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Referendum regarding HEC devolution

HEC devolution rejected in
Karachi, April 12: A referendum regarding the devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC) was organised here at the University of Karachi (KU) by the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) on Monday.

A total of 5,122 students participated in the referendum, out of which 4,926 students casted their votes against the devolution, while 196 supported the devolution of the HEC. About 150 polling booths were raised across the campus for polling.

While declaring the results of the referendum KU, IJT nazim Abdul Muqtadar Ghazi said that the KU students have rejected HEC's devolution through polling. He was of the view that the HEC was being split on the fake degrees' issue. The government is splitting the institution to safeguard the fake degree holders, he alleged.

Ghazi demanded of the government pity on the students, who wanted to acquire higher education and withdraw the decision in order to safeguard the future of higher education of Pakistan. The news

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Prime minister has shelved HEC devolution for now
Islamabad: With an increasing number of protests being held across the country against the proposed devolution of Higher Education Commission to the provinces, the Prime Minister's Secretariat seems to have put off the move for the time being.

An official in the PM's Secretariat said that the prime minister might be briefed on the subject this week to allay concerns raised by relevant quarters.

Talking to newsmen after addressing the inaugural session of a three-day energy conference here on Sunday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the issue would be resolved in the coming days because the government in the past had come out of similar situations with the help of parliament.

Mr Gilani didn't say in clear terms whether the government was going to stick to its plan to devolve the commission to the provinces.

The Vice-Chancellors' Committee, a representative body of over 130 public and private degree-awarding institutions, wrote recently to the president and the prime minister, urging them to refrain from transferring the functions of the HEC to the provinces.

Sources said the media hype over the issue had put the government on the back foot. Therefore, it wanted to take some time before moving ahead with its planned devolution.

Sources in the cabinet division, which is being given the charge of the commission that will replace HEC after its devolution, said it was just a matter of time that the government would announce setting up of the new body.

The division was actively working on the terms of reference of the new commission, the main role of which would be to ensure standardisation and quality assurance of higher education sector in the country, they said.

The sources said the new body would have nothing to do with the funding of universities which the HEC had been doing since 2002 because this responsibility had been transferred to the provinces under the 18th Amendment.

Therefore, they said, the moment the prime minister secretariat would direct the cabinet division for issuance of a formal notification for the new commission, "we will do that".

A couple of petitioners have moved the Supreme Court challenging the proposed devolution of the HEC to the provinces. The apex court will take up the case on Monday.

Office-bearers of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations have linked its stance on the HEC's devolution to the ruling of the Supreme Court.

They said in a statement: "If the court decides to retain the present status of the HEC, the FAPUASA will demand certain reforms in its working after due consultation with all stakeholders. And if the apex court upholds the government position, the FAPUASA would want the commission devolved gradually."

However, sources said the federation had failed to take a firm stand so far because its Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan chapters were in favour of HEC's devolution, while Punjab, AJK and Islamabad had opposed the move. Therefore, its office-bearers had decided to wait for the Supreme Court's ruling, they said.

Senator Raza Rabbani has said on various occasions that except for the funding of universities, other HEC functions would remain intact with the new commission.

In a related development, the Sindh government is persuading vice chancellors in the province to support HEC's devolution.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has set up a special committee to take a decision on the subject. The Punjab government is keeping mum so far. Dawn

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Rabbani briefs PM on HEC's devolution
Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday reiterated that all political parties and stakeholders should be regularly consulted to develop a consensus in the implementation process as well.

The prime minister was talking to Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination and Chairman, Implementation Commission on the 18th Amendment Mian Raza Rabbani, who called on him at the PM House here on Monday.

He briefed the prime minister on the progress with regard to the implementation of the 18th Amendment. He also apprised him of the views of various parties and som aspects of the devolution process. The meeting was important in the context of ongoing debate that kicked off with the devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and all the politicians who were signatories to 18th Amendment in the Constitution were now opposing the devolution of HEC.

A few days back, Chairman Implementation Commission Mian Raza Rabbani explained in the Senate that Standards for High Education Commission replaces the Higher Education Commission (HEC) under the 18th Constitutional Amendment and there was no justification in carrying out pre-emptive move.

It is to be mentioned here that in a recent press talk of the Prime Minister when a question regarding the fate of the HEC was asked, he told the journalists that this issue would be resolved in the parliament.

