VCs strongly rejected students unions | Edu policy on hold
VCs unanimous in rejecting proposal
Lahore, April 13: Vice-chancellors of all the public and private universities of the
country on Saturday again strongly rejected the proposed legislation for the
restoration of students unions in the varsities and suggested to postpone the
idea for indefinite period due to prevailing law and order situation in the
After hot debate over the issue, a few vice-chancellors of the
public sector expressed their viewpoints in the favour of the proposed bill
while the rest of the VCs strongly criticised the government's initiative saying
that the student unions would destroy the peaceful atmosphere of the educational
The unanimous decision of all the VCs came in a videoconference
meeting of vice-chancellors of public and private varsities to discuss
restoration of student unions in the country.
The vice-chancellors were
unanimous in opposing the idea, however, they suggested alternatives such as
student societies, clubs, forums and federations to provide the students a
platform to raise their voice and develop leadership qualities.
was held simultaneously at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences
under the directives of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
videoconference, the participants at 11 different locations simultaneously in
various cities across the country discussed the issue.
Some VCs registered
their protest while criticising the working paper suggesting restoration of
student unions, saying that maintaining peace and law and order within the
premises of the universities was not a job of the students as mentioned in the
They said according to the working paper, the students unions have
been given responsibility to invite eminent personalities in the university
programmes, seminars and ceremonies. This would politicise institutions and
affect the overall atmosphere, as the students unions would call leaders of
political parties of their choice instead of educationists, doctors or other
Vice Chancellor GC University Dr Khalid Aftab took a very strong stand against
the restoration of student unions. "In the prevailing law and order situation,
the education institutes cannot afford protests, scuffles and other negative
activities which are sure to take place once the unions are restored", he
A Vice Chancellor from Karachi said his university has a bitter
experience when activists of a student union thrashed the senior faculty members
and other administrative officers and locked them up in a room. The way they
misbehaved with them was highly condemnable. They were participating in the
syndicate meeting at the time of incident, he said.
Muhammad Akram, Vice
Chancellor UET, giving references of some ugly episodes and bitter experiences
said several students have been murdered while scores of other injured in the
armed clashes between the student unions in a bid to get hold of the education
Vice chancellor University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar
strongly opposed the idea saying the NWFP could not afford such activates as the
province was already undergoing worst law and order situation.
University Dr Habibullah Jamal referred the restoration as genie, that he said,
should remain in the bottle.
Rector The University of Lahore Prof Dr M Saleem
Shuja raised objections over the working paper. He was of the view that the
political parties would get hold on all the private universities through their
He suggested to the federal Government not to play with the
future of the students and also the teachers imparting education in a peaceful
After a sizzling debate, the HEC has asked the VCs to prepare
their recommendations and submit them within next three days. It also informed
the participants that after analysing the recommendations, another meeting would
be called within a week for a final discussion upon the issue.
metropolis, apart from UVAS the videoconference was also held at the University
of Engineering and Technology (UET).
The federal education secretary and
Executive Director HEC Sohail H Naqvi were also present in the meeting. The Nation
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Education policy on hold
Not many were surprised when the education policy that should have been
announced on March 23 was put on hold yet again by the cabinet last week. After
all, knowing the priorities - and education is low among these - of successive
governments there was really no room for shock when the cabinet postponed its
approval of the draft policy of the federal education ministry. The main reason
cited for the postponement by the information minister was that the policy was
not comprehensive enough. It is strange that having worked on the draft for a
year, the ministry should fail to draw up a sound implementation plan and
targets to be met within a specified time frame. Hence the draft will be sent
back to the provinces and we can expect it to go into cold
Meanwhile, the challenges before the education sector continue
to be formidable, especially as no relief is in sight. The three major issues
that are undermining education in Pakistan remain unaddressed. One is the
quality of education - at least in the public sector - which is deplorable.
Second, there is no effective and independent monitoring to ensure that policies
are being implemented transparently and corruption is being checked to prevent
wholesale damage to the education sector. Third, the capacity to utilise funds
flowing into the sector to the maximum, and in a judicious manner, is not being
developed. Obviously, all this calls for policy guidelines that may differ in
detail in different areas but broadly follow similar principles all over the
country. Hence the need for a national policy.
