Relaxation in UK rules for issuing student visas
Travel agents tempt students seeking UK visas
Lahore, Oct 25: Following the recent relaxation in the UK's rules for issuing student
visas, "travel agents" have started advertising their services to attract
students wishing to obtain visas, while a British High Commission (BHC)
spokesman has said it is working closely with Pakistani officials to address
"Travel agents" throughout the city have
displayed banners and posters at prominent places to attract students seeking
visas. These agents, claiming 100 percent success rate, offer to help the
students obtain all the documents required for a visa in exchange for an
exorbitant commission. They claim the students do not need to sit the
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to obtain a visa and
maintain that age is not an issue. Some agents even claim they would arrange
every single required document for a fee of Rs 40,000 to 50,000, while others
claim they have contacts in the British embassy that will guarantee a
An agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said
the British government had recently relaxed its student visa policy and it was
an ideal time to go to the UK. He said people were very eager for student visas
and he received at least 30 to 40 inquiries on a daily basis. "The law and order
situation in our country is not good, encouraging people to try and go abroad,"
he said, adding the inquiries had increased after the recent attacks. He said
students applying for certificate and diploma courses needed to obtain 40
points. "If students secure admission in an A-class college, then they receive
30 points while 10 marks are given on personal data, including education and
bank statement," he said. All the applicant had to do, he said, is provide a
bank statement proving they had Rs 1.3 to 1.5 million in their account for 28
days. "We will arrange for a letter of acceptance from UK institutions after the
applicant pays the visa fee and our charges," he said, adding they refunded all
the money if the visa request were rejected.
To a question, the agent
said certificate and diploma courses were exempt from the IELTS requirement,
while it was a requirement for a graduation degree. He said many students were
unable to score high marks on the IELTS, so it was recommended that they take
admission in certificate or diploma courses.
agent said that anyone could get a student visa, even if they are
over 30 and have not studied in some time. "We would arrange an employment
certificate for him, which would cover his education gap," he
However, the BHC said it did not recognise any agent and was
working closely with Pakistani officials to address migration/visa-related
issues. A BHC spokesman said the IELTS was not a prerequisite for obtaining a
visa, however some universities required it. He said a personal/joint bank
statement with a substantial amount of savings was necessary. He said all
applicants must provide original documents and evidence must be dated no more
than one month before the date of application. He said if the applicant wanted
to study a London-based course for 12 months or less, then they required fees +
£800 for each month of the course; for 12 months or less in a course based
outside, fees + £600/month of the course were required; a London-based course
exceeding 12 months required the first year fees + £800/per month for the first
9 months; and an external course exceeding 12 months required the first year
fees + £600/month for the first 9 months.
spokesman said the applicants also had to arrange a certificate to show they
were free from infectious pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). He recommended applicants
to visit websites prescribed by the British government and apply their cases
there instead of hiring agents to help them. Daily times
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Language centres to improve communication skills
Lahore: Universities and colleges must set up language teaching
centres for the improvement of students' communication skills in
languages particularly in English and Urdu.
This was stated by Chairman
Department of Chemistry, Government College University Prof Dr Saeed
Iqbal. He said language barrier was not only the major learning
handicap but also adamant to communication skill, which impeded the young
graduates in competitions and job placement.
He said the graduates
particularly in Science, IT and Commerce were seriously lacking communication
skills, which was great impediment in their progress and job placement. They
also fail to comprehend the real knowledge because of poor English.
Iqbal said we should teach children in native language and after maturity teach
them the languages so that they could get flair in spoken and written languages
at least in Urdu and English. The burdening of tiny students with difficult
English textbooks and learning foreign language from infancy drift the child in
depression, he added. "They also face wrath of teachers and parents for not
proper comprehension in English and hence lack of confidence", he further added.
