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Interference in varsities' affairs slammed

LAHORE, Aug 17: The Federation of All-Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association's (FAPUASA) general body has taken exception to, what it called, undue and unwarranted interference by governors or chancellors, provincial governments and Higher Education Commission (HEC) officials beyond their jurisdiction in day-to-day affairs of universities

The general body, which met at the Punjab University with its president Dr Mumtaz Salik in the chair on Thursday, said undue interference by government officials had affected the honour of the faculty and autonomy of universities.

The meeting will continue for two days.

The participants said the University Act had ensured enough autonomy to these institutions so that education and research went on un-interrupted. But the HEC had been trying to change the structure of public universities and taking control of the decision-making processes through implementation of the Model University Ordinance (MUO).

They said all public universities in the country had rejected the MUO. Now, they said, the HEC was trying to implement the so-called MUO through chancellors in their provinces.

The FAPUASA said the implementation of the MUO in the Balochistan University by the Balochistan governor, while the provincial assembly was in session, exposed the motives of the government.

The FAPUASA also stated that the Punjab governor's recent directive had asked universities to construct new academic and residential blocks in public universities after seeking permission of the chancellor. The directive also required that the university teachers should not have separate offices but in log cabins in larger halls.

Through the directive, the general body said, the governor was trying to take control of administrative affairs of universities.

Besides, it said, the same directive sought abolition of the seats reserved for the wards of the university employees, while those reserved for serving military personnel and their children had not been targeted.

The FAPUASA general body unanimously resolved that marginalising the statutory bodies tantamount to excluding the stakeholders from the matter of governance, which was bad omen for the growth and development of higher education in Pakistan.

PU VC: Punjab University vice-chancellor Arshad Mahmood on Thursday resumed his charge after over two-month ex-Pakistan leave beginning from June 9.

The PU faculty members and officials met the VC at his office.

WORKSHOP: The PU's mycology and plant pathology department will organise a six-day training workshop on "Identification and conservation of micromycetes" from Aug 20.

VC Arshad Mehmood will preside over the inaugural session of the workshop, which has been sponsored by Life Sciences wing of the Higher Education Commission for young college and university teachers and researchers.

MIT: The PU has declared the results of Master of Information Technology (MIT) second year, first annual examination for 2007.

TEAM RETURNS: A five-member students delegation of the Punjab Group of Colleges and Resource Academia has returned after attending the second annual "Women2Women" conference in Boston, USA.

The delegation, comprising Javeria Maqbool of PCBA, Falak Zia of PCC, Fatima Fayyaz, Sarah Moin Durrani and Marva Khan from Resource Academia, led by faculty member Andaleeb Nadeem, had participated in the conference, which was attended by over 60 women from around the world.

During the five-day conference, the delegates attended different panel discussions with notable women from various fields such as state policy makers, judges, local businesswomen and students at the Kennedy School of Government.

Other seminars included a workshop on negotiation skills at the Harvard Law School and a visit to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where a dialogue with leading American media women was held. Dawn
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