Concern over proposal to outsource commerce education
Lahore, Feb 04: The Punjab government is planning to outsource commerce education from public sector colleges to an NGO amid opposition from the Education and Finance departments, it has been learnt.
According to documents, the deputy secretary (Assembly) of the Chief Minster's Secretariat has forwarded an application of the Anjuman Farogh-e-Taleem project director who had requested the Higher Education Department to allow his NGO to start commerce education at the divisional level government colleges at affordable fee package in the 2nd shift.
The NGO contended that except 10 to 15 government colleges, the rest of the colleges did not have infrastructure to provide commerce education whereas private sector was providing the same at a very high fee.
However, when the case was examined by the Education Department, it found that commerce education was being imparted through 66 government colleges in the morning and evening shifts while few more applications from various colleges were also received for getting no objection certificate (NOC) to offer the same.
According to the sources in the department, some high officials initially opposed the idea, however, the manner in which the case was followed by the Chief Minister's Secretariat, they succumbed to the pressure.
They alleged that ever since the request from the NGO, Advisor to Chief Minister Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri was ambitiously pursuing the case as the NGO in question was owned by one of his friends, adding that he also got included himself in a committee constituted to govern the affairs related to commerce education under the public-private partnership.
The sources further said that the advisor to the CM had also suggested that the maximum fee package under the public-private partnership should not be more than Rs 8,000 and Rs 12,000 per annum for ICom and BCom classes respectively.
In its observations the Finance department had stated: "Before embarking upon any ambitious project of public-private partnership, it would be prudent to carry out an objective study to gauge the demand of the subjects among students as well as their future prospects in the job market. Moreover, in order to ensure transparent and efficient use of public resources (college infrastructure) and to avoid any loss to the same, there is need to formulate a comprehensive policy for public-private partnership in education."
The sources, however, said that the Higher Education department did not carry out the study and after few meetings of the committee, a summary was sent to the chief minister seeking approval for outsourcing commerce education as pilot project under the public-private partnership.
According to the summary, the department had proposed to the government to either engage private partners in 15 to 20 colleges through advertisement or allocate 5 to 10 colleges to the Anjuman Farogh-e-Taleem.
When contacted, Higher Education Secretary Ahad Khan Cheema, however, denied that the department was pressurised in connection with allowing the NGO to start commerce education in government colleges, saying the department had proposed outsourcing of education through an open competition. He said the department had sent proposal to outsource commerce education as a pilot project as was the case with computer education. To a question, Mr Cheema said: "The financial interest is always there by the private sector," and added "But we are not going to compromise on merit."
Answering another question, he said unlike five percent of gross income by private parties involved in computer education, the department had proposed 10 percent for commerce education.
When contacted, Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri denied that the said NGO was owned by one of his friends, saying it had been decided in principle that the commerce education would be outsourced through open bidding and firms across the country would be allowed to compete. He further said it had also been decided that no firm would be allowed to start commerce education in more than one or two colleges.
Zaeem Qadri further said he got himself included in the committee following a meeting with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif regarding the initiative. He claimed that besides the Anjuman Farogh-e-Taleem, another firm had also showed willingness to start commerce education at government colleges. When asked, he said he had forgotten name of that firm. The news
Minister rejects raise in school fees in name of security
Hyderabad: Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq has termed 'illegal' unilateral raise in fees by private institutions in the name of security measures and urged parents to lodge complaints to the Regional Directorate of Private Institutions.
The minister said that private institutes could not raise fee unilaterally. They could not raise fee beyond five per cent and even that raise must be backed by some justification, he said.
He opposed establishment of more than one private school in a street and said under the relevant rules and regulations distance between schools should be at least one or two kilometres.
He called for registration of private schools and declared raise in fees in the name of security measures as illegal.
He urged parents to lodged complaints about the fee raise to the directorate and assured that their identity would be protected. The officials had standing directives to give priority to such matters, he said.
"They don't have manpower to visit each and every school. Someone will have to show courage and give us information," he said.
