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Higher Education Commission action against scholars

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HEC to take stern action against absconding scholars
Islamabad, Nov 17: In order to stop the brain-drain of HEC-funded Pakistani scholars, Higher Education Commission (HEC) has evolved a comprehensive strategy to prosecute against those scholars, who refuse to return after the completion of their PhD programmes.

For those scholars, who seem to be evasive of their legal, moral and ethical duty to return and serve their motherland after being facilitated by HEC, a strict mechanism of monitoring and vigilance has been devised by the Commission.

A scholar, as per the duly notarised documents (deed of agreement, guarantee to HEC and certification of financial soundness), is liable of reimbursing the entire amount in foreign currency plus any penalty as per decision of the National Scholarship Management Committee if he breeches the agreement.

In the recent meeting of the National Scholarship Management Committee, the representatives of provincial governments, Ministry of Science & Technology, Ministry of Education and HEC were unanimous in their desire to ensure that all scholars complete their education abroad in the minimal possible time and return immediately to join the academic and research organisations in Pakistan.

It was emphasised that integrated efforts be continued to improve the monitoring and vigilance of the foreign scholars. It was decided that the name of the absconding scholars would be posted on the HEC website.

Besides, the case will also be forwarded to the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) and the Foreign Office for pursuing the return of scholars under international agreements.

No effort would be spared to ensure the success of the HEC scholarship programmes and no opportunity would be provided to anybody to exploit the programme for their personal benefit.

HEC has been mandated by the government of Pakistan to formulate policies, guiding principles and priorities for the higher education sector. Innovative programmes including faculty development, increased funding for universities, research support, and foreign and local scholarships have been designed to achieve the objective of a knowledge-based economy.

In order to increase the share of PhD faculty in universities and equipping the research and development organisations of Pakistan, foreign MS and PhD level scholarships have been awarded to Pakistani scholars. The programme has started to pay off in terms of the scholars completing their PhD successfully and joining their parent organisations and universities.

To facilitate scholars who do not have any employment, HEC has the Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs (IPFP) programme, providing an opportunity to these returning scholars to be directly placed at universities in Pakistan.

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Specialised training to be made mandatory for pre-primary teachers
Islamabad: The government intends to start a two-year specialized training for Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers so that the students can get better learning environment from the initial stages.

According to the new education policy, the training will be made necessary requirement for dealing with young children.

This training will be on the basis of ECE revised National Curriculum. While the curriculum and support material for ECE will take account of the cultural diversity of particular areas. The quality of ECE will be improved on a concept of holistic development of the child that provides a stimulating, interactive environment, including play, rather than a focus on regimes that require rote learning and rigid achievement standards, the policy stated. ECE age group will be recognized as comprising 3 to 5 years.

The state will provide at least one-year pre-primary education and ensure universal access to ECE within the next ten years. Provision of ECE will be attached to primary schools, which will be provided with additional budget, teachers and assistants for this purpose. ECE has not been formally recognized by the public sector in the country in the past.

The traditional `katchi' class in some public sector schools has predominantly remained a familiarisation stage towards formal schooling for un-admitted, young students. A limited part of the Grade I National Curriculum is taught to this group. Against this background, for the first time in the country's history, ECE was included as a component in the Education Sector Reforms programme and funding was provided to the provincial and district governments. ECE was also included in the National Plan of Action of Education For All (EFA).

The education policy widely reflects commitment to the Dakar Framework of Action, the first goal of which is to expand and improve comprehensive ECE for all children, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

"Early childhood education is the most important segment in the educational career of a student on the basis of which his or her personality nourishes. It is heartening that special focus is laid on early childhood education especially in the education policy," a lecturer of a local college said.

