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Entrance test fashion or necessity

Entry test for medical colleges and engineering institutes
Lahore, Aug 29: Entrance tests were once organised exclusively for admissions to medical colleges and engineering institutes of the province. However, now public universities as well as colleges have started holding entrance tests for admission to almost all the academic disciplines as well.

Its strange to see public colleges organising entrance tests even for admission to intermediate level programmes.

The growing trend highlights lack of monitoring on the part of Punjab government as well as the fact that entrance test has emerged as a fashion and not an exercise to filter candidates coming from different examination boards. The fact cannot be denied that such tests are putting extra financial burden on students and their parents as besides submission of prescribed fee for the tests, majority of the students also join entrance test preparation centres.

Every year students and their parents raise a hue and cry over entrance tests and stress the need of making admissions on an open merit basis but to no avail. This also highlights the kind of resentment and anger among the stakeholders over the entrance test phenomenon.

Recently, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif formed a high-powered committee, comprising vice-chancellors (VCs) of public universities of the province for introducing reforms in examination system besides taking up the issue of the entrance test. It is learnt that the recent incidents of leak of entrance tests led to establishment of the committee. One of the significant recommendations which has been made by sub-committee of the committee is related to holding of entrance test for admission to medical colleges and engineering institutes of the province. The committee members also expressed concern over holding of entrance tests by universities and colleges for academic disciplines other than medical and engineering. They suggested that entry tests should be organised only by medical and engineering institutes and that too should be a kind of aptitude test and not a total exam.

Academic circles are of the view that the Punjab government should come up with a clear-cut policy in connection with entrance test while recommendations of the VCs committee should be properly incorporated in this policy in order to remove any kind of ambiguity in future.

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Universities schedule for Eid holidays
Lahore: A number of public universities on Saturday announced the schedule of Eidul Fitr holidays.

According to details, the University of Engineering & Technology (UET) will remain closed from August 29 to September 3, 2011 while the administrative staff will observe the holidays w.e.f. August 31, to September 3, 2011.

Similarly, the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) will also remain closed from August 29 to September 4 on account of Eidul Fitr. According to the registrar s office notification, the Ravi Campus Pattoki and College of Veterinary Sciences, Jhang, teaching and non-teaching staff members will observe one week holiday to mark Eid-ul-Fitr celebration. Besides, its city campus will remain open on the working day Monday, August 29 and Tuesday August 30 with staff on duty for the services of laboratories, clinics, and involved in admission or examination in this regard.

However, security staff and farms staff will remain on duty. Eid prayers at the university s Jamia Majid will be offered at 7: 30am.

Eid-ul-Fitr prayer at Punjab University s Jamia Mosque, Quaid-e-Azam (New) Campus will be offered at 8:00 am.

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Students, teachers leave for hometowns
Lahore: The boarding students of different universities and colleges of the provincial metropolis have left for their hometowns to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their families and loved ones.

These days there were fewer students in the universities and colleges owing to ongoing admission season as the institutes have yet to complete fresh intake. Like the students, teachers teaching at educational institutions of the metropolis and who hailed from other cities and areas have also started returning to their native towns.

Almost every university and college of the provincial metropolis, including the Punjab University, University of Engineering and Technology (UET), University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences and Lahore College for Women University, have announced Eid holidays starting from August 29.

The hostel students belonging to the far-flung areas were prominent among those leaving the hostels at the earliest in order to avoid troubles usually faced during mass exodus just a day ahead of festive occasions like Eid. This time most of them left the provincial metropolis on Saturday evening to spend maximum days with their families and loved ones.

This year the government has announced Eid holidays from August 31 to September 3. As September 4 is Sunday, therefore, students and teachers would join back their institutes on September 5. The news

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HEC must discourage direct correspondence
Lahore: Seeing no violation of criterion in selection of professors at the Institute of Education and Research, Punjab University management has asked Higher Education Commission to discourage direct correspondence of Dean Faculty of Education.

Contacts between the PU and the HEC have revealed a number of hidden aspects relating to the issue, created due to internal feud between Dean Faculty of Education Prof Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal and the rest of the Faculty, especially three out of four recently selected professors at the IER.

