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Higher Education Commission English language project

HEC's English language project, just waste of money
Islamabad, Dec 18: The Higher Education Commission's ongoing English language programme for improving university faculties holds an uncertain future as the Planning Commission believes it is just waste of money, it has been learnt.

Sources in the universities, who have benefited from the project, said the English Language Teaching Reform (ELTR) programme's phase-II was an important continuing learning and research project aimed at training English language faculty as well as upgrading the English language proficiency of faculty of other humanities and social sciences disciplines through training programmes.

Highlighting the success factors of the phase-I, the sources said through the ELTR project, so far, the HEC had trained 1,504 teachers through programmes focusing on faculty development, curriculum and material development, computer assisted language learning (Call), research and publication, testing and evaluation, and reorganisation of departments/centres of English language.

The sources said one of the ELT faculty members was awarded a PhD and two teachers were given MS-level international scholarships and were currently pursuing their degrees in the UK.

"Hundred and twenty-four indigenous fellowships have been given to ELT teachers across Pakistan for training in MS applied linguistics, two-year master's in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and Linguistics, one-year postgraduate diploma in TEFL, TESL and ICELT (In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching)," the sources added.

Under the Call, the first-ever computer-based Self Access Centre was established with an initial cost of Rs2 million at the Allama Iqbal Open University and another one at the Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan.

Through the project, the HEC has also extended an amount of Rs430,000 for organising national and international seminars and research projects across the country.

Sources said: "The ELTR project phase-I will conclude this month. It has been successful in uplifting the English language standards across Pakistan."

However, the Planning Commission's Departmental Development Working Party meeting on November 4 had deferred the ELTR project's Rs53.67 million phase-II, declaring it as "waste of money."

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Awards conferred on 24 researchers
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Thursday conferred first ever research awards on 24 bright scholars and researchers of Pakistan here at a grand ceremony.

The awards were given under "HEC Outstanding Research Awards", for the year 2005-06. The researchers were selected from various universities and degree awarding institutions.

The awards were distributed under five categories: Best Research Paper Award, Best Book Publications Award, Best Young Research Scholar Award, Best Innovative Award and Life Time Achievement Award.

The purpose of conferring these awards was to motivate the research community by recgonising their performance and services.

While congratulating the award winners, Maimoona Hashmi, member National Standing Committee on Education said, "We must appreciate our scholars who despite all odds are performing excellently". She asked the educationists to play their role in educating children.

She regretted that education was never prioritized since the inception of the country, which was evident from low spending on this sector.

Dr Javaid Laghari, Chairman, HEC said although the commission had worked on a war-footing and brought about a revolution in the higher education sector, change was needed at primary and secondary levels as well.

In the category of Best Research Paper Award, the awardees were: Dr Shahid Mansoor, Principal Scientist of National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetics Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad, Dr M Naeem, Assistant professor (Biotechnology) of Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Dr Saeed Akhter of Punjab Institute of Nuclear Medicine Hospital, Faisalabad, Dr Hidayat Rasool (department of Pharmacy), University of Sargodha, Sher Afzal senior scientist of NIBGE, Dr Mazhar Hamid, NCD, Islamabad, Shahid Hussain, Prinicipal scientist of PAEC, Nadeem Asghar of GCU Lahore, Dr Saleem Khan of University of Peshawar, Dr M Sharif of University of The Punjab, Lahore, Dr Asmat Ullah Khan of Comsats, Abbotabad, Sikandar Rauf, a Ph. D scholar, from Faisalabad, Dr M Abid of GIK Institute of Engineering, Sciences and Technology, Topi, Nadeem Ahmad Khan of LUMS, Lahore, Dr Mehtab Ali of University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Mohammad Munir of International Islamic University, Islamabad and Dr Tariq Rehman of QAU.

Abdul Saboor, Baloch of University was awarded for 'Best Book Publication Award'.

