Punjab public colleges autonomy

Autonomy to 26 colleges resented
Lahore, June 28: The Punjab government's move to grant autonomy to 26 public colleges across the province, including six from the provincial metropolis, for launching the four-year degree programmes in these colleges is being resented by teachers and students.

They argue that the move will lead to an increase in fee whenever the colleges' Boards of Governors (BoG) will like to do so, besides, it will also create problems for teachers in connection with their promotions. Another concern highlighted by teachers is "job security" as many of them believe that the BoGs would be authorised to relieve any teacher and induct new one in his place. The teachers and students quote examples of colleges already granted autonomy, saying fees were high at these institutes as compared to other government colleges.

However, the government claims that nothing wrong is going to happen with establishment of the BoGs as the move is necessary to successfully run the four-year degree programmes. It also pledges to fund the new autonomous colleges to handle the issues related to fee increase. A senior official of the Punjab Higher Education Department, on condition of anonymity, said the launch of four-year degree programme was need of the day, adding that the traditional graduation was rapidly loosing its popularity as far as job opportunities were concerned. He said the demand-driven courses would be offered under the new degree programme. The official said that the government had planned to launch the programme in public colleges across the province, adding that the job would be done in phases. He said it was unfortunate that teachers were resenting the new move, aimed at introducing job-oriented programmes and added that perhaps they were resenting the change under fear of being monitored. He said some student organisations were making the issue controversial as some of the colleges selected to be granted autonomy were strongholds of these organisations.

"They are now protesting as their interest is being hurt," he maintained. Talking about powers of proposed BoGs for the 26 colleges, the official said the boards would be authorised to appoint required teachers on contract for a specific period. He said the procedure followed by the government for appointment of lecturers was time consuming.

He further said the universities were producing graduates having four-year degree programmes and unlike the colleges, they had better job opportunities. He said there was also need of sensitising people about the significance of new programmes. Academic circles are of the view that the government should address the genuine concerns of teachers and students, saying that after all both were the real stakeholders. They suggest that the department should organise consultative meetings with the stakeholders so that any unpleasant situation is avoided and consensus is developed to successfully launch the new programmes from coming academic session.

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Principal financial irregularities
Lahore: Punjab Higher Education Department's move to exonerate a principal and a senior clerk allegedly guilty of financial irregularities a couple of months ago is still being criticized by different quarters. They question as to why importance was not given to recommendations of three different inquiries held against the accused officials. According to the details Government College for Women Sangla Hill principal and senior clerk faced three different departmental inquiries over alleged irregularities in financial affairs of the college. All the three inquiries proved against them but still the accused officials were exonerated. A senior official of the department said the officials were exonerated after personal hearing, adding that the issue involved amount over Rs100,000 which was not deposited in official account and was treated as cash in hand to run affairs of the college.

Justifying the exoneration, he said the officials had faced action by remaining suspended from duties for a couple of months and also facing inquiries.

"This was enough punishment," he said, adding that the suspension and facing inquiries was not less than any punishment. The news

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Questions all around after arrest of PMDC officials
Lahore: The arrest of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) officials over charges of issuing fake degrees to foreign qualified doctors has raised a lot of questions about the professional capability of foreign graduates already working in various health establishments across Punjab.

Every year, hundreds of graduates from different countries come back to the country after completing their MBBS. They have to pass an examination to get a licence to start their practice in the country. The PMDC used to hold the licensing examinations of these doctors, however, the NEB was instead authorised to conduct the exam almost less than a year ago. The recent involvement of PMDC officials in a scandal of issuing fake degrees to foreign graduates highlights the danger to the precious lives of the people, posed by these ineligible doctors practicing across the province.

Senior doctors and other stakeholders have expressed their concern over the serious threat and have raised doubts over the academic competence of foreign-qualified graduates. They also mention the poor performance of foreign-qualified doctors in a licensing exam recently organised by the NEB to prove their point. Only 18 out of 507 medical graduates from 15 different countries could pass the licensing exam, showing an overall pass percentage of 3.5 percent.

Young Doctors' Association General Secretary Dr Salman Kazmi said previously there were mere allegations of corruption, however, it has become clear that irregularities have been committed while issuing degrees to foreign-qualified doctors after the arrest of PMDC officials.

