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HEC's dissolution Demos | Nanotechhnology in universities

Students stage demos against HEC's dissolution
Lahore, April 08: A number of demonstrations were organised by students here on Thursday while strongly condemning the federal government's possible move to dissolve the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

Dozens of students of MPhil and PhD programmes gathered near the Town Hall and protested against the possible disbanding of the Higher Education Commission, saying that hundreds of students were studying on the HEC scholarships and the move would create extreme problems for them to continue higher education.

They were of the view that the federal government was determined to avenge itself on the HEC in connection with its drive of verifying degrees of parliamentarians.At the Punjab University (PU) New Campus, the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) organised a rally in which dozens of students participated and expressed their resentment over the possible decision.

The IJT Nazim, Zubair Safdar, led the rally in which the participants carrying placards and banners also chanted slogans against the government. Zubair Safdar also alleged that the HEC was being victimised for not "cooperating" with the government in the degree verification process.

Meanwhile, the Insaaf Students Federation (ISF) also held a number of meetings at different colleges and universities and mobilised the student community to stand up and reject the possible closure of the HEC.

It has also planned a big event in the provincial metropolis April 13 in this connection. Ghazali Education Trust (GET) President Waqas Jafery and other office-bearers also expressed concern over the possible move of the HEC's closure.

They said on the one hand the government had declared the year 2011 as the Year of Education while on the other hand it was taking such anti-education decisions.

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"very cheap n mean QAU always thoink about self intrests. plz be unit and think aobut paksitan and come out from QAu shell. and say that devoling of HEC is wrong it should stop . u ppl are just worrid abt uor funding. taffffffffffffff sahame on u. bloody qaidanianss"
Name: sani
City, Country: islamabad

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Hazara varsity staff protests HEC devolution
Mansehra: The teaching and other staff of the Hazara University on Thursday staged a rally against the plan to devolve the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to provinces.

The participants of the rally, holding banners and placards, marched on different roads on the university premises. Lecturers and professors also observed one-hour token strike against the government's decision.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Iftikhar, Dr Habib, Dr Mohsin and others said the HEC had been striving to promote higher education in the country. "The government should take decisions to boost the higher education in the country rather than making a mess of it.

If the HEC is devolved, the country would suffer a great setback and go back almost 50 years," said one of the speakers. The protesters said currently the development projects worth Rs800 million were being executed at the university. They said besides this, the HEC was giving Rs140 million annually for the salaries of the staff.

They said not only the higher education would be affected but regular education in the university would also be affected badly if the HEC was devolved to the provinces.

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Devolution of HEC supported
Peshawar: The academia, civil society and youth from different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata on Thursday through a resolution supported the devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC) under the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

The resolution was unanimously passed by the representatives of various organisations and institutions during a conference arranged by Bacha Khan Trust Educational Foundation (BKTEF).

Dr Khadim Hussain, Managing Director BKTEF, Chairman International Relations Department Professor Ijaz Khan Khattak, Prof Shafiqur Rehman of Environmental Department, University of Peshawar, Prof Zubair Masood of the Law College Peshawar, Prof Dr Sahibzada Fayyaz Noor of the University of Engineering and Technology, Zalan Momand of Bacha Khan Trust, leaders of the World Pashto Congress, BKTEF team, students and members of the civil society participated in the gathering.

Expressing concern over the reaction to the devolution of the HEC by some elements, the participants said that anti-constitution and anti-democratic hypes were being created for confusing the devolution of higher education to the provinces.

All the participants agreed on a joint action plan to take into confidence all the stakeholders about the obstacles created by the vested interests for delaying the transfer of higher education to the provinces. The participants pledged to work for the protection of the constitution and the recently passed 18th Amendment for a prosperous federation of Pakistan. They said the HEC was devolved under the constitution and it was now the responsibility of the civil society to provide support to the political leadership in its implementation in letter and spirit.

