Government college teachers promotion

Promotion of college teachers on hold for seven years
Karachi, Jan 30: Resentment is growing among a large number of teachers of government colleges over an inordinate delay in their promotions to grade 20.

The promotions have been pending since 2003. Many of the teachers awaiting their promotions have already retired, while another 16 are due to retire in March and a number of others have died during this period.

According to sources, the education department, after a much delay, has recently sanctioned 86 posts of grade 20 as against the teachers' demand for 88 posts.

Of the newly-sanctioned posts, 52 are reserved for men and 34 for women. Twenty posts of the same grade would be filled through the Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC).

"After much hue and cry, the paperwork was completed recently and now the documents have been lying with the services and general department for two weeks. We are anxiously waiting for a meeting of Board-1, which is the final authority to make approvals. The 17-member board is headed by the chief minister of Sindh," said a government college teacher, adding that the former education secretary had already signed the papers.

He further stated that no selection from the college teachers for promotion to grade 21 had been made for many years.

"The selection for this grade is made from all educational institutions functioning under the control of the education department. Prof Rasheeda Rajpar and Prof Dr Sahib Khan Channa were the last two teachers promoted to grade-21. They had retired many years ago. Keeping in view the college teachers' strength, seven senior teachers deserved to be promoted to grade 21," he said.

Commenting on the issue, Prof Saeed-uz-Zafar Khan, the principal of the Govt College for Boys, North Karachi, who is also the president of the Sindh Government College Principals' Association, said that frustration existed among senior teachers who had been waiting for promotions for a long time.

"The government must speed up the process. The Board-1 meeting should be held soon and promotions should be notified without further delay so that the teachers, especially those retiring in coming months, could get some benefit. The government must not ignore merit in the process," he said. Dawn

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KU rescheduled BCom part-II papers
Karachi: The University of Karachi has rescheduled the papers of BCom part-II annual examinations 2009 because of the Urs of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai on Jan 30 (today).

The examinations department of the university announced on Friday that the papers of economics development of Pakistan (new syllabus) and economics of Pakistan (new course) would be held on Feb 4 instead of Jan 30. The centres and timings of the exams will remain unchanged. PPI

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UK varsity misconduction
Karachi: A student, who was admitted for a Masters in Finance and Financial Law in the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), University of London, has accused the institution of racial discrimination and misconduct in providing an equal opportunity to him.

Jahanzeb Javed, a student from Karachi, sought admission in SOAS in the academic session 2006 but began his studies as a part time student from January 2007. Javed, who had filed a law suit against the SOAS in the County Court (Central London), has alleged that the university failed him on some flimsy grounds though he had fulfilled the requirement for passing the examination.

He was of the opinion that Professor Richard Alexander had acted unfairly towards him and it seemed that the professor's ego, racial discrimination and superiority complex against a member of a former subject race has played a vital role in the decision that has nearly ruined his career after spending huge amount he paid as tuition fee and other expenses involved.

"I was offered a seat on M.Sc Finance and Financial Law Studies in early September '05 and officially acknowledged later in the same month. However, the commencement date of the course was stated to be 25 September '06 because the pre-session course was underway. The Admissions Office at that instant was strictly following the school's policy. Much to my amazement, this policy was relaxed for two students in 2006," said Javed.

Pre-session consisted of 2 courses; Statistics and Law. In Statistics I scored distinction marks. Law was taught by three professors, with one of them being from the SOAS. Accordingly, the examination paper was assessed by all three professors. The external professors awarded merit and distinction marks, whereas the school's professor awarded failure.

"The pressure kept building up, to the extent that, in order to protect my mental health in January '07 I requested to be transferred to the part time status. On 22 January 07, the registry confirmed the approval of the request and advised me 'to confirm the details of the course you are dropping in 06/07.'

In this letter, the institute never mentioned any surplus/outstanding fee and had previously confirmed there will be no extra charge for conversion." Javed gave the details.

Javed alleged that the SOAS provided wrong documents to the Home Office deliberately, thus sabotaging his extension in student visa and he had to pay a ransom amount of British Pounds 500 in addition to the full time payment amounting to British Pounds 2,250.

