HEC eligibility criteria contains 'unfair conditions'
Islamabad, June 04: President Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Associations Professor Mahr Saeed Akhtar has asked the Higher Education Commission to defer its plans of rejecting pre-PhD teaching experience for appointments of professors and associate professors in the public-sector universities after June 30 for 10 years and do not reject publications in non-HEC approved journals.
Dr Mahr, who is also President of Academic Staff Association, Punjab University, was addressing a press conference at the National Press Club here on Thursday.
The briefing was part of the movement FAPUASA announced to launch in the wake of callous attitude of HEC. He said in the next three days FAPUASA will hold separate press conferences in all major cities of the country.
Flanked by office-bearers of FAPUASA and other universities, Prof. Mahr said, "We talked with rationality and respect, but in the wake of continued HEC lethargy, we have called a general body meeting after the semester exams in June to decide future course of action."
He said that new eligibility criteria imposed by HEC contained unfair conditions forcing even senior faculty to protest. He regretted imposition of new conditions with retrospective effect. He said that HEC did not present our suggestions before its meeting despite promise. He pointed out that from July all the teaching experience before doing PhD will become a useless burden for the faculty.
He said, "We accepted HEC condition of increasing the number of articles for promotion but the HEC with one stroke rejected all articles, which did not appear in its favoured journals even if those were published much before the birth of HEC."
He condemned the imposition of International GRE in eight subjects. "It is not only unfair but also an effort to stall the development and research in the country," he declared. He said that GRE issue is hampering research and development in the country. He asked for grant for all non-PhD teachers in the public sector universities for doing PhD without any precondition.
He thanked Sindh University VC for up-grading 91 stuck up cases and asked other VCs to follow the suit.
Dr. Fida Muhammad, President of the Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa chapter of the Federation, said that if the Higher Education or Ministry of Finance are facing economic crunch, the Tenure Track System can be abolished. He said that TTS has created friction, division and unrest in the faculty all over the campuses. He said that instead of cutting the research and development funds of the universities, the hefty amount being paid for TTS be saved and transferred to development projects. He said that there should be uniformity and non-discrimination amongst the faculty.
He appreciated the Punjab government for increasing MPhil and PhD allowances and demanded ending this disparity by bringing it at par with all provinces. He strongly condemned the barbaric Israeli attack on Freedom Flotilla and kidnapping of Pakistani journalists including Talat Hussain.
Pakistan not doing enough for child education
Islamabad: Reminding once again the grim picture of the state of children in Pakistan, the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) launched its yearly report titled 'The State of Pakistan's Children' on Thursday.
The report clearly shows that Pakistan as a country and society is not doing enough to save its children from the ills of illiteracy, hunger, mortality, extreme form of labour, sexual abuse and militancy. It mentions that every year 400,000 children under five years of age die and out of these, over 300,000 in the first year of their life, while increasing poverty is pushing more children into child labour.
It says that low and inefficiently spent education budget is decreasing opportunities for children to access the right to education. The report further mentions that the growing numbers of incidences of violence against children show that children are not safe in their homes schools, streets and workplace. It shows that more than 100 children died in the suicide bombing incidents where as majority of the suicide bombers were conducted by teenage boys. The report indicates rise in child pornography, but said that lack sufficient research makes it difficult to make any conclusive statement.
According to the report, the wave of internal displacement in 2009 is considered 'the single largest population movement recorded in the country since it was created'. "Children in Swat witnessed some of the most brutal acts of the militants. In this conflict, 600,000 children are reported to have missed up to a year of school. The total estimated cost of the damage caused to education sector in the five districts of Buner, Upper and Lower Dir, Shangla, and Swat as well as the two tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand in Fata is Rs3,040.5 million," it states.
The report once again laments the lack of reliable and comparable statistical data on child labour at the national level that makes it difficult to study the trend of child labour over the years understand the impact of the numerous interventions or plan of actions to address the issue.
Providing an overview of the report, Sparc Research Officer Amina Sarwar said that despite all the grimness there are some positive developments too. In juvenile justice the number of children has dropped from estimated 4,000 to about 1,800-2,000 at any given time. Besides there has been 90 per cent increase in the gross enrolment of children at pre-primary level. "However, from the overview it is clear that the large chunk of the children is still denied their rights to education, health, safety, security etc. and is becoming victims of terrorism, internal conflict, losing homes and adding to the army of deprived children," she added.
Speaking on the occasion, Sparc Executive Director Arshad Mahmood said this is an opportune time to ask some difficult questions. "We have to ask the state as to what has been done in the past 20 years to ensure all children enjoy their basic rights. We need to know why it is taking so long to legislate for children, why budgetary allocations for child cantered programmes remain at bare minimum levels and why there is still no statutory body to protect and promote child rights in Pakistan," he added. He said that successive government have failed to fulfil their promises with regard to children.
International Labour Organisation Senior Programme Officer Saifullah M. Chauhdary said that the 18th amendment is a positive step by making education compulsory as it will help in eliminating child labour. He said that the ILO will begin a child labour survey in 2010.
Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi from Office of Federal Ombudsman said that said that it was imperative to create institutions for child protection and therefore it was important to have children's complaint centre (CCO) so that the issues relating to almost 48 per cent of the population could be addressed. He stressed for an appropriate organisational structure, adequate funding and trained staff for complaint centres to function efficiently and effectively to protect child rights.
Save the Children Sweden Country Director Syed Mehmood Asghar expressed his concerns on different child rights issues like child trafficking as camel jockeys and internet pornography where children only access pornographic material. He also took up the issue of children working in coalmines in Baluchistan. "Though it is denied by the authorities, but I can vouch that there are children working in the mines that are also sexually abused." Member National Assembly of Pakistan Bushra Gohar regretted that the country has not moved forward regarding child rights. She suggested that the criminal responsibility age should be raised to 14 from 7. Urging more focus on public education institutions, she also said that there should be uniform education in the country.
Federal Minister for Social Welfare and Special Education Samina Khalid Ghurki in her keynote said that the survival, development and protection of children are the foundations of human kind. "Children deserve our attention and allocation of resources for their better and protected future." The news