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Higher Education Commission to bankrupt in months

Govt sanctions Rs1.468b for HEC having Rs5 billion liabilities
Islamabad, Aug 25: After pursuing the process to verify degrees of parliamentarians vigorously, the government has, first time, sanctioned a meagre amount of Rs1.468 billion for Higher Education Commission (HEC) but the Commission is going to bankrupt in months ahead because of its inability to pay liabilities of over Rs5 billion to contractors for the work accomplished in last financial year.

The Planning Commission has, however, flatly refused to pay the stuck-up amount of last financial year, arguing that the HEC should make payments from its allocated amount of Rs15 billion for the current fiscal year 2010-11.

Instead of undertaking new development projects, the released amount should be utilized for paying its last year liabilities. "The HEC is being advised to fulfil its requirements with the amount of allocated for the ongoing financial year", said the PC high-ups.

The amount of last financial year, they said, is surrendered and it can be termed against the accounting methods if the HEC insists to get that money.

They recalled that a proposal came under discussion during the era of former Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali and former finance minister Shaukat Aziz that the ECNEC should be empowered to avoid lapse of development funds. But it was found at that time that it would be unconstitutional step because the National Assembly passed the budget for one year.

The high-ups of Planning Commission, the sources said, are also making 'conscious efforts' to convince that they never made any effort to curtail the development budget of HEC in the aftermath of degree verification fiasco. It is commonly known fact that the top man of this country is exerting pressure on HEC to find ways and means to stop the process of degree verifications.

"The HEC is the first institution for which we have sanctioned Rs1.468 billion. We have sent our approval to AGPR and now HEC will be able to draw the amount against its development projects," a senior official of the Planning Commission said here on Monday.

They said that HEC expanded development projects up to maximum level resulting into increased throw forward up to Rs250 to 300 billion. But the top guns of HEC argue that all developed and developing countries including India

were increasing per capita spending on higher education but it was on decline in case of Pakistan.

When contacted to Executive Director HEC, Dr Sohail Naqvi for seeking his comments, he confirmed to this scribe that they received the sanctioned amount, which would be utilized to meet requirements of scholars abroad for one to three months.

When he was asked to comment on stuck up amount of billions of rupees for the last financial year, he said that the HEC would keep asking the authorities to pending amount as HEC was on verge of default to contractors who had done work on the promise to pay their dues in last financial year.

The sources in PC say that at time of severe financial crunch, there was no other option but to rationalize the whole Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). "We just want to ask the HEC that where is the focus on developing skills of world class professors," said one of top official of Gilani government and added that the constructions of huge and lofty buildings were not the sole criteria for improving higher education.

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Teachers, students want ICU exams postponed
Peshawar: The teachers and students of Islamia College University (ICU) have expressed serious concern over the university's decision to hold the MSc and BS examinations from August 30 and urged the university administration to take the examination after Eidul Fitr.

A senior professor of the university said on the condition of anonymity that while the public and private sector universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had cancelled or postponed the examinations until the second week of September because of floods which brought life to a virtual standstill in flood-stricken areas, the ICU administration had decided to hold BS and MSc examinations from August 30.

"This simply means adding salt to wounds caused by floods to the Islamic College University students many of which are still stranded in flood-hit areas of the province," he said. The teacher said that vice-chancellor Ajmal Khan had appointed Javed Khan, assistant professor of statistics who has recently returned from Gomal University, as the controller of examination. "In a bid to show better performance, the controller announced that the BS and MSC examinations which were earlier scheduled for 2nd and 4th semester students would now to be held from August 30," he added.

Another professor said that the examinations schedule had been announced at a time when over 60 percent students of the Islamic College University belonging to Nowshera, Charsadda, Swabi, Mardan, Timergar, Swat, Upper Dir, Malakand and southern districts of the province such as Karak and Bannu had been on summer vacations since June 16.

"Their vacations will end on September 14 and Eidul Fitr is likely to fall on September 12 or 13. No teacher is available in the college till the beginning of the third week of September but examination schedule has been announced despite opposition from the college teachers association," said another teacher, who happens to be an office-bearer of the Islamia College Teachers Association. "The controller of examinations did not give consideration to the facts that over 60 percent students of college come from the areas which have been badly hit by floods and torrential rains," he maintained.

The towns, villages and cities have been without potable water and electricity for weeks in this suffocating heat. In such painful and difficult situations, how the students would prepare themselves for examinations, he added.

A group of students said that it was a century-old tradition of the Islamia College that the students normally go back to their homes almost two weeks before Eidul Fitr and no examination is normally conducted after 15th of Ramazan.

The students appealed to Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani who is also chancellor of the ICUP to look into the matter and direct the university administration to postpone the examinations till second week of September.

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37% enrolled students of QAU affected by floods
Islamabad: Recent floods have affected about 37 per cent of the enrolled students at Quaid-i-Azam University, which means more than one third of present students enrolled at Masters, MPhil and PhD programmes would face difficulties in continuing their studies in near future.

The statistics were shared with media by the Quaid-i-Azam University Alumni Association in a press statement issued on Tuesday. The alumni officials were of the opinion that due to weak financial position, these students would not be able to bear academic, hostel and mess dues and other living expenses. "The situation would raise new challenge to the university administration that is already facing financial crisis," the statement mentioned.

Quaid-i-Azam University is a federal university, which has representation of students from all over Pakistan and has been ranked as top university in Pakistan and second among all OIC countries universities.

Keeping in mind this situation, Quaid-i-Azam University Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Masoom Yasinzai and officer bears of Quaid-i-Azam University Alumni Association have appealed to government and donor agencies to assist the university to cope with this alarming situation and save the future of affected educated youth belonging to the areas hit by one of the worst floods in the past 80 years.

They have also appealed the old students of Quaid-i-Azam University to come forward to assist their alma mater in this critical time and contribute to the flood relief fund, which has been especially established to assist the affected students in meeting their tuition fee, hostel, mess and living expenses. They believed that this assistance would prove a great boost to the affected and dejected families.

The QAU Alumni Association has already announced fifteen need-based scholarships for the students belonging to flood affected areas. These scholarships would be awarded on annual basis to the students who would be enrolled at Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad. The scholarships would be offered in the disciplines of business education, international relations and economics.

These scholarships have been donated by, one of the active alumni, Preston University Pakistan Chancellor Dr. Abdul Basit. The scholarships would bear the total academic and hostel fee. In addition to these scholarships, Flood Relief Fund has been established to provide financial support to affected outstation students studying at QAU. The news

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IIUI celebrates Tree Plantation Day
Islamabad: Students of International Islamic University (IIUI) on Tuesday planted over 80,000 saplings along the embankments of Rawalpindi Murree Expressway, celebrating the National Plantation Day. The purpose to select the site was to draw the public attention towards eroding banks of the road and to highlight the importance of tree plantation in our daily life. Large spectra of students from various schools, colleges and universities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad attended the event. IIUI Environmental Club actively participated in this event. Addressing the participants, Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi and other guests appreciated efforts of students and employees of different departments for plantation. Earlier, IIUI Environmental Club President Syed Mubashar Gardazi on behalf of the IIUI club donated 10,000 saplings to the university. He also requested the administration to take appropriate measures to ensure that plants were given full care. Daily times

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