He said the NEB has conducted the licensing exams only twice, while hundreds of doctors, who got licenses prior to this, are already practicing in various health establishments posing a "serious threat" to the lives of patients. Most of these doctors, he said, were practising in far-flung districts of the province, adding that only those students go abroad who fail to meet the merit of medical colleges in Punjab.

The tip: 8Pakistan Medical Association Joint Secretary Dr Shahid Malik said the recent scandal involving PMDC officials has exposed their whole mechanism, adding that it could "just be the tip of the iceberg". Shahid said the recent result shows the poor performance of young doctors, but there are chances that doctors holding senior positions in the academia might also have fake degrees. Terming the PMDC a "toothless tiger, having corrupt officials and a defective system", he said a whole scam could be unearthed if properly investigated. Shahid demanded that degrees of all doctors should be checked to ensure transparency. "If parliamentarians can submit fake degrees, why can't doctors do the same… there are scores of people with fake experiences and degrees registered with the PMDC," he added. The NEB declared the result of the registration examination of foreign medical and dental graduates on Friday, showing an overall pass percentage of 3.5 percent. None of the seven dental graduates who appeared in the exam could make it.

The NEB is a body constituted by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to conduct examinations for registration and equivalence of a candidate's foreign medical and dental qualifications.

The registration examination is conducted twice a year and it is mandatory for every foreign doctor or dentist to pass this examination before starting practice in Pakistan.

Members of the NEB along with UHS Vice Chancellor Professor MH Mubbashar in the chair announced the result in a press conference.

As per the details, 207 candidates appeared in the exam from China and only six passed, 110 appeared from the Kyrgyz Republic and three passed, 69 appeared from Kazakhstan and five passed, four appeared from Bangladesh and two passed, while one candidate each from Lithuania and Kenya could get through the exam. No candidate from Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Damascus, Dominican Republic, Philippine, Romania, Georgia and Ukraine could pass the exam.

Interestingly, the same question paper was given to 32 Pakistani medical graduates from Allama Iqbal Medical College and Services Institute of Medical Sciences and 10 dental graduates from de' Montmorency College of Dentistry. Out of them, only two medical and one dental graduate failed.

Members of the NEB recommended that all those foreign graduates who failed in the exam must be given another one-year proper training under PMDC-controlled centres in all four provinces of the country. Daily times

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GCU contributes digital book to WDL
Lahore: The Government College University (GCU) library on Saturday contributed the first ever digital book from Pakistan to the electronic catalog of the World Digital Library (WDL), a cooperative project of the Library of Congress and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The university shared with the world an historical book titled "The History of the Afghans" published in English in 1829. The book is the first history of the Afghan people translated from a non-Western language to appear in a European language. The original work was composed in Persian in 1609-11 by Neamet Ullah in the court of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Neamet Ullah based his work on material compiled by Hybet Khan, an attendant of the Afghan General Khan Jahan Lodi. The translation is by German Philologist Bernhard Dorn (1805-81).

GCU Chief Librarian Abdul Waheed said the WDL was an online library which was in multilingual format and had significant primary materials from the countries and cultures around the world including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, photographs, architectural drawings and other significant materials.

The GCU now stands with the institutes like Library of Congress, Yale University Library and Brown University Library which have shared material on Central and South Asia through the platform of World Digital Library, he added.

"Only 37 libraries of the World have yet succeeded to add its digital book to World Digital Library electronic catalogue, as its criteria is very tough," the chief librarian added.

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Book donation
Lahore: Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) Chairman Raja Muhammad Anwar has donated library books to the Kallar Syedan Press Club, district Rawalpindi. A DGPR handout said that Chairman Kallar Syedan Press Club Abid Hassan Zahedi and other members of the club received the books from Raja Anwar at his office here on Sunday. He asked them to help promote the cause of education among the deprived segments with their writings. Meanwhile, briefing a 15-member delegation of school educators, Raja Anwar said that the Punjab government had allocated special funds amounting to Rs 1.5 billion as stipends for the girl students of far-flung and remote areas of the province.

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F.C. College distinction
Lahore: Anas Tanveer of F.C. College was awarded a certificate of distinction for the service to Lucas Economic Society recently. As senior vice-president of the society, he organised numerous guest lectures. Lately, the society organised a quiz competition titled 'The Emerging Economist.' Another student who got a certificate of distinction from the same society was Sher Afgan. The news

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