Pak students not paid stipend in China since April
Lahore, Jan 31: Pakistani students, studying in China under the Cultural Exchange Scholarship Programme of the federal government, are finding themselves stranded as they have not been receiving their monthly stipend for almost nine months.
At present, over 300 Pakistani students are enrolled in various Chinese universities and institutes of higher education for masters and doctoral degrees in various fields, including engineering, sciences, medicine and social sciences.
In an email to this correspondent, some students mentioned plight of the Pakistani students, saying the delay in monthly stipend was creating problems for them. The students said they were scrutinised from across the country through a testing process to get the 'Cultural Exchange Scholarship' for higher studies and they were also entitled to get the per month stipend of US $200 for masters and US $300 for doctoral programmes.
They said the monthly stipend was stopped without any intimation from April 2009 and despite repeated attempts, they were unable to have a clear picture of the whole situation.
"But for the last intake, September 2009 onwards, it was announced that we were entitled to get US $ 300 and US $ 400 per month according the revised project," they said, adding: "However, the announcement has been materialized." The students said that despite repeated attempts, they never received a satisfactory answer from the Ministry of Education, adding people at Pakistani Embassy in China were so "cooperative" that they never bothered to receive the phone calls and 'by chance when they receive they utter the same words which we anticipate before calling them.'
"We, Pakistani students envy other students of different countries who get the stipends from their respective countries smoothly and on time," commented Mudassar Shah, a student of Journalism and Information Communication at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.
Khalid Khan, a PhD candidate at the Chemistry Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, and Zahoor Ahmed from the Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, said most of the students belonged to middle class families and many of them were even married.
"We cannot ask for our monthly spending from our families back in our country," they said, adding: "Although our prime duty is research but most of the time we have to cope with financial matters that deal with our daily food and clothing."
"It may be astonishing for you to know that few of us even take one time meal in a day to survive the life," they added.
"Particularly during winter, China experiences the worst cold and temperature goes -10, so we think hundreds of times before buying warm clothes to protect ourselves," commented Mudassar Shah.
He said it was compulsory for doctoral degree candidates to publish or present their scientific research work in esteemed and scholarly conferences and journals but unfortunately, the financial constraints did not allow him and his fellows to fulfill the basic requirements of the doctoral degree.
The Pakistani students have also appealed to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take notice of the situation and provide them relief.
Muzaffar Aman Zia, Deputy Education Advisor from the Ministry of Education, said the delay was partly because of approval process of the revised project under which the amount of stipend had been increased. He said the ministry was trying hard to get the required funds released, adding that the ministry had to receive funds for this particular project from the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
He said the last batch, sent to China, was informed that they might face delay in connection with the stipend. He, however, said the stipend problem had started from July 2009, adding that a total of 302 Pakistani students were enrolled in institutes of China at present.
When contacted, HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail H Naqvi said the revision of the project took time owing to which the students had to face the delay. He said so far the HEC had received only 30 percent of the development funds, adding as soon as the funds were released the students studying on scholarships abroad would be the priority. The newsYour Comments
LUMS, FAST-NU fully-funded scholarships
Lahore: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced enhancing of fully-funded scholarships to 50 students each admitted to the Lahore University of Management Sciences and FAST National University under their National Outreach Programmes from the next year.
The fully-funded scholarships will be given by the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF), when its existing Rs4 billion endowment would rise to Rs6 billion in the next financial year. The chief minister asked finance minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira to ensure Rs2 billion allocation for the PEEF endowment fund every year till it would reach Rs10 billion in the next three years.
With this initiative, he said, the LUMS' funds could be utilised to bring more poor but talented students in its fold.
The chief minister was speaking at a PEEF function at his secretariat organised to honour the 20 PEEF scholars, who got admission to LUMS under its National Outreach Programme (NOP) on Saturday.
Currently, the PEEF and LUMS will equally share to fully-fund the 20 scholars, selected and admitted to the university by the LUMS management. Of 20 scholars, six belonged to Sahiwal district, five to Lahore, three to Rawalpindi and one each to Rahim Yar Khan, Vehari, Multan, Khanewal, Sargodha and Gujrat.
Mr Sharif said the Punjab government had ensured that the talented students must be supported so that they might not lose opportunity to get quality higher education, which they deserve. "Till now, only money and `sifarish' have ruled and students belonging to well-off families use to usurp all higher education facilities," he observed.
By facilitating all the talented students in the province through PEEF, the chief minister said it was a step to move towards "soft revolution" and block the "bloody revolution" to take place in society.
The chief minister said no successive governments looked after the talented students, as the politicians remained busy in getting loans and then get them written off.
Mr Sharif, who himself is PEEF chairman, said fund vice-chairman Dr Amjad Saqib had initially resisted the idea of partially funding LUMS students selected through NOP, saying that this money could help fund hundreds of students in the pubic sector higher education institutions.
The CM said he, however, insisted that the PEEF objectives would remain unfulfilled, if talented students could not get to the world-renowned top educational institutions in Punjab. He said the fund would help the impoverished segments of society to grow and asked the PEEF scholars to be proud that they won the scholarships despite acute financial constraints of their families.
Stating that the PEEF was utilising funds in a most transparent manner, the chief minister said funding for talented students was the only way and a sure recipe to empower youth.
The chief minister lauded the endeavours of Syed Babar Ali bearing fruits in the shape of LUMS and added that he did what the education department and the government should have done long ago. He urged MNAs and MPAs to promote the cause of education and help poor but talented students.
