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Pakistan Students Federation factions clash

Pakistan Students Federation factions clash at KU
Karachi, Dec 19: Two factions of Pakistan Students' Federation (PSF) clashed at the University of Karachi (KU) after there was a disagreement between them on "helping" the B.Com examinees using unfair means. One of the groups started aerial firing that created panic in KU where more than 30,000 students were taking their examinations.

According to sources, the PSF has been split into two factions. One of the factions is headed by Basharat, a student at the Political Science department and the other by Kausar, who is in the English department. One faction is supported by the Political Secretary to the President, Faisal Raza Abidi while the other faction has the patronage of PPP, Karachi President Najmi Alam.

According to another source who requested anonymity, two students, Kausar and Irfan, were arrested by the Rangers and later handed over to the police where they are lodged. It is also reported that Naveed Zubairi, a coordinator to the Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq favours the Basharat group. The news

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KU meeting postponement
Karachi: The Karachi University Teachers' Society (Kuts) has called for the postponement of the December 24 meeting of the university senate until the election for its representatives from the affiliated colleges.

Kuts president Dr Abid Husnain welcomed the summoning of the meeting after a long time but expressed his concern over the lack of representation from all stakeholders. He apprehended that any decisions taken by the forum without the representation of all its stakeholders could invite a hostile response from any quarters.

He stressed that the election pending for long should be held first. "The election for the senate members representing the KU-affiliated colleges are pending since the senate's previous meeting, which was held over two years back," he said.

According to Dr Husnain, the senate comprises 15 members from the affiliated institutions, besides KU professors, deans, department chairpersons and 12 representatives of KU teachers.

"Recently, the SPLA (Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association) had raised the same demand and we supported it. Kuts has conveyed its reservations to the vice-chancellor," he said, adding that the elections for KU teachers' representatives had already been held.

Apart from other functions such as consideration of drafts of statutes proposed by the syndicate, the senate grants approval to the annual report, the annual statement of accounts and the annual and revised budget estimates. Since no meeting of the senate has been held over the past two years or so, the annual budget of the university is approved by the KU syndicate.

According to university teachers, though the practice is not against the university code, as it gives authority to the chancellor and vice-chancellor to take decisions on behalf of the senate and syndicate, respectively, it definitely opens the door for manipulation and makes the process less transparent.

No audit report for 2006, 2007 and 2008 has been presented in the relevant statutory forums so far.

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SPLA rejected uniform waiver
Karachi: The Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association has criticised the Sindh education department steering committee's decision to waive the condition of compulsory uniform in public sector colleges, saying that such a move will promote class culture, besides turning colleges into 'fashion houses'.

The SPLA leaders in a joint statement issued on Friday said that with the implementation of the decision, students belonging to the affluent class would compete with each other by wearing costly apparels, with the result that a sense of deprivation would be created among the students belonging to poor and low-income groups.

Lashing out at the steering committee's move to waive the condition of compulsory uniform, they termed the decision 'unwise' and 'uncalled for'.

The SPLA leaders Prof Ather Hussain Mirza, Prof Hemat Ali Pitafi, Prof Muzaffar Rizvi deplored that such a decision is the outcome of the steering committee comprising maximum number of retired officials who, they alleged, lack the courage to call spade a spade.

The other signatories to the statement include Prof Iftikhar Azmi, Prof Shafquat Hussain Jokhio, Prof Ayub Marri, Prof Yaqoob Chandio and Prof Ghazanfar Shah.

Hailing the committee's decision whereby fees of government colleges had been curtailed, they said that the Sindh minister for education should strive to increase the annual budget of public sector colleges and ensure that the budgets are provided to colleges at the time of new academic year, instead of giving the same in four instalments and that too in the last stages of an academic year.

They, however, deplored that the steering committee had reduced the fees of colleges by withdrawing the college management fund and, as such, principals of colleges will not be in a position to pay salaries to those teachers whose services had been acquired by them to overcome the shortage of teachers in their respective colleges. Dawn

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Coastal schools ignored by authorities
Karachi: The condition of schools in several coastal localities of Karachi is awful - teaching staff are not available, and other facilities that a school needs are also lacking. Bin Qasim and Keamari, reveal that many scattered villages do not have proper buildings and schools are being run in makeshift structures, which the locals have to rebuild every year after rainstorms demolishes them. The community activists say that all the successive governments make promises to provide education and health facilities to them but the promises never materialise.

