Hundreds of illegal appointments made in FDE
Islamabad, July 19: The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) which oversees schools and colleges in the country has noticed incidents of widespread corruption and mismanagement, including hundreds of illegal appointments and out-of-turn promotions and postings.
According to official documents available, the FDE had made 471 non-teaching and 171 teaching appointments in 2009 in violation of regulations. These positions were never advertised and were filled on verbal orders from people in the ministry of education.
Although the matter was discussed by the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Education, its Chairman Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali appeared to be more interested in the verification of lawmakers' academic qualification than in this issue.
Reliable sources told this correspondent that instead of taking action against the people responsible for the wrongdoing an attempt was being made to hush up the matter.
According to the documents, 130 Matric Trained Teachers (MTT) were inducted by the FDE without advertising the posts and without meeting other requirements.
Unlike the 440 advertised MTT posts for which proper written tests and interviews were held, the 130 posts were filled in the same cadre through walk-in interviews.
Similarly, 41 positions of Trained Under Graduate Teachers (TUGT) were filled in a similar manner; no tests and interviews, but just a formality of walk-in interviews.
Statistics about unauthorised recruitments in the non-teaching cadre show that 471 such positions were filled in complete violation of rules.
In 2009, the FDE inducted two assistants, one head clerk, seven steno-typists, six accountants, 20 UDCs, 160 LDCs, and 276 naib qasids without meeting the standard procedure.
More than a dozen deputy directors of the FDE are working as directors on a temporary basis and enjoying perks and privileges of the positions. Since the FED is being run on an ad-hoc basis, people are getting positions of their liking in an irregular manner.
During a recently-held meeting of the NA Committee on Education, Chairperson of Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) Dr Shaheen Khan, who is looking after FDE as its additional charge, admitted that more recruitments than the advertised positions had been made.
She expressed her inability to tell the committee under whose orders the unlawful appointments had been made. She said that despite her best efforts she could not get access to the relevant official record.
In the committee, most members were in favour of cancellation of all such appointments, but a few others opposed the move, saying that once appointment letters had been issued it would be difficult to undo the process.
Despite best efforts, former Education Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, who is currently looking after the ministry of industries, and incumbent Education Minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali were not available for comment. DawnYour Comments
AIOU launches video conferencing facility
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is planning significant technological changes to keep the students informed about assignment marks, improve e-learning facility and increase tutor-pupil interaction through video conferencing.
Video conferencing facility is being introduced in 10 districts, which would be later extended to 36 others so that the students could interact with teachers and obtain required information, said AIOU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Nazir Ahmed Sangi, in an interview. "The university has set for itself the challenge to educate the faculty members about technology," said Sangi. He said the university has hired 40 faculty members and announced another 41 vacancies for better drafting of interactive teaching material and assessment system.
To address students' complaints about assignment marks and missing mark sheets, the VC said under a new mechanism, the university would inform the students about assignment marks two months prior to the final result. Earlier, it was a cumbersome task to address assignment related issues of more than 600,000 students', as they were not informed about the marks before the final result. "Soon, the assignment marking system will go online and the students will be able to register complaints in case of any ambiguity," the VC said.
Another novel initiative of Urdu E-learning was recently launched by the AIOU to diminish gap between the students and the teachers.
Through this system, students and teachers from across the country including rural areas would be able to interact with each other through computers. The record of their whole conversation will be available at the AIOU website.
Initially, the system is introduced to facilitate the post-graduate students and soon it will be available for students of all levels. The students from rural areas will be trained so that they can benefit from this e-learning facility. To curb forgery in AIOU examination system, the VC said the university is stepping ahead to improve assessment system by punishing the culprits, that also includes expulsion from the university for up to three months.
British Council approves 3 projects for local youth
Islamabad: In a bid to introduce the concept of active citizenship among youth, British Council in collaboration with Special Talent Exchange Programme (Step) has approved three projects proposed by youth groups from different universities based in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Under these projects, youth will run variety of activities in their targeted areas to bring much needed social change in their locality. To run their projects, students will be provided with a limited fund for a limited period. The approved projects are aimed at mobilising youth for active participation in community development activities. The projects titled 'Social Action Projects' are part of British Council's 'Active Citizen Programme,' a youth development initiative where 50,000 Pakistani youth from all over the country, between 18-35 years, will gain confidence, leadership skills, understand active citizenship and plan their social action projects. All these activities are planned under a three-year project will continue from 2009 to 2012. In the year 2009, around 3,000 youth was trained for active community development while the target for 2010 is 5,000.
Recently Step trained 50 students nominated by prominent universities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi under his project. In near future, similar number of selected youth from other sections of the society like business community and media will also participate in the program and will propose such social actions projects to bring change in their community. In other cities, the program will be carried out by organization like Parliamentarian of Pakistan, FACES Lahore, Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO), Hyderabad, Habib University Foundation (HUF) Karachi, Sight Savers International Islamabad, Institute of Development Studies Peshawar, Dost Welfare Foundation Peshawar and Children First Muzaffarabad.
University students from Islamabad and Rawalpindi took keen interest in proposing cost effective projects for social development in their target localities. For these projects, groups of students will be provided Rs100,000 to 150,000 for the period of one year. The projects are based on the concept of 'Smart' that is an abbreviation of specific, measurable, achievable, reducible and time bound.
This year, the student of National University of Science and Technology (Nust) plans to provide free food to slums in G-11. The students will convince big hotels to spare the leftover for the poor living in those areas and will make an arrangement to transport that food to the said locality. Another group of students from Case University have targeted Aabpara Market for their social action project. They will lobby to replace polythene bags with paper bags in order to bring an environment friendly social change in the commercial areas of the capital city.
A group of students from University College of Islamabad (UCI) plans to educate children working in the Industry and Trade Centres of G-9, G-10 and G-11. They will take their free classes in the morning from 7 to 8 am in a house located in the same area. The news