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AIOU PEC accreditation | Scholarship holders bound to return

AIOU places PEC at fault
Islamabad, April 28, 2008: The Allama Iqbal Open University on Saturday said the accreditation of its BE Telecom programme was being delayed by the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) and the university administration was in no way at fault.

AIOU spokesperson Ubaidullah Mumtaz said the university had been actively seeking accreditation of the programme since 2002 by repeatedly submitting formal requests to the PEC, but the accreditation issue had not been resolved.

According to him, the AIOU's programme follows HEC Scheme of Studies and it has been approved by all the university statutory bodies.

He said six different site visits had been conducted by the PEC technical experts for accreditation, and the council contended that AIOU Act did not allow the university to launch an engineering programme.

The BE Telecom programme was launched in 2000 at Lahore and Rawalpindi. A total of 916 students enrolled in the programme during 2000-05 have graduated, few more batches of students enrolled in 2004 and 2005 are at various stages of completing their programme.

The spokesperson said two federal ministers of education had written to the PEC that the AIOU Act did allow the university to offer the programme, adding that the HEC chairman also wrote to the PEC that the programme was approved by the Higher Education Commission. The university provided detailed information to demonstrate compliance with the PEC criteria on six different occasions since 2003.

27 scholarship holders bound to return Rs69.55m
Islamabad: The Auditor General has directed the Education Division to recover Rs69.55 million from scholarship holders who did not join their duties after completion of studies or failed to complete studies.

In order to develop human resources and improve the quality of manpower, Education Division launched different scholarship schemes for higher studies abroad. The beneficiaries under these schemes furnished bonds to serve in parent department for a period of at least five years, failing which, they would reimburse all the expenditure incurred on their studies.

However it was observed during the audit of the Education Division that out of a large number of scholarship holders 27 did not return Pakistan after completing their studies. Their education incurred approximately Rs76.16 million, which was recoverable from them.

Besides the amounts of scholarship, air travel and other charges were also recoverable from them but the amount could not be calculated due to non-availability of record.

Audit report observed that the division had not recovered the expenditure incurred on the training of these officials in contravention of the provisions of the bond furnished by them.

The report said that many of the scholarship holders did not return to Pakistan, which not only caused huge losses to the national exchequer but also the desired results were not achieved.

The situation required that monitoring system should be streamlined in a way to plug all loopholes, enabling the Division to achieve the desired objectives.

However, the report said that out of the total recoverable amounts of Rs76,159,845 an amount of Rs6,609,699 had been recovered. Remaining amount of Rs69,550,146 - 91.4 per cent of the total amount - were to be recovered from the trainees. The report directed the Education Division to (Training Wing) to recover balance amount by pursuing the matter vigorously.

Meanwhile, the AG report also pinned down the Federal Directorate of Education for financial irregularities.

While the FDE was supposed to surrender to government anticipated savings, the department transferred an amount of Rs37.824 million to Pak PWD out of capital cost with the request to keep these funds reserved for the procurement of furniture and laboratories equipment. Another amount of Rs4.118 million out of this project was also transferred to Pak PWD with the request to keep these funds reserved for the procurement of furniture and lab equipment.

However, the report pointed out that transfer of the lapsable funds to another departments non-lapsable account was against the rules.

The report directed FDE to get the amount back from PWD and credit the money into government treasury.

Teachers body calls for FDE abolition
Islamabad: The executive council of the Federal Government College Teachers Association has demanded abolition of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).

The association alleged that the SRO-225 of the education ministry that served as a constitution of the FDE had constantly been violated in the past through political appointments.

Presided over by Prof Qasim Masud, a meeting of the executive body here on Saturday also criticised the alleged violation of seniority rules in the appointments of director colleges.

The meeting was attended by teachers from all the boys and girls colleges falling in the FG city-A areas including F-10/4 Degree College; Margalla Girls College; Postgraduate Girls College, F-7/2; Postgraduate College, H-8; Degree College H-9; Girls College, G-10/4; FG Commerce College; Sihala Degree College; Girls Commerce College, F-8; and Humak Degree College.

The executive committee constituted a sub-committee that has immediately started work on developing a working paper on the lacunas in the federal education system and the problems faced by the teachers of Islamabad region. The paper would be presented to Federal Minister for Education Ahsan Iqbal, and would contain proposals for the upgradation of the syllabi of the federal education and improving the wages and service structures of teachers.

The association will also meet the education minister on May 30 and brief him on various issues being faced by the federal education system.

"The working paper would be ready very soon," Prof Masud said.

He said the meeting had also criticised promotion of three teachers from Basic Pay Scale (BPS) 19 to 20 a couple of weeks back. He alleged that three senior teachers of the FG College F- 10/4 - Principal Mohammed Azhar, Prof Abdul Latif and Prof Kazim Hussain - had been ignored in the recent promotion.

Prof Masud said the working paper would contain a proposal for the introduction of education services structure on the lines of Central Superior Services (CSS). According to this proposal, all college teachers should have to be appointed through competitive examinations like that of CSS. All the college teachers should be given one year's training immediately after their appointment in order to improve their communication skills. He said the working paper would demand refresher courses and trainings on latest challenges and issues for teachers after every five years.

He said another basic demand was the introduction of the time scale. According to this system, college teachers should be promoted from BPS-17 to 18 after completion of their five-year services. After 12 years of service, the teachers should be promoted from BPS-18 to 19, while after 17 years from BPS-19 to 20 and so on. Dawn

FJWU students face hostel, transport problem
Rawalpindi: Students of Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) are facing acute problems of transport and accommodation.

FJWU was established in the old presidency building on August 6, 1998 to provide higher education to women. This first women university has 16 faculties and hundreds of students.

Transport problems: In the absence of its own transport the FJWU students are facing many problems, as they have no option but to use private or public transport. Students said that they were from remote districts and residing in seven hostels set up by the university in hired buildings.

They said currently FJWU was using Islamic International University Islamabad buses to transport students from hostels to the university campus in two shifts. They said in the first and second shifts bus picked students at 6.35am and 9.35am respectively. They said despite overloading both the shifts failed to transport all the students and the remaining have to hire taxis to reach the campus. The day scholars also face similar problems, as they have to use public transport to and from the university.

"I come from Sector G-11 and pay Rs 150 for cab daily to reach the university in time," said Asma, a student of Environmental Sciences Department. She said due to recent price hike the cabbies had increased the fare and it had become very difficult for her to afford taxi. She said commuting in public transport was time consuming and she had to change several vans to reach the campus.

Another student Sehrish alleged that Vice Chancellor Dr Saeeda Assadullah Khan was paying no attention to address the transport problem. Hostel residents said the university had no hostel building and they were living in seven private hostels acquired by the FJWU.

Hostels overcrowded: They said five to six students had been allotted a room having capacity for three persons. They said some times even 10 to 15 students were accommodated in a single room and up to 20 students were sharing one washroom.

Substandard food: Students said substandard food was being provided to them despite charging Rs 10,000 per semester hostel charges and Rs 9,600 mess charges.

No university authority was ready for comments regarding these problems, however an associate professor said that they had some buses at the campus and some would reach soon. Daily Times
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