Sindh University crippled | Twin cities protests

Sindh University crippled by worsening security situation
Karachi, Jan 04: The Sindh University (SU), Jamshoro, is currently facing a terrible law and order situation, as criminals who enjoy the support of certain political parties are on a rampage and have resorted to targeting teachers.

After the brutal murder of Prof Bashir Channer, SU Director Student Affairs, on Monday, Director Campus Security Sajjid Memon is reportedly also receiving death threats, officials said. This has further panicked the teachers, who often face threats and abuse in the classroom.

The killing of Prof Channer has exposed gross mismanagement and a lack of security at the institution, which has left the faculty completely vulnerable. A relative of Prof Channer said that the deceased, upon recommendations from a monitoring committee comprising university representatives and political parties, had rusticated 21 students who were associated with different political parties.

The students were found guilty and their parties, after disclaiming their loyalties, allowed the committee to take action against them. Some of the students approached the director of student affairs and argued that they be reinstated or face dire consequences. But Prof Channer refused, arguing that the decision was necessary to restore peace to the university. No one has claimed responsibility for the murder.

University officials said that Sajjid Memon is also under threat. President of the Sindh University Teachers Association (SUTA) Azhar Shah termed it a failure on the part of the university management. He said that the security present is almost completely pointless, as criminals are allowed to flee by the Rangers and the police who usually do not intervene. There are 180 SU security guards, 60 for each of three shifts, deployed at different locations to ensure protection of teachers and avert any untoward incident. Only some of them are armed.

The SUTA president said that keeping these drastic security concerns in light, the university management had called for an all parties conference (APC) some six months back in which all stakeholders, representatives of nationalist parties, the university's teachers association and concerned officials were present. The APC called for the formation of a monitoring committee which requested students not to carry firearms on the campus and sought transparency in the admission and examination system.

Despite the APC's decisions, the situation did not improve as some rowdy elements that had access to arms, began resorting to hooliganism, which created panic among the students.

There is speculation that Prof Channer might have been killed by the students that he had suspended, as they were later found guilty of burning a university bus in an examination boycott.

SUTA President said that "we suggested the university administration earlier to tighten security at entrances, making sure that all the vehicles entering the campus with the people who do not have fire weapons". Apart from this, the admission system should be made transparent, because presently some student leaders had influence over admission decisions, which was a violation of school rules and undermined the merit-based entry tests.

He gave an example of how students were able to exert such influence: "during the recent semester examination, an invigilator asked a student to sit at another bench while giving his paper. This enraged the student, who left the class and opened aerial firing, which immediately spread panic. Unfortunately, these are the ground realities that the teachers have to face when conducting classes."

Faculty members were skeptical of the police and Rangers deployed at the campus: they claim that the law-enforcing agencies had completely failed to control the law and order situation. "The university spends millions of rupees on these forces which is a huge strain on its already limited financial resources," they said. The SUTA demanded that, like the Mehran University of Engineering & Technology, the SU also needed a private security system.

The SUTA criticised Vice-Chancellor Dr Nazir A Mughul and said that he must admit his administrative failure and tender his resignation immediately. Despite several attempts, the SU's public relations officer and registrar were not available for comment on the matter. The news

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KU cuts health and physical education fee by 60 percent
Karachi: University of Karachi (KU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui has granted approval on Tuesday to cut the health and physical education masters programme's semester fees by around 60 percent. The decision has been made to gear up the department so as the society could get teachers for better health. The fee was reduced to Rs 3,100 per semester from Rs 7,500. It is pertinent to mention here that Jan 4 (today) was the last day for fee submission. Daily times

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Protests affect students' study routine
Islamabad: Protests in twin cities due to prevailing gas crisis in the country has disturbed the study schedule of students and affected their preparations for various examinations. As the protest demonstration and strike by transporters against CNG price hike entered the third day, it badly affected routine of the people especially the students.