The PU Registrar, in a letter addressed to Executive Director HEC in reply to his query, asserted that there was no violation of rules and criterion in selection of professors at the IER. While suggesting the HEC high ups to avoid direct correspondence with the Dean, he said that Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal should not be encouraged to wash dirty linen in public.

Eligibility of candidates for the slots of professors – Dr Muhammad Saeed Shahid, Dr Hamid Nawaz, Dr Asif Malik, Dr Abid Hussain, Dr Rafaqat Ali Akbar and Dr Rizwan Akram Rana – was determined by the then Dean Prof Dr Nayyar Raza Zaidi on September 11, 2008. On becoming Dean after the retirement of Dr Zaidi on January 26, 2009, Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal insisted on re-evaluating the eligibility of his colleagues that later resulted into disqualification of all. In addition to that, the Dean insisted on declaring his favourite candidate Dr M Saeed eligible. Dr Saeed, later, went to the court but has so far not been given any relief. The step triggered a controversy that led to allegations and counter allegations from both the sides, thus disturbing educational atmosphere at the IER and bringing a bad name to the University. The affected candidates termed the act of Dr Hafiz M Iqbal unlawful as according to them the eligibility determined by one Dean could not be re-evaluated by his successor.

Subsequently, the case was presented before the Selection Board, a Statutory Body competent to take a decision regarding the eligibility of a candidate, to settle the issue. The Selection Board in its meeting held on November 19, 2009, after listening to the point of view of Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal, declared the candidates in question eligible. Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal produced a letter from the HEC regarding compulsion of publication of a required number of research articles in HEC recognized journals for selection as professors. Interestingly, this letter was written by the HEC in response to the query of Dr Hafiz Iqbal.

Shahzad Alam, the HEC representative in the Selection Board who was also an architect of Commission rules, refuted the point of view and interpretation of Hafiz Iqbal. Former Chief Secretary Pervaiz Masood and retired federal secretary and renowned writer Mukhtar Masood and member Punjab Public Service Commission Tariq Masood showed serious resentment against direct correspondence of the Dean with the HEC and recommended disciplinary action against Dr Hafiz Iqbal which has yet to be initiated.

The affected applicants submitted a representation against Dr Hafiz M Iqbal, challenging his qualification and eligibility with solid documentary evidence and arguments. The applicants asserted that experience of Dr Hafiz M Iqbal in the relevant field of education, till his appointment as Assistant Professor was only 01 year, 01 month and 27 days and for Professor it was 08 years, 06 months and 23 days. Minimum teaching experience for selection as AP is 06 years and that for professor is 15 years. The Faculty member demanded detailed probe and removal of Dr Hafiz M Iqbal from the post of Dean.

While the feud was going on, the Selection Board, in its meeting held on April 21, 2011, selected four out of six candidates as professors. The PU Syndicate, later, validated the decision of the Selection Board regarding selection of four professors at the IER.

Vice Chancellor PU Dr Mujahid Kamran said that there was no violation of rules in the selection of professors at the IER. He said that unpleasant situation was created due to internal feud between the Dean and the faculty members. The nation

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Body to probe ICS irregularities at PU
Lahore: The Punjab University (PU) vice-chancellor has formed a three-member committee to investigate alleged irregularities in recent MPhil admissions at the varsityís Institute of Communication Studies (ICS).

The varsity's Central Admission Committee Chairman Dr Amin Athar has also recommended cancellation of all admissions in the wake of alleged unfair and unjust admission process. Sources said the committee, formed by PU VC Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran, comprises Dr Ehsan ul Haq, Dr Hafeez and Dr Amin Athar. It will investigate the whole process and submit its findings to the VC for final action.

There were serious allegations against the admission committee of the ICS, including alleged violation of the varsity's Doctoral Programme Coordination Committee (DPCC) rules. A number of candidates had also complained to the VC alleging the whole process was unfair as those securing top scores in the entrance test were dropped in the interview. The ICS administration is being criticised for including junior and contract faculty members in the admission committee. Dr Amin Athar did not respond despite repeated attempts on his cell phone.