The guideline and education at primary stage determine the future of a child and this initiative will help instil the ability of constructive thinking, discouraging the traditional way of rote learning, she said. Although progress has been achieved over the last few years, but further action is required in three areas of wider participation, better quality, and improved governance to improve provision of early childhood education across the country. The news

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Islamic university students protest arrest of fellows
Islamabad: Students of International Islamic University (IIU) on Monday boycotted the classes and held protest demonstration at the campus against the 'abduction' of the university students by security agencies in connection with the investigation of October 20 bombings.

According to the protesters, four students have been picked by the security agencies for investigation including two Afghans and a female student, Sajda Bibi from Abbottabad,.

The students displayed banners inscribed with their demands at the campus and made speeches demanding early recovery of their university fellows. They also blocked the gates of the university and did not allow anyone to take classes in male campus while the classes in the female campus held according to their schedule. The students demanded of the government to release the missing students or at least declare their status whether they were dead or alive so that psychological agonies of the family members could come to an end.

"If they have committed any illegality they should be brought to courts, instead of being picked up and without the involvement of university administration," demanded they.

"We have been negotiating with the university administration to contact the Interior Ministry in this regard but the administration has so far failed to provide us any whereabouts of these students as the administration itself has not been taken into confidence by the security agencies" they added.

The students warned during that they would continue to boycott the classes until the missing students are recovered. Two suicide blasts had rocked the International Islamic University Islamabad on October 20 separately killing 8 and injuring about 30 students and staff members.

Since then the investigation agencies have been picking up students in the name of investigation into the incident. Some of them have been freed after investigation but theses four students are still in the custody of intelligence agencies.

Students after their meeting with the University President Dr Anwar Siddiqui ended their protest till Tuesday evening (Today). The president assured them that he would talk to Interior Minister Rehman Malik and move the court to trace the students. The nation

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Shia board seeks Urdu translation of Vande Matram
Islamabad: Amidst a controversy over Muslims reciting the Vande Matram, the All-India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) has asked New Delhi to get the national song translated into Urdu to help the community understand the its real meaning and spirit, an Indian television channel reported on Monday.

According to the channel, the board's chairman, Maulana Mirza Muhammad Athar, has written to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and president, to arrange an accurate translation of Vande Matram as soon as possible. "The controversy over Vande Matram it not new, while one section of community leaders opposes its recital by Muslims, some favour it," AISPLB spokesman Maulana Yasoob Abbas said. He said efforts should be made to address the controversy once and for all.

"A correct and authentic translation of Vande Matram into Urdu is the best option as it will help the Muslims decide whether they want to recite the national song or not," he said. He claimed the repeated controversy over Vande Matram was resulting in "hatred" among the communities. "A worthless debate is being carried out on the issue, which is communally sensitive. Muslims should be told about the real meaning and spirit of Vande Matram," Abbas said. APP

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Teachers involvement in explosives case being probed
Peshawar: Security agencies have started probing alleged involvement of a teacher of the Islamia College University in an abortive bid to transport 38 packets of explosives to Lahore, sources informed.

It was learnt that the security agencies had foiled a bid to transport 38 packets of explosives, loaded on a truck, to the capital of Punjab province. "The documents revealed that the consignment had been sent by a teacher of the Islamia College (name and department withheld). This has been conveyed to the Peshawar police, who have launched an investigation into the matter," the sources added.

The teacher belongs to Hazara Division. "His residence on the university campus has been locked for the past several days," said a Capital City Police official. The news

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USEFP celebrated Education week
Islamabad: To observe International Education Week 2009, the United States Education Foundation Pakistan (USEFP) on Monday started a series of informative events for local students and counselors.

Dr Grace Clarke, the USEFP executive director, was the chief guest in the ceremony opening the series of events. It was largely attended by students, counselors, experts and others.

The first programme of the series was titled 'Advisors Training' in which school advisors were given the task of viewing college application process. An event was organised to honour a total of 600 high achiever students across Pakistan. Schools were given an opportunity to nominate up to ten students and two counsellors each for this programme.

The USEFP also conducted five raffle draws for a free SAT Exam, TOEFL Exam and three gift vouchers worth Rs 1,000. Daily times

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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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