He said that he had asked officials to suspend licenses of erring schools and supported healthy competition between private and government-run institutions.
That was the reason behind education department's move to raise salaries of teachers, whose scales were being revised upwards from BPS-9 to 14 under the new education policy, he said.
The minister said that he knew that teachers in private institutions were underpaid and had asked officials to ask such institutions why they could not increase salaries when they collected huge fees.
"The affected teachers themselves will have to come forward and lodge complaints against their employers," he said.
He said the government had introduced merit-based policy in the education department to help teachers with meritorious record come forward and students' stipend had been raised to Rs2,400 from Rs1,000.
He said the department was planning to serve one time meal to students at primary schools and initially it would be done in one or two districts before introducing it all schools of the province.
He said that 13,500 teachers were being recruited and SNEs (schedule for new expenditures) for more appointments had been approved. Regional directorates for private institutions would be set up in all divisional headquarters to facilitate parents and coordinate with managements of private institutions, he said.
He said that he had received complaints about torture of an underage student at a local private institute and he had directed officials concerned to probe the matter.
Meanwhile, a number of students complained to journalists that their school had brought them in a coffin carrier bus. The students clad in white dress were visibly shaken and disturbed at their ordeal. Dawn
Lawrence College accused of victimisation
Lahore: The parents of the expelled students of Lawrence College, Ghora Gali, Murree, have complained that the college administration has victimised their children by expelling them without any solid reasons.
While speaking at a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Wednesday, Haji Abdul Razzaq, Syed Ghawas, Junaid Ali, Adil Zaib, Khalid Abbas, Shaukat Ali and others along with their children alleged that college principal, Air CDRE (retd) Farooq H Kayani, who also claims to be a relative of General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, had made their children scapegoats to vacate seats to adjust children of influential political and government personalities.
While giving details, the parents of the students said that their children, who belonged to all four provinces and were studying in 7th class, were suddenly expelled from the college on the basis of bizarre reason of 'drop in percentage of marks' in their respective results - the reason of which sole responsibility lies with the college because the students were staying in the college.
They said that their children had got admission in class one on merit and were showing excellent results from class one up to 7th class. "We have paid Rs 1,640,000 in seven years at the rate of Rs 240,000 every year as annual fee for each student," they added.
They said that nine children of 7th class were expelled from the college while one student, who had got admission in 5th class on merit was eventually denied admission. They alleged that the principal had expelled their children for apparently being offended over asking about drop in marks percentage of the students by their parents.
The students who were expelled are Kalimullah, s/o Haji Abdul Razzaq, from Chaman, Khizer Adil from Mardan, Mohibullah from Mardan, Shafqat Bhatti from Kohat, Hazrat Jalal from Waziristan, Ali Hasnain from Hyderabad, Rai Hasan from Lahore, Hasan Raza from Multan and Amir Bhatti from Muzaffargarh while Ehsanullah from Karachi was denied admission to 5th class. "Ehsanullah is denied admission for refusing to pay Rs 200,000 in addition to regular admission and college dues," said Junaid Ali, uncle of Ehsanullah.
While citing a particular example, the parents alleged that student Kalimullah, an 11-year-old Hafiz-e-Quran and who had shown brilliant results throughout his academic record in the college, had suddenly dropped in percentage of his marks in 3rd term of 7th class while showing high percentage of marks in the 1st and 2nd term exams.
The student had got 81.50 per cent and 5th position in the 1st term, 85.75 per cent and again 5th position in midterm, while suddenly dropped to 76.63 per cent and 11th position out of 66 classmates in 3rd term exams.
"The principal has victimised my child Kalimullah for asking about sudden drop in his marks percentage because neither he has fallen sick nor remained absent from his class," said Haji Abdul Razzaq. He alleged that the principal had appointed junior teachers to check papers of their children to drop their marks percentage whereas senior teachers had given their comments in writing about excellent performance and conduct of the students.