Moreover, the quality of English teaching in schools was also poor. Teachers too
were neither qualified nor proficient in English. The example of Germany,
France, Chinese, Japanese and Russian could be quoted to substantiate this truth
where knowledge was imparted in native language. Because of foreign language as
medium of instructions, our students resorted to rote learning instead of
comprehension and thus were deprived of the real knowledge and its theme, he
He was of the view that this was perhaps the major reason why our
students were deprived of the fruits of higher education and why there was no
worthwhile research and why we could not produce Noble laureates who were one or
two at our credit yet. He said our students were intelligent in a number of
science subjects, some of them rich in research but they could not transform
their skills and learning due to language barrier.
under a crash programme 3/4 months long language courses in Urdu and
English should be introduced in Universities including writing and speaking
skills. The separate courses should be at the doorstep of the students at
Universities and postgraduate colleges. Not only Urdu and English, but courses
in Hindi, the language of enemy and the Persian, Arabic and Chinese spoken in
neighbouring countries of Iran, Afghanistan Middle East, China etc should be
taught to our students so that they could benefit from the science and Arts of
these countries and also communicate knowledge to them, he told.Effective
coordination among govt depts stressed
Secretary provincial Home Department
Nadeem Hassan Asif has said full support would be given to Punjab Ombudsman's
children complaint office in order to ensure protection of children's
He expressed these views while addressing senior government officials
at a children complaint office's workshop here on Saturday. Punjab Social
Welfare Secretary Tariq Feroze, Punjab Zakat Secretary Karim Baksh, DG Health
Lahore Dr Fayyaz Ahmad Ranjha, SSP Imran and others also addressed the
Nadeem Hassan, while stressed the need for effective coordination
and proper flow of information among government departments, welfare of begging
children and reforms of jail system in the Punjab were among the top priorities
of the government.
Punjab Ombudsman Secretary Javed Nisar Ahmad Khan said in
order to make the children complaint office effective; a partnership between
government departments, NGOs and media would be developed.
the workshop, UNICEF's children protection specialist Shamshad Qureshi, observed
that in the absence of effective system, thousands of court cases of children
were pending, and at present three million children were victim of child labour.
He advocated for simplifying investigation of children complaints, which
would ensure protection of children's rights. He also observed that many
children were in jails due to complexities in law. The nation
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PU VC chaired meeting of departments chairmen
Lahore: Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran chaired a meeting of
chairmen of all departments to enhance security arrangements on the PU campuses.
The vice-chancellor briefed the chairmen about the meetings of
vice-chancellors of universities of Lahore with the Punjab government and
vice-chancellors of universities of Punjab province with the governor Punjab
He said 'we should get aware of teachers, students and
employees that the terrorist activities in Pakistan are related to the third
phase i.e. present period of Afghan war'.
He said the purpose of these
activities was to damage the armed forces' strength and economy of the only
atomic power of Muslim world Pakistan.
He said the future of Pakistan
was not only bright but our country would also overcome these crises and get
Dr Mujahid Kamran directed the chairmen of all
departments to make security plan of their respective departments and create
awareness among teachers, students and employees in this regard. Moreover, they
were also briefed about the security arrangements made by the university
The chairmen supported the vice-chancellor's viewpoint
and expressed their resolve to face the evil forces with united strength. The
vice-chancellor also suggested the appointment of Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Dr
Jamil Anwar as head of all security issues of the varsity over which the house
showed its consent.
CM's rep presents desert plant to VC: A
representative of Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif presented a desert
plant, which came as a gift from an Arab country, to Punjab University
Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran.
The Punjab University will
conduct research on this plant. Chairperson Punjab University Department of
Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Prof Dr Shahida Hussnain and Resident
Officer-II Malik Muhammad Zaheer were also present.
postponed exams: Punjab University's Controller Examinations Dr Zahid Karim Khan
has said that new schedule of all postponed examinations will be announced when
PU will reopen.
Students to be asked to vacate hostels: A meeting of
wardens and superintendents of all hostels was held under the chairmanship of
Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran.
The vice-chancellor directed
them to increase the security of the hostels. The wardens and superintendents
were also directed to ask some remaining students in some hostels other than the
students of foreign countries and NWFP to vacate the hostels. The news
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