Sources said that Mian Raza Rabbani briefed the prime minister about the completion of devolution of 10 ministries and that the third round of devolution would be completed by next month.

Prime Minister Gilani emphasized that the devolution process be carried forward in the true spirit of 18th Amendment so that the benefits of this constitutional amendment could reach the common man at the earliest.

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NA resolution on HEC issue today
Islamabad: Over a dozen parliamentarians will submit a resolution against the devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the National Assembly today (Monday).

The resolution, initiated by Marvi Memon and signed by 14 MPs, says that HEC's devolution was against the Constitution of Pakistan and 18th Amendment. Following is the text of resolution which will be submitted in the National Assembly today: "We do not appreciate government ministers misleading the public that they have devolved HEC to provinces whereas in fact. They cant do so under 18th Amendment since parliamentarians have signed 18th Amendment to have the HEC functions fall under Federal Legislative List Part 1 clause 16, 17, 32 and part 2 clause 6, 7, 11, 12 and 13.

"Government has not devolved HEC since as per cabinet division March 28, 2011 four functions namely external examination, education in capital, welfare of Pakistani students abroad, and international exchange of student and teachers, have been given to federal not provincial control namely: commission for students for higher education, new division for ICT, Ministry of Foreign Affair, IPC respective.

"We do not appreciate government ministers confusing the public about the different legal status of education and higher education. We wish to abide by the 18th Amendment and devolve education to provinces and not devolve and dissolve HEC.

"We understand that the HEC is being dissolved due to political vendetta against it for its role in parliamentarians fake degree cases. We do not appreciate double speak of government ministers on floor of Senate and National Assembly on whether the HEC is devolved or not. We want the PM to give verbal assurance on floor of the House and written instructions to his cabinet that the HEC functionaries will not be changed failing which we reserve the right to take further action against the government."

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Students protest HEC devolution
Lahore: Dozens of students staged a demonstration on Monday against the proposed devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The demo was organised by the Islami Tehreek-e-Talaba outside the Lahore Press Club.

The students, carrying placards and banners, chanted slogans against the government and demanded it not to devolve the HEC.

The Islami Tehreek-e-Talaba office-bearers, speaking on the occasion, strongly criticised the government, saying that by dissolving the Higher Education Commission, the government would jeopardise the higher education sector.

Meanwhile, the banners signed by students against proposed devolution of the HEC were also put on display at different educational institutions by the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT).

The banners were inscribed with statements and signed by students against the federal government for its proposed plan.

IJT Pakistan nazim Syed Abdul Rasheed said that by disbanding the HEC, the government wanted to discourage research culture within the universities, adding that the students would strongly resent if any such plan materialized.

Meanwhile, INSAF Students Federation (ISF) has announced a protest rally against the proposed devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) by the federal government.

In a press release, ISF Lahore president Hasaan Niazi and general secretary Farrukh Habib said all the arrangements for the rally scheduled for April 13 (Wednesday) have been finalised.

They said by deciding to disband the HEC, the rulers had conspired to destroy the education system of the country. They said the move was not less than a drone attack on the country s education system. The news

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Devolution of Navtec opposed
Sargodha: The National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (Navtec) is supposed to be devolved to provinces after the implementation of the 18th Amendment, has learnt.

The Commission is operating in the country in 800 technical trades while over 100,000 students are getting education in 79 institutions.

Commision chairman Chaudhry Mumtaz Ahmad Kahloon confirmed that institutions would be distributed among provinces after the implementation of the 18th Amendment.

He said according to the Article 16 of the Constitution the education was a federal subject and the Navtec should not be devolved to provinces because it would greatly affect the external financial assistance to institutions.

Mr Kahloon said that 79 institutions were established in as many tehsils of the country and several centres of excellence were working with the assistance of Germany, Japan and other countries.

He said Germany gave 20 million euro soft-term loan and Korea five million dollars for the center of excellence, seven technical colleges were being run with the help of the UK and the private sector was also investing in this regard.

The technical education had always given a top priority in other countries, but unluckily it was not promoted in Pakistan due to uncertainty, he said.

He said at least 20 million technical hands would be required in the world by 2050 and the Navtec also sent scores of students abroad after the completion of their education.

