Public universities funds shortage

Varsities still await promised grant

Islamabad, Feb 14: Public sector universities are facing shortage of funds in meeting their recurring and development expenditures as the government has not released to them the promised grant of Rs7.1 billon.

As a result, the management of some of the universities approached banks to get loans, sources said.

It may be mentioned that 67 public sector universities in Islamabad, Punjab, Sindh, KP and Balochistan are operating under the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

Sources in the HEC said the government had promised a grant of Rs4.6 billion and Rs2.5 billion for the universities to meet their recurring expenditures and development projects, respectively. However, this grant has not yet been released despite several requests made to the authorities concerned, they added.

Due to the financial constraints, the universities have also not paid the increase in salaries announced by the government in the budget of 2011-12 to their faculty members.

The sources said those universities which had no resources to generate revenue were facing problems in paying salaries to their employees.

When contacted, Vice-Chancellor of the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Prof Dr Masoom Yasinzai said efforts were underway to get the grant announced by the government in the fourth quarter of the financial year. In this regard, a meeting of the HEC and federal government officials concerned is scheduled to be held this week, he said.

Dr Yasinzai added: "Good portion of the grant is yet to be released to universities. In the third quarter of the financial year, the universities received a meagre share of the grant."

Majority of the grant was given under the head of recurring sector, he said, adding the grant for development projects was ignored except for those schemes on which 80 per cent work had been completed.

He said majority of public sector universities were facing funds shortage due to lack of grant. Besides, these universities also have no resources to generate revenue.

HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail Naqvi also confirmed that some universities were facing shortage of funds due to non-release of the promised grant. Their expenditures are higher than the grant they get, he added. The official said the government had assured the HEC of releasing the grant in the third quarter which was still awaited. Dawn

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Private school owners reject new commission
Rawalpindi: All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association, Rawalpindi, has rejected the decision of the Punjab government to establish an education commission to control the high fees being charged by the private educational institutions. Divisional President All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association, Rawalpindi Abrar Ahmed said that they already have ordinance to check the private educational institutions that's why there is no need to form new education commission. He said some of the higher officials are trying to close down private schools and colleges through education commission, which would also create problems for others.

"We would not allow anyone to create problems for private educational institutions and not to accept any new authority," he said and added if operation is launched the private schools would stage protest rallies in the province.

Abrar Ahmed said that the Punjab government is only improving the education and health standard in papers whereas in reality it's not like that everyone knows the education standard in the government educational institutions and people are dying because of substandard medicines in government hospitals.

He said the Punjab government has exempted Secondary School Certificate (SSC) students, studying in the government schools, from paying examination fee. On the other hand they have doubled the fee for the private candidates of SSC. Private students are also the citizens of Pakistan and every citizen has equal rights but the Punjab government is not paying attention on this discrimination. He said the Punjab government should make equal policy for regular and private students and should facilitate them.

"The Punjab chief minister should take notice of the problems of the private educational institutions and instead of making new education commission should make police strong," he urged.

Parents appreciated the decision of the Punjab government for establishing education commission to control the high fees of the private educational institutions. The news

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Sexual harassment incidents not new: IIUI
Islamabad: The International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) has said involvement of senior faculty members in having sexual relation with their female students and juniors was not something new and had also taken place in the past as well.

A statement issued by the public relations department of the university on Saturday said: "the previous administration used to hush up such issues but the present administration has adopted a zero tolerance policy in this regard."

The present administration of the university has struck off two officers allegedly found involved in immoral activities, it said, adding their cases had been referred to the disciplinary committee for determination of punishment.

"As soon as the committee reached a conclusion, their recommendation will be acted upon. The university has drawn a code of conduct for its employees to follow." It said that in the reports appearing in a section of the media, an attempt was made to create an impression that the university administration was lenient on such immoral activities, which was actually against the policy of the university.

"Parents of the students should be satisfied that the university administration is very vigilant on protection of dignity of its students." Dawn

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IIUI clarifies but also admits pay cuts
Islamabad: Taking exception to reports published in a section of press, the International Islamic University Islamabad has made it clear that the administration has not cut salary of any teacher from Faculties of Management Science and Engineering and Technology; nor has issued any humiliating letter to anyone.

It said that Board of Governors of the university, which is equivalent to syndicate, has decided, after thorough deliberations, that incentives should be rationalised and be given to all on equality basis. It said the university has not withdrawn benefits teachers are entitled to as per Higher Education Commission (HEC) guidelines. It said teachers of these two faculties continue to get M. Phil and Ph D allowances in addition to the extra charges they are paid for working in evening shifts.

It said the university follows pay structure as set by the government, having little room to deviate from it. It said as per the government pay structure, salaries have been increased twice over the last four years and the university has passed this benefit on to all of its employees instantly.

It said the IIUI has not increased student fees for three years while other universities have been increasing fees on an annual basis. It said nowhere in the world, teachers are paid in accordance with student fees. If student fee can justify pay enhancement, salaries of teachers of the faculties whose fees are relatively lesser should be lesser, which of course is not the case.

It said teachers have only been intimated that the university desires that they keep working with it but if they have to leave, they may inform about it in due course of time.It said the university regards its teachers highly and will keep on working for their welfare.

Usman Manzoor adds: IIUI has admitted the cut in packages and issuing a humiliating letter 'of either accepting this cut or leave the university' in the clarification.

