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HEC postgraduate studies programme in France

190 PhD students to leave for France in Sept
Lahore, June 25, 2008: The French Embassy in Islamabad, along with the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan, has launched the 2008 edition of their programme of postgraduate studies in France.

A reception hosted by director of Alliance FranÁaise de Lahore, Matthieu PINEL, at a local hotel to celebrate the departure of the 2008 batch of Pakistani students.

In his speech, the director praised the students who had passed the competitive selection and wished them best of luck for their studies in France. He reminded them that it was an opportunity for them to act as ambassadors of Pakistan during their stay in France and hoped they would also become ambassadors of France upon their return in Pakistan.

The growing attraction of Pakistani students towards France, especially in the last 5 years, has led 102 students to start a Masters degree and/or a PhD (in various fields: sciences, social studies, economics) in France in 2005, 147 in 2006 and 160 in 2007. For 2008, a strict selection process was conducted all over the country and as a result 190 students will join the French universities in September 2008 at PhD level. The s students for this program have been selected through the HEC selection process on the basis of academic merit and interviews with the French professors. The selected candidates are undergoing French language training in Pakistan at one of the four French Cultural Centres (Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi). As many as 27 students are leaving from Faisalabad and 48 from Lahore. After the successful completion of the training programme by the end of June 2008, the selected candidates will travel to France where they will again take up an advanced training course in French enabling them to effectively carry out their further studies in French. Students are supported by: the French Embassy which funds French language classes in Pakistan and France, the French Government which grants them free tuition in the French universities, and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan which provides them with full PhD scholarships.

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College DOs demand withdrawal of affiliation fee
Lahore: Eepressing concern over the affiliation fees charged by public sector universities from government colleges, the District Officers (Colleges) have demanded the higher authorities review the prevailing situation. They further said the requirement of affiliation after introduction of every new discipline was not justified adding, for this purpose, separate fees were demanded by the universities each time when a new subject was introduced in a particular college.

The issue regarding affiliation of government colleges came under discussion at a meeting held on Tuesday. Secretary Higher Education Punjab Arifa Saboohi chaired the meeting while DOs (Colleges) from across the province were also present.

A participant of the meeting, seeking anonymity, said that most of the Dos, expressing concern, said the Punjab University (PU) and the Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan were charging hefty amounts as affiliation fees from the government colleges while Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB) was not charging any fee from the public colleges for this purpose.

They further said the colleges were also required to seek affiliation from the universities every time when a new subject was introduced adding separate fees were also demanded for this purpose which was not justified.

It is learnt that Secretary Education told the participants of the meeting that the matter, regarding collection of affiliation fees especially after introduction of every new subject, would be reviewed.

Sources said the DOs also highlighted the issue of non-functional colleges saying because of this colleges were operating in rented buildings adding in such circumstances government colleges were also being denied affiliation by the universities. They further said shortage of teaching staff and absence of libraries and laboratories in government colleges were also hurdles in connection with affiliation.

Sources further said the matter, regarding incomplete schemes of colleges, also came under discussion and it was informed that many development schemes of colleges were still incomplete. It was informed that schemes launched by district government were left incomplete in many colleges after colleges' repatriation to provincial government from district governments in 2006. Citing an example, a DO said development scheme of Government Girls College Phoolnagar, Kasur, started by district government, was abandoned after colleges' repatriation adding even the provincial government also provided required funds.

Secretary Higher Education was further informed that although some district governments had completed schemes afterwards yet most of the schemes in other districts were abandoned and were still incomplete.

The monitoring of colleges also came under discussion, however, DOs informed that the previous management of the department had barred them from visiting colleges. It is learnt that Secretary Higher Education has asked the DOs to submit reports regarding incomplete schemes, affiliation matters and other issues so that an action can be taken in this regard. The News

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