Government fails to release Rs 10bn to HEC
Lahore, July 20: The city universities are still awaiting for last year's grant from the Higher Education Commission (HEC), as the Federal Finance Ministry has not released remaining funds of Rs 10 billion to the supreme education body, creating problems for 78 public universities as well as 4,000 PhD scholars studying abroad.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had ordered the Finance Ministry to release funds to HEC, but only Rs 2 billion were released, despite the fact that Rs 12 billion had been promised for the financial year 2011-12.
The academicians believe the government is punishing the HEC for its stance on the issue of fake degrees of parliamentarians.
Punjab University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran said that the government had Rs 500 billion funds, but priorities and biases were the real matters. He said that the government was due to release Rs 12 billion in the last quarter, but the Finance Ministry only released around Rs 2 billion. The Punjab University is facing a deficit of Rs 330 million this year, he said.
Dr Suhail Aftab, the Punjab chapter president of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA), said that the UET vice chancellor got funds released using his influence, but the other universities, especially the Punjab University was still facing problems.
HEC Deputy Director Media and Public Relations Nasir Shah said that UET got only its share of Rs 2 billion, and that the commission was still awaiting remaining grant of Rs 10 billion.
"Our Human Resources and Faculty Development programme has been disturbed," he said, adding that indigenous and foreign PhD programmes have also suffered besides creating hurdles for post-doctoral and master-level scholarship programmes in Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan.
He said that recently launched need-based scholarship programme has been affected altogether and establishment of new campuses at Turbat and Loralai had been stopped due to non-availability of funds.
The HEC media director said that they were also facing problems to meet expenditures of 4,000 PhD scholars studying abroad. "We are also cutting development expenditures, while the whole financial system has been severely disturbed," he added. Daily timesYour Comments
AIOU allocates Rs10 million to help needy students
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has allocated Rs10 million in every academic semester to help needy students.
Besides this allocation from the university's own resources for needy students, the AIOU will soon launch a support campaign for students to collect funds from well-to-do people, said AIOU Vice Chancellor Professor Nazir Ahmed Sangi while presiding over a fundraising meeting of senior university officers here on Thursday.
The university's allocated funds are distributed among students through its regional offices to ensure their proper utilisation. The main beneficiaries of the scheme are deserving students from far-flung areas who get free textbooks and reduction or complete waiver of fees. It facilitates poor and needy students in continuing their studies.
The vice chancellor said these students could also be given small loans on easy instalments to start a domestic industry or small businesses. This fund will not only help spread education but it will also help 50% of students enrolled in technical programmes who belong to rural areas.
The idea to help poor, deprived, isolated, needy and deserving students deserves our full support that is why the university has opened bank accounts to receive donations.
Meanwhile, Country Director Mohsin Saeed, on behalf of Muhammad Naeem Abbasi Naqashbandi, chairman of the Global Relief, handed over a cheque for Rs100,000 to the vice chancellor for their contribution to the student support fund.
The vice chancellor appreciated the goodwill gesture on part of the organisation and said that the university would welcome private organisations in undertaking joint venture for rapid educational development in the country.
He said that the AIOU has also introduced a number of skill-based and job-oriented programmes to enable its students to earn their livelihood and have respectable life in society.
200 undergraduates to leave for US
Islamabad: A pre-departure orientation workshop was organised by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) for departing students here on Wednesday evening.
Students were briefed by the USEFP on the programme, visa regulations, American culture and US higher education and campus life. All students would return to Pakistan to complete their bachelor's degrees. As many as 200 undergraduate students from all parts of Pakistan will be departing over the next year for a semester of study at colleges and universities in the US as part of the Global Undergraduate Programme (UGRAD) in Pakistan. As many as 100 will travel in August-September for the fall semester and an additional 100 will go to the US in January 2013.
An initiative of the US Department of State, the UGRAD programme will send Pakistani students to over 50 campuses in the US where they will take classes along with American students, do public presentations on the culture and people of Pakistan, and be an active part of the local community they will be staying in. Since the programme began in 2010, approximately 500 Pakistani students have participated. The fellowships cover all expenses for the students including travel, lodging, stipend, and tuition.
"To see so many impressive Pakistani young people - each of you an incredibly talented representative of this great nation's bright future - is inspiring," said Brent Beemer, cultural attache at the US Embassy, who addressed the group, "To think that my country has had some role in advancing your education and helping your nation's prospects makes me feel very good, and even proud."
"The really exciting thing about this group of undergraduates is that so many of these students come from remote or economically disadvantaged areas of Pakistan. The group includes students from every province of Pakistan and 52 per cent are women. The students come from a wide variety of disciplines, including humanities and social science subjects, engineering, basic sciences, law, art and design, economics, and business administration," said Rita Akhtar, Executive Director of the USEFP.
One of the departing students, Nooranai Barkat from Gilgit, said that she is a member of youth parliament of Pakistan and she has done a lot of social work in Gilgit along with her family. She has been very active in generating funds for the flood victims and collected huge quantities of items for their rehabilitation. She hopes that her selection to complete one semester in America would definitely teach her new things so that she can implement it in her community because this scholarship also has a community service component in which the students are required to do community service there.
Khandad Khan, a student from Balochistan, said that in Loralai college he came to know about this scholarship and was thankfully selected in it. "By studying in America, and by knowing them I can change the mindsets of my people and encourage my fellow students to apply for these scholarships. From where I belong there's just one primary school. A lot of awareness and publicity of scholarships are required in Baluchistan. After coming back from the scholarship I would be in a better position to share the experience with my class fellows," he added.
USEFP, a bi-national commission established in 1950 by the governments of Pakistan and the United States, is one of 51 'Fulbright Commissions' located throughout the world. Fulbright is the flagship educational exchange programme of the United States Department of State. The mission of the programme is to promote mutual understanding between the people of Pakistan and the people of the United States through educational and cultural exchange. Since its inception more than 61 years ago, nearly 4,000 Pakistanis and more than 800 Americans have participated in USEFP administered exchange programs. In addition to the Fulbright programme, USEFP administers a number of scholarship programmes for undergraduates, teachers, journalists, and other professionals. In addition, USEFP offices in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi assist students interested in applying to study in the United States. USEFP also runs testing centres in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi administering the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, and other standardised examinations.
Competency enhancement training ends at QAU
Islamabad: The Professional Competency Enhancement Programme for Teachers (PCEPT) concluded at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU).
A total of 21 young faculty members of QAU and other public sector universities participated in the capacity building programme.
The objective of the programme was to introduce innovative teaching strategies that blend academic concept with the classroom application. PCEPT is an in-service professional orientation programme developed and sponsored by Learning Innovation Division, HEC, with the target of training faculty members of the higher educational institutions all over Pakistan.
QAU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, while addressing the certificate distribution ceremony, lauded the efforts of the Learning Innovation Division of the HEC for providing young faculty members with a wonderful opportunity of training.
"It will certainly strengthen the communication skills of the university teachers so that they can profoundly achieve the objectives of their teaching. Sending trained teachers to the classrooms, knowing how to teach and transfer knowledge to the students is a prime responsibility of the educational institutions," he said. Dr Masoom Yasinzai said that QAU provides a number of opportunities of training and capacity building to its faculty members while the university is considering the idea of establishing an endowment fund dedicated for the training of the teachers.
Professor Dr Bushra Mirza, faculty member of QAU and Course Coordinator, briefed the audience about the details of the course. She said that programme would not only increase the awareness and importance of research but also help the participants develop academic planning and management skills of the higher education. The news