Govt funds for schools | LCWU convocation

Govt lacks funds to open labs in all schools
Lahore, Jan 21: Education Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman admitted in the Punjab Assembly on Thursday that the government could not open science laboratories in most of the schools owing to paucity of funds.

He avoided giving any assurance to the House that the government would open science laboratories in all the schools and said that the members of the assembly could equip schools with science laboratories through their development funds.

On the first day of its 33rd session of the assembly, Mujtaba remained a target of the strong criticism of the members across the divide who demanded the Speaker give him stern warning or to suspend him as he had failed to hold accountability of the Education department which was feeding wrong answers to him.

Responding to the query of Treasury MPA Raheela Khadim Hussain, Mujtaba informed the House that the provincial government had allocated Rs 2 billion during 2010-11 for opening science labs in schools but the amount was diverted to the flood-hit areas.

However, Treasury MPA Naveed Anjum claimed the government had allocated Rs 2 billion for opening science laboratories in schools but they were not spent by the government for that purpose. He was of the view that the government was playing with the future of students, alleging that it allocated amount for the purpose but later, diverted it to other issues. Even Speaker Rana Iqbal directed the minister for giving assurance to the House regarding opening of science laboratories. Nevertheless, the minister avoided giving any assurance amidst claims that members could do it from their personal development funds.

The members also pointed out to the Speaker that there were certain questions which did not have answers. They lamented that the department was giving answers to their questions after three years but they were incorrect, missing or misleading.

A number of members, including Ihsanul Haq Naulatha, Azma Bukhari and many other alleged that the education minister had a habit of giving wrong answers so there should be an enquiry against him. The Speaker Rana Iqbal directed the education minister to hold departmental enquiry of wrong answers and submit a report to the assembly.

Responding to a question raised by the PML-Q's Seemal Kamran during the question-hour session, the education minister said that laptops would be provided to students purely on merit and it was the decision of the government to make every student computer literate. He said the Punjab government had started the process of distributing laptops from the higher education side and would facilitate students of the province. However, the statement of the provincial minister could not satisfy the questioner who, in her question, insisted that the minister must tell the House what measures were taken to equip the science labs in the schools of Punjab.

Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Mohammed Iqbal asked the Opposition MPA to let the proceedings continue after the answer had been given but his remarks further annoyed the PML-Q legislator who protested against the 'new trend' started in the assembly when the chair was answering on the behalf of the minister or the parliamentary secretary.

Responding to a question of PML-Q's Khadija Umer whether there were opportunities the PTC, SST teachers and lecturers of promotion, the minister replied that there were chances of promotions for them. Ehsanul Haq Nolatia of the PPP expressed dissatisfaction with the answer of a question mentioned in the answer book which, according to him, was contradictory to the facts.

Meanwhile, Deepender Sindh, member of Lok Sabha and son of Indian state Haryana's chief minister, also watched the assembly proceedings from the visitors' gallery. He was welcomed by the Speaker and other members of the House. A PML-Q member, on a point of order, also voiced concern over the deaths caused due to open manholes in the City and demanded measures to prevent such occurrences. The news

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Governor to interview PU VC slot candidates
Lahore: Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa has decided to interview the three selected candidates for the appointment of vice chancellor of the Punjab University on Jan 26.

The governor said after the Lahore College for Women University's convocation on Friday that he had received the panel of three candidates from the Chief Minister's Secretariat.

He said the chief minister had recommended Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran for his appointment as VC.

'I have decided to call the three candidates Prof Kamran, Prof Dr Zafar Iqbal Jadoon and Prof Dr Jamil Anwar on Jan 26 and interview them before fixing my seal on the PU VC appointment,' the governor said.

The CM Secretariat had moved the summary to the governor's secretariat on Jan 4. Dawn

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LCWU 9th Convocation: PM announces Rs50m fund for Benazir Chair at LCWU
Lahore: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Friday announced Rs 50million endowment fund for Benazir Bhutto Chair for Peace, Reconciliation and Development at the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) besides Rs10 million to start a sports centre for special children at the university.

Addressing the 9th Convocation of the LCWU, he announced university's main campus as IT Campus and also asked the administration to submit PC-I for inclusion of renovation of the university's historic Ganga Ram building in the next annual development plan (ADP).

