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Education reforms in National Education Policy

Education Task Force to implement education reforms
Islamabad, Dec 22: Pakistan Task Force on Education will work to increase the capacity of the federal and provincial governments to implement the education reforms set out in the National Education Policy (NEP).

The official sources informed that the task force was approved by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on the recommendation of Education Ministry.

It will support the federal and provincial ministries and prioritize and identify clear goals for improving the school system and set targets for improvement and cascade them out through the system.

The Task Force recently held a two-day meeting to look into the ongoing status, performance and capabilities of various stakeholders. The meeting focused on private and public sector partnership to remove disparities and implement a uniform education system in the country. It called on devising an effective mechanism to ensure the up-gradation of the educational system and meet modern day requirements.

Advisor to PM on Social Sector and Co-Chairperson of the Task Force Shahnaz Wazir Ali told this agency the task force has been given responsibility of upgrading the education system and devising a mechanism to address the issues of equity, quality and governance. The task force will focus on implementing the targets set in education policy toward achieving 85 percent literacy rate by 2015.

She said that private sector is contributing a lot in education sector and equipping the students with the latest educational facilities but public sector is lagging behind due to negligence on the part of previous governments.

She emphasized on adopting special measures to control the drop out rate and said private and public partnership can jointly bring positive reforms in the education sector. Shehnaz Wazir Ali and Sir Michael Barber are the Co-Chairs of the Task Force.

While other members include Secretary education, Saba Gul Planning Commission, Representative from Ministry of Finance, Chairman NCHD, Secretary of Schools from Balochistan, NWFP, Punjab and Sindh.

Secretary of Education, AJK, Gilgit-Baltistan, Director (Education), FATA. Dr. Muhammad Memon, IED, Karachi, Shahid Kardar, Former Minister of Finance, Punjab, Dr. Fareeha Zafar, Society for Advancement of Education, Lahore, Mehnaz Aziz, Children Global Network, Islamabad.

Ahsan Saleem Member on Board of Director, Citizen's Foundation, Representative of Religious Education, International Expert nominated by USAID and International Expert nominated by DFID, UK. APP

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Quaid-I-Azam University faculty for end to 'nepotism'
Islamabad: The teaching faculty of Quaid-I-Azam University (QAU) has expressed concern over favouritism during appointments on different posts, demanding equitable processing of applications for faculty appointments.

It has been learnt that the Vice Chancellor, who has been given extension in the contract till the appointment of new vice chancellor, is all set to appoint his favourites against five posts when nearly 50 posts are also lying vacant at the university. In this regard, a meeting of Academic Staff Association of the university was also held the other day wherein besides this issue various other problems of the university were discussed by the representatives of the teaching faculty.

Several members of the association noted that applications for the appointment of faculty are processed inequitably. While, in certain cases, applications are processed on fast tracks, in other cases various types of delaying tactics are used. It was also noted with concern that the process of obtaining consent of potential foreign referees is very slow. Moreover, the process of obtaining consent, sending the application dossiers and the follow up are also not transparent.

The members agreed that there is a need to make the procedure more efficient and more transparent. The deliberate delay by the university administration in processing of the application is affecting seniority of faculty members. It was proposed that in order to preserve seniority in appointments, all applicants under one advertisement should be appointed from the same date irrespective of the date of Selection Board.

In order to deliberate on these issues and propose improvements in the system, the faculty members constituted a committee consisting of Dr. Eatzaz Ahmad, Dr. Muhammad Ayub and Dr. Muhammad Ishaq.

After the detailed discussion on BPS Incentives, the faculty members noted with concern that the applications for BPS Incentives were invited in the light of the criteria approved by the Syndicate of the university by circulation and vetted by HEC. Unfortunately, in a meeting of Syndicate not a single representative of the university was present when a committee was formed to reframe these rules.

The professors resolved that the BPS Incentives package is a part of Tenure Track System document. Under this system, anyone who qualified for TTS was eligible and given TTS benefits. The same principle must be observed while offering BPS Better Incentives.

They demanded that BPS Incentives for the years 2007 to 2009 to all the faculty members on BPS who qualify the criteria circulated among the faculty by the university administration must be given with no further delay. The nation

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Two more full-fledged universities in Azad Kashmir
Muzaffarabad: AJK President Raja Zulqarnain Khan here on Monday announced that two more full-fledged universities would be established in the region in near future to create maximum opportunities of acquiring higher education.

"I would like to see the upgradation of Rawalakot and Kotli campuses as independent universities in near future. We should start working in this direction so that we are able to establish at least two more universities during the next five years," said the president, while speaking at the seventh convocation of the AJK University. As many as 1,800 graduates were awarded degrees, including 42 recipients of gold medals.

The president stressed that the government should also establish a public sector medical college in AJK at the earliest to provide medical education to the region's talented students.

He said the PC-Is for the construction of Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot campuses had been approved by the CDWP and tendering process was being initiated by the Erra.

The president called upon the government to take urgent measures to complete the process of acquisition of land in the two cities so that construction work on this important national project could be started without further ado.