Speaking on the occasion, LUMS vice-chancellor Dr Ahmed Jan Durrani said almost half of the university students were on financial aid, while about 20 per cent students were seeking quality education at LUMS, which was on a par with world's top institutions like MIT. He vowed that the LUMS would become MIT of Pakistan. He also told the PEEF scholars that he himself was an example of achievement as he started his education in a public sector school "Tat school" and rose to the position of the LUMS VC.
FAST-NU's Dr Arshad Husain said the university was giving `Qarz-i-Hasna' to its students on only 10 per cent interest. He said the FAST-NU and PEEF had also signed an MoU to jointly fund poor but talented students.
PEEF scholars' two representatives Daniyal Khan and Syed Parveen Javed said it was a great opportunity that they were able to seek education at LUMS, which never came to their list of prospective institutions for being very expensive. "One never knows where destiny takes you," the girl student said.
PEEF scholar Asim Ali's father Munawwar Ahmad said he was working at a motorcycle workshop in Sahiwal and had middle qualification, while his wife was illiterate. Another scholar Haroon's father Fakhar Mumtaz said he was a tailor at Mayo Hospital's orthopaedic workshop. Later, Chief Minister announced that Daanish School Project has been 'squeezed' to setting up of three to five schools as a pilot project instead of 15 schools as decided earlier.
Visibly disturbed over the continuous criticism of the Daanish schools having an estimated cost of Rs1 billion per school, the chief minister said the initiative must be understood in a perspective that why such an expensive brick and mortar project was launched.
"When Aitchison College was built or a Cadet College or a large private school was built, no one made hue and cry because it was meant for the elite class," he said.
The chief minister said this situation was sending a feeling among poor segments of society that it was not their Pakistan, demanding "this division and apartheid must be ended to stop the bloody revolution".
Admitting that the Daanish schools would involve huge current expenditure, the chief minister said no one spoke about the billions of rupees plundered by politicians.
He also regretted that 80 per cent of the population's resources were being eaten up by 20 per cent population, depriving the have-nots of even the most basic facilities of education and health.
Mr Sharif said only talented students, having weak financial position, would be admitted to the Daanish schools. At present, he said, construction is in progress in three schools in south Punjab. Dawn
UVAS to hold final exams 'online'
Lahore: The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) will hold online examinations for the final term of undergraduate and postgraduate students at the varsity's city campus and Ravi campus simultaneously, it has been learnt on Saturday.
The process consists of every student solving his question paper while sitting on a computer. The examinations will continue until February 13th. UVAS Vice Chancellor Dr Nawaz had directed the university administration to introduce online examinations. Earlier, the mid-term examinations of the students were also taken online, which proved to be successful.
The university faculty and students have expressed their full confidence in the process of online examinations and have hailed this as a 'positive' step by the administration. Daily times
GCU marked Salam's anniversary
Lahore: The Government College University (GCU) Salam Chair organised a special function in collaboration with the Jones Physics Society to mark the 84th birth anniversary of Nobel Laureate Prof Abdus Salam.
The event was kicked off with the screening of a documentary about the great scientist. A large number of photographs of Prof Abdus Salam were also put on display.
Later, Prof G Murtaza gave a detailed biographical account of Prof Salam's life, starting from his humble beginnings in his hometown Jhang and from there to Government College Lahore and then on to Cambridge University UK.
Dr Hassan Shah gave a brief introduction to the importance of the theme of unification in Physics and explained why Prof Salam's work was considered so important within the context of unification.
Dr Asim Malik gave a talk on the electroweak theory, the work for which Prof Salam received the Nobel Prize in 1979.
Inter School Quiz
Lahore: Zabreen Tariq of the Punjab Girls High School Township Branch has won the annual Inter School Quiz of the 5th brain of Lahore competition on Saturday.
Chairman of Punjab Education Foundation Raja Muhammad Anwar distributed the awards among the wining students.
Renowned columnist Munnu Bhai, Dr Ajmal Niazi, Tahir Yousaf, Chairman TEDDS, and Mohyuddin Ahmad Wani, MD PEF, were also present.
Chairman of Punjab Education Foundation Raja Muhammad Anwar said the Chief Minister had initiated endowment fund project worth four billion rupees besides launching of five billion rupees project under the umbrella of Punjab Education Foundation in different districts of the Punjab.
The competition was arranged by the Punjab Education Foundation at Trust school Thokar Niaz Baig campus in which 241 male and female students of private and public sector schools participated. The news
School renovation left incomplete
Karachi: Residents of Mubarak Village are looking towards the government for completion of repair work of a secondary school which was initiated two years ago but was stopped without any reason.
The project was announced by Karachi Nazim Mustafa Kamal during a visit to the village. He also issued necessary directives to the departments concerned for repair/reconstruction of the secondary school for boys.
However, all of a sudden the project's contractor left the work half done causing disappointment among the villagers, students and their parents in particular.
The girls primary school building is also in dilapidated condition which was built several years ago but at present it direly needs repair.
About 30 kilometres from the City's centre, the centuries-old Mubarak Village is located in Keamari Town. It is a small but scenic fishermen's hamlet, with a population of 10,000 Baloch people.
Fishing is their basic source of income, they say. "Abject poverty has never allowed most villagers to study. Lack of basic facilities including jetty, health, electricity and education are the primary problems and the authorities are indifferent to their plight, they complained.
"We had several times informed the government about our problems but it has never paid heed to our complaints," says Khair Bibi, a fisherwoman who lost her ailing daughter, Razia, on their way to City hospital. She said a dispensary, established in 1996, was still without proper medical facilities. No medical officer had ever been appointed in the village.
The villagers said that the school project, announced two years ago, filled them with hope but the project was left in midway. The nation
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