Members of the academia argued that fallacious arguments had been put forward through the media to complicate legal and constitutional issues. They said that the provinces had the capacity to run the HEC and that such devolution would greatly enhance the education standards in the provinces. The joint work plan included policy recommendation regarding reorganising the HEC on the provincial level and a campaign all over Pakistan in favour of the devolution.

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VCs Action Committee to send letters to president, premier
Islamabad: Expressing grave concern over the future of the higher education sector, the Vice Chancellors' Action Committee announced here on Thursday that it would send letters to the president and the prime minister to stop what it termed illegal devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), which was fully protected under the 18th Amendment.

"Now the time has come that President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani should intervene and protect the highly prestigious institute from devolution keeping in view that its functions are fully protected as federal subject in the Federal Legislative List (FLL)," said Imtiaz Gillani, vice chancellor of the University of Engineering and Technology (Peshawar) and chairman of the Vice Chancellors' Action Committee while addressing a press conference here. Flanked by vice chancellors of public and private sector universities, he said that the HEC could not be devolved under the 18th Amendment and if any such thing was done it would be totally against the spirit of this landmark amendment.

"The HEC can only be abolished by the federal government through executive orders, as its devolution will be against the spirit of the 18th Amendment which provides a legal cover to its functions," he said. He hoped that the president and the prime minister would realise the gravity of the situation and would play their due role to ensure that the higher education sector gets along well in the coming years.

Imtiaz Gillani said that the vice chancellors would meet respective governors and chief ministers and convey their viewpoint over the devolution of the HEC, which according to him, would adversely affect the higher education sector in the country.

Responding to a query, he said that vice chancellors would not come on streets, but they could not stop students from staging protests because their unions carry out their activities without any consultation with them. He said that in case of the devolution of the HEC, every province would introduce its own monitoring criteria which would end the uniform system thus raising doubts about credibility of degrees in foreign countries.

Earlier, vice chancellors of public and private sector universities held a meeting and unanimously passed a resolution terming the devolution of the HEC 'a grave setback for efforts aiming at promoting higher education sector in the country'. The resolution stated that the HEC is well-funded expert body and its existence is fundamental to the continued development and growth of the entire higher education sector. "The HEC is a central body that not only maintains uniform academic standards, but also ensures compatibility of higher education as an engine of change that conforms to the national development agenda. Such a central body exists in almost all developed and developing countries," it said.

It said that the World Bank approved a soft loan worth $300 million for the HEC in recognition of its untiring efforts to raise higher education standards for the development of Pakistan. It said: "We are cognizant that playing such a huge role, the HEC's performance can be tweaked for improvement in some areas. This must be done! But in our skewed exuberance, it would be immensely unwise to throw the baby out with the bath water."

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QAU ASA wants continuation of funds, projects
Islamabad: Academic Staff Association (ASA), Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), has decided that ASA should wait for the association's general body meeting of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff being held on April 9-10 at Allama Iqbal Open University.

According to Professor Kaleemullah Bareach, General-Secretary, FAPUASA, the general body will discuss the devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and other issues being faced by the universities like new ordinance for National University of Modern Languages entrusting NUML to the Army Chief.

The QAU ASA after a detailed discussion in an emergency general body meeting of its executive committee here deferred the request of some members to hold a general body meeting. Now a decision in this respect will be made after the FAPUASA GB.

In a resolution, ASA protested over the lack of accurate information from the government on the devolution of the HEC. QAU faculty demanded that it should be briefed on the situation and asked for assurances that QAU research and development funding will in no way be further impeded after the devolution.

ASA President Dr. Afzal Bhatti had sent an email to Senator Raza Rabbani for a meeting. The faculty will be informed as soon as the meeting is finalised.

Earlier, in another meeting of its executive last week, the QAU ASA without opposing devolution of HEC had stated that funds for QAU's research projects, initiatives, research grants, access to digital libraries etc should continue after the devolution of HEC. It expected that the government will fulfil QAU's needs for its research activities during and after the period of transition.

Overwhelming majority of the members refused to become part of the campaign launched by two high-ups of HEC who are continuously sending emails to the faculty members across the country asking them to write letters to editors, hold press conferences and stage demonstrations.

