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Discrepancies in centralised admission policy process

Hundreds of admission seekers still in a fix
Karachi, Oct 20: Although the centralised admission policy (CAP) committee of the Sindh education department has completed the process of fresh matriculates' placement in the city's 124 government colleges, it has failed to satisfy a large number of candidates, especially girls, who have either been placed in an institution far away from their residence or cast in an undesired faculty.

Parents of the aggrieved candidates have been running from pillar to post ever since the issuance of the placement lists to get the "errors" rectified. CAP committee sources recently admitted that some discrepancies had occurred in the process and welcomed candidates to file claims.

Quite a large number of female candidates, along with their parents thronged the office of the provincial directorate of colleges - adjacent to the defunct KMC workshop in a congested locality along Sardar Abur Rab Nishtar road - to complain that the CAP committee had placed them in the colleges which are far away from their residences or very difficult to reach in the absence of some proper transport means.

A female candidate who was accompanying her father and waiting outside the office of the director-general colleges said: "I live in Gulshan-i-Iqbal but I have been placed in a college that is located in New Karachi."

Another girl, standing outside the office because no proper seating arrangement was available inside, stated that she lived in PECHS, Block II but the CAP committee placed her in a college located in Metroville, SITE area.

Another such candidate complained that she was placed in a Liaquatabad college whereas she resided in Gulistan-i-Jauhar. "It is not possible for me to attend classes regularly at the college because the public transport means on this route between Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Liaquatabad was very difficult to get. The private pick-and-drop facility is beyond our affordability."

Most candidates gathered at the office of the DG colleges said the CAP committee had not considered the distance between the residence of a candidate and the institution he or she was being placed. Nor did they see where a candidate seeking admission had done his matric studies from.

Many other aggrieved candidates, both male and female, complained that they had been placed in a faculty they never wanted to study. Some of the candidates said that they had applied for admission to a commerce college as they had done their matric in the same faculty. However, they added, their names appeared in the list of those placed in humanities faculty.

Similarly, there were many instances where the candidates seeking admission in computer science had been placed in a college offering pre-engineering faculty.

It may be pointed out here that hundreds of students who did their matriculation with commerce or computer science group have been placed in arts (humanities) and pre-engineering colleges, respectively, owing to a limited number of seats available in commerce and computer science colleges.

According to sources, the faculty of computer science is available at only 27 - 14 male and 13 female - colleges in the city.

Similarly, there is a wide gap between the number of students who passed their matric exams in commerce group and the number of seats available in the faculty of commerce at government colleges.

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KU approved admission quota for students from interior of Sindh
Karachi: Giving in to pressure from official quarters and ignoring criticism from its own teachers, the University of Karachi has decided to reserve 30 seats for students belonging to the interior of Sindh in its BS/MS 2010 programmes.

The seats reserved for Balochistan students have been doubled from 10 to 20.

The decisions were taken at a specially convened meeting of the KU academic council on Monday. The meeting was chaired by Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui.It was for the first time that the KU reserved seats for students from the interior of Sindh. The university has a quota for the army (32 seats), Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Areas (eight), the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (eight), employees (two per cent) and sports (two per cent).

Sources said that at the meeting the suggestion to reserve seats for the students of interior of Sindh initially drew criticism from some members who contended that the KU was already accommodating students from the interior of the province and this measure would further compromise merit.

They said that Professor M. Saleem Memon, KU admissions director, tried to pacify these members and explained that the reserved seats were being added to the total number of seats and the right of the students of Karachi had been protected.

"Admissions would be granted in accordance with the old procedure on merit and eligibility criteria have not been changed. The admission categories of K (Karachi), S (Sindh) and P (Pakistan) would remain the same," he said.

He also said that the request to increase the number of reserved seats had come from the government of Sindh and had also been discussed in the national assembly.

"The national assembly's standing committee on education twice invited the vice chancellor on this issue. During these meetings, Federal Education Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bajrani also made a request for accommodating students from the interior of Sindh," he said, adding that recently the Dow University of Health Sciences had reserved 42 seats for students from the interior of Sindh on the request of the provincial government.

He argued that the educational system in the interior of Sindh had totally collapsed and talented students were suffering due to a poor law and order situation. "Keeping in view the request and the prevailing situation in the interior of Sindh, which is not different from the situation in Balochistan, 30 seats may be reserved for the candidates of rural Sindh as a gesture from the KU," he suggested.