The teachers or students who are used to travel by their own vehicles, could not manage due to violent protests wherein the protestors were usually poised to damage the personal vehicles of the road users.

Majority of the students as well as teachers were also unable to attend their respective educational institutions due to non-availability of transport and blockade of several main linking roads of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. "Protests have badly affected the study routine of the students who are already burdened with a lot of syllabus due to weekly offs and were attending extra classes to cover it", Shafqat Abbasi, a teacher of a local government college said. Amir Shehzad, a student of class 6th said "protests have spoiled my study routine and reduced attendance as I could not attend the school during the protests".

"The protests may not disturb the routine of the students of the private schools offering the facility of online study. But it is difficult for us to carry on the study smoothly", he said. It has been observed that some of the private schools of twin cities have extended winter vacations due to prevailing protests.

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USAID brings hundreds of schools back to life
Karachi: The USAID has renovated or reconstructed more than 630 schools that had been partially or completely damaged in the last year's floods, said Secretary Education Siddique Memon on Tuesday.

"The USAID core programme also focused on teacher training and creation of a learning-friendly environment for students," Memon said. A USAID-funded project, ED-LINKS, has helped develop Improved Education Management Systems (EMIS), allowing constant assessment of the standard of education at district level.

"The follow-up evaluation studies show significant improvement in the performance of teachers as well as students," he added. He said the government had specifically requested that some of USAID funds be directed towards the flood-devastated areas of Sindh and Balochistan to provide rehabilitation to the sectors most in need of it.

The programme would further assist more than 200 schools, providing them with renovation and student support packages, libraries, science and computer labs and math and science tool kits. "Head teachers are being provided with orientations to ensure effective use of the funds." The news

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27 students caught for using unfair means in BIEK exams
Karachi: Board of Intermediate Education Karachi chairman Anwar Ahmed Zai, along with his team, raided several examination centres for supplementary examinations and caught 16 students, while using unfair means, here on Tuesday. The cases of all the students were handed over to disciplinary committee. Meanwhile various vigilance teams also raided at several examination centers and caught 11 cases for usage of unfair means. On the occasion, he announced to split two vigilance teams, who did not submit their reports. Examinations are being held in 56 examination centres. Daily times

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BIEK vigilance bodies dissolved
Karachi: The chairman of the Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi on Tuesday dissolved two vigilance committees as none of them furnished a daily performance report to the board in the last four days since the commencement of the ongoing Higher Secondary School Certificate (supplementary) examinations-2011.

Speaking at a meeting of vigilance committees' members, the BIEK chief, Prof Anwar Ahmed Zai, said that it was mandatory upon them to submit their reports of the examination centers to the board's 'operation room' on a daily basis after undertaking surprise visits of the centers allocated to them.

He directed the members of the vigilance committees to discharge their duties diligently and honestly so that the cheating mafia could not succeed in its nefarious designs at the cost of hardworking students.

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School named after Malala
Karachi: The Govt Girls Secondary School, Mission Road, has been renamed as Malala Yousufzai Govt Girls Secondary School with immediate effect, says a notification issued by the Sindh education department on Tuesday.

The 14-year-old girl from Swat, Malala Yousufzai, was on Dec 19, 2011 awarded the first National Peace Award for Youth by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for her services towards promoting girls education in her hometown.

Ms Malala was earlier nominated for the International Peace Prize for Children in South Africa by Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, though the award was given to a South African handicapped girl.

Speaking to the media outside the Sindh Assembly building on Tuesday after attending the house proceedings as a special young guest, Ms Malala expressed her wish to form her own political party comprising people working for the cause of education.

"My party will operate in all four provinces," she said.

Ms Malala expressed her gratitude over the passage of a resolution in the house eulogizing her services, and said she felt extremely happy that a house which passed the Pakistan Resolution recognised her services through the resolution.

"Witnessing the house proceedings is a great honour for me but I have not yet decided to join any political party," she said while commenting on her experience of watching political leaders in the house. Dawn

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