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HEC again likely to face worst financial crisis

VCs come down hard on HEC for nominal allocations<
Islamabad, Sep 14: The meeting of vice chancellors (VCs) on Tuesday at Higher Education Commission (HEC) Headquarters was a battlefield as all head of universities came hard on HEC management for allocation of funds and other affairs. On the other hand HEC Chairman Dr Javaid Laghari shrugged his shoulders by saying that HEC did not have more funds to allocate to universities.

According to sources, the HEC is likely to face the worst financial crisis again as Planning Commission (PC) has released only 14 percent of the total development budget during the first quarter of this fiscal year. Besides cutting down the budget allocations of varsities to 10 to 15%, bearing the brunt of these moves, their management is facing severe financial problems.

An official requesting not to be named said that the VCs of all universities were much concerned about that willful neglect on government and HEC's part. It is also known that they exchanged heated arguments with HEC management as due to lack of funds not only their day-to-day affairs have been suffering but also it is difficult for them to pay the salaries.

Sources further told this scribe that in the meeting the HEC Chairman Dr Javaid Laghri clearly mentioned that HEC did not have any funds to run the affairs of universities. He said PC released every month Rs 97 million for HEC but the expenditure of universities educational projects were twice. The chairman said that financial crisis had also affected six new development projects.

The Federal Cabinet has allocated Rs 679.895 million for the six new schemes of HEC in the federal budget for 2011-12 under PSDP so all other development projects will have to go on hold for three months, he said.

Over 70 VCs and rectors of public sector universities from all over the country attended the meeting. The VC elected Engr Imtiaz Hussain Gilani, VC, UET Peshawar, Noshad Shaikh, VC, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro and Dr Mujahid Kamran as members of the VCs Committee.

The meeting was informed that many university employees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) have already begun protest to demand their 50 and 15 percent increase in salaries.

According to officials, the HEC was allotted the budget of about Rs 14 billion for the year 2011-2012 of which Rs 120 million rupees were fixed for scholarships but the current financial situation of HEC do not seem to provide scholarship funds due to which the student abroad have started complaints and demand for scholarship fund.

The VC's showed concerned that educational institutes were facing difficulties to meet their administrative and other expenses. They also said the scholarship programs and the provision of tuition fee under HEC were affecting at a larger margin.

The VC and rectors of 72 public sector universities resolved unanimously that singling out university employees and denying them 50% salary increase last year and 15% this year was unjustified and discriminatory.

The VCs asked the government to provide additional grants to cover this shortfall before the simmering employees' agitation turned out of control vitiating the peaceful educational environment causing irreparable loss to students and their studies.

Senate Standing Committee on Finance Member Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, Economic Affairs and Planning and Development said that education gave socio-economic uplift to the country and planning commission had released the funds of HEC in urgent basics.

He said the issue would also be discussed in the next meeting of the Finance and Planning Division. Daily times

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VCs seek raise in pay, funds
Islamabad: Increase in salaries and release of funds from the government topped the concerns of chancellors and rectors of universities on Tuesday when they all met here.

The Vice-Chancellors' Committee was engaged in heated arguments to deal with the situation where some universities were even running out of funds to pay salaries.

Over 70 vice-chancellors/rectors of public sector universities of the country attended the meeting.

It was particularly pointed out that many university employees in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa had already begun agitating and were demanding their 50 and 15 per cent increases in salaries. VCs from Balochistan, KP could barely contain their contempt for the situation that they faced and mocked at HEC's demand to improve quality, introduce entrepreneurship and focus on relevant research.

The gathering was reminded that faculty members were still denied 50 per cent increase in salaries announced last year and 15 per cent this year while government employees in other public offices had been granted the increases. Shortage of funds to finish on-going HEC projects also topped their list of concerns.

The HEC chairman, Dr Javed Laghari, while acknowledging the challenges faced by the universities emphasised that leadership role of vice-chancellors was critical. He advised the university heads to raise funds in addition to the government funding. "A university leader is expected to develop an administrative team and become a role model for faculty members, administrative staff as well as the students," he said.

