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Sindh Text Book Board printing | NUCES design crane for docks

Sindh Text Book Board: Replacement of chairman likely to further slow printing process
Karachi, April 21, 2008: The Sindh Text Book Board (STBB), which has already severely delayed the printing of the 30 million books for students from classes one to ten in Sindh, is not likely to meet even the delayed deadline of July with a change at the top post.

The current chairman, Shamsuddin Solangi, was appointed by former Sindh chief minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim and comes to the end of his contract on April 28. The Sindh education department has appointed Asghar Ali Bhutto, a professor of Physics at the Government Degree College, Larkana, in his place.

The textbooks should be available by January or February each year, but this did not happen this year. While the STBB purchased paper worth Rs 300 million, they failed to award the printing contract to suitable bidders because of an internal conflict between the Sindh education minister and the STBB chairman.

In a meeting of all provincial education ministers on February 4 to decide when the academic year is to start, it was deemed impossible to start the academic year in April as usual. Federal Caretaker Education Minister Shams Kassim Lakha chaired the meeting, held in Karachi, where it was decided to postpone the academic year to August. The main reason for this decision was the delay in printing of textbooks in Sindh.

"All issues have been settled, the printing process has been started and is expected to be complete by July," assured the outgoing chairman, Solangi.

He said that of the 200 printing firms registered with the STBB, only 85 are active. These firms have received printing contracts and will print about 25 million books. He said that the reason for the delay was not internal to the STBB, but created by the Sindh education ministry and has been resolved.

Solangi added that 5 million books will be printed by the STBB itself, earning Rs 15 million. The paper for all books has been provided by the STBB. "Once the printing is complete, which is expected to happen in July, the books will be distributed all over Sindh," he said.

The outgoing chairman is a retired academician in the field of science and technology, while the new chairman is from the department of physics, neither of which relate closely to the aspect of printing books and related matters.

Sources in the STBB said that textbooks for class one have not yet been printed while textbooks for the remaining classes are currently on the printing presses. Daily Times

SPLA urges restoration of teachers unions
The Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) on Sunday urged the need to restore teachers' unions in the province so that the teaching community can play a positive role in the department.

SPLA leaders Prof Riaz Ahsan, Prof Manzoor Chishti, Prof Liaquat Aziz, Prof Ayoub Marri, Prof Yaqoob Chandio and others allegedly said that the previous provincial government had banned teachers' bodies in retaliation to their voice against the manipulation of funds, corruption and other irregularities in educational institutes.

In a statement, the SPLA welcomed the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government in Sindh and demanded of them to initiate a probe into the manipulation of funds, corruption in all the education boards, privatisation of institutions and changes in the education system.

They also demanded of the Sindh education minister to restore teachers who were sent on forceful leave by the former rulers and issue orders of withdrawing notices served on the teachers by the previous government.

They also demanded that the college teachers' vacancies be upgraded, orders of promotion to more than 900 vacancies to grade 18, 19 and 20 be issued, and that 863 lecturers, made functional on an ad hoc basis in the province, be made permanent following the decisions made by the Punjab and NWFP education departments.

They also suggested to the government that in-service teachers be appointed to the education boards, colleges and other institutes instead of filling the vacancies by appointing retired officials.

They appealed to the provincial government to end the anti-teacher policies adopted by the previous rulers and promote a education-friendly culture to improve the quality education in the province. The News

NUCES students design low-cost crane for docks
Karachi: A group of students at the National University of Computers and Emerging Sciences (NUCES) has designed a crane for use at dockyards, keeping in view the cost efficiency, ease of control and assurance in keeping danger to life at a minimum.

Studying in their final year at the department of computer and telecom engineering, Saad Chaudhry, team members Moosa Yasir, Naveed Ahmed and S Farhan Ali and supervising instructor Muhammad Asif have presented this fifth semester course project, called "Triptych" at the SPEC-2008 held at the NED University for Engineering and Technology.

The simulated crane is mechanically designed for 4-way motion and is constructed from plywood using gear ratios and torque speeds matching that of a dockyard crane. It has a control box to manage all the circuitry and is implemented using decoding techniques. After decoding, it is possible to reduce the 26 aspects of input required to just 12.

A C++ program is designed to interact with the user. This programme makes the user aware of the maximum limits of Triptych's movements using a buzzer. Further development plans include modules for a closed loop feedback mechanism, the implementation of a micro-controller module and control using a PDA.

Chaudhry said that the industrial models are very different from those described in classrooms. Practical exposure shows how theoretical tools can be applied to real equipment. These projects are the first steps toward actual engineering design and application.

Triptych can lift loads up to 1 kg using an electromagnetic hooking mechanism. Exclusively designed for this purpose using discrete components, it simulates the functionality of modern lifting mechanisms. Not only is it as multipurpose as modern crane systems, but also has the same mechanical sound produced by back and forth movements and complete 360-degree revolutions.

Maneuvering a crane is a very intricate job, often requiring a complete team of skilled personnel and a harmonious working atmosphere. The idea behind the project was to develop a multipurpose and easy-to-manage goods-lifting mechanism by incorporating a new level of creativity and ingenuity to face the challenges of the real world.

There are hundreds of scientifically developed algorithms that can be used to drive the goods-lifting mechanism of a crane. Obviously a plain motor is not suitable for use in a crane because controlling the direction by using the calculated speed of the motor is an impossible task and direction control can only be achieved by using relays or H-Bridges that occupy a lot of space on the PCB and even add to its complexity, Chaudhry added.

The purpose of Triptych is to make man's work easy. It can revolutionize the construction industry, where a team of laborers is required to construct a high-rise building. With concepts such as Triptych in use, one qualified person can do the job of 100 men, with twice the precision. It can well adjust itself to a harbor as busy as Karachi's, where tons of goods arrive daily and it takes hours to load and unload vessels. This work can be completed in minutes using half the workforce. The Gwadar port will has contracts to install such cranes in order to facilitate trade and commerce.

Talking about the software, Chaudhry said that the software offers the user the choice of electromagnets available, and then offers a sub-menu to control the course. Once the crane has moved to its limit in a particular direction, the software will restrict further motion and generate a notice for the user. It can maintain a record of movement in all four directions.

The software also has a provision to allow manual control of movement, overriding the built-in limits on movement mentioned above. However, this option is kept password-protected, so that only experienced operators have access.

"We learned to integrate software and hardware with mechanics in a successful manner. Such projects definitely encourage students to move beyond conventional ideas, to display their hard-earned knowledge in a useful and creative way. This project also provided us with the glimpse of how to work for FYPs and execute complex ideas in a way understandable and attractive to the layman," Chaudhry said. Daily Times
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