Reports of frequent clashes between students' wings
Karachi, Feb 01: It has been almost three months ago since the then Secretary Education, Rizwan Memon, directed the Directorate General Colleges Sindh, for the removal of political flags, wall chalking and placards from the colleges. However, to date, the directive has not been implemented and colleges all over the city remain decorated with political graffiti.
The directive came after reports of frequent clashes between students' wings of various political parties at local colleges. The Director General Colleges Sindh, Dr Rafique Siddiqi had forwarded Memon's instructions to the Director Inspection, Professor Abdul Fatah Wahocho, for further action.
However, so far Wahocho has not visited a single college to assess the ground situation, it has been learnt. "The department is busy in the shifting process and inspections will be carried out soon," Wahocho told this scribe when asked for a comment on the matter.
"The students' wings have no legal rights. There is no law, which allows or prevents students from conducting political activities in colleges," a senior official at the Director General Colleges Sindh office, who wished to be remained unnamed, said.
He added that principals, being the custodians of colleges, are responsible for the teaching and non-teaching matters at the college. "If the principals have any issues, then they should write to the Regional Director, who is the immediate boss," the official maintained.
"Several students have been arrested by police in the recent past for taking law into their hands, but they used their political resources and got out of the lockups without any difficulty," the official further added. However, he denied any political pressure on the principals of the colleges in this regard and said, "The political parties deal with the concern police stations and do not interfere with the college's decisions."
However, taking a different stance, the office bearers of Sindh Professors and Lecturers' Association (SPLA) said that hoisting of party flags and walk chalking inside or outside the premises of a college is a political matter.
"This is not an administrative issue and the colleges have no support to curb it. We do not have any system to address this problem and only the political parties can control their students' wings. As it is, apart from political activities, these students have no welfare programme to offer to others," the SPLA representatives lamented.
Some colleges have become hot beds of student clashes between arch rivals and no serious measures have been taking from the authorities concerned so far. However, the teachers and principals in particular of the colleges are asked to submit their complaint in writing.
"It's not an easy job. The teachers and principals face pressure from the political parties and due to the ignorance of the education department, some students threaten the teachers and the staffers are left at the mercy of the bullying students," the SPLA members added.
They however maintained that dealing with such students would not be a difficult task if there is no political support for such students and the teachers have support from the authorities in this regard.
It has been witnessed that most colleges are under the control of political parties or their students' wing. The student wings have huge influence on those particular colleges and when other political wing(s) try to enter their 'jurisdiction', students' clashes become a routine exercise and often lead to suspensions of classes.
The violent activities at government colleges have disappointed serious students and registrations at private institutes have increased in past few years due to the uncertain situation at public institutes, SPLA said.
"If there is any policy to allow students to make a union than it would be a better option as compared to the involvement of political parties. The political parties must decide what they want to do? Are they serious about the youth and their future?" the SPLA questioned.
The Sindh Teachers Forum (STF) said that there must be student unions at the colleges, elected by the students on non-political basis. "At present, parties should be restricted to displaying a normal sized bill board regarding their activities and they be allowed to hoist limited numbers of party flags at said places. Also, the students should not exceed from the given space and they must not interfere into other business," the STF representatives advised.
The STF representatives added that law enforcement agencies must be deployed to control law and order situations at the colleges, maintaining, "The watchmen deployed at colleges have no role to play in case of clash at the colleges."
"The education minister must restore uniforms and declare it compulsory. Party activists and terrorists are taking advantage of the lack of uniforms and enter into the college premises to destroy the peaceful environment to achieve their vested interests," Sindh Government College Principals' Association (SGCPA) said.
Misbehaving with teachers and fighting with other student groups are no more a rare incidents. In the recent past, the education minister has announced that Rangers would be use to pull down the flags as well as to remove wall chalking.
If the education department follows the practice for a couple of months then there is chance that youngsters might remain away from the political activities, SGCPA added. They also suggest that warnings and minor punishments would also help in maintaining peace at colleges.
There is a need to stop corruption at grass root level, Rangers or other LAE should be deployed at the time of admissions, distribution of admit cards and during exams to keep a close eye on political parties and their activities throughout these periods, they further suggested.Your Comments
DUHS Library block
Karachi: The inauguration ceremony of the newly constructed library block at Dow University of Health Sciences' Ojha Campus was held on Sunday.
