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Rawalpindi private colleges raise fee by 30%

None of the colleges in the city is charging less than Rs40,000 fee
Rawalpindi, Aug 18: Almost all the private colleges have raised the fees upto 30 per cent soon after the announcement of SSC results by the Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (RBISE).

The parents and the students strongly rejected the increase in fees, saying that they can't afford it. More than 75 private colleges are functioning in various parts of the Rawalpindi city. They charge the fee at their will, as education department has not framed any set rules for the fee stricture of the private colleges.

A number of parents have appealed to the government to take action against the colleges for raising fees and also frame some rules to check this trend.

Qasim Hussian, who visited a private college for admission of his daughter, said, "We are looking for an appropriate college but the fees of all these colleges are not affordable for us adding none of the colleges in the city is charging less than Rs40,000 fee."

The colleges that used to charge Rs25,000 fee now started charging Rs40,000. The people who have limited income cannot afford high fees. On the other hand, it is not possible for them to get admission in the government colleges because of limited number of seats.

Usman Ahmed, who visited a government college for seeking admission, said, "I am applying for admission in pre-engineering group adding if I failed to get admission then I have to appear as a private candidate."

Principal of a private college situated at 6th Road when contacted said that price-hike badly affected all walks of life therefore we have to raise fees to meet our expenses." Rent of the building, teachers' salaries and so many things have been increased that's why we have to increase the fees.

District Officer (Colleges) Ulfat Mehmood Janjua when contacted said, "Obviously the code of conduct exists for these private colleges which they must follow, but the owners of these colleges have good sources therefore our department is helpless to take any action against them."

He said they mention very less fee structures in our record. Those people who have complaints in this regard should contact to the district officer (colleges), he added.

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National youth award's injustice
Islamabad: The Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYA) has ordered an inquiry while reacting to an application filed by one of the nominees for National Youth Awards about the injustice meted out to him.

Hanan Ali Abbasi, the 'victim', claims that his credentials were much better than those of the nominees who were given awards in the media category. "To favour their dear ones," he alleged, "a few bureaucrats on the selection committee 'unjustly' omitted his name at the 11th hour to accommodate a girl who was a doctor by profession and had no contribution other than being an anchor of a radio show."

Achievements highlighted in the application include that Hanan is writer of a book, has more than 300 columns to his credit, has written a play on a social issue and has hosted live shows for Radio Pakistan. He is also a Member of National Youth Parliament from Rawalpindi.

Hanan claims that some high-ups summarized 25 points of his achievements into only three before presenting them to the selection committee. The ministry received 60 applications for the media category, from which four were short-listed and finally two were given the National Youth Award.

Undeterred by the fact that not much action is expected as a result of that application, the boy has indeed set an example for others to come forward and seek explanation from government departments if they feel that injustice has been done.

"It is my right and I am determined to pursue my case unless I get a satisfactory answer," said Hanan. "There is a need to change this culture of keeping mum over whatever wrong is happening around us," he said.

The boy has the realisation that holding officials accountable is not an easy job and requires hard work and determination. "I have all the proof that favouritism was done and I hope the results of the inquiry will be in my favour," said Hanan.

Hanan submitted his application to the minister on August 13, which was immediately referred to Secretary of the ministry Hifzur Rehman and was given the dairy number 522. The minister ordered the inquiry and asked the secretary to report on the matter.

Ministry officials confirmed that they had received the application and an inquiry had been ordered. They said that the selection criteria were kept transparent and the awards were given purely on merit. "The results were announced openly on the Internet and if any nominee has some objection, he or she can talk directly to the head of committee or the secretary," said PRO for the Ministry of Youth Affairs Arif Malik.

He said that winners were nominated by an independent selection committee that included high officials whereas the minister was informed about the results on the day of the announcement. "We have tried to keep the process as transparent as possible and if someone has any objection, they can talk to higher ups in the ministry," he said.About the application filed by Hanan, he said that conducting an inquiry takes time and its finding would not be kept secret.

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MU Sheringal campus to get university status
Peshawar: The Sheringal Campus of Malakand University (MU) would soon be upgraded to the status of a full-fledged university, assured NWFP governor and chancellor of public sector universities.

Efforts are afoot for construction of new building and appointment of vice-chancellor for the campus, the governor said, while talking to the federal minister for Safron Najmuddin Khan and members of NWFP Assembly Badshah Saleh and Munawwar Khan on Monday.

It merits mentioning here that President Asif Ali Zardari has already approved the establishment of Benazir Bhutto University while Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has announced Rs470 million for the campus.

The governor said that it would be the second public sector educational institution of its kind in Malakand division and all possible steps would be taken to make its establishment and development possible. Najmuddin said the project would prove a milestone in the socio-economic progress and prosperity of the people of area.

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Putting gender equality on top of government's agenda
Islamabad: In order to ensure that foreign aid is spent in an effective manner, participants of a high-level meeting called for strengthening the capacities, resources and authority of the government machineries working for women development in a way that they could take lead in positioning gender equality on top of government's agenda.

These views were expressed at the 'Gender Equality and Aid Effectiveness: Meeting with Elected Representatives in Pakistan,' organised by the Ministry of Women Development (MoWD) and Interagency Gender and Development Group (INGAD).

In addition to Provincial Minister for Women Development from Sindh Tauqir Fatima Bhutto and Balochistan's Ghazala Gola, a number of women parliamentarians, officials of donor agencies and government representatives participated in the meeting. Special Adviser to Prime Minister for Social Affairs Shehnaz Wazir Ali was also present.

