Academic session should start from April: APSMA
Karachi, Jan 24: All Private Schools Management Association (APSMA) Sindh has demanded the Sindh Education Department to stick to its decision to initiate the academic session from April every year and avoid starting session from August under the influence of elite private schools.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, APSMA Chairman Khalid Shah revealed that a delegation comprising the administrations of various elite private schools met with the Sindh Education Minister on Thursday asking him to start the 2010 academic session from August instead of April. Shah maintained that after the meeting, the department was considering to change the decision of its steering committee to start the academic session every year from April. He was of view that any amendment to the decision of the committee will be illegal and unconstitutional. "Any changes in the start of the academic session will affect 98 percent of the private schools of the province," he stated.
Shah said if the session started from August, then the matriculation exams will be held in May when power outages are at their peak. This will affect the studies of students and consequently their results, he added.
Shah also criticized the education department on taking back the notification that cancelled the registration of 56 private schools that violated the department's rules saying that it will encourage the administration of these schools to violate rules and regulations in the future. Daily TimesYour Comments
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Over 800 students to benefit from Rs1bn endowment fund
Karachi, Jan 24: The Sindh government's endowment fund for education, which was established with seed money of Rs500 million in 2002-03, has risen to over Rs1 billion in funds, with over 800 students as beneficiaries.
In the light of President Asif Ali Zardari's recent directives, it was decided that the size of the fund be increased to Rs2 billion, and 500 beneficiaries be added every year.
The finance department was thus directed to make an annual contribution of Rs500 million to the fund so that the desired target of Rs2 billion could be reached.
Sindh Chief Secretary Fazlur Rehman said that the fund was created to help talented students who were constrained by their resources, and were thus unable to pursue higher studies at prestigious institutions.
He said scholarships were earlier granted in the fields of medicine, business management and information technology, but it was recently decided that students of engineering subjects be also included in the list.
The number of institutions where the scholarships will be granted is also set to increase, with provincial secretary of education Rizwan Memon saying that at a recent meeting it was decided to include prestigious institutions from across Pakistan in the endowment fund list.
Earlier, the fund was granted at six institutions: the Aga Khan Medical University, Szabist, IBA (Karachi and Sukkur), Sindh University Jamshoro and the College of Business Management.
Now, in addition to all public medical and engineering colleges and universities in Sindh, the scholarships will be provided for education at Quaid-i-Azam University (Islamabad), the National University of Science and Technology (Islamabad), the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering and Technology (NWFP), the Lahore University of Management Sciences and the University of Engineering and Technology (Lahore).
Mr Memon said the criterion for eligibility for the scholarship was a GPA of up to 2.0, and a total household income of up to Rs200,000.
He added that the endowment scholarships are announced through advertisements immediately after admission lists are released by universities.
Mr Memon ruled out the possibility of using government influence to have scholarships granted to certain candidates, saying that the board which was responsible for the selection of students after interviews did not include a representative of the government.
Questions had earlier been raised regarding the transparency of the endowment fund by officials in the finance department, according to sources privy to the functioning of the fund. The Sindh education department was thereafter directed to submit a detailed report on the funds disbursed from the endowment fund so far, along with a list of beneficiaries.
At the same meeting, several ministers expressed their ignorance of the rules and procedures of the fund, and directed the education department to properly circulate the rules and procedures to all relevant educational institutions.
The endowment was created by the government in order to meet the growing demand for highly trained employees in modern industries and financial institutions.
The government also aimed to provide a source of highly skilled and qualified teachers for the various seats of learning by helping qualified students receive an education they would not normally be able to afford. DawnYour Comments
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SPLA protest drive gets under way
Karachi: On the first day of a two-month protest campaign announced by the Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association, college and university teachers observed a 'black day' across the province on Friday against certain policies of the education department and to put pressure on the government for acceptance of their demands.
SPLA spokesman Prof Iftikhar Mohammad Aazmi said the strike was observed against what he described as the negative attitude of the education department's officials, who were still reluctant to solve problems of teachers.
He said teachers had pinned hope on the democratic government for resolution of the issues being faced by the teaching community but they were disappointed.
He noted that teachers passed several resolutions in support of their demands, but the government failed to pay attention to their grievances. That forced the teachers to take to the streets, he said.
The spokesman also criticised the provincial education minister for a statement attributed to him against the teaching community.
According to him, the education minister had said that teachers were involved in politics on the pretext of their demands.
Prof Aazmi warned that they might have to broaden their struggle to other parts of the country if their problems were not solved soon, adding that teachers from Karachi to Kashmore were united in support of their demands.
He further said that conspiracies that were hatched to create differences among them and efforts to fail their movement could not succeed. Ppi
Teachers observe black day
Hyderabad: On the call of the central action committee of the Sindh Professors and Lecturers' Association, black day was observed in all the 242 colleges of the province where black flags were hoisted and college teachers performed their duties wearing black armbands.
A press release of the association said that college teachers were being meted out step-motherly treatment by the bureaucracy appointed during the tenure of the former Sindh chief minister, Dr Arbab Rahim.
Central leaders of the association, Prof Liaquat Aziz, Siddique Unnar, Yaqoob Chandio and others vowed to continue the protest movement till the resolution of the problems of college teachers.
Our Umerkot correspondent adds: Lectures and professors of district Umerkot also observed black day and hoisted black flags at college buildings. They performed their duties wearing black armbands.
Prof Ghulam Nabi Shahani, Prof Jadam Gaju, Prof Najamuddin Soomro, Prof Mir Chand Oad and others urged the relevant authorities to address the genuine issues of college teachers.
They warned that if services of ad hoc lectures were not regularised they would start a long march to Garhi Khuda Bux on Feb 2.
50pc girls schools non-functional
Jacobabad: About 50 per cent of 233 girls primary schools in the district were non-functional, according a survey conducted out by an NGO.
The survey by Community Development Foundation found 118 of 233 girls' primary schools non-functional.
It said that 32 informal schools opened in 1996 for the poor people under a scheme for encouraging students to pass five classes within three years met failure because no student could pass even class one but the staff were still drawing salary.
The villagers told the survey team that they had informed the EDO of education and other officers concerned but no action had been taken against the absentee staff.
The survey said that fake educational certificates were issued to girls in connivance with educational officers. There was no furniture in most of the schools. The furniture had either been taken away by influential persons of the area or the department had not bothered to supply it at all and reportedly misappropriated the funds, the report said.
The survey said that a number of school buildings were occupied by the landlords and were being used as their autaqs or store room for keeping fodder for cattle heads.
The survey team urged the government to take action against the officials and absentee teachers and take effective measure to make the schools functional.
Funds for excavation at Lakhian Jo Daro insufficient: VC
Sukkur: Shah Abdul Latif University Vice-Chancellor Nelofar Shaikh said on Friday that the Rs1 million provided by the government for excavation work at the newly discovered 5,500-year-old Lakhian Jo Daro was insufficient and called for more funds to carry out the job in a smooth manner.
She said on a visit to the archaeological site discovered by the university experts a day ago that Lakhian Jo Daro was part of historical heritage and the government should establish a museum and a laboratory at the site.
She said that the site was part of the Indus Valley Civilisation and praised hard work by the team of archaeologists headed by project director Ghulam Hussain Shar.
Ghulam Hussain Shar said that the team comprising 26 members was busy in excavation work and expressed the hope that the government would provide more funds. The work would take four to five months and it would require al least Rs2 million, he said. Dawn
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