The HEC executive director, Dr Sohail Naqvi, also stressed the need for sustaining higher education for the socio-economic uplift of the country. He said that universities were now an integral part of the society because universities have an important role to play in building communities and economy, besides providing leadership to the country. He suggested that universities should raise funds.VCs, however, gave examples where universities were already generating 40-50 per cent of their resources.

While stressing the significance of quality measures in universities, Dr Naqvi asked the vice chancellors to strictly implement the quality criteria in their respective institutions including plagiarism policy, MS/PhD eligibility criteria, appointment of faculty members, etc.

The meeting decided to exempt fees of students in the flood affected areas for the rest of the year. They also took steps to repair the education institutions damaged by the recent floods. The VCs asked the government to provide additional grants to cover this shortfall before the simmering employees' agitation got out of control, causing irreparable loss to students and their studies. Dawn

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VC Balochistan comes to blows with HEC management
Islamabad: In the meeting Balochistan University VC Dr Abdul Nabi said his university was facing a deficit of over Rs 500 million after 50 percent cut in funds by HEC. If the required funds were not provided, the varsity will be shut down within few months. "We have become the sandwich by HEC and provisional government and both are not ready to address our problems. When we demanded for funds provisional government refer them to HEC and when we go to HEC for funds, the education commission refuses by saying that they are out of funds," said the VC harshly. Daily times

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Pindi teachers resent 'political appointments'
Rawalpindi: College teachers in the Rawalpindi division are disturbed over what they call "punishment" meted out to two principals for rejecting "political appointments" in their colleges.

They say that Prof Safdar Ali Malik and Prof Masood Ahmed were transferred from their respective government colleges at Sohawa and Dina after they refused to submit to political diktat and filled the 12 vacant posts of teachers in their colleges on merit. Prof Ahmed was served a suspension order also but both the principals are still in their posts on the strength of stay orders they secured from the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court.

Heads of other colleges allegedly succumbed to bureaucratic pressure and appointed political choices to 30 posts. Dawn

Director Colleges Dr Mohammad Ashraf denied to the charge by Prof Ahmed that he was used to put the pressure and dismissed the transfer of the two principals as "routine affair". College principals in the Rawalpindi division had reportedly short listed 42 candidates in May following a Punjab government advertisement for filling the vacant posts "on merit basis".

Official sources acknowledge, though not openly, that PML-N lawmakers put pressure on the principals to abandon their merit list and appoint their choices to the posts instead. Dawn

"There were five vacancies in my college for junior staff. I interviewed more than 400 candidates and picked the most qualified among them for appointment. But I was handed a list of people for appointment who did not meet the criteria," Prof Safdar Ali Malik told on Tuesday.

"I could not usurp the right of deserving candidates. I rejected the political intervention and was transferred. But I stood my ground and am still the principal through a court order," he said.

Similar sentiments were expressed by the principal of Government College Dina, Prof Masood Ahmed, whose transfer order was followed by a suspension order. "How could I ignore the candidates who met the criteria and absorb people recommended by politicians through Director Colleges Dr Ashraf? The director asked me to do as told or sit at home," he said.

Although he denied that he was instrumental in exerting the alleged pressure, Dr Ashraf declined to explain why the two principals were transferred.

Meanwhile, President of the Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association Ilyas Qureshi has condemned the action against the two and warned that the teachers would stage a sit-in outside Punjab Assembly if political intervention in college affairs continued.

"Our community is quite disturbed over the political appointments," he said accusing the Punjab government of ruining the educational institutions by playing politics.

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18,352 registered madressahs in country, NA told
Islamabad: Multan, the home district of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, has the maximum number - 1,144 - of 18,352 registered madressahs for men in the country followed by Lahore which is home to 1,110 seminaries, the National Assembly was informed on Monday.

