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Punjab boards matric & inter result debacle

BISEs results debacle remained in focus
Lahore, Dec 26: Mismanagement in preparation of results of matriculation and intermediate annual exams by the examination boards of Punjab and subsequent violent protests by students eclipsed almost everything on the education scene during the year 2011.

The abolition of the federal education ministry and devolution of curriculum development to provinces also remained one of the major developments of the year at the national level.

It was for the first time in the history that all the eight boards of intermediate & secondary education (BISEs) received thousands of applications from candidates, seeking rechecking of their papers. The resentment of students resulted in protests and the Punjab government had to intervene following strong resentment over intermediate results by the students. The gross errors in the results led to cancellation of result of intermediate annual exam 2011 by all the boards in the province following angry students took to the streets and even torched buildings of different boards. Subsequently, a judicial commission was formed on the request of the Punjab government to probe the blunders committed in the preparation of computerised intermediate results. The commission presented the report earlier this month according which held chairmen and controllers examination of all the eight BISEs responsible for the chaos.

Earlier this year, the federal government abolished the federal education ministry and devolved the subject of curriculum development to the provinces under the 18th Constitutional Amendment. There were strong concerns by the stakeholders over the moved but to no avail.

Those who opposed the move argued that in order to ensure unity and integrity at the national level, the subject should have remained with the federal government. The issue was highlighted in various national level seminars but nothing happened afterwards and currently provinces were in command of developing curriculum at their own. The Sindh government recently announced to introduce Chinese language in government schools from Class VI onwards from the academic year 2013.

No significant development was witnessed in connection with streamlining Madaris education in 2011 as no concrete efforts were made to address issues related to religious seminaries across the country. Over the years, there had been a debate over the proposal to establish an inter-Madressa Board, comprising members of five major madaris groups in the country, but no development could take place in this regard. The year also witnessed a heated debate over the future of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) with possible move of the government to wrap up the body but the idea was dropped following strong agitation from the stakeholders.

The Punjab government with an aim to address the issues related to college sector education, admission on self-finance in universities, uniformity in the status of universities, BS (Hons) four years programme, quality assurance and training of college teachers, etc. had set up a body, Punjab Higher Education Council (PHEC), in 2010, however after some meetings in the same year, the body did not hold even serious debate over such issues during the whole year 2011, exposing as to how the government bodies meant to facilitate people could become redundant owing to sheer negligence of those in authority.

Another front which was ignored by the Punjab government during the current year despite strong public demand was related to affairs of the private sector schools. The government could not ensure an independent regulatory body for private schools owing to which private sector continued fleecing the masses in the name of education.

The disappointing aspect is that the government, on directions of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, formed a committee to give recommendations to streamline affairs of private educational institutions but to no avail. The committee held a number of meetings and even presented its recommendations for an independent body but the mafia thwarted all such moves to protect and promote stakes of the private sector which was evident from unbridled working of private schools.

Appointment of vice-chancellors (VCs) at various public universities in Punjab, including the Government College University (GCU) Lahore, University of Education and Lahore College for Women University (LCWU), etc. also remained one of the major issues because of the tussle between the chief minister and the governor, the latter claiming that the advice of the former was not binding on him. The tussle caused a delay in the appointments owing to which the universities suffered.

The year also witnessed establishment of the Academic Staff Association (ASA) at the Government College University (GCU), highlighting the emergence of democratic traditions at the famous institute of the country where, over the years, teachers were deprived of the right of assembling at a single platform.

The Punjab University (PU) also remained in the news owing to the violence related incidents among the students, especially involving the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

The administration took a tough stand against the Jamiat throughout the year but all this toughness vanished when the Punjab government allowed the IJT to hold its three-day Ijtema (convention) at the university's New Campus grounds in October this year.

And quite recently, the Punjab University remained in the news for violent clash between the IJT and the Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) which left many students injured.

The scheme of providing laptops to 100,000 students across the province by the Punjab government also remained a major development of the ongoing year.

Though free laptops have yet to be distributed among the talented students under the scheme, it received mixed response from the stakeholders. There are many who appreciate the move while there are also those who see it an election campaign by the chief minister.

Similarly, the Higher Education Department Punjab also remained in the news owing to massive transfers and postings, following upgrade of teachers' posts and their selection through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC). There were rumours of secret deals too involving some officials of the department which resulted in removal of a number of officials from their posts.

The Punjab government's Literacy & Non-Formal Basic Education Department as well as Special Education Department could not ensure any significant development. However, quite contrary to the working of the two departments, Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority (Tevta) emerged as a vibrant organisation. The establishment of IT labs in collaboration with Microsoft remained a mega initiative of Tevta. In the first phase, 50 labs were established in different parts of the province.

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PMDC approves PGMI undergraduate medical college
Lahore: Principal Post Graduate Medical Institute/Lahore General Hospital (PGMI/LGH) Prof Dr Tariq Salahuddin said Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has given approval for PGMI undergraduate medical college while Punjab Health Department has also referred PC-I of Punjab Institute of Neuro Sciences to be set up at LGH along with recommendations.

Addressing a ceremony held in connection with birthday of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Xmas cake-cutting at LGH on Sunday, as per a press release here on Sunday, he said the Punjab Institute of Neuro Sciences was being constructed at a cost of Rs 3.8 billion. It will consist 500 beds initially. He said that it would be an ultra modern institute of this region catering the needs of a vast range of neuro patients.

Medical Superintendent LGH Dr Mohammad Hassan, Nursing School Principal Ishrat Ishaq, Superintendent Nursing Razia Bano, the administrative doctors and office-bearers of Paramedics Association were present there.

Dr Tariq Salahuddin said that Quaid-e-Azam dreamt of a country where all basic amenities of life could be provided to every citizen without discrimination. He said that all the minorities including Christians were living in Pakistan with complete harmony and honour with other Pakistanis and they were enjoying all kinds of social, religious and economic liberties.

He stressed the administration to ensure completion of move-over cases in time so that they could not feel deprivation. He said that all the staff members were part of his team and he has respect for them, especially paramedics. The news

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