The danger is that the
spread of education will be curtailed enormously due to spiralling inflation and
the unceasing quest for profits by the private sector. The two have combined to
make education costly and beyond the reach of ordinary persons. The new concept
of public-private partnership promoted by the government assigns a growing role
to private entrepreneurs in education. That has left the public sector even more
deprived of funds and attention. The low-income groups have few choices. They
can send their children to government schools that impart virtually no
education. Or they can enrol them in private schools that may teach them
something but leave the family impoverished in the process. Parents have yet
another option. They may not educate their child at all, and that is what the
bulk of them are doing. Dawn
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Interference not to be tolerated: Wifaqul Madaris
Lahore: Wifaqul Madaris General Secretary Maulana Hanif Jullundhry
has said any internal or external interference in the working of madrassas would
not be tolerated, a private TV channel reported on Sunday. According to the
channel, while addressing a press conference at Jamia Ashrafia in Lahore,
Jullundhry asked the government not to make any changes in the syllabus of
madrassas, adding "they do not need to take dictation from the government". He
asked the administration of madrassas to not provide their particulars to the
agencies and ask the government to contact the Wifaqul Madaris in this regard,
the channel said. Daily Times
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PU MA/MSc exam rescheduled
Lahore: Punjab University Examination Department has
rescheduled the MA/MSc Part-I & Part-II, Annual Examination 2009. Now the
MA/MSc Part-I, Annual Examination 2009 will commence from June 5 instead of June
24 while MA/MSc Part-II, Annual Examination 2009 will commence from July 7
instead of July 16. Ppi
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PU announced BEd results
Lahore: The Punjab University on Saturday declared the results of Bachelor of Education (BEd),
Supplementary Exam 2007 and Annual Exam 2008. According to a press statement, a
total of 2,477 candidates appeared in the exams and 1,731 were declared
successful. Detailed results are available at PU website: www.pu.edu.pk.
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Preservation of PU record ordered
Lahore: Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran on
Saturday stressed the need to preserve all the record of the university,
especially of the registration branch and examinations
According to a press release, chairing a meeting of the
university administrative officers, the VC said that short terms and long terms
plans should be adopted to carry out the task. He said cabinets should be
prepared, while for long terms plan, he urged the need for archives and
constituted a committee under Director Planning and Development Tariq Majid
Qureshi and comprising other members, including Additional Registrar Prof Dr
Aurangzeb Alamgir, Deputy Registrar (General) Iqbal Khalil, Deputy Registrar
(Admin-I) Muhammad Akram Chaudhry, Deputy Registrar (Academic) Muhammad Amir
Khan and Project Director Sheikh Muhammad Ali. He directed the committee to hold
a separate meeting in this regard and present its recommendations. The
establishment of the Archives Department in the basement of PU Main Library was
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Another GCU departure revives resignation issue
Lahore: The Government College University (GCU) has been in the spotlight
ever since over thirty faculty members of the Science Department resigned en
masse last month.
However, what gave a new life to the whole issue and
drew attention of the academic circles and common people once again was the
resignation of a senior faculty member of the Economics Department last
Dr Pervaiz Tahir, eminent economist and academician, who was
heading the Mahboob ul Haq Chair in Economics at the GCU Economics Department,
resigned last week.
His resignation has concerned academic circles who
were already stunned on the departure of 31 employees of the varsity.
GCU spokesman had, reportedly, confirmed that Dr Tahir had left the university
but said he did not mention any reason for his resignation.
On the other
hand, those who had resigned en masse at the GCU Computer Science Department
including head of the department had linked their resignations to registrar's
alleged illegal interference. They had submitted a presentation to
Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Aftab in which they exposed alleged illegal
interference of the high official.
The allegations were refuted by
registrar Sahibzada Faisal Khurshid and when asked about the en bloc
resignations he had claimed that the computer science was a need-based
discipline and teachers usually leave an institution when offered better
salaries and packages.
A senior official of the Punjab Higher Education
Department, seeking anonymity, said the department had sought a detailed report
from the GCU authorities over the issue adding the report was submitted recently
but it contained nothing except details of those who had resigned.