In the category of 'Best Young Research Scholar Award', Dr Bushra Mirza of QAU, and Dr Asmatullah Khan of Comsats, Abbotabad received their awards.

Dr Riazuddin, University of Punjab, Dr Viqaruddin of University of Karachi, Dr Tariq Rehman of QAU, and Dr Nawab Hader Naqvi of Federal Urdu Universty of Arts, Science and Technology, Islamabad were awarded for the last category of 'Life Time Achievement Award'. Dawn

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Schoolteachers posts yet to be upgraded
Islamabad: Despite lapse of a year, the proposal of upgrading schoolteachers' posts in the Capital could not get approval from the Ministry of Finance and Establishment Division, showing the government's negligence towards the awful condition of the nation-builders.

It's has been almost a year that the schoolteachers had proposed the implementation of a new service structure for their upgradation as there is no promotion policy for the teachers.

Former federal minister for Education Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani had also recommended immediate implementation of the structure but lack of will among the bureaucracy and the procedural delays in the ministries has marred the implementation.

The introduction of new service structure for the teaching staff in educational institutions situated in the capital was approved on August 21, 2007 and the representatives of teachers from the platform of Peoples' Teacher Forum had moved the file to other ministries on November 18, 2008.

The Metric Trained Teachers (MTTs) and the Trained Undergraduate Teachers (TUGTs) have been denied of any promotion in their cadre for years. The incentive of 33 per cent selection grade to a higher scale granted by previous democratic governments had been abandoned by the military regime and the MTT and TUGT have been working in the same pay scale through out their service till retirement.

The teachers had demanded in the new service structure to grant a four-tier-structure to MTT and TUGT cadres. It was also demanded that the Trained Graduate Teachers of BPS-16 be granted BPS-17 hence they would automatically be able to avail the four-tire-structure. The nation

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20 private students allowed to appear in exams
Rawalpindi: Justice Asad Munir of the Lahore High Court (LHC), Rawalpindi Bench, here on Thursday allowed twenty students to appear in the class 9 annual examinations as private candidates through an interim order.

These students had applied before the court to set aside an impugned office order under which the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE), Rawalpindi, refused to entertain them as private candidates.

The students stated before the court that they are from rural background and because of financial constraints could not get education through regular schooling. They wanted to appear in science subjects, but the BISE denied admission to them.

The court, issuing notices to the Punjab education secretary and BISE, Rawalpindi, adjourned hearing in the case allowed students to sit in the examination through an interim order.

In another case, a bench of the LHC clubbed the government's miscellaneous application with its intra-court appeal (ICA) that is pending before the court regarding removal of the restrictions on the free movement of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan.

On December 14, the government filed an application before the LHC seeking permission to investigate the link between Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and the Washington Post journalist who contacted the Pakistan government for its version after Dr. Khan (according to the government) provided him some information regarding the nuclear programme of North Korea. The court will take up both cases on December 22.

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IIU declamation contest
Islamabad: The female campus of the International Islamic University (IIU) in collaboration with CEDAW, project of the ministry of women development will hold a bilingual declamation contest here today (December 18).

The topic for this declamation is the 'Family System in Islam and Contemporary Challenges, said a news release issued on Thursday Meanwhile, a Research Scholar, expert of Da'wah Techniques, Writer and editor of Da'wah Academy, and Joint Secretary of Academic Staff Association of IIU, Muhammad Shahid Rafi has been awarded degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 'Islamic Studies' by the University of the Punjab, Lahore.

Title of his thesis was 'Dawr-e-Hazir men Dawat-e-Deen ki Hikmat-e-Amli'. His Research Supervisor was a renowned Scholar and teacher of the same University,Dr. Ghulam Ali Khan, having a Post Doctorate Degree from Glassgow, U.K.

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PIMS to hold seminar
Islamabad: A seminar on medical education for health professionals will be held at the MCH Centre of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences here on December 19.

