HEC directs universities to stress on quality
Islamabad, Jan 21: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has cautioned all the universities and degree awarding institutions in the country to follow the criteria for award of M.Phil/MS and PhD degrees.
HEC Chairman Dr Javaid R Laghari has cautioned vice chancellors of all the universities that HEC would not recognise those MPhil/MS and PhD degrees, which do not fulfil HEC quality criteria.
The development schemes submitted by such universities would be put on hold till such time all HEC criteria is satisfactorily met by the institution, said a news release issued on Wednesday.
According to the criteria, 16 years of schooling or four-year education (130 credit hours) after HSSC/F.A./FSc/Grade 12 equivalent will be required for admission in the M.Phil/MS Programme leading to PhD.
GRE (International) Subject test will be necessary at the time of admission to M.Phil/MS Programme leading to PhD.
According to the minimum acceptable scores criteria, 40 percent percentile score is valid for admissions till December 31, 2009 and 45 percent percentile till December 31, 2010.
Fifty percent percentile score will be valid till December 31, 2011 and 60 percent percentile will be valid for admissions thereafter.
For presently continuing students (Admissions before January 11, 2010), the candidates must pass the GRE (International) subject test before submission of PhD Dissertation.
In disciplines where this test is not available, the test will be made available locally by National Testing Service (NTS).
If the test is not available in NTS subject list, then a University Committee consisting of at least three PhD faculty members in the subject area and approved by the HEC will conduct the test at par with GRE (International) subject test.
Before moving into the PhD programme, candidates will need to complete 30 credit hours, out of which 24 credit hours will be for course work, which may lead to the award of M.Phil/MS/Equivalent Degree.
The minimum CGPA should be 3.00 or First Division in MS/M.Phil/Equivalent Degree for continuing into PhD. Additional PhD level course work of at least 18 credit hours followed by a comprehensive examination and an open defense of Dissertation is essential for the award of PhD degree.
Acceptance/publication of at least one research paper in an HEC approved "X" category journal is essential for the award of Ph.D. degree ("Y" in case of Social Sciences only).
The Plagiarism Test must be conducted on the Dissertation before its submission to the two foreign experts, as described below.
The Ph.D. Dissertation must be evaluated by at least two Ph.D. experts from technologically/academically advanced foreign countries in addition to local Committee members.
A copy of PhD Dissertation (both hard and soft) must be submitted to HEC for record in PhD Country Directory.
There should be at least three relevant full time PhD Faculty members in a department to launch the PhD programme.
The maximum number of PhD students under the supervision of a full time faculty member is five, which may be increased to eight under special circumstances in certain teaching departments subject to prior approval of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).Your Comments
NIP placement letters issued to 15,000 candidates
Islamabad: In the first phase of National Internship Programme (NIP) for the year 2010, placement letters to about 15,000 have been issued, Federal Minister for Youth Affairs Shahid Hussain Bhutto told this news agency on Wednesday.
He said the remaining candidates would get their placement letters after completion of verification process, which may be finalised by next week.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs has planned to provide training opportunity to about 50,000 youth across the country during the year, he said, adding, all the placement letters have been issued on the basis of merit and all the youth of four provinces would be given equal representation in the NIP.
The minister said the ministry would be organising a grand ceremony for giving away the placement letters later this month. APP
Internees joined ministry
Islamabad: The normally quiet corridors of the Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYA) echoed with shouts and shrieks of excited young boys and girls as a fresh batch of internees joined the ministry under the National Internship Programme (NIP).
Sources told 'The News' that around 18 internees had joined the ministry with majority of them to be deputed in the NIP computer section to overcome staff shortage in the project. Belonging to capital institutes, the group comprises eight girls and 10 boys.
The mega project aimed at providing useful job experience of one-year to educated youth is currently run by the staff of only 19-members at the federal level. For effective monitoring and implementation of NIP, the ministry requested an additional staff of 70 people to set up nine regional offices in the country. In response, the Ministry of Finance has approved recruitment of 50 new staff members, but the matter is still in process.
Aimed at providing useful job experience to fresh graduates, NIP is the biggest project of the ministry for which the government has allocated Rs3.6 billion for the fiscal year 2009-10. The project was launched in 2007. This year, the ministry had received 70,000 applications among which 50,000 candidates will be given internship in provincial and federal departments.
Talking to 'The News', Minister for Youth Affairs Shahid Hussain Bhutto said that so far, the ministry has issued 15,000 letters to candidates who have qualified for the programme. "The provincial governments will be responsible to place these candidates in different departments," he added. The rest of the applications, he said were in a queue for scrutiny and verifications that would be followed by placements.
He said that around 4,000 applicants from Malakand were ready for placement and the candidates would be given letters at a formal inauguration ceremony shortly. Bhutto said that funds had been released to the provincial governments for the upcoming batch of internees.
According to information available with MoYA, the ministry has released funds amounting to Rs588.9 million to Punjab, Rs307.9 million to Sindh, Rs307 million to the NWFP, 5.4 million to Balochistan, Rs1.5 million to the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Rs7.2 million to Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), Rs6.5 million to Gilgit-Baltistan and Rs65 million to the Islamabad Capital Territory for payments to internees.
Congratulating those declared eligible by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Bhutto urged the new internees to work hard and put in their best and become indispensable for their respective department. "Their performance can help them get jobs in the same department," he added. He said that the ministry was also planning to draw a policy to ensure employment of the internees trained under NIP.
