Rs3.33 billion embezzlement detected in HEC
Islamabad, July 24: The audit authorities have detected Rs3.331 billion embezzlement on account of mismanagement, irregularities and losses in the accounts of Higher Education Commission (HEC) during the last year.
The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), in its report, has raised 51 audit objections on the HEC's accounts, 22 of these pertain to the irregularities and non-compliance, 29 to the internal control weaknesses and one highlights the fraud of 12 laptops.
The audit report made several observations in five categories including irregular awards of work costing Rs2.69 billion, non-recovery of Rs153.53 million, loss to the Commission worth Rs107.68 million, overpayments worth Rs93.93 million, unjustified payments of Rs76.26 million to contractors, non-imposition of liquid damages and non-obtaining of insurances amounting to Rs105 million and misappropriation of 12 laptops worth Rs 1.0 million.
The report said various universities awarded Rs2,696.54 million contracts to the blue-eyed contractors without adopting proper tendering procedure and criteria of Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).
Due to the negligence of the officials of different universities, the Commission suffered a loss of Rs93.93 million on account of overpayments, such payment of house rent ceilings at higher rates, non-deduction of rebate, inclusion of extra amounts in item's rate and on account of price escalation of material and others.
The report observed that the HEC incurred a loss of Rs107.68 million, due to non return of PhD scholars from abroad after completion of their degrees, due to acceptance of work at higher rates beyond permissible limits, non-acceptance of the lowest bids and imprudent decisions by the officials of the universities.
According to the audit report, the HEC officials could not recover Rs153.93 million due to non-encashment of performance security on default of contractors and risk and cost charges.
A number of unjustified payments worth Rs76.26 million were made to the contractors, including the non-execution of Bill of Quantities item, extraordinary change in the scope of work and extra expenditures in different projects.
The report identified the misappropriations and mismanagement of more than Rs10 million in the HEC accounts due to mis-procurement of contracts without arrangement of competition and non-obtaining of insurances.
HEC to extend Fee Waiver Scheme
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to expand its Fee Waiver Scheme for the students of universities of southern Punjab and interior Sindh.According to an HEC official, earlier the scheme was benefitting the students of Balochistan, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan and now it would be extended to the universities of Multan, Bahawalpur and D.G Khan in south Punjab and Interior Sindh.Under this scheme, bright students from less developed areas are provided tuition fee support while pursuing higher education at masters and doctorate levels, the official said.
HEC invites applications for PhD scholarships
Islamabad: In line with the government's decision to increase the number of scholarships and to meet the targets under Mid Term Development Framework MTDF 2010-15, Higher Education Commission (HEC) has invited applications for award of indigenous scholarships for PhD studies in Pakistani HEC recognised universities and degree awarding institutes.
The scholarships are being offered for the academic year 2013-14 in all areas of studies and disciplines under the project title 'Indigenous PhD Fellowship for 5000 Scholars-Phase-II.'Scholarships will be awarded discipline wise and as per Federal Government Provincial Quota policy approved by the Government of Pakistan.
HEC announces Hajvery Sufism Chair
Islamabad: To undertake various academic activities for the promotion of the values of peace, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to establish a Hajvery Sufism Chair at one of its universities.
HEC Chairman Dr Javaid Laghari stated this at a recent event of the Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences (IUCPSS), an alliance of 16 universities across the country. The main purpose of the chair would be conduct academic activities for the promotion of the values of peace, tolerance, and interfaith harmony and towards the understanding and propagation of sufism. The chair has been dedicated to Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh who was great Muslim Saint and devoted his life for preaching the message of Islam. He was a great author of his time and wrote many books, including 'Diwan-e-She'r'; 'Minhajuddin'; 'Al-Bayan Lahal-Al-Ayan'; 'Israrul Kharq Wal-Mauniyat'; 'Behrul Quloob'; 'Kitab Fana Wa Baqa'; 'Birri'ayat Be-Huqooq-Ullah'; 'Kashful Israr'; 'Sharah-e-Kalam'; and 'Kashful Mahjub'.
Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh had brilliant knowledge of the Holy Quran, tradition, history, jurisprudence and logic etc. that is testified by the treasure trove in the classic 'Kashful Mahjub'. He lived in Lahore for 21 years and died at the age of 65 in 465 A.H., in Lahore. The supreme mission of the saint was to make the people understand true Islam. He had great skill in discourses, debates and profoundness of thought. Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh, as referred to in 'Kashful Mahjub' had written seven other books. He also travelled extensively throughout the world including Amul in Tabaristan, Farghana, Azerbayjan, Tabrez, Baghdad, Balkh, Merv, Baward in Turkman, Damascus, Samarkand, Eygpt, Herat, Nishapur, Hijaz, Isphahan, Khurasan and Kirman.
Dr. Laghari asked senior Fellow HEC and Member Governing Board University of Health Sciences Lahore Professor Dr. Hussain Mubashir Malik to prepare a working paper for the consideration of the HEC to establish the chair.
IUCPSS Chairman Professor Dr. Muhammad Nizamuddin termed the announcement of establishment of Sufism chair by HEC chairman as a positive step and need of the hour. He extended thanks on behalf of the IUCPSS for accepting the proposal of the consortium members, and over collaborative efforts for the promotion of social sciences in the country.
Renowned columnist and writer Atta-ul-Haq Qasimi appreciated the HEC initiative. He said that it is need of hour to promote the true message of Islam, which is based upon affection, mutual respect, peace and as preached by all Muslim saints in the sub-continent. Professor Dr Hussain Mubashir Malik hoped that this Sufism chair would open a new chapter in Pakistan and it would lead to the formation of a role model institution followed by inculcation of peace, tolerance and brotherhood among the people of Pakistan.
AIOU admissions for fall semester start
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will start its admissions for the Autumn Semester 2013 from Matriculation to MA-MSc level programmes in different disciplines today (July 22).
This was announced by AIOU Director Admissions Syed Zia-ul-Hasnain. He said that admission forms and prospectuses for all programmes offered in the fall semester could be obtained from any AIOU office in the country. Admission forms along with the required fee could be submitted at any branch of the Habib Bank Limited, First Women Bank, Bank Alfalah, Allied Bank and at the designated branches of the National Bank of Pakistan and Muslim Commercial Bank. The detail of designated branches is available in the prospectuses as well as in the regional offices. Fee in the shape of bank draft-pay order would not be accepted. The last date for submission of admission forms is August 16, 2013.
Computerised admission forms have already been sent to all continuing students. They can also download the continuing admission forms from the website (www.aiou.edu.pk) of the university and deposit in any designated bank branch with fee till due date (August 16).
Five Pakistani universities selected for EU research grant
Islamabad: Five Pakistani universities have been selected for award of research grant under Erasmus Mundus STRoNG TiES (Strengthening Training and Research through Networking and Globalisation of Teaching in Engineering Studies), a project under the Erasmus Mundus Programme supported and funded by the European Union.
The Pakistani universities selected for award of grant under the programme include Mehran University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro, National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad, Muhammad Ali Jinnah University, Islamabad, University of Punjab, Lahore and Lahore University of Management Sciences.
The main disciplines covered under the programme include science, technology, engineering and mathematics with special emphasis over electrical and electronics engineering; information and communication technology; photonics; biomedical engineering; computer engineering; energy and power systems; informatics and; telecommunication engineering.
Under Erasmus Mundus STRoNG TiES Programme, forty-three (43) researchers submitted their individual research proposals from Pakistani universities in November 2012 and won the award. The programme is implemented under the facilitation of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan. HEC Chairman Dr Javaid R. Laghari was invited by the European Union Science Forum last year to deliver a keynote address at the EU Parliament and he had subsequent meetings with EU officials to increase Pakistan's share in both research grants and scholarships, the outcome of which was positive and is evident with the current awards. Following that, the Research and Development Division of HEC shared this information with Pakistani universities and encouraged and guided them to apply for EU research grant. The news