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Universities & unemployed youth

Varsities make mockery of unemployed youth
Lahore, April 25: Pakistan is facing the worst-ever inflation while the menace of unemployment also remains as one of the challenges the country is facing. Undoubtedly, apart from illiteracy, these two factors are also contributing to the rising extremism in the country.

Nevertheless, it is unfortunate whenever educated youth find a job opportunity, especially in government sector, they have to experience a situation which makes mockery of their joblessness and poverty.

The Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) announced various non-teaching posts in November 2010 and received hundreds of applications together with prescribed payment of Rs500 for BPS-17 and above posts from each applicant.

Similarly, the Government College University (GCU) Faisalabad announced different teaching and non-teaching posts in October and December 2010 and received Rs500 from each applicant for the post of lecturer.

At the LCWU, the administration did not even bother to inform the applicants about the fate of their applications. An applicant, Adnan, said that he did not receive any information as to what happened to his application. I had submitted Rs500 and it is strange no information has so far been passed on to me in this regard by the varsity administration, he said dejectedly. He said the government should take notice of such practices as they were promoting a sense of deprivation among the unemployed youth and further depressing them in the wake of ever-increasing inflation and lack of opportunities.

The advertisement still available on the LCWU website reads, University Authorities reserve the right to shortlist the candidates, not to fill any vacancy without any reason, withhold appointment, on any advertised post and increase or decrease the number of vacancies. Another applicant argued that by imposing such conditions, the university administration in fact tried to safeguard its own interests, adding that everyone should know where the amount collected from applicants eventually went. He said that in case the whole process was terminated, the amount should be reimbursed to the applicants.

He further said that he had applied for the post of Public Relations Officer (PRO), claiming that around 200 people had applied for the post alone. As per the advertisement, a written test was to be conducted in case of more than 50 applicants, he said, adding that To date I have not been informed if any test was conducted.

At the GCU Faisalabad, the situation is a bit different. According to a number of applicants, they had submitted Rs500 each for the post of lecturer. They said, however, through a later advertisement, they were informed that the applicants would have to appear in a test to be conducted by the National Testing Service (NTS).

This was not something which disturbed the applicants but their concern this time was Rs500 as the test fee to be charged by the NTS.

We had deposited prescribed amount of Rs500 and now have been asked to pay for test fee as well, said an applicant while seeking anonymity, questioning What the university will do of the amount it collected from the applicants? He was of the view that since underemployment and unemployment were among the major social issues those at the helm should wake up and save people from such fleecing.

Academic circles are of the view that the government should direct public universities to follow a transparent policy in connection with recruitments and at least every candidate should be informed about fate of his/her application if reimbursing amount to them was not possible.

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UoE election
Lahore: The elections of University of Education's Academic Staff Association (ASA) were held on Saturday. Muhammad Afzal was elected president. His panel won six out of seven seats. Abdul Majeed was elected senior vice president, Faqir Hussain vice president, Asma Razzaq joint secretary, Saima Khan finance secretary and Aftab Akram press secretary. The news

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DPS becomes degree college
Lahore: Board of Governors, Divisional Public School Model Town, has approved the proposal of giving degree college status to the prestigious educational institution.

In a BoG meeting chaired by Commissioner Lahore Nadeem Hassan Asif, senior member Javed Yousaf presented the proposal of giving degree college status to the DPS.

After unanimous approval from the BoG, Nadeem Hassan Asif asked the Principal DPS to complete necessary paper work and submit recommendation of the BoG to his office at the earliest. The Commissioner would forward the proposal to the Punjab Government for further action. The nation

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Book reading habit takes blow as IT takes over world
Lahore: Globalisation and revolution in the field of information technology (IT) has reduced the habit of book reading across the globe.

In our country, there was a time when the habit of book reading was very popular and most of the people used to spend their free time reading books.

Elders, youth and children were often seen reading books under streetlights or even in the light of lamps and candles in old times. School and public libraries encouraged and cultivated the habit of reading. Book lovers used to gift books to friends and beloved ones while collection of good books also remained a popular hobby amongst people.

However, then dawned the era of technology in which people preferred watching television or using the Internet instead of reading books and indulging in other similar literary activities.

