ignored. "I hope the funding to public universities will soon be resumed as per past practice. The current situation will be different if the HEC chief took the elected representatives into his confidence."

He said chairman HEC was not a member of any of the fund approving bodies and had no financial powers according to law while the allegations of favouritism were totally baseless and it was just aimed at maligning the most respected scientist and educationist of the country. A senior official of the HEC, on condition of anonymity, said that the allegations of nepotism on him were illogical.

He said, "Grants are approved on highly competitive basis including the importance of the project to national needs, the ability of the university to implement the project in light of other projects awarded to it and its absorptive capacity and the employment opportunities created through the project."

Dr Hussnain said: "The new universities were being built such as NUST or new campuses of existing universities, such as the Kala Shah Kaku campus of UET, or the new departments being established by Sind University, Mehran Engineering University or COMSATS require much more funding to strengthen their new as well as old campuses. Chairman HEC is not a member of any of the fund approving bodies and has no financial powers according to law."

"Dr Atta contributions have been recognised by all the previous governments, including the government of Benazir Bhutto, since 1980s. He has been awarded with more civil awards than any other scientist of Pakistan including Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Hilal-i-Imtiaz and the highest national civil award Nishan-i-Imtiaz for his meritorious contributions to science and education," he added. The Nation

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"It is a very good decision to reinstate Dr Atta. No doubt he is one of the great person for the country. I think, such quick decisons of sending or not sending stduents for higher education are not good. We have to make a proper structure, first. We should decide what we need for our country. every one will agree that good quality education is essential for our growth as a nation. Sending scholars for higher education is not a bad step, but it would be even better if it is harmoizaed with countrys needs. For example, we should encourage higher education which can be effective to our country at grass root level first. We are agricultral country and what is the oint if every person is going in nano-sciences type of fields. Conclusion: Termination of higher education scholarships is not the solution, instead it should be harmonized with Pakistans needs, so it can be beneficial for us."
Name: Shafiq Irfan
City, Country: Loughborough, UK

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Control of private schools shifted from EDOs to education department
Karachi: The Sindh government has handed complete control of private schools and institutes to the Sindh Education Department, taking the authority away from the education departments of the district governments.

"From now on, the Sindh private schools directorate will have the authority to register any private institute starting from Montessori to middle school," revealed Education Department officials.

The directorate was already given the control of private institutes offering studies higher than those having middle school classes.

"In this regard, a notification has also been issued according to which the directorate will also be the registration authority of institutes of technical and vocational training, IT institutes and the institutes offering Primary Teachers Certificate (PTC) and Certificate in Teaching (CT)," they said.

Before the directorate, district government education EDOs were supervising private institutes, which was creating confusion among the authorities as well as the parents and students, especially when it came to dealing with the problems being faced by them. Taking notice of the dispute over the controlling authority, Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq ordered to bring the authority under one umbrella.

The officials said that two regional offices had been established at Karachi and Hyderabad respectively where complaints regarding schools up to middle level will be registered.

It may be mentioned here that the total number of private schools in Sindh is around 12,000, the two thirds of which are in Karachi while the rest are in the other parts of the province. To accommodate other districts of Sindh, regional offices of Directorate of Private Schools would be set up in Sukkur, Larkana and Mirpurkhas.

After taking control of the private institutes, the Private Schools Director Mansoob Ahmed Siddiqi has asked all the private institutes to refrain from increasing the fees in the ongoing academic year. "The fees can only be raised in the beginning of the next academic term in April 2009 as per rules of the department," the officials quoted him saying.

It was also learnt that the directorate is planning to distribute a Performa in private institutes to get the details of last five years record regarding their fee structure, number of staff, students and facilities available at these institutes. Daily Times

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'Discrimination' against nurses
Karachi: When an MBBS doctor intends to do his FCPS, he/she is given stipend during the study period but there are no such incentives for nurses, according to Rehan, nurse tutor at IoN.

Moreover, an MBBS doctor after doing this course is promoted to grade 18 but there is no grade promotion for nurses, he added. In contrast to it, a nurse remains in the same grade even after 19 years of service.

He complained that nurses are also deprived of scholarships meant for them. There are reports that doctors tend to go abroad on scholarships reserved for nurses by replacing the nurse's name by their name, along with the connivance of Ministry of Health officials.

He informed that a fee for BScN course is Rs3000 per month at IoN, which is cheaper as compared to other government institutes.

According to Pakistan Nursing Council, a nurse who intends to do a BSc Nursing course can not do a job during her studies.

Nurses striving for higher studies, better future
Karachi: When Nadeem joined the nursing profession in 1988, he was treated no better than a "sweeper" and ward boy, sometimes he was even asked to make tea.

In order to improve his image, Nadeem continued his education. At first he obtained a nursing diploma in 2001. Then he pursued a career in teaching. He is now a grade 17 lecturer at Institute of Nursing (IoN) Ojha campus of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) after completing his BSc Nursing there in 2008. He intends to do a masters and Ph.D.

"I left a public-sector hospital after 19 years of service as a male nurse because I was not getting promoted to a higher grade," he said.

He doesn't intend to go abroad because his children are here and he feels good in his own country. "What would be the use of studying here if we go abroad," he opined.

Rashid Ahmed joined a private hospital as a nurse in 1997, and received a nursing diploma in 2000. While in 2008, he completed his BSc nursing.

"There is no awareness about the role of nurses in this country. Even educated people seem indifferent about it. However, a change is taking place gradually," he explained.