In an interactive group discussion, the participants suggested different ways to achieve result-oriented utilisation of foreign aid coming to Pakistan in the name of women development. They stressed on the need for hiring a subject matter specialist in the MoWD to deal with technical issues.

Comparing to the tasks assigned to MoWD, they said that funds and staff provided to the ministry were far less than the actual requirements. Since Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was heading the Planning Commission, they demanded that he should ensure ten per cent quota for women on commission's board. All members of the board are male these days.

In her informative presentation, Country Director Unifem and Thematic Working Group member INGAD, Alice Harding Shackelford, said that limited donors' coordination with the government, limited integration of gender equality priorities in national development process and inadequate support to the implementation of gender equality commitments were the main hurdles in the way of aid effectiveness.

She said that Development Assistance Database managed by Economic Affairs Division since 2005 indicates that till March 2008, $23.8 billion came into Pakistan in the form of grants, loans and technical assistance through 76 donors. She said that 72 per cent of that aid came from Asian Development Bank, 25 per cent from bilateral sources, two per cent from UN and one per cent from others.

About foreign aid for gender and women development, she said that $15 million came in the year 2006 and $27 million in 2007 that is far less than the aid received by other social sectors. "The MoWD is the only ministry that does not receive direct aid from donors and just gets support for its projects," she pointed out.

Highlighting the ongoing projects under MoWD, Secretary MoWD Sarod Lashari said that construction of 30 Benazir Bhutto Centres for violence victims was one of the major schemes in the pipeline. She said that under Gender Reform Action Plan (GRAP), the ministry had gender sensitised high-ranking officials in federal ministries through workshops and training.

She said that GRAP had established Gender Development Sections in five federal ministries and have appointed focal persons in all major federal and provincial ministries. "We are in the process of hiring a consultant to review the syllabus of specialized training institutes with gender perspective."

In her introductory remarks, INGAD Chair Nazia Seher said that the group included almost all donor agencies working on gender issues. "The group was formed in 1985 and has 31 members working as part of this network," she said adding that the objective of forming such a group was to enhance information sharing and promote coordination among donor agencies, government machinery and the civil society.

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IIU to hold Independence Day celebrations
Islamabad: The International Islamic University (IIU) will hold Independence Day celebrations at Female campus of the university here on August 19. Meanwhile, Iqra centre for Technical Education of the International Islamic University has extended the last date for admissions till August 24.According to new schedule, last date for the submission of admission forms would be August 24 while entry tests would be held on August 25, said a statement issued here Monday.

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Rare collection of Urdu literary trends published
Islamabad: The trends in our literary culture since independence have enriched the literary atmosphere of Pakistan, offering a greater freedom to the writer, and a wider choice of aesthetic and moral enjoyment to the reader.

In an attempt to preserve the scenario of the foregone times in pure prose and poetic trends in Urdu literature of Pakistan, Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) has published a rare collection of Urdu literary trends from 1947 to 2008.

'Pakistani Adab: Selection of Poetry' and 'Pakistani Adab: Selection of Short Stories' 1947-2008, both come as a unique anthology of works illustrating exact nature of literary trends in Pakistan's literary history.

Introducing the collection here on Monday, PAL Chairman Fakhar Zaman described the basic purpose of publishing selection 'Pakistani Literature 1947-2008' as an effort to record the literary works done in poetry and short stories which may determine the speed and trend of Urdu literature and the national spirit reflected in these works while portraying Pakistani society. He said that selection of 61 years of literary tradition is made to give the general perspective of Pakistani society. He also said that similar selection of Pakistani literature will be published in other languages like Punjabi, Seraiki, Sindhi, Pushto, Hindko, Gujrati and the languages of Northern Areas which are under publication.

The literary selection comprises of the mood of Urdu literature, its evolution and the development in the themes followed by the literati. The conceptual changes in poetry and short stories are reflected in this selection becomes all the more significant to the readers and researchers alike and it will be a landmark in new research work on Pakistan's literary history. The selection is compiled by eminent scholar and writer Dr Rasheed Amjad for the PAL.

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Institute of Psychiatry new block starts functioning
Rawalpindi: The newly-constructed two-storey block of Institute of Psychiatry at Benazir Bhutto Hospital started working here on Monday.

More than 125 patients with mental disorders were examined at the outpatient department of the institute in the new block while teaching section of the block was also inaugurated. "The new block does not look like a part of a government hospital instead we feel that we are in some healthcare facility of international standard," said Ahmed, attendant of a patient. He said that the unique structure of the building of new block and the facilities available here has given the institute a sublime look.

Head of Institute of Psychiatry at BBH Professor Dr. Fareed Aslam Minhas when contacted on Monday said that the new block has been made fully operational. "Formal inauguration of the block however would be done by Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif."

He said that the doctors and staff serving at the institute feeling comfort of the new block as it had equipped consultation rooms for them to check the patients with various mental disorders.

The institute had been facing a number of problems particularly due to lack of proper space for accommodating the visiting patients and as well doctors, nurses and paramedical staff serving in it. "The functioning of new block has resolved the issue of lack of space," said Dr. Minhas.

The institute completed construction work on new block solely on self-help basis. Dr. Minhas said that he has decided to call a meeting of donors belonging to various organisations and from general public at the institute within this week. "Certainly, we would like to upgrade the institute on the subject of equipment in the coming years," he responded to a query.

He added that he would like to share his vision about future working of the institute with donors. "The functioning of new block would certainly help enhance the performance of the institute," he said. The news

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