He also congratulated the graduates and expressed the hope that they would utilise their knowledge and abilities to put their region on path to progress and prosperity.

Earlier, the university vice-chancellor Prof Habibur Rehman presented the past one year performance report. He said recently three projects namely 'Reconstruction of the Muzaffarabad Campus' against Rs4,190.911 million, 'Reconstruction of Rawalakot Campus' against Rs1,276.343 million and 'Strengthening of Existing Facilities at Kotli Campus' against Rs473.382 million had been approved by the CDWP, Planning Commission of Pakistan.

A project of two prefabricated hostels in Muzaffarabad for 200 men and as many women students had been approved at a cost of Rs204.629 million, whereas another hostel for 200 boys in Rawalakot has also been approved at the cost of Rs99.966 million.

In addition, he said, the university had granted Rs4 million from its recurring budget to complete a building in Rawalakot to be used for the lectures. PC-IVs of 12 projects have been submitted to the HEC while PC-IVs of another three projects were under way, he added.

Regarding human resource development, he said about 32 faculty members had been sent abroad on scholarships for higher studies.

About 15 faculty members had completed their doctorate studies in the recent past and another 27 completed their MPhil studies within the country, he said. Dawn

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Students poster contest
Islamabad: The winners of a poster and slogan competition, organised by the All Pakistan-China Friendship Association (APCFA) in collaboration with the Embassy of China, were awarded prizes and shields, says a press release.

The competition, organised in connection with 60th Founding Day of the People's Republic of China, was participated by more than 3,000 students from over 100 schools of the country. Federal Minister for Youth Affairs Shahid Hussain Bhutto was the chief guest on the occasion. Ambassador of China Luo Zhaohui also attended the ceremony. The two guests distributed prizes among winners of the competition.

The first prize (2 for posters and 2 for slogans) went to Areeba Aslam of Lahore Grammar School, Lahore; Zainab Mehmood of Lahore Grammar School, Lahore; Malik Ammar of Roots School System, Islamabad, and Mahnoor Arif of Roots School System, Rawalpindi. They were given shields, certificates, cash prizes of Rs15,000 each and a sponsored visit to China.

The second prize (2 for posters and 2 for slogans) went by Fatima Abid of Army Public School & College, Peshawar; Usama Yousif of Siddeeq Public School, Rawalpindi; Fatima Ejaz of Froebel's International School, Islamabad, and Farwa Ali of Lahore Grammar School, Lahore. They were given shields, certificates and cash prizes of Rs15,000 each.

The third prize (2 for posters and 2 for slogans) went to Khadija Hanif of Siddeeq Public School, Rawalpindi; Laiba Latif of Siddeeq Public School, Rawalpindi; Faryal Yazdani of Beaconhouse School System, and Afnan Arshad of Beaconhouse School System. They were given shields, certificates and cash prizes of Rs10,000 each.

During the ceremony, 25 students were given certificates, Rs2,000 each and a gift box. Among them were four special students, Rabia Dogar, Ayesha Ghulam Murtaza, Ayesha Babar, Tooba Sehr, of Hamza Foundation for Deaf, Lahore, who were also given special prizes by Mrs Habib Ullah, wife of the APCFA president.

In the end, Habib Ullah, president of the All Pakistan-China Friendship Association, presented shields to Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui and Federal Minister of Youth Affairs Shahid Hussain Bhutto.

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Report on student expulsion
Rawalpindi: Justice Asad Munir of the Lahore High Court (LHC), Rawalpindi Bench, Monday directed the administration of Bahria University (Islamabad Campus) to submit a report on expulsion of a student, Shawez Iqbal Khan.

Shawez Iqbal Khan was expelled for allegedly violating the discipline of the university. The lawyer of the university told the court that Shawez was expelled after he asked a teacher to repeat the lecture, upon which the judge said that asking the teacher to repeat the lecture is in no way derogatory.

The court asked the university lawyer to produce the record of the discipline committee proceedings and directed the teacher of Shawez Iqbal to appear in person and explain how he (Shawez) violated the discipline.

The university lawyer told the court that the petitioner was expelled from the university for the second time. Earlier, he was fined Rs20,000 which he had paid to the university. The lawyer of the petitioner told the court that Shawez is a brilliant student and he obtained either A or B grade in all his semesters.

The university administration had expelled him in the fifth semester when examinations were going to be held on January 18. The university administration had affixed a photograph of the petitioner on the gate disallowing him to enter the premises.

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Lecture on food crisis
Islamabad: The International Institute of Islamic Economics, International Islamic University (IIU) is organising a lecture on `Food Crisis and the Future of Agriculture in Pakistan' here today (December 22). The lecture would be delivered by Dr. Mahmood Hassan Khan, Professor

Emeritus, Simon Fraser University Canada at the Faisal Mosque Campus of the University. IIU President Dr. Anwar Hussain Siddiqui will be the chief guest on this occasion. Academic and administrative personnel, student community, policy-makers, bureaucrats, media-persons and others have been invited to attend the lecture, said a news release issued on Monday. The news

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