GCU reply is quite innocent," the official said adding "it is also strange that
no inquiry committee has been constituted to look into the issue of mass
The official said the new case of resignation had once
again sparked the debate as to why "unrest" was growing among teachers and other
staffers of the GCU.
Talking anonymously to us, a GCU faculty
member said the resignation issue had created quite a stir not only in the
university but also in the academic circles adding everybody was puzzled over
the these developments.
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Annual dinner of the Lahore College Associates (LCA)
Lahore: The annual dinner of the Lahore College Associates (LCA) was held at the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) last
week which provided a wonderful opportunity to old students to sit together and
talk about past.
A number of stalls featuring handicrafts were also set
up on the occasion while a puppet show, calligraphic exhibition and a music
programme were also part of the annual event.
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Punjab teachers protest
Lahore: The Punjab Professors Lecturers Association (PPLA) has announced staging a sit-in in connection with
college teachers' long standing demands outside the Punjab Assembly on 21
According to a press statement, college teachers from across the
province would gather at MAO College from where they would march towards the
Punjab Assembly to stage a sit-in and demand the government solve their problems
especially those relating to promotions.
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Tenure Track System termed white elephant
Lahore: A renowned physicist and leading scientist of Pakistan, Dr M Anwar
Chaudhri, has called upon the authorities to abolish the Tenure Track System
(TTS) under which academics have been drawing huge salaries, saying publishing a
few papers a year and supervising research students must never be an excuse to
pay such high salaries.
Talking exclusively to us, Dr MA Chaudhri,
who is associated with Klinikum-Nuernberg, Germany as a guest professor, said
many academics, especially the professors, had been drawing huge, and almost
'obscene' salaries of up to 2-4 lac rupees per month under the Higher Education
Commission's Tenure Track System in a country where a poor worker would be lucky
to make about Rs 5000 to 6000 per month by hard labour.
justification is there for paying such salaries to these academics", he
questions while adding a full professor's salary in Grade-20, along with the
necessary perks, should be adequate to lead a very comfortable life."
"Just by publishing a few papers a year and supervising research
students must never be an excuse to pay such high salaries", he said adding,
"After all, a university professor is meant to conduct research, guide research
students and publish papers."
Dr MA Chaudhri, son of late Dr M Rafi
Chaudhri, also a renowned physicist, further said to the best of my knowledge
this does not happen in any developed or even developing country. He the TTS
also causes a great deal of jealousy amongst the Tenure Track and non Tenure
To a question that the private institutions including
industry pay a lot more than the government universities and institutions and
the good staff would go there, he said let them go there and still would be
enough good academics and scientists to fill the places in the universities."
"After all, this problem exists in the western world too but still most
of the best academics and scientists prefer to stay in the government
institutions because of the job-security and other perks", he added.
Talking about the HEC's Foreign Faculty Hiring Programme Dr Chaudhri
said it is a good programme provided it is properly and fairly executed and
"In my opinion, it should be almost exclusively applicable
to Pakistani scientists actively working abroad and not just living or are in
inactive- retirement", he said adding "Pakistani scientists living and working
in some of the most developed and advanced countries are discouraged from even
trying to help Pakistani science & technology."
They are never
consulted in important government's decision on science and technology, he
Sharing his views about the foreign faculty in Pakistani
institutes of higher learning, he said the foreign nationals who came on the
Foreign Faculty Scheme were really not interested in science and technology and
higher education developments in Pakistan but only making good and quick money.
"Most of them are in fields with no real practical application to help
solve Pakistan's problem or to improve the socio-economic condition of
Pakistanis", he claimed adding "They do produce research publications, which is
good for themselves but not for Pakistan."
"Many of them are from the old
USSR or Communist countries where they are out of job or interested in just
making some "quick buck" as they usually say", he said adding "They are all
drawing very handsome salaries from a very poor Pakistan".
they produce and the research they conduct has no real practical application in
Pakistan and their activities contribute nothing towards improving our
socio-economic conditions, he went on to say.
