Universities budgetary cuts & VCs protest
Islamabad, Sept 20: The vice-chancellors of 71 public universities are threatening to resign
and lock up their institutions in protest against drastic budgetary
cuts in tertiary education by the government. Ironically, this sector
had until recently seen allocations rising from millions to billions of
rupees within five years of the constitution of the Higher Education
Commission in 2002. But even then there was criticism that the
enhancement was made at the expense of primary and secondary education
and to the neglect of technical and vocational education. Although the
crunch in funding became evident after the current government came into
power in 2008, the recent floods have shifted budgetary priorities even
more. Increased demands for more effective spending have made it
difficult to justify funding this sector on the scale of recent years.
this, however, is not to sideline the importance of knowledge and the
contribution of higher education to Pakistan's development. But with the
squeeze in public funding, the HEC ought to look into ways of
economising on costs while our universities should consider adopting
alternative methods of income generation through, for instance,
public-private partnerships as is done in other countries. The
government has suggested the formation of a multi-agency committee,
which will include vice-chancellors, to find solutions to the financial
problems of our universities. Whatever the course of action it decides
on, it should not have a negative fallout on the less privileged. Our
public universities should continue to remain accessible to the
under-privileged. Until these universities can generate most of their
income on their own and thus prove less dependent on public grants, it
should be the government's responsibility to continue to allocate as
much as it can to higher education. The future health and viability of
our universities depends on the cooperative effort of all concerned in
successfully overcoming the financial crunch.
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Teachers to join VCs protest
Rawalpinid: The Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association on
Sunday announced that it would join the protest movement of vice
chancellors of public sector universities against the federal
government's refusal to allocate needed funds to the Higher Education
Association's President M. Ilyas Qureshi in a
statement here said teachers' community were shocked over the
government's refusal to provide fund to 72 public sector universities,
adding the decision would cripple the higher education sector.
Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh at a meeting with the VCs recently
refused to provide funds to the higher educational institutions and
suggested to them to generate their own sources of income.
condemn the attitude of the federal government towards higher education
and announce our support to the cause of vice chancellors in the larger
interest of students and quality education in the country," the general
secretary of the association, Raoof Ahmed Shah said in his statement.
He said on the one hand the provincial government had set up Board of
Governors in 26 colleges in Punjab and on the other admissions to
graduation programmes in these institutions had been closed.
asked the Supreme Court to take notice of the issue as it was directly
affecting education of hundreds of thousands of students in the country
besides aggravating the woes of teachers. Dawn
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VCs pin little hope on six-member committee
Islamabad: Vice chancellors (VCs) of public sector universities have
little hope that the issue of higher education sector budget cut would
be resolved by the six-member committee constituted by Prime Minister
Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani. Many of them also conveyed this to HEC Chairman
Dr. Javed Laghari.
According to reliable sources, VCs have expressed
their extreme dissatisfaction over the process being adopted to tackle
the issue of budget cut through telephone calls and emails to the HEC
chairman as according to them there was no difference in the committee
which was constituted by Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh during a
meeting held on Thursday and the one constituted by the prime minister
The committee which has been formed to discuss the funding
matters with VCs of public sector universities includes Deputy Chief of
the Planning Commission Dr. Nadeemul Haq, Secretary Education Imtiaz
Qazi, Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr. Javed Laghari and
three university vice chancellors.
According to sources, it is the
HEC chairman who should chair the committee as he enjoys the status of a
federal minister. "Deputy Chief of the Planning Commission Dr. Nadeemul
Haq has a status equivalent to the minister of state so according to
rules, the one who is enjoying the status of a federal minister should
be the chairman of the committee, however, it has been mentioned
nowhere," they said.
VCs believe that the committee has been
constituted in a haphazard manner in which legal and technical aspects
have been ignored altogether. "There is not a single representative of
the Ministry of Finance in the committee. How come the issue of budget
could be discussed without the involvement of the Ministry of Finance,"
According to information, the
meeting of the committee constituted by the prime minister would be held
today (Monday), however, according to details, many VCs have asked the
HEC chairman to reject the idea of constituting the committee which he
did not accept. "VCs believe that the government knows very well that
future of higher education is at stake so money should be injected
immediately in order to save it, but nothing practical has been done so
far while the committee would also do nothing good," sources said.
to details, the committee has been constituted to create a fiscal space
for meeting funding requirements for foreign scholarships, 50 per cent
increase in salaries and development schemes, which are nearly complete
in all major universities as this fiscal year's budgetary allocations
for higher education have been slashed by more than 70 per cent.
contacted, HEC Chairman Javed Laghari expressed the hope
that the issue of budget would be resolved, as the prime minister has
shown his commitment by forming a committee to deal with the matter. "It
is true that our universities are on the verge of bankruptcy and that
is why VCs are getting worried but they should trust the government and
cooperate with the committee," he said.