In reply to a question raised by Ms Shaheen Ishfaq of the PML-N, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah said in a written reply that according to figures available with his ministry, there were 18,352 religious schools for men in the country, except the province of Sindh. The Sindh province, he said, was yet to provide the information.In terms of ratio to the population, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) has the maximum number of seminaries. The city's population is two million and there are 138 registered madressahs functioning in almost in every nook and corner of the capital - be it the E-Sector or rural areas of the ICT.

Province-wise, Punjab has the largest number of madressahs - 12,903. Except for Lahore which has 1,110 madressahs, the concentration of religious schools is comparatively less in other central and northern districts of Punjab. Their concentration was heavy in southern districts of the province.

Kasur has 430 madressahs, Okara 373, Sheikhupura 232 , Nankana 89, Gujranwala 326, Sialkot 371, Chakwal 49, Jhelum 158, Attock 186, Khushab 240 and Sargodha 433. In Rahim Yar Khan there are 811 madressahs, in D.G. Khan 711 and Muzaffargarh 898. These religious schools are registered with the government.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 3,343 seminaries are registered with the government. In Peshawar district there are 352 madressahs, Bannu 43, D.I. Khan 221 and Lakki Marwat 265.

In Balochistan, the government has so far registered 1,968 madressahs. Quetta leads the figures with 573 religious schools, Khuzdar has 206, Pishin 117, Chaghai 105 and Loralai 109.

The minister said the government had disbursed Rs296.7 million among registered madressahs from the Zakat fund. Of the amount, Punjab has been given Rs163 million, Sindh Rs67 million, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rs39 million, Balochistan Rs14 million, Fata Rs7 million, ICT Rs1.8 million and Gilgit Baltistan Rs2 million.

The PPP-led coalition government revised the national education policy in 2009 and the task of reforms and getting these madressahs registered was given to Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

The interior minister initially held a few meetings with representatives of Ittehad Tanzeemat-i-Madressahs Pakistan (ITMP) but the issue was later put on the back burner.

The ITMP represents five boards which manage seminaries of several schools of thought. The Wafa-qul-Madressahs Al-Arbia belongs to the Deobandi school of thought which alone has over 12,000 religious schools. The Tanzeem-ul-Madressahs belong to the Barelvi schools of thought, Rabatul Madressahs to Jamat-i-Islami, Wafaqul-Madressahs Alsalfia (Ahl-e-Hadith) and Wafaqul-Madressahs Ashia to Shia school of thought.

The government intends to bring all madressahs under one regulatory authority whereas the ITMP wanted degree awarding status for all its Wafaqs. There are also differences over subjects to be taught in registered madressahs and issues like selection of teachers. Dawn

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Razmak Cadet College closed, principal wants it shifted
Islamabad: In the wake of the volatile security situation in Fata, the Cadet College Razmak has been closed till September 24 and its Principal has suggested that the college be shifted to Bannu at least for one year.

"I suggest to Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Barrister Masood Kausar and Corps Commander Peshawar to shift this Cadet College to Bannu to ensure uninterrupted education for 460 students," Principal, Cadet College Razmak, Major (retd) Manzoor Hussain Qureshi said on telephone on Tuesday.

He said that the College was previously shifted to Peshawar but it would be appropriate to shift it to nearby city of Bannu. "We will have to hire some building in Bannu to continue the process of giving education to our students and it will be better option instead of closing down the institution," he added.

However, the parents of students of this Cadet College told this scribe on Tuesday that they would appeal to the concerned authorities that if there were responsible authorities or rulers in the country the parent of the cadets prayed that for God's sake take pity upon their children and shift the college to some secure and safe city.

"Once again the college may kindly be shifted to some safe place just to avoid loss of their academic year," the parents added. They said that they were not ready to send back their sons to an unsafe place so the government should take a decision to shift the college until normalcy is restored.

This Cadet College was closed on 21st August, 2011 till Sept 11. When the cadets were let there by their parents to Cantt Area Bannu, they informed that the college would now remain closed till 24th September or till further orders due to recent terrorist attacks on the army camp situated at the college premises.

Cadet College Razmak is a unique prestigious Institution established in 1978 under Presidential Resolution in the remote area of North Waziristan Agency (Fata). The institution has distinguished itself.