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Atta-ur-Rahman wants nanotechhnology as a subject in universities
Islamabad: Coordinator General of the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (Comstech) Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman, on Thursday called upon the higher education policy-makers of Islamic countries to introduce nanotechnology as a discipline at university level.

Chairing the opening session of a three-day international workshop on 'Essential Need of Nano-Education in OIC Countries,' organised by the Comstech in collaboration with Preston University, Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman described the wonders of nanotechnology in different fields, including industry and medicine, and urged the Islamic countries to realise its potential in bringing about industrial revolution in the OIC countries.

Scientists and policy-makers from different Islamic countries, including Turkey, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, are participating in the workshop.

Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman said that nanotechnology is the future of science and technology, which the advanced world has already embraced and it is still not too late for Pakistan and other Islamic countries to wake up and follow the latest breakthroughs in the science and technology domains.

He said that wonders of nanotechnology are amazing to such an extent that now even a blind man can partially see with nano-sensors. He also disclosed that Comstech is planning to set up an Inter-Islamic Network on Nanotechnology for 57 Muslim countries.

Dr. Anwar Nasim, Comstech adviser on science, introduced to the participants the aims and objectives of the workshop. He said that Comstech has trained 450 scientists from 24 Islamic countries by arranging 26 such workshops during last two years.

He said Comstech has spent 0.5 million dollar on training of scientists from Egypt, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, Palestine, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Yemen. Dr Nasim said, "Comstech is organizing a new series of workshops to target a large number of young researchers from OIC member states. The main purpose of these workshops is to bring together young scientists from OIC member states to help develop future collaborative projects in broader areas of science."

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British Council launches 'Kids Read' scheme
Islamabad: Global banking giant, HSBC has signed an agreement to sponsor the British Council's 'Kids Read' programme aimed at supporting and developing children's reading skills in and out of the classroom.

HSBC and the British Council's presence across the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region will enable this programme to reach over 55,000 children from over 75 schools in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria and Pakistan. HSBC's sponsorship of this regional programme is worth approximately $457,000.

"I am delighted to see this new collaboration between the British Council and HSBC working for the first time together to support language learning for young children. Giving young people access to English is a vital part of a child's education in a globalised world. I hope this is just the first of many such collaborations with HSBC." said Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of British Council.

The sponsorship funds will be used for several activities during the year long programme including participating schools receiving specially selected books, workshops led by experienced British Council trainers, story telling sessions in a community atmosphere and a web-based competition highlighting the environment and financial education. The partnership between British Council and HSBC, spanning schools in multiple countries, is the first regional collaboration with a global bank for the MENA region.

In addition to providing financial support, HSBC will also encourage its staff to participate in this cause by teaching reading skills to the children. Volunteerism is greatly encouraged at the bank, and in 2010 over 2,800 HSBC staff donated over 14,000 man hours to a range of worthy causes across the region.

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NUST holds symposium
Islamabad: In the wake of rapid advancements in conventional computing, supercomputing has gained tremendous importance worldwide. Many technologically developed countries across the world, including China, USA, UK, France and even India, are significantly investing in supercomputing to develop capabilities in some of the latest scientific fields such as genomics, alternative energy and defence.

This was stated by Muhammad Asghar, rector of the National University of Sciences and Technology, at a symposium organised by the Research Centre for Modelling and Simulation on the university campus. He urged the faculty and the management to make full use of the best available resources to cater the research-related needs of the students. "Scientific simulation has become an important part of the research repertoire, supplementing and in some cases replacing experimentation. It employs techniques of applied mathematics and computer science for developing problem-solving methodologies and robust tools, which are the building-blocks of scientific solutions and engineering problems of very high complexity," he maintained.

In his keynote presentation, Dr. Tauseef-ur-Rehman, associate professor at the CAE, Risalpur, said that computing had been witnessing massive transformation comparable to the kind that started with the invention of the transistor in the the 19th century. The news

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