He said the technical education should be compulsory after sixth class like the other developed countries.

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Four GCU dept heads replaced by juniors
Lahore: The Government College University's acting vice-chancellor has replaced chairmen of four departments either with junior faculty members or deputationists.

It is learnt that acting VC Prof Dr Ikramul Haq replaced the heads of political science, history, philosophy and mathematics departments.

Political science department chairman Prof Dr Khalid Javed Makhdoom has been replaced by assistant professor Dr Khalid Manzoor Butt.

History department chairman Prof Dr Farhat Mahmood has been replaced by assistant professor Muhammad Ibrahim, while Prof Mahmood has been made a visiting faculty member.

Philosophy department chairman Prof Mirza Athar Beg has been replaced by a deputationist, Azam Khan; while mathematics department chairman Prof Dr Karamat Husain Dar has been replaced by another deputationist associate professor Tahir Saeed Mir.

Sources say the acting VC has replaced the heads of four departments because they were retired professors. However, the Government College University's newly-formed Academic Staff Association leaders say the acting vice-chancellor had adopted a 'pick and choose' policy and did not replace the retired officials serving as controller of examinations, treasurer, director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Physics, director (facilities) and the chief proctor. When contacted, VC Prof Haq said he was busy in a conference and did not respond till the filing of this report. Dawn

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Book Fair concludes
Lahore: The five-day 25th Lahore International Book Fair 2011 concluded at the Lahore Expo Centre, Johar Town, here on Monday. Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa was the chief guest at the concluding ceremony of the fair. The governor visited different stalls and appreciated the efforts of the organisers for successfully organising the book fair and providing healthy and positive activities to people. During the five days, thousands of people from different walks of life visited the book fair and explored the world of books presented by over 160 local and foreign publishers, who had set up stalls there. A number of educational organisations and companies, dealing in educational and stationery items, were also part of the book fair. The news

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Workshop on 'Disaster Risk Management' held at PU
Lahore: Workshop on "Disaster Risk Management" was held at the Punjab University (PU) undergraduate block, organised by the Department of Geography in collaboration with the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) on Monday. PU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mujahid Kamran inaugurated the workshop.

Department of Geography Chairman Dr Abdul Ghaffar, NIDM Director Falak Nawaz, Registrar Dr Muhammad Akhtar, faculty members and a large number of students were also present. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kamran said that disasters are bound to happen but one should be ready to cope with the losses. PU had carried out historic relief work for victims of the earthquake, floods and IDPs of Swat and also established Disaster Fund in this regard. Daily times

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Free books provided to students: PTB
Lahore: Punjba Textbook Board (PTB) Chairman Sheikh Izhar Ahmed on Monday claimed that textbooks, which would be distributed free among students of Class-1 to Clas-10 have been handed over to officials concerned in sufficient quantity.

Addressing a press conference at PTB sale point at Urdu Bazaar, he further claimed record increase in demand for textbooks had been observed this year owing to conversion of Urdu medium schools to English medium and simultaneous conducting of Class-5 and Class-8 examinations.

PTB chairman said extra editions of the textbooks had been approved which would be available in the market in large quantity soon. He said the board had published 10.2 million books while 800.000 million extra textbooks had already been provided in the market for students of the private schools. He also said special teams had been assigned the task to unearth groups involved in printing of fake textbooks.

It is pertinent to mention here that ever since commencement of new academic session from April 1, the students and their parents have been expressing concern over shortage and non availability of textbooks in the market. The major concern is being highlighted by students of private schools for whom textbooks of different subjects from Class-1 to Class 10 are either short or not available in the open market. It is important to mention here that the students of government schools are provided free textbooks while the private students have to buy the PTB textbooks from the open market.

A concerned citizen said he could not find Class-4 Science textbook (English medium) of the PTB despite repeated attempts even on Monday. The non-availability and shortage the PTB textbooks has been irking the students as well as their parents who have demanded the Punjab government to ensure early availability of the books so that the students might not face academic loss.

A number of people said the PTB textbooks of different subjects for students of private schools especially of English medium were also missing from the market.

It is pertinent to mention here that the emergence of fake textbooks in open market at the start of new academic session has become a regular challenge for the authorities concerned. This mafia takes full advantage of PTB s lukewarm response in connection with provision of textbooks in market as well as in the government schools. The news

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