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Schools, colleges vacations in Punjab

Edu institutes to reopen on Sep 13
Lahore, Aug 11: The schools and colleges will reopen after 3 and half months summer vacation on September 13 after Eidul Fitr. During the period the colleges will complete the admission work for 1st year. The admissions have since started and last date for receipt of admission forms in government colleges will be Aug 16. The nation

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Students, teachers protest against launch of 4-year BS programme
Lahore: A large number of college teachers, students unions and civil society members, on Tuesday, gathered in front of MAO College and protested against the launch of a four-year BS honours programme in 26 colleges across the province.

Teachers shouted slogans against the launch of the programme, and claimed that setting up of Board of Governors (BoG) in these colleges was a step towards privatisation.

Punjab Professor and Lecturers Associations (PPLA) President Dr Zahid Sheikh said teachers and students likewise would continue to protest against this measure and even boycott the educational institutions concerned if necessary. He said this move could deprive underprivileged students of education, as the college fees would obviously be increased after the privatisation act.

The Punjab Higher Education departments had recently given instructions for the introduction of a BS programme in 26 colleges across the province, whereas six colleges across the city were also selected for introducing the BS. The teachers have been holding protests against this decision across the province ever since.

On Tuesday, teachers and students blocked The Mall, shouted slogans and demanded the government take back its decision regarding the BS programme. Protesters later reached the Punjab Assembly and delivered speeches there against the government decisions.

Consulting: According to a senior member of a teaching organisation, the government has implemented this decision without even completing the related paperwork and without consulting any of the teachers concerned.

"We are consulting our lawyers and will take the matter to court if necessary," Dr Zahid said. Daily times

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Boards of governors in public colleges: Official accuses teachers' bodies of deceit
Lahore: Teachers' associations are doing politics on planned boards of governors in colleges and deceitfully using the word 'privatisation', says higher education secretary Ahad Khan Cheema.

Cheema was speaking to faculty members at Government Islamia College, Civil Lines, on Tuesday. The college is one of the selected institutions where four-year BS (Honours) programme is being launched and board of governors is being formed to run college affairs independently.

Cheema told faculty members that teachers' representatives had no moral ground to oppose the BS (Honours) programme and boards. "It is not the prerogative of teachers' associations to oppose government's policies. Such representatives must be held accountable," he said.

He said people had the mindset that most public colleges were not offering quality education and this thinking was reflected from the fact that public colleges' enrolment remained static at 550,000 despite a three-time increase in enrolment in higher education institutions during the last few years.

The secretary said universities' job was to impart training at the postgraduate level and conduct research, but they picked undergraduate honours programmes for commercial purposes because they had the authority to take decisions at the institutional level. "The colleges could not take advantage of this initiative though there was a huge public demand for such programmes," he said.

In the absence of certain powers, Cheema said public colleges could not grow despite the fact that they had infrastructure worth billions of rupees and well qualified faculties. He said there was a lengthy procedure to get a new college commissioned, SNE approved and teachers recruited through the Punjab Public Service Commission. "This procedure is a sure recipe that the new college should fail even before taking off," he said.

To eliminate the red-tape culture, Cheema said colleges must vie for getting delegated powers through BoGs and take decisions according to their requirements. "The legislature has delegated its powers to collective wisdom that rests with BoGs under the law," he added.

Referring to teachers' apprehensions, Cheema said some colleges faced problems after they were given autonomy because the government did not support them after giving them autonomy. Now, he said, the autonomy model would be improved in consultation with teachers, keeping in view teachers' job security, students' interests and quality of education. He said the higher education department had got approved Rs500 million - Rs250 million each for infrastructure and human resource.

The secretary assured teachers that BoGs would not have powers to transfer teachers or increase fees. They would just take policy decisions on budgets, re-appropriation of budgets, creation of posts and recruitment of teachers for the BS (Honours) programme.

Cheema said vacant posts would be filled from college cadre teachers. BoGs would recruit teachers from the open market for disciplines currently not offered in public colleges.

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Honour for PU students
Lahore: Students of the Punjab University have won the Nishan-i-Quaid Team Trophy for the third consecutive year in the All-Pakistan Inter-University Competitions during sixth Quaid-i-Azam Qaumi Conference.

Shamoon Ahmad of the College of Pharmacy, Ghulam Mohyuddin of the Institute of Communication Studies and Touheed of the College of Art and Design clinched first positions in English speech, Urdu speech and national songs competitions, respectively.

In quiz competition, the PU team, comprising Ammad Ramzan of College of Pharmacy, Waseem Afzal of Law College and Asim Khan of Hailey College of Commerce, bagged fourth position.

The four-day event organised by Baqai Medical University, Karachi, was participated in by 15 teams including five Sindh universities, Hazara University and Virtual University, Islamabad.

Hailey College of Commerce student Atif Amin has won the "Best National Hiker Award 2010" during the 18th National Rovers Scout Hike. Atif Amin had also earned second position in the HEC Inter-University Rovering Championship in 2008 and 2009. He also represented the PU in the fifth SAF Camp 2007. Dawn

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