When asked about the absence
of representatives of the Ministry of Finance in the committee, he said
that there should have been representation of the Ministry of Finance
but it was very early to say something about it. "I think before making
an objection we all should wait for the first meeting of the committee.
No one knows the representatives of the Ministry of Finance would also
be included at a later stage," he said.
He, however, assured that
they would not stretch the matter to weeks and months. "The public
sector universities are in urgent need of money so we would try to come
to some conclusion within days and not weeks," he said.
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VU students in a fix over papers reschedule
Islamabad: A large number of Virtual University (VU) students are in a fix over
rescheduling of their papers which they missed on August 7 and August 8,
2010 owing to problem in the varsity's computer software.
authorities after sending emails to the students shrugged off its
responsibility ignoring what would be the case if someone could not
receive the email or missed its reading owing to preparation of rest of
the exam. It is pertinent to mention here that hundreds of VU students
could not appear in different online midterm and final examinations in
August this year following failure of the varsity's computer software.
The abrupt computer generated error disappointed students who had gone
to examination centres in different cities of the country. A number of
aggrieved students said they did not even receive the VU email about
rescheduling of exams, adding that they had been visiting the online
notice board of the VU Learning Management System (LMS) but to no avail.
student, seeking anonymity, said on telephone contact with Conduct
Section (Examinations Department) he was told that his paper was
rescheduled for August 22, 2010 and intimation was given on this email
address of VU.
"I was not using the VU email account regularly so I
could not get information of rescheduling," he said, adding that it was
strange that the varsity authorities could not intimate him and many
other students like him through SMS or posting the information on the
notice board. "Despite repeated attempts I am still unable to know when
could I attempt the paper I missed," he regretted.
"Every time fee is
due the students are informed through SMS by the VU while information
is also posted on the VU LMS notice board," said Rana Tanveer, a VU
student, adding "However nothing happened like this to date." He further
said neither the students were informed through advertisements in the
press about rescheduling of the exam. It is also important to mention
here that Virtual University is the Pakistan's first university based
completely on modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
One feels that it would have been appropriate on the part of the
university to contact the students through SMS or at least put the
notice of rescheduling on the notice board but no such thing happened,
said another aggrieved student.
The students have demanded the VU
authorities to arrange special examination for them so that their
precious time might not be wasted further.
VU Rector Dr Naveed A
Malik said that students were informed through email and
SMS about the rescheduled exam, adding that however it was possible that
some could not get the information as it was sent in bulk.
advised all those students who could not attempt their rescheduled exam
to contact him on his email (firstname.lastname@example.org), saying the VU was
rescheduling exams once again for those who could not attempt exam owing
to floods in different parts of the country. The news
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Last date for admissions at AIOU today
Islamabad: The last date for submission of admission forms with double
late fee from Matriculation to MSc/MA level programmess for the semester
Autumn, 2010 of the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is today
This was announced by the AIOU (Admissions) Director,
Sohail Nazir Rana. As per details, double late fee of Matric Program is
Rs200, Intermediate/BA/PTC programmes is Rs400 while double late fee of
MA/MSc programmes is Rs1,000.
He said that the deadline for
submission of fee would not be extended in any case while the admission
forms and prospectus are available in the main Campus of University at
Sector H-8, Islamabad as well as in all its regional campuses/offices
across the country. The forms along with the prescribed fee can be
submitted in any branch of First Women's Bank, Bank Al-Falah and Allied
Bank across the country while in nominated branches of National Bank of
Pakistan and Habib Bank of Pakistan. Dawn
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PhD degree awarded
Islamabad: The National University of Modern Languages (NUML) has
conferred a PhD degree in Applied Linguistics on an Allama Iqbal Open
University (AIOU) lecturer, Malik Ajmal Gulzar.
Gulzar has been associated with the AIOU's English Language and Applied Linguistics Department for the last 15 years.
Dr. Samina Amin Qadir supervised his thesis, which was titled
'Classroom Discourse in Bilingual Context: Effects of Code-Switching on
Language Learning in Pakistani TEFL Classroom'.
examiners were noted linguistics Dr. Awena Carter from University of
Lancaster and Dr. Gill Cressey from University of Birmingham, while
other examiners Professor Dr. Saeeda Asadullah Khan and Professor Dr.
Rubina Kamran recommended its publication.
According to Gulzar, his
work is pioneer in the discipline of Applied Linguistics in Pakistan. He
said that he was the second PhD holder in the AIOU English Language and
Applied Linguistics Department.
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UK Varsity deputy chief visits IIUI
Islamabad: Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Bedfordshire University, Professor Ashraf Jawaid,
Friday visited the International Islamic University (IIU). He called on
President IIUI Dr. Anwar Hussain Siddiqui and esteemed his views on
academic cooperation between IIUI and his varsity. He also discussed
with Dr. Anwar Hussain Siddiqui establishment of linkage between his
university and the Islamic University. Professor Ashraf Jawaid also
attended a briefing by IIUI deans and directors. The news
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