"The government has launched Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan on the one hand while the Lawrence College is depriving my child from continuing his education despite showing brilliant results," he added.
The parents alleged that several other students, who belonged to influential families, were still studying in the college despite consistently showing poor results.
The parents said that the principal had been occupying the position for the last 10 years and had also submitted his request for another three year extension to the Punjab government whereas no principal had ever-stayed for more than five years, including two-year extension.
They alleged that the principal, during his 10 years at the college, had also dismissed over 60 teachers and scores of other employees without any solid reasons. An employee, Adil Zaib, who served as a dispenser for more than 16 years in the college, has been dismissed within one-day notice on baseless charges of misconduct.
Adil Zaib, who was also present on the occasion, alleged that the college administration had also withheld his CP fund. He demanded the government immediately restore him on his position.
The expelled students' parents asked the prime minister, Punjab chief minister, Punjab Governor/Chairman Board of Governors of the Lawrence College and the Lahore High Court chief justice to take notice and hold inquiry into the matter.'
PU supple exam datesheet
Lahore: The Punjab University Examinations Department has issued the written examination date-sheet of MA/MSc, Part-II, Supplementary Examination, 2009. As per date-sheet, the exams will commence from February 23 and will conclude on March 10. Detailed date-sheet is also available on PU website www.pu.edu.pk.
Later, Punjab University announced that it will remain closed on Friday (tomorrow) on account of Kashmir Day on February 5, 2010. According to another announcement by the PU administration, the university will also remain closed on February 8, 2010 (Monday) as well.
Meanwhile, The Punjab University College of Art & Design faculty member Muhammad Arif Khan won the 'Alburda Award' in a competition held in Dubai.
According to a press release on Wednesday, Mr Khan has been teaching at the university for the last 12 years and made a name at national and international level in the calligraphy. PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has congratulated Muhammad Arif Khan and PUCAD Principal Prof Rahat Naveed Masud on the achievement.
Later, Punjab University awarded PhD degree to four research scholars. A press release here on Wednesday said they included Abdul Qayyum son of Abdul Rashid, who has been awarded the degree in Zoology after approval of his research thesis titled "Glycemic Status and Associated Risk Factors High Attitude Population". He completed his thesis under the supervision of Prof (Retd) Dr Abdul Majeed Cheema of PU Zoology department.
Abdul Hannan son of Sabir Ali has been awarded the degree in Mycology & Plant Pathology after approval of his research thesis titled "Mutagenic Strain Development of Aspergillus Niger to Enhance Pectinases Production Potential".
He completed his thesis under the supervision of Prof Dr Rukhsana Bajwa, director of PU Institute of Mycology & Plant Pathology. Fahim Arshad son of Mehboob Arshad has been awarded the PhD degree in the Botany after approval of his research thesis.
SALU mourns student's death
Kharpur: Shah Abdul Latif University (Salu) remained closed on Wednesday to mourn the death of one of their students on the campus on Tuesday and sources anticipate its closure, till further orders.
No official was available for comments despite repeated attempts to contact them.
Mohammad Khan Gambhir, killed on Tuesday, was buried the same evening at his ancestral graveyard in Waris Gambhir village.
The DCO Khairpur Mohammad Abbas Baloch, representative of the CM House, Khairpur Mazhar Ali, students of SALU and those belonging to Sindh People's Students Federation attended his funeral prayers.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah offered condolence with the father of the deceased student by phone. Atta Hussain Gambhir, father of the deceased student lodged an FIR at A-section police station under section 302, 324, 148, 149 of the PPC late on Tuesday evening against five SALU students Hafeez Mangi, Sabir Sakhani Chandio, Abid Shar, Jamil Abbas Katpar and Shakeel Ahmed alias Dodo Soomro.
The complainant stated in FIR that he had gone to SALU for some work and was sitting at the university canteen with some of his relatives, including his son Mohammad Khan. The accused came there and told Mohammad Khan that he had insulted them in point-bus. The news
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