The seminar will be chaired by Professor Mushtaq A Khan and will have Professor Jehangir Akhtar, Brigadier Mowadet Rana, Professor Umar Ali Khan and Professor Khaleeq-uz-Zaman, among others, as the key speakers.

The topics to be covered include educational philosophy, scholarship, professionalism, systems approach, instructional strategies, evaluation and research. Certificates equivalent to three credit hours will be awarded to all participants. There is no registration fee for the seminar; all those interested are welcome to join.

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PMAS-AAUR competitions held
Rawalpindi: Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) Directorate of Students Affairs and Sports Thursday organised competitions in different categories with an objective to diversify the creative and artistic skills of students.

In the Art Exhibition, students displayed glass paintings, jewellery and gift boxes, handmade and dry leaf cards, traditional handicrafts, fabric paintings, calligraphic work, cartoons, sculptures, abstract art, posters and coin collection.

The exhibition was participated by 14 students, out of which Rifat Fatima (MPhil Biology) secured first position, and Asma Fayyaz (MSc Economics) and Maria Batool (BSc Hons Agriculture) came second and third respectively.

Prof Dr Sarwat Naz Mirza, Dean Faculty of Forestry, Range & Wildlife Management, while addressing as the chief guest on the exhibition, appreciated the efforts of the students and hoped that the fertile minds of these young artists would produce innovative new items and techniques.

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Quaidians debate contest
Islamabad: A lively bilingual declamation contest on 'Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Pakistan's Obligations' was held at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) here Thursday.

The event, organised by the Ministry of Women Development (MoWD) and United Nations Development Fund for Women (Unifem), was part of the ministry's activities to celebrate the 30th anniversary of CEDAW.

Professor of Women Studies and Human Development at State University, New York Dr Lubna Nazir Chaudary chaired the contest. Head of Gender Studies Department, QAU Dr Farzana Bari, Chairperson Department of Economics Professor Dr Aliya H Khan, Dean and Chairperson Women Studies Centre Allama Iqbal Open University Dr Riffat Ayesha Haque, Dr Salman of Fatima Jinnah Women University, and Chief Implementation & Reporting CEDAW Nusrat Ghaffar were the contest panellists.

Students of QAU brilliantly deliberated upon the topic and supported the ministry's cause to eradicate all forms of discrimination against women. Sobia Mehmood, Mehreen Liaquat and Sikandar Ali stood first, second and third respectively.

Later, Dr Lubna Nazir Chaudary gave a vote of thanks to the Ministry of Women Development for organising such an event at the University.

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Doctors analytical skills
Islamabad: Sixty doctors from various medical colleges and hospitals of Rawalpindi and Islamabad converged at the Islamabad Medical and Dental College (IM&DC) here for a hands-on training in biostatistics and use of basic statistical methods for health research data analysis, using the Special Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).

The dean of IM&DC, Professor Dr. Naseem Ullah, was the chief guest at the workshop while Professor Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Chaudrry, head of Community Medicine at IMDC, Dr. Farwa Rizvi, Assistant Professor of Community Medicine, and Muhammad Afzal, Senior Research Officer at IM&DC, facilitated the workshop.

"Learning by doing is the best way of enhancing one's statistical skills. Persons active in research will find that a basic understanding of statistics is useful not only in the conduct of their investigations, but also in effective presentation of their findings in papers, in reports for publication, at professional meetings and for evaluation of research proposals," Dr. Ashraf stated in his opening remarks.

The workshop focused on study designs, sampling techniques, sample size estimations, types of data such as qualitative and quantitative data, summarization of data, and various methods of displaying data such as with the help of tables, graphs, dot plots, stem-and-leaf plots, box and whisker plots, scatter diagrams, etc.

Dr Ashraf highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of various types of epidemiological study designs and reiterated the importance of randomized controlled trial gold standard study design. Exercises were given to the participants for better comprehension. The news

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