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HEC without chairman | UET Foundation Day

HEC without chairman since August
Islamabad, Oct 26: Almost two months have passed since the Higher Education Commission (HEC) is working without chairman, which is not only severely affecting day-to-day affairs of the commission but also the higher education sector.

As per HEC Act, all the key decisions related to higher education have to be taken by the commission's board, which is headed by the chairman. The secretariat acts as the executing wing of the commission, which is responsible for implementation of the orders, decisions and directives of the board. Among other matters affected by this delay are the regular hearings in the Supreme Court on degrees of Parliamentarians.

The HEC position on such an important and sensitive matter before submission to the Supreme Court is usually approved by the chairman and in some cases chairman has to be there during court proceeding. In addition, a Task Force on Balochistan was formed three months back to resolve all financial, quality, governance and faculty related Issues at the universities in Balochistan. This is also headed by the HEC chairman. In particular, the University of Balochistan is facing a severe financial deficit and could be shut down if things are not dealt with in time. The Task Force was formed to look into such problems and resolve them. However, there has been no progress in past three months due to non-appointment of the HEC chairman. Some other important tasks managed by HEC chairman includes heading Search Committees of appointment of vice chancellors for more than 20 federal universities. The No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for new universities, after inspection by the Inspection Committee and fulfilment of all requirements, has also to be finally approved by the chairman.

Sources said that NOC process of over 8 new and upcoming universities, both in public and private sector are now stalled. The Sir Syed Case Institute in Islamabad is still awaiting NOC from the HEC. Finances released by the government on a quarterly basis for development expenditures, and monthly basis for recurring, for onward release to the universities, are also endorsed by the chairman as per commission approved formula for distribution.

In addition, the HEC Board Member is appointed by the PM out of three names approved by the commission. The summary is sent to the PM after the approval of the chairman. Currently since last 3 months, about 7 positions of the commission are lying vacant, out of 17, and a summary cannot be moved to the PM without the approval of the chairman. Hence the Board is non-functioning due to lack of quorum, minimum nine members form a quorum, and a meeting is usually called by the chairman, who also approves the agenda of the meeting. Hence most policy decisions cannot be made and are at standstill since last

three months for lack of commission. The appointment of senior officials in the HEC (BPS 17 and above), whether by appointment or by deputation) is also the jurisdiction of the Chairman/commission. The Supreme Court of Pakistan had expressed its displeasure over the government's failure to make the key appointment after the expiry of first term of former HEC chairman on August 26, 2013.

The delay in appointing a head for the Higher Education Commission (HEC) landed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on this Tuesday. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui directed the cabinet division secretary to appoint a responsible officer to appear in court on October 30 to inform it where the issue of appointment stands.

The HEC chief's post has been lying vacant since August 27 when the term of former HEC chairman Javed Laghari expired.

Khawaja Aurangzeb has filed a petition seeking the court's directions over the appointment of the HEC chief. The petitioner's counsel said the all-important slot has been vacant since August and the government seems non serious about filling the post. He argued that under the HEC Ordinance, the prime minister is the competent authority and requested the court to direct the prime minister to appoint a new head. The petitioner's counsel maintained that the appointment of a new chairman is vital as thousands of students are directly affected by the vacancy.

Dr. Javaid Laghari is being considered strong candidate for this challenging slot due to his contributions. According to the sources of ministry of education and training summary has been moved to PM Secretariat on July 30, 2013, which has supported extension of the contract of Dr. Laghari due to his contribution and belonging to smaller province.

Under the HEC ACT, the appointment of commission's chairman is a prerogative of the prime minister who is the controlling authority of HEC.

HEC is considered among few role model institutions at national and international level that has achieved a lot, and has successfully delivered. It has raised the level of Pakistan universities to be ranked globally within a few years. This is despite every effort and repeated attacks by the former government to curtail HEC's autonomy and reduce its funding. The news

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Rawalpindi BISE head told to pay compensation
Lahore: Punjab Ombudsman Javed Mahmood has ordered the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (Rawalpindi) chairman to pay Rs48,500 to a girl student as compensation.

The amount was incurred on her admission to a private college due to delay of 15 months in the issuance of her result card.

According to a handout, the ombudsman issued the order on a complaint of Shabana Mehnaz, a resident of Tala Gang in Chakwal district, in which she stated marks of her computer science subject were missing in the results on the Internet and the issue was taken up with the board immediately.

She stated she was made a "rolling stone" between her school and the Rawalpindi BISE office. Later, the board informed her she would be awarded with average marks as her record was missing from their office.

The BISE controller of examinations forwarded the case to the discipline committee, which, after three months, directed the branch secrecy to trace the record. Her result card had not been issued even after a lapse of over a year, she complained.

The ombudsman directed Najam Saeed, member in-charge Rawalpindi, to probe the issue. He sent a notice to BISE and called for a report. The board immediately issued the result card to the complainant, but after 15 months. After the result card was issued, the ombudsman directed the BISE chairman to pay compensation for issuing the result late.

According to the handout, the ombudsman said the complainant had to suffer "mental torture" and her education was at stake due to maladministration and inefficiency of the officials of BISE, Rawalpindi. It was the responsibility of the BISE to ensure timely issuance of the result card but the officials concerned ignored their prime duty, he said.

He directed the board chairman to pay the compensation within 30 days otherwise a strict action would be taken for the recovery of the amount. Dawn

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Orders against FDE officials withdrawn
Islamabad: The Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) has withdrawn removal orders of two senior officials of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).

Director Model Colleges Dr. Tariq Masood and Director Planning and Development Ashraf Nadeem were removed from their posts by the FDE director general on the last working day before Eidul Azha.