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Two PhDs awarded
Lahore: The Punjab University has awarded PhDs to two candidates in different subjects.

According to a press release, Aqsa Azwar d/o Azwar Hamid has been awarded the degree in the subject of Persian after approval of her research thesis entitled Persian Literature Among Naushahis and Zahida Nasreen d/o Abdul Rashid in the subject of Mycology & Plant Pathology after approval of her research thesis entitled Optimization of Growth Conditions for Mass Cultivation of Some Edible and Medicinal Basidiomycetes.

They have completed their theses under the supervision of Prof Dr Ghulam Moeen-ud-Din of PU Department of Persian and Prof Dr Rukhsana Bajwa Ex-Chairperson PU Institute of Mycology & Plant Pathology, respectively.

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PU results
Lahore: Punjab University (PU) Examinations Department has announced the results of MPhil, High Energy Physics (2-Years), Semester System, Session 2009-2011 and BS Computer Science, 4th Year, Annual Exam 2010. The detailed result is available at the university s website:

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UVAS admissions
Lahore: The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) has opened admissions to undergraduate degree programs in various disciplines.

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HEC scholarship scheme
Lahore: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has asked the applicants, who have submitted their online forms under the scholarship scheme Indigenous 5000 PhD Fellowship Batch-VII, to fill the incomplete and missing mandatory information by September 10, 2011 so that their applications can be considered for preparation of merit list for the award of scholarship.

The HEC spokesman said this is the last chance to facilitate the applicants, adding that after the deadline expires, the incomplete online applications will not be considered for further processing. The news

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Distinction for UHS
Lahore: The World Education Congress Asia has declared the University of Health Sciences, Lahore the "Best Educational Institute in Healthcare" and has also announced an award for its vice-chancellor, Prof Malik Hussain Mubbashar, for "outstanding contribution to education".

According to a press release issued on Saturday, the award - a trophy and a citation - will be presented to the UHS VC in a ceremony scheduled to be held next month in Dubai, UAE.

It is a prestigious award presented by Asian Confederation of Business, with CMO Asia as its strategic partner and Stars of the Industry Group as a research partner.

The award of highest stature is presented to top educational institutes and educationists of Asia, who have surpassed several levels of excellence and set an example of being role model and exemplary leadership.

UHS and its VC have been selected from among the healthcare educational institutions of Singapore, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, China, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Oman, UAE and Nepal.

The winners are selected by a global research cell on the basis of student perception and research activities. The UHS is the only health university of Pakistan with more than 80 medical and dental institutions affiliated and about 38,000 students registered. It is offering MSc, MPhil and PhD courses in medicine, nursing and allied health sciences.

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No teacher for 100,000 students
Many of the Seraiki organisations have protested against the Punjab government for not creating posts of Seraiki lecturers in south Punjab. On the other hand a provincial minister from Bahawalpur claimed that he got created 29 posts of lecturers. Same is the complaint of Punjabis that a recent Punjab Public Service Commission advertisement indicated that there were total 2,500 vacancies (1,456 for males and 1,050 for females). Seats for male Punjabi lecturers were 13 and for females 10.

This is for education analysts of the south to assess how many students of Seraiki or Punjabi are there. According to the latest results of the Multan board, there was not a single Seraiki language student in the matriculation final, while there were about 17,000 students who appeared in Punjabi language paper - the ratio was more than 33 per cent of the total students who appeared in the matriculation examination.

Also, results of the 9th and 10th classes (Lahore Board) show that almost 107,000 students of Punjabi language appeared this year in Lahore Board alone and 93 per cent of them passed. Surprisingly, there is no regular teaching staff of Punjabi in public schools. The facts provided by the board show that 45 subjects, including the compulsory ones, are offered to students. From the point of number of students, first four are compulsory subjects followed by traditional science subjects and 9th number is of Punjabi for which no teacher has been provided by the Punjab government. Now let us see what is the position of other languages offered at this stage. The total number of students appeared in Arabic is 1,335, Urdu literature 10, English literature seven and Persian 939. This is anybody's guess how many teachers have been employed for teaching Arabic, Urdu and Persian compared to non-existent Punjabi teachers. One wonders that both former and present chief ministers of the province, Pervaiz Elahi and Shahbaz Sharif, have much trumpeted their education policies but none of them considered Punjabi a subject for which teaching staff should be hired. Perhaps there is no region in the world where language of the people has been so badly treated and in other words the Shahbaz government is extending a bad treatment to Sufis like Bulleh Shah, Baba Farid, Sultan Bahu, Ali Haider, Khwaja Farid, Maulvi Ghulam Rasool and Mian Muhammad Bukhsh. The concept of education being promoted by traders and industrialists is that students should be turned into robots fit for their trade and industry. This is a clear denial of giving space to human values in educational systems.

