Quaid-i-Azam University without syndicate

QAU without syndicate for last one year
Islamabad, June 16: The Academic Staff Association (ASA) of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) has resented the delay in the formulation of the syndicate.

The QAU sent a panel of experts several months ago to President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also chancellor of the university, to nominate syndicate members under various categories. The list is still not being approved and notified by the presidency and the end result is that QAU is without a syndicate for almost a year.

A large number of cases have piled up for want of syndicate approval. The most harmful effect is on inducting new faculty already recommended by selection boards which could not be issued appointment letters for want of requisite syndicate approval. The ASA said that some of the selected candidates either joined other institutions or left the country. Several departments are in crisis and face difficulty in running their teaching programmes, which were planned on the assumption that the selected candidate will be available for taking up their duties in time as per past practice.

Similarly, several important decisions of the Academic Council regarding new teaching programmes, new courses and admission criteria, including the twice rejected and controversial International GRE, are also pending due to absence of syndicate.

A large number of PhD candidates were denied the right to hold PhD title because of the GRE condition despite the fact that their theses have were adjudged satisfactory by foreign experts but the ASRB was not allowing the students to appear in oral defence. No PhD student has been admitted to the university in the past six months because of the GRE condition.

It may be mentioned that the Higher Education Commission, which is trying to bulldoze the GRE condition upon universities, sent its students on HEC scholarships to the US and Europe without asking them to appear in any GRE, which is a mechanism developed by the USA.

The ASA, through a press release, expressed its concern that salaries of teachers under the Tenure Track System were not increased, while the BPS faculty was given 50 per cent increase. The ASA feared that public sector universities would lose them if TTS salaries were not periodically adjusted upward in line with the inflation rate. The news

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Rs13.32m foreign scholarships: Officers not ready to pay back
Islamabad: The government squandered Rs13.32 million on eight public servants, who were sent abroad for higher studies but failed to complete their intended degree programmes.

According to the information placed before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly on Tuesday, the government deputed a number of officers for long-term foreign studies and trainings under the public-sector capacity building project during 2007-08.

Under the policy approved by the project's national steering committee, such officers were required to submit their degrees in token of successful completion and also serve the government for at least five years. In case of not fulfilling the aforesaid conditions, the full training cost was required to be recovered from the officers concerned.

The PAC in its meeting here at the Parliament House took up accounts of the Establishment Division for the audit year 2008-09.

During the audit of the Civil Services Reforms Unit (CSRU), Establishment Division, it was pointed out that officers of various departments either did not submit their degrees on return from training abroad or resigned before completing the required five-year service.

Nawaz Cheema, an officer of secretariat group in BPS-21, proceeded to the United Kingdom and a sum of Rs3.05 million was spent on his studies and other expenses, but he failed to successfully complete his studies.

Mr Hafeez, a BPS-18 officer of the District Management Group, went to Australia for study purposes, but came back within few months after consuming Rs109,655.

Syed Hamid Ali, a customs officer, spent Rs291,500 on a degree course, but without any result.

Samina Qureshi, an assistant professor in Karachi University's mass communication department, took Rs1.98 million for study purpose, but is yet to submit her degree.

Abbas Khan, an officer of the Office Management Group, consumed Rs2.17 million, but failed to produce any result.

Khushdil Khan, a deputy secretary of the Human Rights Division, has taken Rs1.9 million for a degree programme, but to no avail.

Khalid Khan of the income tax group went to Britain for studies at a cost of Rs1.897 million, but didn't come back. Nasruminallah Mian, another officer of the income tax department, went to Australia for studies at a cost of Rs1.8 million, however, soon after his return he resigned from his job.

According to the audit brief, Hamid Ali and Mr Hafeez have cleared their outstanding dues, hence, their cases were recommended for settlement by the PAC.

When inquired, the Establishment Division authorities informed the committee that the officers in question had agreed to give the money back within six months in four instalments.

On this the committee recommended that each and every penny spent on public servants should be retrieved, otherwise, they should be taken to the task as per rules. Dawn

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PMDC Assistant Registrar arrested
Islamabad: Punjab anti-corruption police have arrested Pakistan Medical and Dental Council's Assistant Registrar Muhammad Bashir and shifted him to Rawalpindi.

According to reliable sour-ces, Bashir was arrested from PMDA office two days ago for illegal registration and he would be presented before Anti-Corruption Court soon on charges of corruption and violating merit in filing vacancies.

When contacted, PMDC Registrar Nadeem Akbar confirmed arrest of Bashir but said he would be released soon. Bashir was accused of registering an Afghan national illegally in 2003.

To a question, he said no student would be registered without checking his eligibility and added that he had issued orders in this regard. He maintained that verification process is difficult and it takes 6-7 months but no doctor would be registered wrongly. He said that he would bring facts before the media soon and expected that Bashir would be released. The nation

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LHC summons PML-N MPA in fake degree case
Rawalpindi: Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench on Tuesday directed MPA and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) local leader Malik Yasir Raza to appear in the court on Wednesday (today) in a case regarding the authenticity of his educational certificates.