The premier asked the LCWU administration to integrate the Benazir Bhutto Chair for Peace, Reconciliation and Development with the university's Women Institute for Leadership and Learning (WILL), saying that Benazir was a role model not just for women of Pakistan but of the world. He said his government was committed to the cause of women empowerment, adding that the government fully realized the importance of education and had focused on skill development for which a special ministry was also created. He said investing in education not only helped economically but also to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs).

Talking about his student life, Gilani said he used to visit the Lahore College and other colleges, including Kinnaird College and Fatima Jinnah Medical College when he was a student of the Mass Communication at the Punjab University as part of his research thesis.

"The press was not hostile as it is today," he said lightheartedly while adding "We have abolished all draconian laws and there should be more freedom," he added. The premier also announced Monday as holiday in connection with university's 9th convocation, saying Saturday and Sunday were already holidays. Earlier, Punjab Governor/Chancellor Latif Khosa gave away degrees to 885 graduates of BS, MS/MPhil and PhD scholars in Natural Sciences, Engineering, Technology and Management Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities and Islamic and Oriental Learning while the prime minister awarded gold medals to students for their outstanding academic achievements.

In her address, LCWU Vice-Chancellor Dr Sabiha Mansoor said education was the backbone of any nation and higher education more so in terms of providing future leaders with a strong knowledge base and skills which contributed to the national development. She further said the LCWU Syndicate had finally approved for setting up four new institutes in 2011, including the Women Institute of Learning and Leadership as a part of the LCWU's Strategic Vision 2020.

It is pertinent to mention here that distinguished alumni of the Lahore College for Women (LCW) included women leaders in Pakistan and abroad in diverse fields such as medicine, science and technology, engineering, art and literature, politics, human rights, social work, business, banking and finance, education, mass-media and law were also recognized in the convocation.

They included Prof Dr Bushra Mateen (Education) Ex-VC LCWU, Dr Basharat Yousaf (Medicine), Ex-Principal Fatima Jinnah Medical College, Dr Bilquis Fatima (Medicine), Ex-Principal Fatima Jinnah Medical College, Prof Urmila Sirajuddin (Education), Ex-Head Department of English, LCW, Prof Saeeda Rashid (Education) Ex-Vice-Principal, LCW, Begum Rashida Ahsan (Politics and Social Work), Prominent Politician and Social Worker, Prof Naeema Mohsin (Education) Ex-Head Department of Physics, LCW, Ms Bano Qudsia (Education), Renowned writer Urdu Fiction, Prof Salima Hashmi (Fine Arts and Human Rights) Dean, School of Visual Arts and Design, BNU and Prof Dr Arfa Sayeda Zehra (Education) Leading Educationist/Chairperson National Commission on the Status of Women.

LCWU former VC Dr Bushra Mateen was also awarded Professor Emeritus Award. Meanwhile, according to a press statement, LCWU would remain closed in connection with 9th convocation. However, examinations would be held according to the same schedule while teaching and non-teaching staff related to the examination duty would attend offices in routine. It is important to mention here that Prime Minister Gilani had announced Rs110 million for the Government College University (GCU) which included Rs100 million for university's development projects and Rs10 million for the GCU Endowment Fund, during the university's 8th Convocation in 2009.

However it is learnt the GCU had so far received only Rs10 million for its endowment fund while rest of the amount is still in the pipeline.

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Punjab gives Baboos' land to universities
Islamabad: The Punjab government has annulled a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by its predecessor with a foreign builder to construct some 300 residences for bureaucrats on a small part of state land in Lahore and instead decided to allot this tract to seven top ranking universities, free of cost.

The land measuring 700 acres, which was to be partially used for officials' residences and partly given to the builder free of cost, is estimated to have the market value of Rs28 billion, Rs5 million per kanal as per the going rate in the area, a senior official said.

He said top line educational institutions like the Institute of Business Administration Karachi, Fast, Nust, Ghulam Ishaq Khan University, Aga Khan University etc. will be allocated 100 acres each for their campuses. The area has been designated as Knowledge City.

The land is located in Rakh Dera Chall, adjacent to Defence Phase Five and Six and the Ring Road. The official said that some real estate tycoons and land developers have also been approaching the Punjab government to get this land for their projects. "By taking the final decision to make a better use of this consolidated piece for educational purposes, all the rosy plans of such elements have been nailed," he said.

