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Karachi university teachers criticism over HEC policies

Karachi University teachers criticise HEC policies
Karachi, Aug 21: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) and its policies came under severe criticism at a meeting of the Karachi University Teachers Society (Kuts), which also passed a unanimous resolution demanding abolition of the 17th Constitutional Amendment that led to the creation of a funding agency in 2002 by former president retired General Pervez Musharraf.

Terming the HEC "a white elephant", the meeting observed that the commission had gone beyond its mandate of granting funds and been acting as a regulatory authority due to which the interests of public sector universities were greatly harmed.

The Kuts general body meeting, attended by its 160 members, was called to show solidarity with the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association, which is observing a week-long protest against HEC policies.

Through a resolution, the teachers demanded abolition of the 17th Amendment, which made the establishment of the HEC possible, adding that all related actions by the dictatorial regime including the promulgation of the model university ordinance should be declared null and void. Pinpointing flaws in the commission's policy, they said that while the commission introduced a number of ill-planned schemes, for instance the tenure track scheme, and had no shortage of funds for universities to run such projects, it had been failing to provide full recurring grant to educational institutions.

Recalling the "blunders" committed by the HEC, the teachers noted that the commission introduced four-year bachelor of studies and two-year masters of studies, along with PhD, programmes without providing sufficient grants to universities for the essentially required facilities.

Among the serious reservations expressed by the teachers were over the enforcement of the model university ordinance in some universities. "The forced implementation of the ordinance eliminated the chances of having elected representatives on the statutory bodies whose members are now nominated by the administration of the universities concerned in consultation with the HEC," they argued, adding that this was against democratic values. They maintained that the HEC should have the responsibility of only disbursing the recurring grants, as was the case of the University Grants Commission.

The commission was also criticised for failing to devise and implement a transparent mechanism for the selection of vice-chancellors.

The teachers demanded the withdrawal of the condition of having published articles in HEC-recognised journals for promotion, demanding that articles published in the journals brought out by any public sector university should be considered for promotion.

The teachers were also critical of the HEC for having different standards for different universities, noting that the PhD allowance in Sindh universities was Rs5,000 but in Punjab universities it was Rs10,000. Moreover, teachers of Sindh universities were required to obtain an NOC from the chancellor to proceed abroad while there was no such restriction for teachers of other provinces' universities. Dawn

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Admission policy of medical varsities soon
Karachi: A new uniformed admission policy of medical universities and colleges in Sindh for academic year of 2009 is going to be announced in coming week after substantial review and consideration.

Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister, Waqar Mehdi, said that the admission policy would be same for all parts of the province, while the present democratic government believed in competition and merit, hence the admission should be based on open merit.

An official of a public university of the City told The Nation that the decision of Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah to review and devise a new admission policy of medical universities and colleges in Sindh was causing significant delay in the admission procedures for medical institutions.

The considerable impediment from the government is giving huge financial advantage to private coaching centres, preparing students of intermediate-level for admissions to MBBS and BDS course at Dow Medical College, Sindh Medical College and Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan Institute of Oral Health Sciences, he said. "Some parents are paying around Rs100,000 for getting their children prepared for the entry test. It seemed that the admission procedures would start after the month of Ramazan, while the process of entrance test would only take nearly one month for completion," he added.

Last year more than 5,000 candidates had participated in the entry test against 650 seats of MBBS and BDS, while the entry test had immediately been held just after the completion of intermediate (pre-medical group) annual examinations-2008, he said.

"It is being said in the literary circles of the City that Sindh government is trying to give some relaxation to students belonging to interior Sindh in the admission procedures that are carried out on open merit in different medical institutions of the City. The government initiative can be understood through the CM's Press statement, in which Qaim Ali Shah said that there were complaints from some quarters, particularly from rural areas, that meritorious students were deprived of obtaining educational opportunities.

He also urged the committee to review the existing admission policy in light of new social developments, such as the creation of new districts as well as the establishment of new universities and medical colleges. Shah added that the new policy should not only reflect the aspirations of the people, but also stay in line with the injunctions of the 1973 Constitution," the source said.

On the other hand, Vice Chancellor Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Prof Masood Hameed Khan, while responding a query in Press conference, has already mentioned that Sindh CM has already stated that Sindh government would prepare a uniform admission policy for the medical academic year of 2009.

Prof Khan said that the CM had stated this in an official meeting in which Provincial Health Minister Dr Saghir Ahmed was also present. He said that we were waiting for the admission policy to start admission procedure. He said that private medical universities and colleges had already commenced admission procedures to induct students in different medical programmes.

It is pertinent to mention here that DUHS gives admissions to students in MBBS and BDS course at Dow Medical College, Sindh Medical College and Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan Institute of Oral Health Sciences. The nation

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New chancellor for IoBM appointed
Karachi: The Governor of Sindh, Dr Ishratul Ebad and Patron Institute of Business Management (IoBM) has appointed Aftab Ahmed Khan as Chancellor IoBM for a period of three years, said a press release issued by the Institute. Aftab Ahmed Khan, who has earlier been a member each of the IoBM Board of Governors, Executive Council and Academic Council, has also held important positions with the Government of Pakistan's Defence, Planning, Economic Affairs and other divisions. He has also represented the country at various international forums and conferences. The news

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