After much debate, the proposal was approved. According to the decision, the seats would be offered in departments which either did not exist in universities in the rural areas or were new.

The departments where seats would be reserved are: agriculture and agribusiness management, physiology, food science and technology, applied chemistry, biotechnology, actuarial science and risk management, special education, chemical engineering, business administration, pharmacy, applied physics, genetics and petroleum technology.

The university will not be responsible for the provision of residential facilities to students to be admitted on the reserved seats, the members decided while agreeing that the earlier option to apply in eight departments would be reduced to five in 2010 admissions. This condition will apply to all students.

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KUTS divided into two groups
Karachi: The Karachi University's Teachers Society has finally divided into two groups before the society's elections which are likely to be held later this month.

A KUTS meeting due on Tuesday to present nominations for the elections is expected to be a showdown between the two groups with one group lobbying for its postponement while the other persuading members to attend it. According to the sources, the major reason for the growing differences between the members is the alleged pro-administration attitude of some office-bearers. Dawn

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KU MA forms submission
Karachi: The University of Karachi will accept the enrolment forms of MA (colleges) with Rs1,000 fee for the academic session 2008-09 from Oct 20 to Nov 9, the registrar of the university announced this on Sunday, adding that enrolment forms with a late fee of Rs500 could be submitted till Nov21.

KU evening supple exams

The supplementary exams 2009 for all the outgoing students of the KU evening programme will commence on Oct 22.

This was announced by the KU evening programme director on Sunday.

All eligible candidates have been asked to pay their examination fees as per the announced scheduled.

Geography practicals

The controller of examinations of Karachi University has announced the schedule of BA (pass) first and second year geography practicals of supplementary exams 2008. The exams would be held between Oct 26 and Oct 31.

All practicals will be conducted at the department of geography between 9.30am and 12.30pm. APP

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KU bureau of translation veers off its course
Karachi: The Bureau of Composition, Compilation and Translation at Karachi University no longer renders English terminology into Urdu, one of the main purposes it was set up for in 1957. The BCCT's other tasks include the publication of books, research papers written or translated by teachers and other KU literature. But it seems to have shifted its focus to commercial ventures, taking printing orders from private parties and making money also by publishing certain textbooks.

"The bureau was running in losses before I took its charge in March 2008. But now we earn enough to run it smoothly," says Dr Mansoor Ahmed, the caretaker director of the BCCT said. The KU authorities' lack of interest in the bureau is apparent from the fact that the BCCT does not have a permanent head and it is being run by an honorary director indefinitely. Dr Ahmed is a professor of pharmacognosy and devoted teacher, yet he says he has plans to transform the bureau into a department, where printing-related courses would be taught.

Although the caretaker director recognises the importance of rendering English terminology into Urdu, he sees little need for it. He says the ubiquity of the internet has shrunk the demand for Urdu translations. He insists that almost all students know enough English to follow their relevant subjects and, therefore, there is no need to translate English terms into Urdu.

"I would rather like to have books translated from German, Italian and French into Urdu, but we no longer have experts in these languages," says the ad-hoc director.

About the BCCT's other activities, Dr Ahmed says it publishes textbooks, which naturally earn good money for the bureau. And it regularly publishes the university's monthly magazine called Makhzan.

He says the bureau charges lower rates than private publishers and the quality is as good as any top publishing house's. "The publishers usually promise one thing but do another. They might show you one quality of paper, and use another. Which we can't do. We may tell an intending author what paper we will use. We explain to him what the paper, ink, etc will separately cost. Binding is done by a private party THE printing machine and staff are busy, apparently in compliance with commercial orders, at the Bureau of Composition, Compilation and that, too, charges competitive rates."

The bureau has a 12-strong staff besides about 20 employees working in the press department.

When reminded that there is not enough matter concerning the BCCT available on the web, he says this aspect has eluded him, but now he had called a web designer the very next day for an interview. "If he meets our requirements, I'll hire and assign him the task to build a website of the bureau."

However, Dr Moinuddin Aqeel, a former director and now the head of the Islamic International University Islamabad's Urdu department, laments that as deterioration has set in everywhere else, so has in the BCCT.