Another aspect of Punjabi as a subject is that in the recent results of B.A/B.Sc declared by the Punjab University 26,560 students appeared in Punjabi. The total number of students who appeared in Urdu was 815, Persian 4,730 and Arabic 8,967. The total number of students who appeared in Urdu, Persian and Arabic was 14,512, much less than the number of students who appeared in Punjabi, but Punjabi has less than 1/8th of the teaching staff compared to other languages. Why? Because the present rulers and rulers before them are not pro-people otherwise their first priority should have been the teaching of people's language. In Punjab, mother tongue haters were taught that Punjabi is the backward form of Urdu. Urdu is developed form of Punjabi â€" this is the biggest lie on the earth. Punjabi is much older than Urdu and it was used by sufis and preachers to spread their faith. In Pakistan, it were Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto, Balochi and Kashmiri through which Islam spread and Muslims emerged as majority in these areas and on this basis Pakistan was demanded. It is unfortunate that the ruling bureaucracy (half of which came from across Jamuna) tried to change this linguistic perspective and put these languages on the back benches. The fact is that Bengali had much older history and rich literature than Urdu but the ruling feudal, bureaucrats and intellectuals of the west wing imposed it in a way, which annoyed the majority. Local languages contemptuously categorised and identified on their scripts were different, the issue which was the biggest blunder committed not only by the Muslim League (All-India) but also by the Congress. The most tragic aspect of the matter is that the same rulers, intellectuals and bureaucrats totally ignored the development and promotion of Urdu as compared to English. Because of this group now Urdu stands no where except that it is a link language or lingua franca which again is being monopolised by the Urdu-speaking community of Karachi. During MQM's rule pampered by General Pervez Musharraf three international Urdu conferences were held in Karachi. This was sort of a challenge for other centres of Urdu, particularly Lahore. The difference between the two conferences was quite clear. The Karachi show was much superior to the Lahore show twice arranged by Ataul Haq Qasmi. Karachi-based commercial concerns patronise the Urdu media based in Karachi rather than other stations. This is the plight of Punjab/Seraiki, Sindhi and Urdu and English that the last one created a big gulf between the people and upper and upper middle classes and the people at large. Much more money is wasted on teaching English and much less money is being spent on regional languages in which we find the beat of the heart of the common people.

On the other hand, writers and intellectuals associated with the promotion of regional languages are using them for their political ends. They have not so far laid stress on teaching of languages. For instance commenting on two demonstrations by pro-Seraiki groups in Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur, protagonist of Seraiki province and prominent journalist Nazeer Leghari said these demonstrations reminded him of Naxalbari and Telangana episodes, but he did not talk about the plight of Farid's Punjabi or today's Seraiki. Dawn

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Students throng BISE office for rechecking of papers
Lahore: A large number of students have been visiting the office of the Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education (BISE) these days for rechecking of their papers.

The board has recently announced the result of class-9 annual examination 2011. According to BISE sources, the rechecking trend being witnessed this time was not witnessed in the past. Besides those opting for rechecking of papers, a large number of students are also visiting the board office on daily basis to rectify errors in their result cards.

There are reports that owing to computerised preparation of results this year, the students have been facing problems in their result cards. A great rush of people is being witnessed at the board office these days which has also created problems for board s officials to address their complaints properly.

However when contacted, BISE Controller of Exam Ijaz Naqvi said rechecking was a regular phenomenon and each time many students thronged the board office for rechecking of their papers. He also denied that there were widespread cases of errors in result cards. The news

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