PU-IER percentage controversy | Absentee teachers dismissed

'Move' to revise overall percentage sparks controversy
Lahore, June 01: The Departmental Doctoral Programme Committee of the Punjab University's Institute of Education and Research (IER)'s recommendation to reduce the requirement of overall percentage marks (OPM) from 70 to 60 has sparked a controversy.

Some have termed the move an effort to favour some PhD scholars who could not achieve OPM of 70 percent required for the award of the degree. Others see it as an effort to remove ambiguity related to rules owing to which PhD students have been suffering for years.

The departmental Doctoral Programme Committee (DPC) meeting of the IER chaired by institute's director Dr Mumtaz Akhter was held on last Friday which recommended the requirement of 60 OPM instead of 70.

According to sources, around 11 PhD scholars, including a serving faculty member, belonging to various sessions from 2001 to date could not achieve OPM of 70 percent. A senior faculty member, seeking anonymity, said the rules related to OPM were clearly mentioned in the institute's prospectus according to which in order to earn PhD degree in Education a candidate is required to complete two years prescribed course work with a minimum OPM of 70. He said recommendation of the OPM requirement of 60 instead of 70 percent with retrospective effect was an evident act to allegedly favour those who could not achieve 70 percent OPM.

The faculty member said some PhD scholars had been claiming that only 50 percent marks were required to pass the course work. "If that is the case then why the DPC recommended reducing the OPM from 70 to 60," he remarked.

He claimed the notification issued in 2001 was being misinterpreted as 50 percent marks requirement was for individual course unlike complete examination of these PhD scholars.

One of the PhD scholars, however, had a different view. He said in 2001 not only the course work was reduced from two years to one year but pass marks were also reduced from 60 percent to 50 percent. He said owing to complexity surrounding the whole issue, the DPC meeting was held to remove the ambiguity. When contacted IER director Dr Mumtaz Akhter said the institute's rules were not clear about OPM requirements for PhD programme saying these rules kept changing at the time of every admission.

She said the DPC was a body which could only make a recommendation and that the final decision would be made by the Faculty Council as it was the decision-making body. Dr Mumtaz said PhD students of various sessions starting from 2001 to date had been suffering owing to ambiguous rules.

PU Doctoral Programme Coordination Committee (DPCC) Chairperson Prof Dr Shahida Hasnain said the requirement of 3 CGPA (Around 72 percent OPM) was notified by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in 2005 for award of PhD degree adding before that the university had its own rules. She said in 2001 the requirement to pass course work was 20 percent while to pass the comprehensive exam 65 percent marks were required.

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UMT Rover Crew for scouts
The University of Management and Technology (UMT) organised an introductory session of UMT Rover Crew for scouts to ensure the role of scouts and youth in society on May 26. According to a press statement, Patron Regional Boys Scouts Sahibzada Sajjad Masood Chishti was invited as the chief guest while a large number of students and faculty members attended the ceremony. The UMT is the second university of Lahore to register with the Pakistan Boys Scouts Association. The session included the introduction to the members and also motivator speeches of honorable guests. The News

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790 absentee teachers dismissed
Lahore: As many as 790 absentee teachers have been dismissed and another 106 retired on the reports of the Chief Minister's Monitoring Team on Education.

The field monitoring officers furnished 18,641 reports about absenteeism. Of these, 15,565 reports were processed and penalties imposed on absentee teachers.

At least 40 teachers were dismissed in the Attock district, two in Bahawalnagar, 20 in Bahawalpur, 25 in Bhakkar, 19 in Chakwal, 18 in Dera Ghazi Khan, 15 in Faisalabad, 31 in Gujranwala, 12 in Gujrat, three in Hafizabad, two in Jhang, 14 in Jhelum, 34 in Kasur, 30 in Khanewal, 14 in Khushab, 39 in Lahore, 15 in Layyah, 14 in Lodhran, 41 in Mandi Bahauddin, 10 in Mianwali, 39 in Multan, 15 in Muzaffargarh, eight in Nankana Sahib, 81 in Narowal, 19 in Okara, 25 in Pakpattan, four in Rahim Yar Khan, 11 in Rajanpur, 28 in Rawalpindi, and 61 in Sahiwal. Dawn

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Teachers training to cost Rs 727.72m
Lahore: Provincial Minister for Education Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman has said that 13000 teachers would be imparted in service training during next 3 years at the cost of Rs. 727.72 million. It was disclosed by the Minister while meeting with PML(N) workers, here today. Ha said that 500 Education Managers and 500 Master Trainers would be trained under this programme.

He observed that pre-service teacher training is mandatory for school teachers and in addition to that Directorate Staff Development Punjab is also conducting in service training courses for teachers. But there was no training system for the lecturers and professors of Higher Educational Institutions. This situation is resulting in financial and administrative problem. The minister further stated that under this programme 500 Managers including, Principals and Administrative Officers would be trained in administrative and financial affairs and other 500 Master Trainers, would impart training to the teaching staff of the colleges. The training centers would be setup in 30 colleges of the province. F.P. report

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Education consultant body launched
Lahore: The inaugural ceremony of the Association of Professional Education Consultants of Pakistan was held at a local hotel here on Sunday.

Begum Shehnaz Wazir Ali, special assistant to prime minister and chairperson of the Higher Education Commission, was the chief guest on the occasion while APECOP Acting Chairman Syed Abidi, General Secretary Haider Ali Khan, senior academics and others attended the event.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Shehnaz said education consultancy was not organised in the country and the APECOP would play a leading role in this regard. She said the profession was important as people needed reliable information and guidance and the government would see that they were not fleeced by fake education consultants.

Talking about higher education, Ms Shehnaz said the country had the lowest enrolment ratio, 3.5 per cent, at tertiary education level as compared to other countries. She said the HEC played an important role to uplift the standard of education and it would continue doing that. She lauded the services of former HEC chairman Dr Attaur Rehman and added that the PPP government did not halt any good initiatives of the previous government.

To a question, the HEC chairperson said the commission had demanded a budget of Rs22.5 billion for 2009-10 and all the issues related to foreign scholarships and funding to universities would be resolved. Answering yet another question, she admitted the HEC scholars studying abroad had to face some problems due to shortage of funds, however, all the scholars received stipend during the final quarter. To a question about students whose scholarships were withheld, Ms Shehnaz said: "Hopefully those awaiting scholarships would receive funds in the coming year."

Speaking on the occasion, APECOP Acting Chairman Syed Abidi said a group of reputed education consultants had joined hands to project the true image of education consultants in the country. He said the association had a code of ethics which would be binding on its each member. He said up to 1990's, people were not aware of the significance of an education consultant but now it had become evident that only a qualified consultant could help the prospective students get admission to a good foreign university.

Mr Abidi said education counseling should be regulated in the country.

"It is important that our students in a foreign country abide by the law and refrain from overstepping their rights and visa conditions to save the prestige of Pakistan," he said.

He said: "Education consultants should not be seen only as a commercial entity but they should feel the pinch of a huge responsibility directly related to their profession which could affect the career prospect of not only one student but the entire nation."

"It is with this objective that the APECOP members have decided to process only genuine students maintaining the quality and standard of their services," he said.

Mr Abidi said the association would also help identify fake agents who were charging huge fees and misguiding the students. He said APECOP would play its role to interact with the government agencies and academic institutions regarding provision of scholarships and understanding on academic and cultural growth.

Earlier, Haider Ali Khan gave a presentation on the APECOP. A question-answer session was also held. The News

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