Recounting his own achievements, the acclaimed researcher says it was Ali Arif Rizvi's literary work which he had published the last and nothing has followed it . "As funds were not available for the publication of the manuscript, I approached the National Language Authority for the publication of the volume of official terminology. The NLA obliged and and a valuable book materialised.

Dr Aqeel says the bureau had earlier begun publishing a quarterly magazine and had published 17 of its issues. But for the next 16 to 17 years it remained suspended before he took over the bureau in 2001 and published some 11 issues in his tenure that ended in 2004. He says he had introduced certain managerial reforms also, such as engaging redundant staff in productive work.

He says the bureau has published a total of 60 to 65 highly valuable books, including those written by Dr Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi, which might sell like hot cakes if republished, but the bureau is sitting on them. He says a number of old manuscripts also lie in the bureau, which must be published.

On this issue, Dr Mansoor Ahmed says when we know that a particular book is in demand in the market, he will love to publish and supply it to the booksellers.

Dr Aqeel recalls that earlier weekly literary sittings were also held. He alleges that officials at the bureau are not appointed on merit and only sycophants make it to the top.

He also says that the high-efficiency modern press machinery is rusting from non-use and lack of maintenance. Dawn

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College teachers start protest drive
Karachi: Teachers of government colleges in the city observed a "black day" on Monday to protest against what they described as "the failure of the authorities to honour their commitments" to resolve issues faced by the teaching fraternity.

However, academic activities at colleges remained unaffected by the protest as teachers wearing black armbands took classes.

The black day was a part of the nine-day campaign - starting on Oct 19 - launched by the Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) to put pressure on the relevant authorities for acceptance of their demands.

Meanwhile, central leaders of the SPLA in a joint statement have voiced concerns over the lack of teachers at government colleges.

They said that Sindh education department officials, in a bid to divert higher authorities' attention from the shortage issue, were carrying out raids on colleges only to give an impression, as if teachers were not performing their duties.

Although first-year classes at colleges had already started, the provincial education department had so far failed to overcome the shortage of teachers despite the fact that the authorities concerned had assured the SPLA that the number of teachers required at colleges would be provided before the start of the academic session, they said.

SPLA leaders, including Prof Ather Hussain Mirza, Prof Mohsin Raza Bhatti, Prof Hemat Ali Pitafi, Prof Muzaffar Ali Rizvi, Prof Iftikhar Azmi, Prof Yaqoob Chandio, Prof Shafquat Jokhio, Prof Manzoor Chhajro and Prof Ayub Marri, also alleged that student wings of political parties had hoisted their party flags on the premises of colleges and were politicising the academic atmosphere of educational institutions.

Despite these activities, officials of the education department seemed helpless against such student groups, they said.

They urged the education department to overcome the shortage of teachers and remove political parties wings from colleges within a month, otherwise the authorities themselves would be held responsible for any deteriorating situation.

They said that they also wanted to meet the Sindh chief minister to apprise him of the deteriorating situation of government colleges.

The SPLA leaders also appealed to the Sindh governor to play his role in saving the education sector in the province.

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Protest against schoolgirl's gang-rape
Khairpur: Citizens, human rights activists, representatives of the civil society and workers of political parties on Monday protested against the gang rape of a schoolgirl by teachers. The protestors were joined by traders and businessmen of Faiz Gunj town and its adjoining areas. Businesses remained closed in the area.

The protesting citizens brought out a rally against the incident and demanded immediate arrest of the accused teachers and their protectors. They said that gang rape incident had created fear and panic among the schoolgirls of Bhango Behan High School and other educational institutes in the area.

The attendance in the schools during the last three days has dropped and parents are hesitating to send their daughters to schools, they said. Human rights activists Shujaat Ahmed Siddique, Akhtar Khaskheli, Ahmed Hussain Ujjan and others said that the ratio of school going girls in the rural areas was already very discouraging and the recent incident of gang rape had shattered the confidence of the people.

They said that teachers were the spiritual fathers of their students. They demanded of the teachers' community to identify the black sheep among them. They also demanded severe punishment to the accused teachers - Shoukat Jatt, Ghulam Mustafa Rajper, Imtiaz Rajper - and their facilitator Iftikhar Jatt. The news


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