The chief guest of the event, Higher Education Commission (HEC) Executive Director Dr Sohail H Naqvi said on the occasion that since its establishment the commission is striving to develop high-standard educational and research culture in the country and a library has its prime importance in achieving the target.
The HEC realises the need of high standard and modern library and is making huge investment to establish modern libraries, he said. Dow University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Prof Masood Hameed Khan said the university had established a large number of high-standard educational and research institutes in a very short span of time, especially a modern medical research city at Ojha Campus.
He further said this library will fulfill the requirement of researchers and students in this medical research city. The building was constructed at a cost of Rs 110 million while the furniture and other facilities would cost an additional Rs 40 million.
There would be 388 computers with internet connections which will provide 20,000 medical journal facilities online.
There would be a reading hall with 100,000 books and sitting arrangements for 300 students. There is a lecture hall of 150 sitting accommodation. The news
PU students protest against IJT violence
Lahore: Members of the Insaaf Students Federation (ISF), a wing of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), staged a demonstration on Sunday against violent attacks on students of Punjab University (PU).
Led by Kamil Hameed and Adil Baig of the ISF central working committee, the protesters condemned the attacks on PU students by members of the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT). ISF student activists carried placards and chanted slogans against the IJT in front of the Lahore Press Club, calling upon university officials to expel the students involved in the violence without delay. They also urged the government to arrest those responsible for the attacks.
The protest by the ISF comes after three attacks on PU students within the past fortnight; on January 21, IJT activists attacked Gilgit-Baltistani students, and fired weapons outside their hostel; on January 26, IJT activists beat students - who were also ISF members - of the Hailey College of Commerce; on January 28, final year students of PU's College of Information Technology were attacked by IJT activists at the Old Campus as they gathered for a group photograph. Daily times
UAF appointment Case will be sent to chancellor's court
Faisalabad: The University of Agriculture Faisalabad administration's efforts to dispense with the services of 63 employees have failed as a majority of the Syndicate members have (formally) voted in favour of the appointments and asked the chancellor to take a final decision, it is learnt.
The administration (vice chancellor and his aides) will forward the issue with complete record like particulars of the recruited employees, recommendations of selection boards and approval of the syndicate, to the agriculture department for onward submission to the chancellor/governor. The chancellor will decide the issue under the University Act 1973.
The 281st meeting of the syndicate took place with Dr Iqrar Ahmed in the chair on Friday last to decide the fate of the 63 employees, including professors, associate and assistant professors, lecturers, deputy registrars and deputy treasurer. They were recruited some two years ago and the university syndicate approved their appointments on Feb 11, 2008.
Sources informed that most syndicate members rejected the administration's claim that the 63 employees in question were illegally employed because of ban on hiring during election days. The members, including Dr Anayat Khan, Islamuddin Shahzad, MPA Hafeez Akhtar (PP-223, Sahiwal) and Dr Tasneem Rashid, declared the appointments legal and said the university could not dispense with their services.
Mr Akhtar said at a time when the government was regularising the contract employees to facilitate them, the university administration is hell-bent upon showing the door to the employees who're recruited after fulfilling all legal formalities.
Seven syndicate members forced the UAF administration to urgently convene a meeting. Sources said when Dr Ahmed placed the matter at the meeting and called for voting on the issue, these seven members voted in favour of retaining the employees by declaring their appointments legal.
As six other votes were against the appointments, the vice chancellor used his casting vote against the 63 employees to keep the issue in the hands of the university. They said a two-member committee of the Punjab government had already interrogated the matter and found no illegality.
The members said the appointment of 63 employees was approved by the syndicate in the presence of a Lahore High Court judge and representatives of different government departments. However, they said, none of the participants in the meeting objected to or quoted any ban by the government.
An additional secretary, Khalid Awais Ranjha asked the VC to send the matter to the Punjab government. All members, who had earlier gave dissenting notes, except Javed Hassan (who did not attend the meeting), favoured Mr Ranjah's stance and asked the chair (VC) to refer the matter to the provincial government.
A nominee of the finance department said the UAF was bound to follow the directions of the government which was funding it. Reacting to it, sources said, a syndicate member blasted that "then the university act should be burnt."
