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23rd International Biology Olympiad

Talented students earn laurels for Pakistan
Islamabad, Aug 06: Talented Pakistani students have won one silver medal, four bronze medals and two Honourable Mentions in International Science Olympiads organised this year in different parts of the world. These unique competitions are held to discover and encourage young talented students from all over the world.

Four teams of Pakistani students represented Pakistan in the 23rd International Biology Olympiad (IBO) in Singapore, 44th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in United States, 53rd International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Argentina and 43rd International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in Estonia.

These young talented Pakistani students were facilitated under Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Careers Programme, a joint innovative venture of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), for grooming talented students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The main objective of this programme is to inspire the Pakistani youth to opt for careers in science, mathematics and engineering and preparing them for participation in the annual International Olympiad in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. The programme also encourages Pakistani students to come up with innovative solutions to problems of national interest. Pakistan has been participating in these international competitions since 2001. So far, more than 150 Pakistani students got opportunity to represent the country in these annual international competitions.

The 23rd International Biology Olympiad (IBO) was hosted by Singapore from July 8 to July 15, 2012. About 236 students from 59 countries participated in the event. Out of total three students who participated from Pakistan, two won bronze medals and one got Honourable Mention.

The bronze medallists include Usama Tahir from Lahore Grammar School, Lahore, Hafsa Shahab from Lahore Grammar School Islamabad, and Hassan Mirza (Honourable Mention) from Lahore Grammar School Lahore. The IBO team was led by Dr Zahid Mukhtar.

The 43rd International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) was hosted by Estonia from July 15 to July 24, 2012. Total 400 students from 88 countries participated in the Olympiad. Of the five students who participated from Pakistan in the event, one of them won Bronze Medal. The awards winner is Muhammad Taimoor Iftikhar (Bronze Medal) from Rangers Public School & College Mandi Bahauddin. The IPhO team was led by Dr Shahid Qamar and Dr Aftab Rafiq of PIEAS, Islamabad.

The 44th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) was hosted by United States, from July 21 to July 30, 2012. About 270 students from 70 countries participated in the event. Of the four students who participated from Pakistan in the event, Armughan Ahmad Khan from Lahore Grammar School Lahore won Bronze Medal. The IChO team was led by Prof Dr. Khalid M Khan and Dr Muhammad Raza Shah of HEJ Research Institute, Karachi.

The 53rd International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) was hosted by Argentina from July 8 to July 16, 2012. About 600 students from 100 countries participated in the event. Waqar Ali Syed of Beacon House School Karachi won Silver Medal while Huma Sibghat from Hamza Army Public School & College Rawalpindi won Honourable Mention. The IMO team was led by Prof Dr Barbu Berceanu and Dr Ahmed Mahmood Qureshi from Government College University Lahore.

These annual International Olympiads provide an opportunity to pre-university science students from around the world to compete in solving challenging theoretical and experimental science problems that only the most talented youth can answer.

It is worth mentioning that students selected and groomed under the programme have also been successful to secure admissions with scholarships for their higher studies in top world universities including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Caltech, Mc Gill, University of Toronto and Oxford etc.

Expressing his views over this achievement, HEC Executive Director Professor Dr. Sohail H. Naqvi said that the success of the Pakistani contingent at the science Olympiads demonstrates that the innate genius of the Pakistani youth.

"When properly identified on merit and nurtured in an environment where it can grow and prosper, under the guidance of able teachers, is capable of excelling on the world stage," he said. He has also extended congratulations to all the medallists and winners of the honourable mentions and their proud parents for winning laurels to their country and their respective institutions. The news

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HEC body chief resigns
Islamabad: The executive director, Higher Education Commission (HEC), Prof Dr S. Sohail H. Naqvi has resigned as chairman committee for the regularisation of contract employees.

Besides, the HEC will seek clarification from the Prime Minister's Secretariat for possible error in sending the notification to the Higher Education Commission, which was supposed to be delivered to Heavy Electrical Complex.

Mr Naqvi through e-mail to his bosses said that his name should not be included in any proposal for regularisation of contract employees.

However, since the committee was formed in light of Prime Minister's directive and a reference sent by the Establishment Division, it will, therefore, continue working under the Member (Operations & Planning) of the HEC.

It is worth mentioning that the notification, meant for Heavy Electrical Complex, Hattar, where 200 employees are waiting for the regularisation of their services, was erroneously delivered to Higher Education Commission, which was also abbreviated HEC.

The HEC after receiving the notification constituted a committee headed by Dr Naqvi, (who has been working on contract and his contract will be expired on September 14, 2012) for the regularisation of contract employees. On the other hand 600 regular employees of HEC have concerns that regularisation will affect their seniority and their promotions will also be delayed.

