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Punjab students admission fee issue

Punjab SSC, HSSC students admission fee issue solved
Rawalpindi, Dec 09: The workers of Punjab Boards Federation (PBF) Tuesday called off their strike after successful parleys with the management of education boards of Punjab.

The employees associations of boards of intermediate and secondary education of entire province were on complete strike for the last ten days demanding alternative funds following provincial government's announcement of exempting SSC and HSSC students from admission fee.

Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Rawalpindi, Employees Welfare Association (EWA) Secretary Mahr Akbar said: "The Punjab government has sent a summary to Chief Minster Mian Shahbaz Sharif for approval of alternative funds to meet the boards expenses following provincial government's announcement of exempting SSC and HSSC students from admission fee." He said that this is an encouraging step of Punjab government to exempt the students from paying admission fee, but on the other hand the government also has to run the boards because without funds, it is not possible to pay salaries to these employees. The admission fees were a major source of revenue generations for education boards throughout the province," he added.

However, Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Rawalpindi Secretary Humayun Iqbal said: "The management of the Rawalpindi Board was in touch with the union leaders and after the negotiations the employees finally ended their strike. I also think that their demands would be accepted, as the summery has been sent to the chief minister."

However, due to the ten-day strike the people coming to the boards faced lots of trouble in resolution of their problems. A number of students criticised the management of the Rawalpindi Board who wasted several days in negotiations with the employees association.

According to these students they were waiting for the strike to end because their admissions were at stake. A student, Nasir Mehmood said: "I have been coming here for the last ten days in a hope that the employees would end their strike, but in vain and I lost my chance of admission in a private college due to the non-availability of migration certificate from Rawalpindi Board. The news"

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Discriminatory laws against private schools
Taxila: The representatives of the private educational institutions have demanded of the government to abolish discriminatory laws against students of IX and X classes of private schools.

Talking to mediapersons on Tuesday, All Pakistan Private Schools/ Colleges president Sabir Minhas, central chief organiser Irshad Nabi, Wah Cantonment chapter chief Shaukat Hayat and general-secretary Arshad Mughal said all boards of intermediate and secondary education in Punjab had issued letters demanding fees from private schools students for the SSC examination scheduled to be held in 2010.

While, the students of government schools had been exempted from admission, sports or registration fees, they added.

The representatives said the admission fee would go to the government's treasury and not to the private schools' account.

They said there was no justification of collecting fees from the students of the private schools who were already bearing heavy expenditure of their school fees, books, copies and uniform.

Besides, they also flayed the decision of the Punjab education department not to allow the private students to appear in matriculation examination with science subjects.

About 500,000 students would be affected by the decision, they added. They demanded of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the issue. Dawn

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Teachers launced protest against VC kidnapping
Peshawar: Teachers of the public sector universities Tuesday launched a protest drive and boycotted classes to protest the failure of the government to recover the kidnapped vice-chancellor of Kohat University of Science and Technology (KUST) Prof Dr Lutfullah Kakakhel.

The teachers' representatives in a meeting a few days back had set a three-day deadline for the government to recover the kidnapped vice-chancellor, otherwise, the would start a full-fledged protest campaign.

With the start of the protest campaign several universities - University of Peshawar, NWFP University of Engineering and Technology, Islamia College University, NWFP Agricultural University, KUST and others - remained closed.

A large number of teachers and other staffers from different universities led by their respective associations from across the province held a meeting under the aegis of Federation of All Pakistan Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) at the convocation hall of the University of Peshawar.

Among others the meeting was addressed by FAPUASA's provincial head Dr Arbab Khan Afridi, President Engineering University Teachers Association Prof. Siddique Akbar, President Agricultural University Teachers Association Dr Fida Mohammad, President Islamia College Teachers Association Izhar Ahmed and others. Vice-Chancellor University of Peshawar Dr Azmat Hayat, who has recently rejoined the university after cardiac surgery, also attended the meeting.

The speakers on the occasion strongly criticised NWFP Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani, who is also the chancellor of public sector universities, for what they called his failure to ensure the early and safe recovery of the kidnapped vice-chancellor. They said that more than a month has passed of the abduction of the vice-chancellor and the authorities knew the whereabouts of him, but even then no effective measures could be taken to ensure his safe recovery.

"If a governor cannot recover the head of a prestigious institution of higher education, he does not have any right to stay in power. He should tender resignation," they maintained. There were also reports that the kidnapped vice-chancellor made a telephone call to his office the other day, requesting the university officials to take prompt measures for his safe recovery.

Dr Lutfullah, noted professor and a leading IT and computer science professional in the country, was kidnapped by unknown people from Akhurwal area of the semi-tribal region of Darra Adamkhel on November 6.

The political administration soon after the kidnapping of the vice-chancellor launched a crackdown against the Akhurwal tribesmen under the collective responsibility section of the Frontier Crimes Regulation and more than two-dozen people were arrested and their property sealed.

To build more pressure on the Akhurwal tribal people for the recovery of the vice-chancellor, the political administration had threatened to seal their property in the settled areas as well. Sources informed that the political administration of Frontier Region Kohat with the support of the local police started sealing business centres owned or run by Akhurwal tribesmen in the provincial metropolis, as their several shops and offices were closed during the previous two days.

Setting another seven-day deadline to the government for the recovery of the vice-chancellor, the speakers declared to stage a sit-in outside the Governor's House on expiry of the new deadline. Arbab Afridi said that if the kidnapped VC was not recovered till next Sunday, their peaceful protest may take a violent turn.