The News had simply reported that IT professional, engineers, financial experts and senior business teachers having handsome and career-oriented jobs in professional organization had left jobs to join IIUI against good packages and not only these professionals but also the M. Phil and Ph D scholar joined these IIUI jobs for the same reason. Now, these professors and lecturers have been working with IIUI for a long time, more than a decade in some cases, and they are humiliatingly being asked to quit or accept salary-cut. It is absolutely untrue that professors of Faculty of Management Sciences and Faculty of Engineering and Technology who used to deliver lecturers in evening shifts got extra payments and The News has verified the fact from many professors. In many other universities too there is no concept of evening shifts.

The story contained the demand of IIUI professors that the decision of salary cut should be withdrawn and that these two faculties, who take three to four batches a semester, have decided to take only one batch per semester. As far the fee of the students is concerned, this is true that salaries could not be fixed in line with the fees of the students but IIUI should have also commented on the difference in fees that it is maintaining i.e. the average fee of a student from other faculties is maximum Rs15000 per semester whereas in the said two faculties the average fee of a student is Rs70000 per semester. The News stands by its story.

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Dawah Academy bookfair
Islamabad: The Dawah Academy of the International Islamic University (IIU) will arrange third 5-day 'Dawah Book Fair' from today (Tuesday). The book fair will be arranged at its Faisal Masjid campus to provide an opportunity to knowledge seekers to find books of their own choice on reasonable prices under one window. ICT Chief Commissioner Tariq Peerzada would inaugurate the fair whereas Rector IIU Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik will also attend the ceremony.

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British Council launches second course under GSP
Islamabad: After the success of the first batch of Global Citizenship Course (GCC) 2011, the British Council has successfully launched the second course in collaboration with National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) under their Global School Partnerships (GSP) programme.

Funded by UKAid, the GSP programme of the British Council is a powerful, enjoyable and an exciting way of bringing global issues into the lives of young people, mainly students, their teachers and families and local communities. GSP aims to motivate young people's commitment to a fairer and more sustainable world.

A group of 25 teachers hailing from all over Pakistan are participating in the GCC. The course has begun from the 13 February with 2 weeks of a residential programme. It will provide teachers an opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills required to educate students to live a more informed, purposeful and active life in a more closely linked yet diverse world. It will present a foundational, unique and critical look at the core concepts and ideas related to global citizenship.

The course participants will consider these ideas through the use of active participatory strategies to enable them to translate their learning into effective practice by designing lessons and unit plans for classroom teaching, global citizenship projects with schools round the world aimed at furthering intercultural understanding and action.

Nils Tomes, Regional Education Advisor, The British Council, inaugurated the course. Also present on the occasion were the Pro-Rector NUST Vice Admiral (r) Muhammad Mushtaq and Dean and Principal NUST Business School (NBS) Dr Ashfaq H. Khan. Both Nils and Muhammad Mushtaq reiterated the importance of GCC in the lives of teachers as education providers.

Dr Bernadette Dean, Principal St. Joseph's College for Girls, Karachi and former Principal, Kinnaird College, Lahore, has designed and will be delivering the course too. She said that participants from both the sessions of GCC would be developing publications that would go towards further improving the course.

The Pro Rector said that NUST had collaborated with the British Council in various programmes and that the institution was happy to volunteer in hosting the GCC.

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PBTE de-affiliates two institutes
Lahore: The Punjab Board of Technical Education (PBTE) terminated affiliation of two private sector institutes for failure to fulfil necessary conditions for affiliation. It also issued warning and show-cause notices to four other such institutes for not satisfactorily complying with various conditions of their recognition/affiliation with the board. A PBTE spokesperson here on Monday said the former were Nicon College of Computer & Management, Rialto Chowk, Rawalpindi and Shahpur College of Technology, Sargodha while the latter included Lahore's Ahmed Hassan Polytechnic Institute, Punjab Polytechnic Institute and Institute of Engineering and Technology and Quaid e Azam College of Engineering and Technology GT Road, Patoki. The four institutes have been warned to remove deficiencies or their affiliation would be cancelled.

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Most schools in KP yet to be rebuilt despite availability of funds
Peshawar: Hit by the long wave of militancy and devastating floods, none of the 475 fully damaged schools in various parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could be reconstructed despite the provision of funds to majority of the institutions by foreign donors.

The reconstruction task was assigned to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA). It secured Rs3,079.85 million for 219 destroyed schools and reconstruction work is now in progress. Due to bureaucratic delays, the ongoing project could not be completed in the stipulated time, sources said.

Work could not be initiated on another 224 schools, including 175 flood-affected and 49 militancy-hit institutions, for which an amount of Rs2,640.71 million has been allocated in the Annual Development Programme, the sources said.

The Communication and Works Department, which is the executing authority for the reconstruction, was supposed to hand over 21 schools to the education department in December 2011 upon their completion, but due to non-completion the handover was postponed till March next, the sources said, adding that it was unclear whether these schools would be completed by the next deadline or not.

Citing an example of the delays, the sources claimed that work on some six schools could not be initiated, as the executive engineer responsible for the project was reportedly demanding two percent commission from the contractor concerned.

The contractors, according to the sources, had already paid two percent for the said projects after their tenders were floated for the first time and they were unwilling and unable to pay commission twice for the same project.

According to the figures obtained from the Education Department, 640 schools were fully and partially damaged due to militancy and counter-militancy activities in six districts of Malakand division alone. These included 273 fully and 367 partially damaged. The news

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