The Ministry of CAD issued a notification with approval of CAD Secretary Faridullah Khan regarding restoration of two officials to their previous positions.

The official sources said that then secretary CAD in the directives on April 18, 2011 had ordered that transfers and postings of officials of BPS 19 and above working under FDE would be made by the ministry. "The orders for removal of two officials from their posts were

issued without any lawful authority," the sources said adding that corrective measures are needed to improve deteriorating affairs of the FDE.

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BEC honours 'A' level high-achievers
Rawalpindi: The Beaconhouse Educational Complex (BEC), A Level Branch, hosted a high-achievers ceremony to honour the students who had been awarded brilliant grades in their CIE AS and A Level Examinations for the academic session 2012-2013, says a press release.

The ceremony was held at the BEC Saad Sadiq Shaheed Hall with almost 400 students, faculty members and parents of high-achievers in attendance. The AS and AL students received their awards and shields from members of the parent body, parents of high-achieving students and Nassir Kasuri, executive director of the Beaconhouse (North) with Dr. Shagufta Minhajj, senior headmistress of the BEC, as host for the ceremony.

During the ceremony, the outgoing batch of 2013 received gold and silver medals as a result of their dedication and tireless efforts. Along with the graduating class of 2013, the students of AS were also awarded shields in recognition of their excellent academic performance and also as an encouragement to do even better in the coming final A Level examinations. This was followed by impressive presentation on the national and international BEC university and college placements which further encouraged the students to aim higher.

The chief guest, Nassir Kasuri, congratulated the students on their achievements and said that he was looking forward to continued student successes at BEC. He said that these top academic performances are Beaconhouse tradition and are a result of dedicated efforts by the students and the top ranked faculty.

The ceremony concluded with a delightful and entertaining music performance by the school's Music Society and Music Choir.

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Honour for PhD scholar
Islamabad: Lubna Sunawar, a PhD scholar of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies (PCS) at National Defence University, Islamabad, was a visiting fellow at American Graduate School (AGS), Paris, from April 1 to September 30, 2013 under the Split PhD Programme, an initiative of the French Embassy, Pakistan, says a press release.

She worked with the guidance of Dr. Tatiana Coutto at AGS. The fellowship was awarded for exhibiting the highest scholarly excellence.

Lubna Sunawar put a particular focus on post-9/11 period and the impact of the war on terror on the US-Pakistan relations. She emphasised Pakistan's role as an important diplomatic, military and logistic ally to the US and the repercussions of that role on Pakistan and its position on the international stage.

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UET celebrates Foundation Day
Peshawar: The University of Engineering and Technology , Peshawar, celebrated its Foundation Day with the theme "Past, Present and Future" on Wednesday.

UET Vice-Chancellor Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani was the chief guest on the occasion. As part of programme, senior faculty members and chairmen delivered speeches on various aspects of the UET, including its history, achievements and impediments faced in the beginning.

The vice-chancellor said the day has been celebrated for the first time in the UET history since its establishment on October 23, 1980. Considering the importance of Foundation Day, the vice-chancellor announced that this day would be coincided with annual convocation from now onwards.

"During the last several years, the university has grown into six campuses, with a new campus being established in Jalozai. With the establishment of this campus, we will be able to accommodate 4,000 students, in addition to 3,000 students already studying in the main campus at Peshawar and other satellite campuses in Mardan, Bannu, Kohat and Abbottabad," he added. He said the university is successfully running semester system, which has enabled the graduates to complete their engineering education in just four years. He said the university achieved highest development portfolio of Rs9.56 billion amongst Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's public sector universities. The news

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PhD thesis defended
Peshawar: Ms Neelofar Asghar has been recommended for the award of PhD degree in Political Science after successful public defence of her thesis at a ceremony held in the University of Peshawar.

The topic of her research was, "Unequal development in a peripheral capitalist state: a case study of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, 1947-77," says a UoP press release. The scholar found out in her research that unequal development was the logical corollary of capitalist growth creating contradictions of development.

Poverty in the periphery is the enigma of capitalist growth, she said.

The colonial legacy of instituting four different sets of administrative procedures for the Fata, FR, Pata and settled districts implies cumbersome governance. This policy entails constitutional domain only for the settled districts whereas the major area of KP lurks outside the national and provincial legislation, consequently they are outside the realm of politico-socio-economic development. This crisis of legitimacy impacts the KP as well as the federation of Pakistan critically, she concluded.

The ceremony was attended by Department of Political Science chairman Prof AZ Hilali, faculty members and a good number of students. Dawn

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Scholar awarded PhD degree in IR
Peshawar: Tehseena Usman has been recommended for the award of PhD in International Relations after she successfully defended her thesis at a ceremony held at the Department of International Relations, University of Peshawar on Friday.

The topic of her thesis was, "Trust and Mistrust: A Case of Pak-Afghan Strained Relations (2001-2008)".Tehseena said that Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan have been fragile based on mutual mistrust, which has never allowed the two countries to establish closer ties.

She added that in post-Taliban era, Pakistan recognised Hamid Karzai's government in Afghanistan and expressed its desire of establishing friendly relations, but relationship was fragile and the mistrust remained dominant and its height was witnessed between 2001 and 2008.

"The mistrust in the fight against terrorism, cross-border infiltration, blame game, safe havens in Fata and regional factors complicated the situation and halted cooperation between the two neighbours," she added.

Tehseena added that Pakistan and Afghanistan were security seekers, but concrete steps for bringing peace and security lacked on their part.Dr Nasreen Ghufran was her supervisor while her examiner was Dr Jehanzeb Khalil, chairman of the International Relations Department, Abdul Wali Kahn University Mardan. The news

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