LHC Judge Justice Khawaja Imtiaz also issued orders to make the documents presented by Al-Khair University (AKU) and Global Foundation College (GFC) as part of official record of the case.

On Tuesday AKU and GFC presented their record in the court in which GFC declared that the MPA was their previous student whereas AKU, AJK announced that detailed mark sheet was issued to him in 2007.

The court asked Sardar Abdul Raziq Khan, counsel for the MPA for the reason why his client was absent in spite of being summoned in the court again and again. Khan told the court that the MPA could not appear on Tuesday due to his engagement in the Punjab Assembly budget session. However, he assured the court that his client would appear in the court on next call.

LHC postponed the hearing till June 16 (today).

It is pertinent to mention here ex-MPA Ishtiaq Ahmed Mirza, from PPP, who contested general elections against Kan has challenged that MPA possesses bogus graduation degree. Daily times

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Pakistani youth need polishing, says Dr Basit
Islamabad: The youth of our country have tremendous potential and they could be compared with diamonds that need to be polished, said Preston University Chancellor Dr. Abdul Basit in an interview on Tuesday.

He said, "I firmly believe that proper leadership and care is required to bring out the best in their personalities." He urged the youth to keep a positive outlook notwithstanding the current political and economic situation. Calling on for more educational activities, Dr. Basit said that events like educational fairs provide the youth a platform from where they can get satisfactory answers to all their questions. In addition to providing useful information about the existing opportunities, he said, educational fairs play a very important role in creating awareness about new academic programmes being offered by different educational institutions.

Dr. Abdul Basit said that Preston University has recently established an Institute of Nanosciences & Technology. "Our industries can get tremendous benefit from this technology," he said adding "This technology will help us compete effectively in the international market by improving the quality of our products."

With the growth of any industry, Dr. Basit said, job openings in finance, human resource management and marketing are created. He said that after a brief recession in the information technology (IT) industry, it is rejuvenating, as its market is again expanding at both national and international level.

"Preston University was established in 1984, as the first-ever private university in Pakistan. We have our campuses in all the major cities of Pakistan, as well as abroad. He added that we emphasise on proper counselling of our students. Our effective career counselling helps them get jobs within 6-7 months," he added.

Comparing the educational facilities available in the public and private sector institutions, he said the public sector institutions face no problem of funding and physical resources while the private universities take the lead in enjoying more freedom to introduce newer ideas, collaborate with international institutions and upgrade their curriculum.

He said that the government should provide facilities in research, scholarship, national and international faculty training and lab facilities to private universities as it does to the public universities. This will create competition in the education sector as well as polish the skills of our youth.

Dr. Basit further stressed the need for international collaborations. "We are planning to collaborate and seek help from Chinese and American institutes in the field of Nanosciences & technology," he said. China has been a very old and dependable friend of Pakistan. It is a known fact that they have always helped us in technology transfer with an open heart and mind, he added.

Talking about the opportunities available to brilliant and deserving students in the private sector, he said that all major private universities offer merit and need-based scholarships. "At Preston University we offer 100 merit and 200 need-based scholarships every semester."

In his message to the youth of Pakistan, Dr. Abdul Basit said, "we are passing through a very critical time in our history. This, however, should not demoralise us and we should continue to make dedicated endeavours to come out from this critical situation."

In the end, Dr. Abdul Basit appreciated Jang Group's efforts in highlighting the educational facilities being made accessible to the students in Pakistan, through Education Expo-2010.

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Students urged to make full use of available resources
Islamabad: Academic institutions only provide tools. It is the responsibility of students to make the best use of these tools to carve out a niche for themselves in society, said MNA Farhat Mohammad Khan.

Addressing students at the convocation of Overseas Pakistanis Foundation Girls College, F-8/2, on Tuesday, he said: "Education is the best asset one can have and our students are fortunate to be among the literate lot."

He said that previously females were not allowed to go to schools. "But now, it is heartening to see more and more girls are opting for graduation and postgraduation programmes.

OPF Managing Director Habib-ur-Rehman and the Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences Controller of Examination Professor Munir Ahmed Kakar were present on the occasion. In the ceremony, 150 students of graduate and postgraduate programmes of BUITMS (2002-2009) received degrees and medals in eight disciplines - Bachelor in Business Administration, BS Information Technology, BS in Telecommunication Engineering, Bachelor in Multimedia (Honours), Master in Business Administration (one-year and two-year programmes) and BS in Computer Science.

Speaking on the occasion, OPF Girls College (Islamabad) Principal Shaheena Masood said that this day is the culmination of the hard work that the students have done in the examinations. "They have sacrificed a lot in the process, but today the students and their parents are much relieved, as an important milestone has been achieved," she said.

The principal advised the students to seek a positive attitude towards life and value that what they have been taught. She also highlighted the achievements of the college.

Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences Controller of Examination Professor Munir Ahmed Kakar said that those students are really lucky who have reached the graduation and postgraduation levels, as most children are still striving for basic education.