An officer of HEC requesting not to be named said that he along with other officers appreciated the decision of Dr Naqvi regarding seeking clarification from the PM secretariat.

"We expect that committee will stop its proceedings unless PM secretariat clarifies its notification because new chairman of committee, Dr Nasser Ali Khan who is member (Operations & Planning) of the HEC is also working on contract basis," he said.

President labour union Heavy Electrical Complex, Tahir Amin said that his union is in touch with the public wing of PM secretariat to resolve the issue.

"Same abbreviation of both the organisations could be blamed for all this mess. HEC stands for Heavy Electrical Complex and also for Higher Education Commission," he said.

Media coordinator of Higher Education Commission, Murtaza Noor said that Executive Director Sohail Naqvi has taken the decision to resign and seek clarification from Prime Minister Secretariat to asure that there will be no violation of rules.

After getting clarification from PM secretariat regularisation will be done, he said. Dawn

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College teachers demand raise in paper evaluation rates
Islamabad: The longstanding demand of college teachers regarding increase in evaluation rates of paper marking for the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) is in limbo as repeated promised by FBISE Chairperson Dr. Shaheen Khan have not been fulfilled.

The paper marking practice was in full swing in the hottest months of June and July at FBISE and teachers sitting in chairs, perspired seemed highly depressed and frustrated for the low remuneration rates of paper marking. Teachers are hired annually for paper marking.

The teachers who do this vital task of paper marking are paid Rs.20 per answer script as evaluation charges. They are to take care of their own commutation, messing and stationery supplies as well during this job. As the system of education is still inflicted with traditional modes of examination and standardised assessment, teachers spend their summer vacation within the corridors of boards of education and assess answer scripts of the boards from morning to evening including Sundays to make the announcements of results possible at the stipulated time.

Teachers forum often raise voice against the poor working conditions and extremely low remuneration for this assessment work, but the board official turn deaf ear to these requests. With uncontrollable recent inflation, teachers claim it is no more possible for them to work on the same terms and conditions anymore.

Professor Tahir Mahmood spokesman for Federal Government College Teachers Association said, "The office-bearers of FGCTA met the higher authorities and presented composite demands in writing in 2011 and 2012 before the marking started. They agreed to increase the rates but so far no step has been take in this regard. The teachers had decided to stage protest when the authorities promised a reasonable increase in marking rates but now the teachers are still waiting for the outcome.

"FBISE has increased its registration and admission fees in the year 2011 at HSSC level. The teachers, an important tool of this machinery, are not benefiting from this increase. At present remuneration of assessment per script is Rs20, which is incompatible with ever growing inflation. It has not been revised for the last many years," he added.

Professor Yasmeen Bokhari, head examiner in the subject of education said, "Since inflation has touched the double digit mark and the prices of the things of the daily use are soaring up day-by-day, today's teacher is facing grim financial hardships and worries, which are adversely affecting his or her efficiency. In this era of dearness the financial position of the teachers is pathetic. She demanded that the assessment rates may be revised so that the teachers can focus on their professional responsibilities in the best possible manner.

A sub examiner, Ms Asma said, "With my scanty income, with inability to afford any reasonable transport, I had to move to FBISE daily in roasting high temperature in public vans. After facing this unbearable trial, I don't get reasonable reward on marking answer scripts to relieve my pains and hardships thereof".

Professor Tariq Mehmood Baloch, a representative of FGCTA said that paper marking is very difficult task, there are three parts in the question paper, which a candidate has to solve. It contains 20 MCQs in the 1st part, 21 short questions in the 2nd part and four long questions in part three. A teacher has to evaluate the answer script for Rs.20 only, which is unjustifiable. It should be Rs40. He has categorically said that if the remuneration is not raised teacher will boycott all the assignments of federal board in the next session. Any disruption in the timely announcement of results and its consequences will be sole responsibility of the board.

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Dr. Saqib joins Indiana University
Islamabad: Dr. Saqib Riaz, assistant Professor at the Department of Mass Communication, Allama Iqbal Open University, has joined the Indiana University (USA), on the Post Doctorate Scholarship awarded by the Higher Education Commission, says a press release.

At the Indiana University, he will conduct a research project about the role of Media in US-Pakistan relationship. He will deliver lectures on the state of Pakistani media and will hold talks on Indo-Pak relations at Institute of Indian Studies of the same university. Dr. Saqib is author of three books on Journalism and several research publications. Earlier, he got his P.hD degree in Journalism from International Institution of

Journalism, Berlin (Germany). He has also represented Pakistan in international media conferences in different countries. The news

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