On May 29 the cadets were re-shifted to the original premises under the cover of Army convoys without obtaining prior permission of the authorities concerned in Fata Secretariat. The parents complain that shelling and missile attacks on the college was a daily routine and the hostel including conference halls were damaged by terrorist attacks from their shelter located nearby in Shawal Hills. A few employees of college were also injured. Surprisingly the students and staff have been directed not to disclose these attacks.

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Rootsians honoured
Rawalpindi: Yasir Younas Khan BSc (Business) and Hira Khalid LLB, dynamic students of Roots College International DHA-1 campus, were selected from all over Pakistan to represent Pakistan in the 5th Unesco Asian Youth Forum, which was held in Korea from 22nd- 26th August 2011, says a press release issued here Tuesday.

The Asian Youth Forum has been established to strengthen the practical aspects of the Unesco Youth Forum and aims to invigorate youth endeavours by enhancing youth-led pilot projects. The International Forum was held at the Korea Unesco Peace Centre, Icheon City in the Republic of Korea.

The theme of the forum was Challenges of Asian Youth Identity, Voices, Change, and Future. The RCI students submitted a youth project report on Challenges of Asian Youth Identity, Voices, Change, and Future . In the report, they emphasised on the fact that the youth can help bring a change in the society by promoting mutual understanding and respect amongst themselves. The youth needs to realise that humanity transcends all physical and psychological divisions. They need to celebrate diversity and stop considering, everything that is unfamiliar to them, as inferior. They need to give change a chance. Through communication they can attain a better understanding of the human race and eventually accomplish a more peaceful society.

It was a great honour for Roots College International, DHAI-1 campus students to be chosen as the only representatives from Asia, having an outstanding educational background. These students were selected by Pakistan Unesco commission. The news

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QAU contradicts message about Dengue fever cure
Islamabad: Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) on Tuesday issued a clarification with reference to large spread text message revealing the cure of Dengue fever by a faculty member of Department of Micro Biology, QAU. University has strongly condemned the spreading of such fake information and clarified that any department or faculty member of QAU has discovered no such cure of Dengue Fever. QAU would strongly recommend to people to use those medicines and treatment strategies, which are being recommended by their registered physician at public hospital and avoid using such baseless remedies. A complaint has already been registered to Cyber crime cell of FIA, Pakistan in order to locate the source of this message. app

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Iqra University holds orientation ceremony
Islamabad: Orientation ceremony for the session 2011 was held at Iqra University, Islamabad campus, to provide students with the smooth and helpful transition into university life, says a press release.

Vice President of Iqra University, Islamabad campus, Dr Jamil Ahmed in his address, welcomed the fall 2011, semester students. He said that Iqra University has always focused on quality education. "You will glad to know that Iqra University has been ranked number one among all private institutions by Sindh government, according to the Charter Inspection and Evaluation Committee (CIEC)", he said. "We have competent faculty members in the profession of teaching for example Dr. Kashif-ur-Rehman who has been awarded the best university teacher for the year 2010 by HEC. Further more, we have been ranked as 38 out of 96 universities in Pakistan in terms of research output," he said.

During the last few years our students have shown excellent performances and are serving in leading national and international organisations, he said.

Dr Jamil Ahmed encouraged students to attend their classes regularly and underlined the importance of time management, learning skills, note taking in lectures, on-line skills, introduction to email accounts, student support services, library skills, writing university essays and where to access assistance during semester if you need it.

In addition to this tour of the campus and library was also arranged for new comers. He said, you will also have the opportunity to meet experienced student mentors who can answer any of your questions about study and life at Iqra, as well as show you all the places you'll need to know about to help you settle in and feel more comfortable about starting university.

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Rawalpindi: Eisha Farooq, a student of the Punjab College for Girls, Satellite Town, got second position with 991 marks in the Pre-Medical Group in the Higher Secondary School Certificate Annual Examination 2011 of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Rawalpindi, says a press release. The news

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