In the next phase of the protest, he said that they would block the Jamrud Road besides staging a sit-in outside the Governor's House.

After the meeting teachers, students and other staffers of different university held a protest rally on the premises of the university campus to express their concern. The protestors were holding placards and chanting slogans seeking early recovery of the vice-chancellor.

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ICCI students internship plan
Islamabad: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) is in the process of developing an internship programme for students in corporate sector with particular focus on female students so that they could understand practical application of theoretical concepts and learn good business practices being followed in private sector.

This was stated by ICCI President Zahid Maqbool while addressing female students of the International Islamic University during their visit to the ICCI office here on Tuesday. He said that female students could play a crucial role in the economic development of the country, if provided with better education and knowledge. He stressed on the need for promoting close contacts between industry and universities for imparting demand-driven education to youngsters.

He informed the students that ICCI has already inked a Memorandum of Understanding with International Islamic University for collaboration in research work. He said that the chamber has formed a committee to closely work with IIU on R&D projects for mutual benefit of business community and students.

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DSc degree awarded to QAU VC
Islamabad: Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Vice Chancellor Professor Mohammad Qasim Jan has been awarded honorary DSc degree by King's College, London, for his contribution to the Science of Geology.

According to a press release, he is a distinguished national professor of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and a leading authority on the metamorphic petrology and geology of the Himalayas of Pakistan, with an emphasis on crust-building processes.

He studied for his BSc at University of Peshawar, his MS at University of Oregon, and his PhD at University of London. His academic career at University of Peshawar led him to become the director of National Centre for Geology in 1988, and the University's vice chancellor in 1997. In 2001, he became the founding vice chancellor of Sarhad University, Peshawar, and in 2005, vice chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University.

Prof Qasim Jan is the secretary general of Pakistan Academy of Sciences and of the Association of the Academies of Sciences in Asia. He is a fellow of several societies, including the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World and the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain. He is the joint author of 'Geology and Tectonics of Pakistan', has edited eight special volumes, and has over 200 other publications to his name.

He was the chairman of Himalayan Regional Committee of the International Lithosphere Programme until 2004, and has served as a member of the governing bodies of many institutions, of several peer-review committees, and of the editorial boards of many journals. He received many medals and honours, including Scientist of the Year award, TI, SI and HI.

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Seminar at IIU women campus
Islamabad: Faculty members of the Department of Pathology of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and technologists working in its blood bank organised a Voluntary Blood Donors' Registration and Information Seminar at the women's campus of International Islamic University (IIU) here on Tuesday.

IIU Vice President Parveen Qadir Aga welcomed the organisers while Mrs. Alvi highlighted the significance of raising awareness about the value of non-remunerated voluntary blood donation.

Professor Surraya Wajahat, ex-chairperson, highlighted the role of blood banks in modern medicine. "In this day and age, when we are unfortunately beset with frequent acts of terrorism, the need for voluntary blood donations has increased manifold in order to save precious human lives," she stated.

Dr. Lubna Naseem, consultant in-charge, described various components of blood and their uses. She said, PIMS subjects all blood to double checks before it is administered to any recipient. "We simply do not collect blood from donors whose blood may be infected with any disease," she added.

The head of the Department of Pathology, Prof. Dr. Anwar Ul Haque focused on the teachings of Islam vis-a-vis the significance of saving human lives. "Reduced stocks in blood banks provides an opportunity for wicked elements to sell blood and its products. Once this door of corruption opens, we must also be wary of the chances of infected blood, as well as the blood of drug addicts, being openly sold.

Dr. Anwar stated that it requires only a little bit of planning to be able to arrange for sufficient, healthy and safe blood for every patient, as and when required. "In order to reduce the tension and stress encountered by patients, we should voluntarily donate our blood once or twice a year without the fear of any adverse effect on our health. Every time we donate blood, our body automatically works on replenishment," he said.

Dr. Talib Sayaal informed the students that the team would register potential donors and perform their free blood grouping. At this, a large number of female students lined up for registration. These students will be called upon when necessary; whether they want to donate their blood at a given point in time will be a matter of their own will. PIMS will soon hold a similar programme for male students of IIU. The news

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Quality of education
Islamabad: Improving the quality of teacher education will make a lasting impact on the quality of education all across Pakistan, said participants of a US-sponsored curriculum development workshop here.

The meeting chaired by Minister of State for Education Ghulam Farid Kathia was attended by education officials in addition to representatives from Pakistans principal teacher-training institutions and advocacy groups. The stakeholders will develop recommendations to refine the teacher certification process during the five days.

The workshop was part of USAID's pre-service teacher education programme that supports faculties of 15 higher education institutions including 75 colleges.

The programme also sponsors over 100 scholars to study toward postgraduate degrees in the United States besides sponsoring working groups advocating improved teaching skills and teacher welfare.

"The entire education system in Pakistan will benefit from improved teacher education," said Katie Donohoe, Deputy Director of Education for USAID. "This initiative will lead to greater numbers of better-trained teachers in the classrooms."

The participants will seek consensus among major teacher education partners including curriculum officers in the ministry of education, the Higher Education Commission and representatives of teacher training institutions on the content and structure of the bachelor of education honours curriculum, and how it should align with teacher education offered in the government colleges of elementary education. Dawn

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