Advising those who have applied for NIP to further check their applications on the youth ministry website, he said that there are many applications without vital information. "If application fails to match the record available on computer records of HEC or the relevant university, the candidate is rejected."
Future of 14,000 girl students
Dir: The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has wound up its project for the promotion of education in Dir Upper district and closed down more than 140 community feeder schools, putting the future of around 14,000 girl students at stake.
The decision to close the community schools came at a time when the mountainous Malakand division, of which Dir Upper is a district, needs more attention from the government, UN agencies and international community as education sector has suffered a colossal loss during the past three years.
Official data suggest that over 400 schools, mostly of girls, have been bombed or torched in Swat, Dir Lower, Dir Upper and Buner by militants and during the military operation.
"The UN has classified the security situation in phases. Phases one and two are normal situations. Phase three is a volatile situation but work can be continued in it. The NWFP and Fata have been categorised as Phase four, a situation in which operations have to be suspended," an official of the Unicef in Peshawar said, on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media on record.
He said the project in Dir Upper, besides Abbottabad, Nowshera and Swabi, had been suspended because of the poor security situation. The official said the decision would be reviewed on March 31 this year. "It could either be restarted or wound up," he said and agreed that the achievements over years could be squandered in case of packing up the project.
The project, some people in Dir argued, remained operational even in critical security situation. They said the law and order in the district had never been as bad as in other areas.
Informed sources said the Unicef was running 130 community primary girls and 12 middle schools, more than half of the state-run schools, in the remote and inaccessible areas of the district, having only 21 per cent literacy rate. The female literacy ratio is a dismal 6.1 per cent. Called community feeder schools, these institutions were providing education to over 14,000 girl students.
Launched in 2004, the Unicef project had established 72 schools for girls in the backward Kohistan area of Dir Upper. Comprising seven union councils, the Kohistan belt has an appalling literacy rate of 0.6 per cent for females and overall seven per cent only.
"The project was so successful that it drew thousands of girls to schools. Actually, the international community had branded NWFP as an area resisting female education but Dir Upper proved this notion wrong," the Unicef official said.
More encouraging was the fact that the communities had donated two kanals of land for the construction of one- or two-room schools. The schools were established on the government criteria of selecting sites in the areas that had no school within an area of five kilometres.
With the closure of 142 schools, the future of over 14,000 girl students hangs in the balance. They have to take examinations in March this year but it is unclear as to who would conduct them. "We are also in a fix in this regard," the Unicef official said. "We have no clear picture of the future of the students," the Unicef official said.
Many here fear the decision to close the schools with no alternative plan would compel the students to drop out. Five or six feeder schools have been merged with boys' schools but people are against co-education and not ready to send their female siblings to schools.
The existing institutions for girls are already overcrowded and do not have the capacity to absorb more. They also lack the required teaching staff, making it difficult for the government to boost education. The Unicef project had hired 75 teachers in government-run schools to overcome the overcrowdedness.
This was in addition to 30 teachers provided to the schools merged with government schools.
Dir Upper has already poor record in education, ranked 22nd in literacy rate out of 24 districts in NWFP.
The Unicef made functional several closed government schools including those in Sarko in Hattan Darra, Mashango Kass, Bandan in Wari and Olakai in Usherai Darra and others.
Unicef also built the first bombed school that was restored in Bibyawar in Dir Upper. Two others were also to be reconstructed by the agency but the project was wrapped up on December 31, 2009 putting them in limbo.
With the community schools and campaign run by the Unicef, Dir Upper is ranked third in enrolling new students of aged from five to nine years.
The project, with Rs1.1 million costs per month, was also upgrading the existing weak educational infrastructure in the district. Some 40-50 rooms in girls' schools have been constructed to create more space for the students to attain education. Besides, the project focused on water supply, latrines, boundary walls, dug-wells, electrification, tools for recreation and other basic requirements, which improved the infrastructure in the district.
During 2009, the project provided furniture to approximately 100 schools. The UN agency has also trained teachers of the primary schools to improve their teaching skills. "In almost all schools, the Unicef has done some work," is how an official put it.
Also, 219 female teachers working in these community schools were sacked, rendering them jobless.
The project also provided mobility support to the female teachers, which improved their attendance at schools. With Rs0.4 million costs per month, the project had arranged vehicles for 277 female teachers on 29 different routes.
Now they would not be able to go to schools daily in an area that is tough and mountainous, which would affect teachers' attendance at schools. The news
NUST-SCEE international seminar
Islamabad, Jan 20: The opening ceremony of NUST-SCEE international seminar titled "Advances in Cement Base Materials" would be held on January 21, 2010 on 0930 hours at NUST-SCEE auditorium, H-12, Islamabad.
The two-day moot will be addressed by Prof Dr. Thomas A. Bier (Technical University Freiberg Germany) while Secretary Ministry of Science & Technology K.B. Rind will be the chief guest at the concluding session which will be held on January 22 at 1445 hours. APP
QAU degree distinction
Islamabad: The Quaid-i-Azam University has awarded PhD degree to Shakeel Ahmed, a student of the Department of Electronics, on completion of his thesis titled 'Scattering of electromagnetic wave by perfect electromagnetic conductor (PEMC) cylinders,' says a press release. Shakeel Ahmed has completed his thesis under the supervision of Professor Dr. Qaisar Abbas Naqvi.
He has contributed 10 international and three local research papers to different journals of international repute. The news
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