He said that these wealthy people were coming out with different proposals with the prime objective of pocketing huge dividends. Nowhere in the heart of Lahore city, he said, is such huge compact piece of land available at an impressive location.

One official proposal was that a theme park should be created on this land, which was also rejected. The official said that under the cancelled MoU, the foreign constructor was to build nearly 300 residences for senior government servants and was to take the remaining land free of cost for its own housing and commercial projects.

He said that the issue of proper utilisation of land was lingering since long. Some time back, a committee headed by the provincial chief secretary was formed, which suggested the use of the land for the Knowledge City. The Punjab cabinet approved the proposal last week.

The official said that in many countries, prestigious universities were given land grants by the governments to promote establishment of esteemed institutions in different areas. He said that 100 acres of land earmarked to each university would take care of its requirements. The congestion and parking problem would also not arise.

The official said that if the housing project had been allowed to be executed, only one-third of the 700 acres would have been used for it while the builder would have taken the rest of the piece free of cost.

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GCU to set up Centre for China studies
Lahore: The Government College University (GCU) will establish a Centre for China Studies in collaboration with the Chinese universities and Punjab government and a project plan in this regard has also been forwarded to the Pak-China Bureau.

GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Khaleeq-ur-Rahman said this while talking to a 30-member delegation of students and teachers from Chinese universities during their visit to varsity on Thursday.

Higher Education Department Punjab's Secretary Dr Ijaz Munir, GCU Political Science Department Chairperson Dr Khalid Mazoor Butt and other officials were also present.

The Chinese delegation led by Southwest University of Political Science and Law Chairman Zhang Guolin and Tsinghua University Vice Chancellor Li Xiguang discussed in detail the policies of the government on education and academic environment of Pakistani universities with the Education Secretary and GCU Vice Chancellor.

Dr Ijaz Munir said the Punjab government was establishing four world-class women universities to impart quality education to the female students besides focusing on information technology and vocational training.

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GCU directorate
Lahore: Government College University (GCU) has established the Directorate of Research Innovation and Commercialisation (DIRC) to hone the research potential of the university. The directorate has been established after the approval of the university syndicate. Noted researcher Prof Dr Muhammad Zakria Butt has been appointed the first Director of the DIRC. Prior to his current assignment, Prof Zakria served Lahore Board and GCU Physics Department as Chairman. He did his PhD in Physics from the Manchester University UK.

Taking charge as the DIRC Director on Friday, Prof Zakria said the DIRC would work to train young researchers and seek sustainable international and national collaborations to broaden the impact of research projects and their sustainability.

He said young faculty members needed to be trained in effective bidding for external sources of funding, inter-cultural communication, advance research techniques and strategic skills like influencing, negotiating, presenting and embedding international partnership impact across institutions for developing and maintaining international networks.

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B-form compulsory for inter students
Faisalabad: The male and female students appearing in the annual intermediate examination 2012 (part-II) will have to produce their B forms before the examination to ascertain their date of birth.

This was stated by Faisalabad BISE secretary Dr Shaukat Ali Shaukat on Thursday. He said that the B-form had been made compulsory on the order of the Punjab government.

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Laptop policy irks YDA
Lahore: Young Doctors Association (YDA) expressed serious concern over removal of names of postgraduate students working in medical institutions of Punjab from lists of those registered students who would get laptops from chief minister's youth development programme. Earlier, heads of 23 medical teaching institutions had sent names of the house officers and PG students who were not getting any stipend to the CM's Secretariat. In a press statement here on Friday, YDA office bearers Dr Rana Sohail, Dr Salman Kazmi, Dr Talha Sherwani, Dr Ghulam Qasim, Dr Murtaza Bloch and others said this injustice would deprive many deserving young doctors from having laptops.

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Lahore: Punjab University Institute of Agricultural Sciences (IAS) faculty member Prof Dr Ghazala Nasim has been invited to contribute to an Encyclopaedia of Ecology titled "Biomes and Ecosystems an Encyclopaedia." The encyclopaedia, comprising six volumes, will be published by Golson Media, New York, USA. Dr Ghazala Nasim has submitted her contributions to the publishing house. It is noteworthy that Dr Ghazala Nasim is the only representative not only from PU but also from leading varsities of the country. The news

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