Laptop scholarships in Punjab

Students in grip of laptop euphoria
Lahore, Jan 23: The 'Laptop Scholarship' announced by the Punjab Chief Minister has made the bright students of public sector institutions enthusiastic, most of them checking the Chief Minister's Youth Initiative website on a daily basis, hoping to find their names published there.

Till Sunday, some 110,351 brilliant students studying in BS (Honours), masters, M.Phil and PhD classes in public sector colleges and universities, besides high-achievers of the boards in matriculation examinations across Punjab, have been registered for the scholarship.

Though the registration date for the regular morning classes' students expired on January 15, the evening students of Replica Programme can get themselves registered till January 25.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had initially announced the grant of 100,000 laptops for the public sector students scoring above 70 per cent. However, the number of laptops was later enhanced to 125,000 in view of students' enthusiasm and protests staged by those studying in evening classes, who were initially excluded.

"The motivation and enthusiasm behind this scheme is to help students rise above problems and hurdles they face in their path to gain knowledge and excel professionally," says CM Shahbaz Sharif.

Those in government service and seeking higher education also want to be considered for the scholarship. Though this segment cannot agitate like evening classes students, they are trying to make their voices heard, arguing they too can't afford to purchase laptops on their own given their meager salaries. Among them, those serving public institutions in up to BPS-16 are more vocal.

Though the scheme may prove beneficial for the shining students, it is taking a heavy toll on the backend officials of various educational institutions who are engaged for the massive data collection, update and sifting without getting an extra buck.

"This initiative has boggled us, as we are being asked to continuously update the lists most of the time within one-day deadline, with a warning that in case of loss of any student's data the department concerned will be held responsible," an 'affected' official said.

"With one-day deadline, we are verifying each student's data from about 1,250-page file," they said last week. The loadshedding had made this exercise tougher and replacement of desktop computers with laptops could help expedite the work, they suggested. Dawn

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AIOU admissions for postgraduate programmes
Islamabad: Admission of postgraduate programmes of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) for Spring Semester, 2012 are continued across the country and the last date for submission of admission form is January 23.

Admission forms and prospectuses of MS/M.Phil and Ph.D programmes can be obtained from the main campus of university at Islamabad as well as from its 36 regional campuses around the country, said a press release issued here on Saturday.

For admission in MS and M.Phil programmes, passing the test of GAT (General) of NTS while for admission in Ph.D programmes, passing GAT (Subject) test is compulsory. NTS (general/subject) results are valid for the period of two years. Those who already passed their GAT (General/Subject) are advised to submit their application with previous results. The news

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Inter-Schools Maths Olympiad on 29th
Islamabad: Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges will hold an Inter-Schools Maths Olympiad on January 29 in Islamabad.

All the students of public and private schools from Rawalpindi and Islamabad can take part in the 7th Inter-Schools Maths Olympiad (ISMO) 2012, said a press release issued on Sunday.

The competition has been arranged to provide opportunity to the students of primary and middle classes to exhibit their talent and get recognition as well as the awards. The main objective behind conducting this competition is to prepare students for the International Mathematics Olympiad. The competition is to provide a chance for students of class 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th to prove their potential and get prizes ranging from Rs 1,000 to 30,000. app

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Three HEC scholars return from abroad after completing studies
Islamabad: Three scholars who were funded by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for their post-doctoral studies, have returned after completing their studies from abroad.

The scholars, including Dr. Saif ur Rehman Kashif, Dr. Tariq Aziz and Dr. Zafar Ullah, have conducted their research in three different subjects related to agriculture. Dr. Saif completed his studies at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), where he conducted research on calcium carbide as a source of ethylene and studied its effects on vegetables especially okra, chillies and tomato. His research results indicated that by the application of calcium carbide in vegetables, 30-40 per cent yield can be increased which may result in much higher return to the farmers.

He received training for Laboratory Biosafety and Blood Borne Pathogen, Chemical Waste Management, and Packing and Shipping of Infectious Materials as per US Department of Transportation regulations. He also learned molecular techniques which he may utilise in his future studies at university level in Pakistan. Dr. Saif has rejoined his parent institution, the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF).

Dr. Tariq Aziz, an Assistant Professor at UAF, joined the University of Western Australia's School of Plant Biology for his post-doctoral study. He worked on a research project aimed at increasing phosphorus (P) efficiency in agriculture, as more than 90 per cent of Pakistan's soil has its deficiency.

Salinity, drought and nutrient deficiency, and in particular phosphorus deficiency are problems common to both countries. Dr. Aziz's project focuses on exploring the mechanisms which native plants have adopted to cope with phosphorus deficiency in soil. He is particularly interested in Ptilotus (an Australian genus) as it has the unique ability to maintain its growth at both low and high phosphorus.

Besides, Dr. Aziz is also working in a collaborative study on differential gene expression in two wheat genotypes under phosphorus deficiency. This project will generate a genetic marker for large-scale screening of wheat germplasm for phosphorus efficiency. In recognition of the work done by Dr. Aziz, University of Western Australia has conferred on him a position of Adjunct Lecturer for a period of three years.

Similarly, Dr. Zafar Ullah pursued his post-doctoral fellowship at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG), University of Adelaide, under the supervision of Dr. Mark Tester, a world-renowned scientist.

Dr. Zafar has specialisation in plant stress physiology, which he continued during his post-doctoral research. He worked as a team member of the trans-disciplinary research group and learned several new techniques. He developed a strong linkage with the academia and researchers in Australia and wishes to exploit the peer-networking for future research and extension programmes between Pakistan and Australia. The news

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