At IoN, he directly acquired 17 grades and became a regular employee as a tutor. According to him male nurses are treated like orderlies and ward boys. "When I did my diploma from Liaquat National Hospital, I had about 100 classmates. Out of which 65 have gone abroad where they are paid salaries worth 0.2 to 0.3 million rupees. In addition, the image of a nurse is better there."

Ahmed intends to go to the West for higher education but he doesn't want to work there.

Ms Shahida Yaseen joined Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) in 1999 as a nurse and later joined Sindh Institute of Urological Transplantation (SIUT). Then she joined Aga Khan University (AKU) where she stayed for three years.

In 2003, she passed her examination at Sindh Public Service Commission and once again became a nurse at CHK as she "prefers government jobs, though it costs her in monetary terms and transport facility". She did her BSc Nursing in 2008. She continued her education as she had the support of her family.

"If you are a good person and focus only on your patients then even bad people tend to support you. Although, the atmosphere for nurses is so typical at the hospitals," she said.

She believes the concept of nurse at AKU is "different" as the nurses were working under a separate nursing authority instead of doctors. She said she sought education for her personal mental growth and now she gets to learn more because she is a teacher. Yaseen intends to do her masters in nursing later.

"Recently one of my colleagues who did her BSc Nursing with me got a job in Canada. If I was given an opportunity for a job abroad, I may think about it as everyone has a right to consider a better future," expressed Yaseen.

Rubina Hafeez became a nurse at AKU in 1991 but she left this profession after marriage. In 2006, she got an admission for BSc Nursing and became a nurse tutor at IoN. Recently, she did a Pathophysiology course from AKU and intends to do her masters in mental health.

She is also conducting a research about knowledge of nurses for HIV/AIDS. Since she belongs to Aga Khani community, it is a tradition in their community to send educated and hard working girls into the nursing profession, she informed. She opined teaching is also a service to humanity besides "one should not stay at the same place as this profession has to move forward."

The above mentioned individuals are nurse tutors who were selected among 47 BSc Nursing students at IoN. The News

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Ad hoc lecturers decry expulsion
Larkana: The ad hoc lecturers took out a rally here on Friday to protest against the Sindh government decision to sack them after paying them three-month salary.

Professor Syed Imtiaz Shah, Manzoor Kalhoro and others led the rally which began from Jinnahbagh. They chanted slogans against the decision of Sindh chief minister. They arched on the main roads of the city.

Lashing out at Sindh government's decision, they said the ad hoc lecturers were appointed after qualifying the examinations of Sindh Public Service Commission held in 2005-2006.

They said that when the Sindh chief minister and education minister could regularise the services of 154 lecturers in information technology, then what was blocking them from regularising the ad hoc lecturers.

They claimed that their summary with chief minister's note that 'their services would be no more required' was returned to the education department.

Terming the decision uncalled for, they said they would adopt all means of protests to save their services. They announced holding of a peaceful demonstration outside the Sindh Assembly building on November 24.

Meanwhile, endorsing the demand of ad hoc lecturers the Sindh Lecturers and Professors Association held general bodies in the colleges of Larkana and Qambar-Shahdadkot districts. They also hoisted black flags on the college buildings and wore black armbands.

The teams of Government College, University Lahore and Cadet College Larkana lifted the trophies of winner up and runner up respectively in the All Pakistan Elite Institutions Talent contest held on Friday under the auspices of Cadet College Larkana. Sindh Additional Advocate-General Mohammed Bachal Tunio was the chief guest on the final day of the contest when 22 elite institutions around the country participated in the event of Hifz-i-Iqbal.

The two-day programme beginning from November 20 encompassed declamation, essay writing competition (both in three languages), squash competition and Hifz-e-Iqbal competition.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Tunio underlined the need for encouraging healthy competitions to hunt and polish the talented youth for shouldering the future responsibilities. Dawn

Your Comments
"Subject: The Plight of SPSC and Commissioned Pass Lecturers: In response to Sindh high court verdict on 21 Oct. 2008, the verdict ordered the government to issue the posting orders within four weeks, despite of that no any posting order has been issued till today 23 Nov. 2008. The hunger-strike, protest and voice for their rights by Commissioned pass Lecturers; have become the order of the day. Even Chief Minister Sindh stated that the posting orders of commissioned pass lecturers would be issued soon after Eid-u-Fitr. Since Sindh Public Service Commission is autonomous institute and impartial in recruitment of officers and officials, their recommendations ought to be respected in all means by the incumbent government. The society, in which educated people are badly treated and are deprived of their prerogatives, is not regarded as enlightened and moderate society. I remember when I got NOC from Cadet College Larkana and filled the forms for the post of Lecturer English in Sindh Public Service Commission, in 2005 and appeared in 2006, the result was announced in 2008 and declared pass by SPSC. In spite of receiving offer orders and fulfilling formalities of medical fitness certificate and Intelligence report and later on acceptance of the job, but still waiting for posting orders. Soon after receiving offer order I tendered resignation from Cadet College Larkana as English Lecturer after seven and a half years of service. Now spending jobless life living hand to mouth, having couple of school-going children, I simply do not understand still how many centuries our Sindh will take to enlighten the minds of people, who can really understand and solve the problems of middle class people. This letter is an appeal to the President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah to please issue orders of postings. Thanks. Abdul Malik Abbasi- Ex-Lecturer English, Cadet College Larkana ."
Name: Abdul Malik
City, Country: Jacobabad, Pakistan

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