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Punjab Schoolteachers on streets again

Schoolteachers take to the streets again
Lahore, March 04: Government schoolteachers are once taken to the streets. This time they are demanding increase in salary, swift promotions and above all end to non-academic duties assigned to them time and again.

Over the years, it has been observed that the teachers of government schools are engaged in different types of surveys while their active participation is also seen in the activities related to polls, census and, quite frequently, different types of vaccination drives.

However, it seems the teachers are fed up of all the extra work now as the the Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) and the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of teachers have announced staying away from the anti-polio drive starting from April 4 (today).

It is pertinent to mention here that part from the duties to conduct examinations the schoolteachers are also engaged in special assignments as seen in the recent past when the sugar crisis had gripped the province.

The teachers argue that their absence from schools hamper the academic activities which ultimately results in the poor performance of students in examinations. They also argue that they are always held accountable but those chalking out such policies are never even reprimanded.

During the last few weeks, it was observed that the PTU had been organising a token hunger strike camp outside the Punjab Assembly on Thursdays to highlight their issues, including their involvement in non-academic activities.

Rana Liaqat, a senior leader of the PTU and JAC, said the new academic session had started from April 1 and asked that if the teachers performed duties outside schools who would teach the students. He argued that the situation had become depressing, especially at primary schools, where mostly only two teachers at each school were available. He said the government should let the teachers to focus their key job of teaching, adding that the non-academic services always resulted in academic loss to students.

The academic circles are of the view that the government should come up with a clear and comprehensive policy in connection with assigning additional, especially non-academic, tasks to teachers. They also suggest the government to develop a pool of unemployed but educated youth for the purpose so that the ever-growing menace of unemployment may also be controlled to some extent.

Punjab School Education Department Secretary Muhammad Aslam Kamboh agreed that non-academic assignments did affect the performance of schoolteachers, however, he argued that all the government employees, also from other departments, were engaged in duties having national interest.

The campaign like anti-polio vaccination is a matter of life and death, he argues, saying Such activities do not last long and end up within two/three days. He appreciated the teachers response to such activities in the past, saying they had always responded positively for a genuine cause.

About the suggestion of involving unemployed but educated youth in such campaigns, Kamboh said it was not feasible. He explained that in many of the cases, such people demanded regular/contract jobs afterwards which the government could not afford. The news

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Move to disband HEC opposed
Lahore: The Islami Jamiat Tulaba central executive council has passed a condemnation resolution against a federal government's decision of disbanding Higher Education Commission and devolution of education ministry to provinces.

The IJT central executive council meeting chaired by Nazim-i-Aala Syed Abdul Rasheed at Islamic Centre, Punjab University, on Saturday discussed issues regarding abolishing federal education ministry and subsequent curriculum development at the provincial level.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rasheed said the disbanding of the HEC would tantamount to damage the cause of higher education. He said the HEC was being disbanded while propagating that it was only a funds distribution body, while it was also looking after higher education quality issues, research and other policy decisions. He said the HEC had developed academic standards and was compelling the universities across the country to follow uniform rules.

He said the HEC was also doing a great job in organising and arranging scholarships for studies abroad. He said the commission's disbandment would also stop educational and research projects.

He said the IJT would protest against the decision till its review. Dawn

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UHS VC resigns
Lahore: University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Malik Hussain has resigned from his office owing to allegedly giving favour to his son in getting admission to MBBS. Reportedly, it seemed to be an eyewash to gain some goodwill on account of Malik's part as he will likely resume his office in few days. The nation

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GCU academics group together for a 'cause'
Lahore: The Government College University faculty members have finally mustered up courage to join hands and form Academic Staff Association after the departure of the longest-serving principal, Prof Dr Khalid Aftab the first vice chancellor of the varsity.

The varsity faculty members have formed an interim 10-member Government College University Academic Staff Association (GCU-ASA) led by Dr Zahid Qureshi to look after the interests and welfare of their fellow colleagues. There are over 300 regular faculty members in the university.

Dr Qureshi said that the association would serve as a bridge between the faculty and the administration and help resolve "not-so-big" issues without going into court litigations.

He said some faculty members had tried to form the association during former VC Prof Aftab's tenure but he had 'victimised' them. Citing an example, he alleged that mathematics' faculty member Dr Ikhlaq Ahmad Siddiqui was victimised (for attempting to form association) as he was terminated from service.

In the recent past, he said, the GCU administration led by Prof Aftab was not even facilitating the faculty members in getting their genuine rights.

He said a faculty member, Dr Sikandar had won scholarship to study but Prof Aftab had refused to grant him NOC. Consequently, he said, Dr Sikandar approached court and the university issued the certificate last month on court's direction.

The GCU-ASA president said this association would look after the welfare of the faculty members, resolve their genuine problems and create a liaison with the (varsity) administration to resolve issues at the institutional level.

GCU-ASA Secretary-General Dr Muhammad Akram said the association would revive the Government College's celebrated traditions while taking all faculty members along. He said the association would also work for establishment of a housing colony for the faculty members.

He said the interim body would formulate rules and regulations and organise formal elections within two months. The faculty members' maiden meeting to form the association was held in physics department's lecture hall on Friday. "The faculty members gave an overwhelming response to the formation of the association."

The interim body comprises Dr Zahid Qureshi (president), Dr Nauman Qureshi and Dr Muhammad Farooq Haider (vice presidents), Dr Muhammad Akram (secretary general) and Syed Yasir Usman (joint secretary). The executive council members are Dr Asad Kazmi, Dr Humayun Abbas Shams, Dr Fatima Bint-i-Munir, Dr Saleem Bukhari and Babar Naseem Aasi.

TEACHERS: The Lahore Development Authority has decided to recruit another 37 teachers for its educational institutions.

A spokesman said 10 male and two female secondary schoolteachers for science, 14 male and five female secondary teachers for arts, two each male and female teachers for computer science and two prep class teachers would be recruited. Applications from eligible candidates would be invited soon, he said. Dawn

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PU teacher completes post-doctorate study in US
Lahore: A Punjab University Department faculty member has completed his post-doctorate study at University of California, Los Angeles. Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood, of the Library & Information Sciences, was funded by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan to pursue this study.

Dr Khalid did his PhD in 2004 by developing a model for alternative funding for Pakistani libraries. With five books and above 100 research papers in national and international journals, he is the most prolific Pakistani writer in his field.

Talking about his post-doctorate study, Dr. Khalid said, "Spending nine months at one of the top American universities was an excellent experience in my life. I have surveyed US academic librarians and library websites to study the impact of Web 2.0 technologies.

"My research supervisor, Professor Dr. John Richardson, is an eminent scholar in the field of library and information sciences. With his co-authorship I have contributed four publications during this period," Dr. Khalid said.

He added: "In my research, I have found that Web 2.0 technologies have played a significant role in delivering library services to their users particularly beyond library walls." The nation

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