"There are many similar
cases in Saudi Arabia and other rich Arabian countries where foreign scientists
have gone, worked for a few years and made a lot of money without contributing
anything substantial into the development of higher education and/or science
& technology there," he said. Talking about the HEC foreign scholarship
programme, Dr Chaudhri was of the view that students were not being sent for
postgraduate work in the fields which were badly needed by Pakistan such as
solar and other form of renewable energy; environmental sciences, town &
traffic planning and sewerage and garbage disposal etc. Such fields could help
improve the socio-economic conditions of the people and contribute to technical
and industrial development of Pakistan, he added.
over scientific equipment acquired over the years, he said in spite of the fact
that certain "Experts Committee" and 'Advisors' apparently scrutinized the
projects, in my opinion some of the projects were 'out-dated' and had not been
modified in line with modern developments.
At least in a couple of žvery
bigÓ projects some important modern attachments, which would bring the
projects/equipment to the state-of-the-art status, are missing as the scientists
putting forward the projects were, perhaps, not aware of these developments, he
The leading scientist suggested that all the scientific
appointments at the level of Principal Scientific Officer and above must be
advertised internationally and Pakistani scientists working in overseas
laboratories should be encouraged to apply.
An impartial commission,
consisting of the representative of the respective organization (for example the
PCSIR and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, etc), the Ministry of Science &
Technology and the HEC, etc, should be formed for stopping any injustices from
being carried out, he added.
Similarly, he said, the positions of Vice
Chancellors and Chairmen of National Laboratories and Academic/ Scientific /
Organizations, such as the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission; Pakistan Council
of Scientific & Industrial Research and Pakistan Science Foundation etc must
be advertised openly and in the international press in order to select the best
available and capable Pakistani scientists / academicians.
I would even
strongly recommend that the positions of the chancellors of all the government
universities must not be the governors but famous Pakistani personalities from
any appropriate fieldÓ, Dr Chaudhri concluded.
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80-acre land to be transferred to Bahawalpur varsity
Lahore: The Punjab government has decided to transfer 80 acres of land to
Islamia University Bahawalpur for its 'Rahim Yar Khan' campus.
decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Punjab Governor Salman Taseer on
Islamia University Bahawalpur vice-chancellor Dr Bilal A Khan,
Member Colonies of the Punjab Board of Revenue Tariq Yousaf, the Executive
District Officer (EDO) Revenue Rahim Yar Khan and the Additional Secretary
Academics were also present on the occasion. The meeting decided the
construction work on new campus of Islamia University would be started by the
next month and the project would cast Rs 410 million. Governor Salman Taseer on
the occasion directed the officials concerned to initiate work of leveling 600
acres non-irrigated land allocated for 'Baghdad e Jadeed' campus for the
University of Agriculture and the University of Veterinary Sciences Bahawalpur. The News
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BISE deaf to a blind student's plea
Layyah: The Dera Ghazi Khan Board of Intermediate and Secondary
Education has turned a blind eye to the genuine demand of a blind student who
has proved her academic brilliance by disallowing her disability to become
Noorul Huda, who clinched a distinguished position in the
intermediate Part-I examination conducted by the Dera Ghazi Khan BISE, claims
she is being denied a 'skilled' writing helper for the second-year board
The daughter of Sagheer Ahmad, a worker at a sugar mill,
Noorul Huda fought both visual impairment and poverty to continue her studies
and showed her class by securing third position in arts in 2008.
is looking forward to preparing herself for the FA final-year examination, she
demanded that the board authorities should allow her a helping hand who could do
the writing job.
The BISE rules stipulate that a helping writer for a
blind student should be one class junior to the examinee.
authorities have allowed her an eight-class student to be her writing assistant,
though she is in second year.
Interestingly, the same officials had
allowed her a matriculate for help when she appeared in the FA Part-I
Having limited means, the student says she can't travel to
the chief minister's open court to plead her case. She
demanded that Mian Shahbaz Sharif should consider her case and save her from
being led to a blind alley.
Board chairman Maher Bashir Ahmad defended
the official stance by saying that the nominee of the girl as her examination
assistant had left school after matriculation.
"As he is no more a
student, the board can't allow him for the job. Only a student can be allowed to
sit with a blind examinee," he said. Dawn
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