However after realising that help was not coming from the government the residents of Dabla locality near Rehri Mayan, Bin Qasim Town took initiative first on their own to run a two-room community school five years ago for which Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) hired three teachers. PFF calls it a "Community Model School" and convincing community to educate their children.

PFF chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah said that the coastal communities have been deprived of all the basic facilities for long and in result the villages could not produce sufficient number of educated youths. There are no schools in many villages and the children have to travel long distances to get education in the schools in some of the villages in Keamari Town, he added.

"We decided to act in this regard and launched schools on our own and also provide teachers to government-run primary and secondary schools in some areas. People's response was encouraging for us," he said. However, he said, despite passage of a five-year-long period they have received no response from the government regarding maintaining of the school buildings and hiring teachers for them. He said that they want the authorities to adopt these schools and teachers they have hired. Because they could not continue to provide service to all the schools due to lack of funds and said that it is the responsibility of the government to provide education, he added.

The PFF is running seven schools including one in Dabla. The irony is that whenever monsoon hits the area, the Dabla school collapses and the community has to rebuild it again in the hope that one day the government might come forward to own it and announce a proper building for it. Meanwhile there is shortage of teachers in all the state-run schools in the coastal villages.

PFF spokesman Sami Memon said that their organisation has hired 19 teachers for primary classes, six for secondary classes. For this, he said, community mobilisation is going on at all levels. He said they are working to convince the government to do anything in regard to providing education to the coastal localities.

Moreover the PFF has also established four adult literacy centers in four different coastal villages to educate the women and four female teachers have been hired for these centers. Apart from that they claim that they have redesigned their school management committees to utilise its funds properly to maintain the school buildings and attract community people.

Through this they ensure providing books, copies, school bags and uniforms to 1800 students, besides running adults literacy centers to provide quality education to the community adults. PFF also encourages co-curriculum activities including debate competitions, tableaus, staging of plays, sports tournaments, and celebration of national days. PFF has also constructed water tanks and repaired the school buildings and water tanks of state-run schools.

Moreover the local activists want the government to announce development packages for the indigenous communities that have been deprived of basic facilities. The news

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Abolition of seat quota in SAU slated
Hyderabad: Students from provinces other than Sindh have condemned the abolition of the merit seats of other provinces for admission to the Sindh Agriculture University in DVM (Diploma in Veterinary Medicine).

At a press conference at the press club on Friday, Mehrab Mari (of Balochistan), Ali Raza (NWFP), Atif Awan (Azad Kashmir) and others, said that the SAU had reserved 48 merit seats for students of other provinces/areas excepting Sindh for admission in DVM but the same had been totally abolished.

They said that only ten seats have been made available for other provinces and that, too, on self-finance basis. They complained that under this scheme, the fees had also been increased from Rs100,000 to Rs300,000.

They appealed to the Sindh Governor to restore the original seats. Mehrab Baloch of the Baloch Students Organisation said that no relief had been provided to the people of Balochistan under the Balochistan package and alleged that 13,000 Baloch people, including 1,500 women, were still missing.

He urged the international community to take notice of human rights violations in Balochistan. Dawn

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Benazir University bill passed
Karachi: The Sindh Assembly on Friday unanimously passed a law for establishing the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University in Lyari.

Talking about the aims and objectives of the university, Sindh Law Minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro said that the present government was making efforts to establish higher educational institutes in deprived areas so as to provide quality education to the poor.

Humera Alwani said that there was a need to establish the university in Lyari, because the University of Karachi (KU) was not admitting students from rural areas and villages. She said that the KU category system was against the constitution.

Nuzhat Pathan said that residents of Lyari had contributed for democracy in the country, but the setting up of a modern university in Lyari required ending the gang-war and reining in the drugs culture so as to ensure that the area does not become "no-go area."

Another legislator, from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), said that Lyari was an old area, which had produced fine academics in the past. He regretted that there was no institute for higher study in the area.

Sindh Social Welfare Minister Nargis N.D. Khan said that although residents of Lyari rendered tremendous sacrifices for democracy, they were ignored in the past and the area remained the most deprived in the city. The news

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