Book reading has now become obsolete and the Internet culture is becoming more and more popular, also giving an increase to the trend of reading soft copies or e-books of printed books. The emergence of e-media and blurring of traditional media has weakened the bond between books and their readers.

Easy accessibility, large numbers of e-versions of books on very nominal fee, provision of unlimited access to e-books with facility of downloading them on desktops for references, are the major factors that had contributed in decreasing the book reading trend.

According to a survey, one among every four adults does not prefer reading books.

Separately, online book selling, online libraries and online book rental services are gaining popularity in Pakistan nowadays.

A large number of websites are available on the Internet which provide information on books, their authors and prices.

Online rental services are also gaining popularity since they offer the books to the readers at nominal rates as compared to the expensive printed form of the same books.

Owner of an online rental services website, Usman Siddiqui said that due to a marked decrease in the reading habit amongst people, he and his team members decided to provide books online at cheap rates.

Usman said that currently, 40,000 books are available on his website for sale. He said that he had started the website with only 50 books and now more than 25,000 books had been sold through it.

Globalisation and digitalisation cannot be alone blamed for the decrease in the trend of book reading. There are several other factors, including lack of public libraries, quality content, quality writers, book fairs, reading clubs, writing competitions, encouragement at school level to read books other than course books.

Separately, The National Book Foundation (NBF) had also been formed to promote the book reading culture in the country. However, the foundation was unable to achieve its goals because of the lack of interest on part of the citizens.

Nevertheless, the foundation's officials claimed that their efforts are yielding positive results as the number of book readers had increased in the recent years.

According to the NBF's website, books are provided to members at 50 percent discount across 47 important cities. The remaining 50 percent is paid by the NBF authorities. Similarly, books can also be obtained on 55 percent discount from NBF bookshops under this scheme.

Experts says that the need of the times is that book clubs should be formed on a large scale, reading circles should be encouraged, young graduates and high school students should take out time and encourage younger ones to indulge in literary activities. Daily times

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PU professor leaves for China
Lahore: Punjab University Dean Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, Law, Education and Director Institute of Business Administration Prof Dr Muhammad Ehsan Malik proceeded to China

to participate in the international conference on "Legal Education in the Context of Globalization" Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. It is an honour for the varsity as well as the country that Tsinghua University, ranked among top 100 universities of the world has invited Prof Dr Ehsan Malik to participate in the conference. In his absence Prof Dr Liaqat Ali Dean Faculty of Commerce will look after the routine matters, said spokesman of the university on Saturday. The nation

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Old Ravians pledge to support deserving students
Lahore: The annual dinner of the Old Ravian Union (ORU) was held at the Government College University s Oval Ground with a pledge to support the poor and deserving students of their alma mater, who cannot afford their academic expenses.

Acting Vice Chancellor GCU Prof Dr Ikramul Haq was the chief guest at the reunion, which was attended by hundreds of bureaucrats, journalists, industrialists and politicians from all over the country including former Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif, senior bureaucrat Kamran Lashari, Lahore Board Chairman Dr Ikram Kashmiri and Gymkhana Club Chairman Mian Misbahur Rehman. Speaking on the occasion, ORU Secretary Dr Khalid Manzoor Butt said that Old Ravians including Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had donated as many as Rs 130 million to the GCU Endowment Fund Trust in just four years, which was really something admirable and exemplary as no other public sector university in Pakistan have such mechanism to involve the old students in development of their alma mater. In his message at the reunion gala, noted nuclear scientist and ORU President Dr Samar Mubarikmand said Old Ravians played a crucial role in making Pakistan a nuclear state. Out of total 140 experts, who carried out nuclear tests in 1998, as many as 60 were Old Ravians and their team leader who pressed the button for explosion was also a former student of the Government College Lahore, he added. He hoped that in the present era, GCU would provide leadership to steer Pakistan out of its present economic and political turmoil. Chief Justice (Retd) Khawaja Muhammad Sharif said it was the duty of every Old Ravian to payback the debt of his alma mater and to help the deserving students was the best way of doing it. Later, noted classical singer Ustad Hamid Ali Khan, comedian Hassan Abbas and singer Sanam Marvi performed at the musical evening organised by the Old Ravians Union. The historical Gothic Style building of GCU was also illuminated for the reunion celebrations. The news

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