They said the VC insisted that the issue should be solved at the university level, assuring the employees that no injustice would be done to them.
UAF spokesman Dr Jalal Arif said the issue would soon be sent to the chancellor. Dawn
Punjab Higher Education Council
Lahore: The Punjab Higher Education Department's move to set up the Punjab Higher Education Council (PHEC) is being seen as a positive development.
Nonetheless the department needs to incorporate views and suggestions from stakeholders for comprehensive and better handling of challenges the Council is likely to face in days to come.
Disparity among public as well as private universities of the province related to student intake, fee structure, examination system, legislation, statutes, rules, and regulations had always been a great concern of stakeholders as these areas seemed to be ignored by the federal government's Higher Education Commission (HEC).
At present, the PHEC has representatives from all public sector universities of the province while private universities have only four members. Out of these, two are permanent members and two are elected.
The private sector had objected to the composition of the council, saying all public sector universities should be members of the PHEC.
Academic circles are of the view that the new council would help eliminate the growing disparity in the field of higher education.
Interviews for the posts of vice-chancellors (VCs) of three public sector universities of the province were held last week.
The VC Search Committee interviewed of candidates vying for the slots of VCs of Government College University (GCU) Faisalabad, University of Engineering & Technology (UET), Taxila, and Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB).
Candidates expressed concern over the interview process, saying each candidate was interviewed for almost five minutes. A candidate said the VC Search Committee did not ask candidates to share with it their vision for improvement of universities. "Instead their focus was merely on present assignment of candidates," he regretted.
It is pertinent to mention that preference of foreign degree holders over local degree holders by the VC Search Committee has also worried the stakeholders.
City Education Services UK has launched a new initiative Oxbridge Institute of Higher Learning" under which classes have started for students eager to travel abroad for studies. The soft launch ceremony was held the other day in the main market, Gulberg campus for candidates of IELTS, TOEFL, GRE and GMAT.
Director of the institute, Haider Ali Khan, introduced the audience to the concept behind the new initiative, salient features of the programme and the cutting edge strategies being imparted in education.
The Board of Governors of Oxbridge consists of retired members of judiciary, vice-chancellors and civil service. It is a registered centre for IELTS with British Council and will also offer degree programmes in areas such as Business, Finance and Computing, in collaboration with Edexcel, and other reputed British universities.
The launch ceremony was attended by youngsters and students and professionals from eminent fields of life, who termed the institution a worthy addition to the rich academic culture of the provincial metropolis. The news
Doctors, role models
Lahore: Nine out of 10 doctors during the 1960s were considered role models, but today the number has reduced to a mere half, King Edward Medical University (KEMU) Vice Chancellor Professor Zafarullah Khan said on Sunday.
He was addressing a seminar – Doctor as a Role Model – organised by the university's Kemcolians Forum at the Library Hall. He said the decline in the number of such role models was due to the increasing communication gap between students and teachers at medical institutions. He said the number of seats at medical institutions should be reduced so that teachers are able to pay proper attention to each student.
Former KEMU principal Dr Khawaja Sadiq said a true role model possessed a charismatic personality and prevented clashes from taking place. He said one does not need to be a high achiever to be called a role model, adding doctors held special positions, as they are capable of helping people in tragic situations.
Professor Dr Jehangir Alam said doctors had lost their traditional prestige due to differences among themselves, adding that there should be a system of check and balance to streamline things. "Do unto others as you wish others to unto you", truly defines role models in the medical profession.
He said experienced doctors needed to set examples of dignity and fair play for the next generation of doctors. He opined that the opening up of private medical colleges had proved to be a setback to the medical profession.
Popular gynaecologist Dr Rashid Latif said doctors always have high expectations from the next generation, but never analyse what medical students are going through. He said there were nearly 120,000 registered medical practitioners and each one practicing in a local area was serving as a role model for the community. He said he regretted the recent media reports of deaths due to doctors' negligence, adding that it did not mean the entire doctors' community consisted of "black sheep".
Dr Saad Malik said today doctors had become dealers instead of healers. He said senior professors "behaved like kings" in a class, but "stood like beggars" before a section officer from the Health Department. Daily times
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