"I passed in end of the year examination when my identity was not known but failed in another examination when my identity was known. Dr Richard Alexander asked me to provide some documents pertaining to my illness so that he could increase marks on that ground. I did not do that because I wanted to keep my academic worth intact," maintaines Javed.

Javed accuses the Home Office of giving support to the university without allowing him any chance to offer an explanation. Lawyers, appointed by the state, backed out at the last moment leaving Javed in a lurch. Left with no choice, Javed filed a complaint with the court on February 13, 2008.

"The solicitor and the barrister were adamant that the amount of compensation be raised significantly and that the case can be heard via video link since I was planning to return home.

The barrister, having filed a claim of his choice, later changed his opinion and had my funding revoked. The solicitor who was on a holiday twice at crucial moments, informed that she is no longer able to continue with the case. Prima facie, the school took advantage of this situation and refused acceptance of the last handed assignments," said Javed in a calm manner.

Meanwhile, Jahanzeb has returned to Pakistan but is enduring a miserable time at his home in Karachi. Disillusioned, bitter and shunned by close relatives, who think that he has wasted thousands of pounds on nothing. He shrugs his hands in despair and questions, "Is it my fault?"

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Shah Latif Quiz Societ
Karachi: The poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai should be included in the syllabus of academic institutions, suggested speakers at a seminar on Friday. The moot was held under the auspices of Sahar Foundation in collaboration with the Shah Latif Quiz Societ.

Sahar Foundation Chairman Iftikhar Ghazali said that through his poetry Bhittai preached respect for humanity and fostered the spirit of love, brotherhood and amity. He suggested that the poetry of Bhitai should be made part of the syllabus of academic institutions in the province.

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Language-based plays
Karachi: The Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, having the only fully equipped theatre venue in the city, is discriminating between language-based plays by charging Rs 35,000 for English plays and Rs 25,000 for Urdu plays.

"Our rates depend on the language of the play", an official at the Arts Council said. He further added, "We charge less for Urdu plays because Urdu is our mother tongue and we need to support it in any way we can."

According to the official, rates at the Arts Council differ with English or Urdu but the logistic support remains the same which includes the whole stage for three hours, light and sound equipment and a back up generator. The question arises that if there is no actual cost difference then why is there lingual discrimination on charges.

"I think by doing this, they are promoting the mind set that those who are doing it in English are rich people and they charge more money from them which is not good for the future of theater in Karachi," said Zeeshan Nalwala, a professional actor and a NAPA graduate. He was of the opinion that dividing on the basis of language is not justified at all, especially when there is such a dearth of well-equipped theatre venues in the city.

He further added that if one would travel the world over, they will never find any cost difference due to language. "For example, a theater keeps on running plays in a lot of different languages at the same time. However, what makes a venue cheap or expensive is the amount of space or quantity and quality of the equipment available," Zeeshan added.

On the contrary, some consider this 'lingual discrimination' a good omen for Urdu theater. "I think it is very good that the auditorium is available at cheaper rates for Urdu plays. Urdu is our mother tongue and we as artistes should do as much as we can to make Urdu theater more accessible for everyone," said Ali Gul a member of an upcoming improvisation troupe.

Ali further added that it is good step for those government schools and colleges who want to perform Urdu theater, unlike the private institutions that stick to English theatre. However, Gul still believes that art should be independent of all these barriers. "Art in any form is art; it does not need a language. If we divide art on the basis of language, ethnicity and social groups, then we are only going to halt its progress," Gul added.

Abdul Alim Sheikhani, founder KB Thespians, a theater troupe that does both English and Urdu plays, considers this policy of the Arts Council as inappropriate.

He feels that the difference in rates is a big issue as when foreign educated students come to do theater in English, they are charged an additional Rs. 10,000 for nothing and they are not even aware of it as they are new to the theatre scene in Karachi.

"When I pay an organisation for a venue, I get the space reserved for myself. After that whether I dance in it, sleep in it or have a dinner with someone in it, it is totally my prerogative. How can you charge me on the basis of what I am doing?" questioned Sheikhani. The news

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