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Medical students protest
Islamabad: Fifteen medical students deported from Cuba staged a protest demonstration in front of the Parliament House here on Tuesday in favour of their demands – either to give them admission in Pakistani medical colleges or send them back to Cuba to complete their studies.

The protesters said Cuban government offered 1,000 scholarships to Pakistani students for medical study after earthquake on October 8, 2005.

About 350 students left for Cuba after being selected by the Higher Education Comm-ission (HEC) on March 2007.

But it was revealed to them after reaching there that they would become medical technician (para-medical staff) instead of MBBS doctor after studying there. App

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IHK HR Commission concerned over student's killing by police
Islamabad: The Human Rights Commission in occupied Kashmir has expressed concern over the recent killing of a student, Tufail Ahmad Matoo by Indian police at Rajouri Kadal in Srinagar.The Chairperson of Human Rights Commission, Justice ®Bashir-ud  Din, talking to the newsmen in Srinagar, urged the occupation authorities to take stringent action against the policemen involved in the heinous crime.

He termed the killing of innocent people by Indian police and troops as barbaric and said "killing of common people cannot be tolerated at any cost. Such killings are not only grave violations of human rights but also a glaring example of misuse of powers by the police in the name of maintaining law and order."

Pointing out that in the recent past many innocent youth were killed on the similar pattern in Srinagar, he said, most of them were killed after being hit either by teargas canisters or bullets on their chests or heads.

He condemned the use of brute force by the troopers to quell the peaceful protestors in the occupied territory. App

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NCA theatre sails through ice and fire
Islamabad: Claire Pamment though British, is no relative of the elder Kipling, who, as first principal in 1875 of the newly founded Mayo School of Industrial Art, now the National College of Arts, not only played a formative role in building and expanding the institution but also saving local arts and crafts from dying as a result of the glut of machine-made goods from England. Pamment has also been doing the same thing since taking over charge of the newly launched theatre department of NCA, which she is trying to build as the country's first recognised academic discipline in performing arts while trying to save traditional entertainers like bhands, doms, behroopias, natak and nautanki from the onslaught of modern mechanised mass amusements.

Despite covert disdain of the high brow cultural officialdom towards this latter business and their oversensitivity to the menacing snarls of the growing lobby of philistines that shows in institutional skittishness and tightening of the grip on fund availability, Pamment has managed to push through her ambitious programmes and NCA would be opening its four-year degree course this summer with faculty comprising eminent academics and practitioners from Pakistan and abroad. The theatre department indeed is a bold and important step for NCA and a leap forward for the Mayo School of yore.

The theatre department started with Desi Natak, an international conference and performance forum, which brought families from folk theatre and international academics together for dialogue that set important precedents for the theatre curriculum, exploring linkages with world theatre trends through indigenous performance and opening up fresh avenues for stagecraft. Inputs from scholars like the Bangladeshi academic Jamil Ahmed on South Asian performance and Islam, on Asian puppetry from the American Kathy Foley, on reinterpretation of Natyashastra dramaturgies from UK Tara Theatre's Jatinder Verma, on early Urdu stage from Russia's Anna Suvorova and local practitioners from all over the country. The NCA's playwriting diploma that resulted in graduates pursuing internships in Germany was in collaboration with the International Theatre Institute. Eminent dramatists including Girish Kanard, Kamal Ahmad Rizvi, Enver Sajjad and Mahesh Elkunchwar among others mentored the students.

Initiatives like 'Open Act' and 'Spotlight' made the young Rawalpindi campus of NCA a vibrant meeting point of theatre enthusiasts featuring amateur performances and dialogue with eminent local artistes. Unfortunately, these evening events, short courses, workshops were curtailed and had ultimately to be stopped for fear of arousing hostility of the bigots and creating risky situations. The theatre department has since been struggling to create some functional space for itself in the confines of prevailing limitations.

There is a way there for grit and tenacity. Claire Pamment is spending long sultry hours rehearsing her department's inaugural production of Italian dramatist Dario Fo's Can't Pay, Won't Pay –a riotous farce, featuring working class women who stage a hilarious bluff to ward off domestic drudgery and the price hike, duping their blundering men folk and police in their tracks. Adapted to contemporary Pakistan by Sarmad Sehbai's deft imaginative pen, the play unfolds the drama of a society in conflict with itself.

Nobel laureate Dario Fo's drama sparkles with the incisive social criticism that is also typical of our own legendary jesters Nasruddin, Mulla Dopiaza and Birbal. Pamment thinks Fo is the world's most performed living playwright, not just because of his themes but his modes of performance, which celebrate comic defiance of oppression through the liberating power of laughter.

Thanks to the support of Italian embassy in Islamabad, Dario Fo's protégé, the actor Mario Pirovano, who has worked with the master since 1983 and earned his admiration as a great story teller, will be in Pakistan holding workshops, performing dramatic readings from Fo's work and engaging in dialogue with local actors as part of the theatre event that is scheduled to be staged at PNCA from July 29. NCA will be staging a curtain raiser for Can't Pay Won't Pay on July 3. Dawn

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