VCs demand more funds or fee hike
Lahore, June 23: Financial constraints on public sector universities after abolition of the self-finance scheme have forced vice-chancellors (VCs) to demand the Punjab government either let them increase fees or release funds for them.
The other option put forward by the universities to save them from "starving" is a review of the decision by Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif who had abolished the scheme in the best interest of students to ensure supremacy of merit and competence.
The demand was highlighted in the 2nd meeting of Punjab Higher Education Council (PHEC) held here on Tuesday. Higher Education Punjab Secretary Ahad Khan Cheema chaired the meeting while VCs/rectors/representatives of public sector universities and two private universities attended the meeting.
A sub-committee was formed in earlier meeting of the PHEC which after having discussions with universities over self-finance scheme agreed on demands presented in Tuesday's meeting. To give an example as to how much financial deficit was being incurred by universities after scrapping the self finance scheme, a participant of the meeting said the University of Engineering & Technology (UET), Lahore, was losing around Rs 60 million while the Punjab University (PU) was losing over Rs 250 million annually.
He said the universities especially new universities were finding it difficult to generate revenue on their own and therefore were unanimous in demanding increase in fees or funding from the government.
According to sources almost every public university had expressed concerns to the sub-committee over financial constraints emerged after scrapping the self-finance scheme.
They added the varsities made it clear that owing to the overall funding scenario which had been changing rapidly with low budgetary allocation and releases to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) by the Federal government, the universities were finding it difficult to meet the situation. "Review of his own decision by the CM, funding to universities or increase in fees are the only options to come out of this crisis," commented Vice Chancellor of a university who wished to remain anonymous. The sub-committee also requested the Punjab chief minister to take up the issue related to federal government's decision of enhancing the salaries and pension as owing to this the universities were likely to face huge deficit. It is learnt the committee recommended seeking relevant grants from the federal government.
It is important to mention here that PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran chairing a meeting of the varsity's deans, principals and teachers on Tuesday had said that the varsity was likely to face huge deficit of around Rs 760 million owing to the recent enhanced government servants' salaries and pension as well as other allowances.
An official of the UET, Lahore, said the university was likely to face deficit of Rs 160 million in implementing the federal government's decision.
Another important task took up by the PHEC was introduction of 4-year BS (Hons) programmes in 26 selected colleges of the province. It is learnt the meeting expressed complete satisfaction over the initiative though some technical issues were also highlighted.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Punjab government has planned to launch the 4-year degree programme in public colleges across the province in different phases to meet the international standards and market demand.
In the first phase the government has identified 26 colleges across Punjab where the board of governors (BoG) would be constituted to ensure effective implementation of the plan.
The move is being resented by teachers and students on the plea that the constitution of BoGs would lead to different problems such as promotions and fee hike etc.
The PHEC meeting urged the public sector universities to have unanimous statutes in connection with grant of BS-22 to meritorious professors.
In the wake of upcoming academic session the meeting also discussed the possibility of uniform admission schedule by universities, online admissions and option of refund to the students.
The meeting also discussed the concept of community colleges while sub-committees were also formed to finalise various remaining issues.
When contacted, Higher Education Secretary Ahad Khan Cheema said a number of problems related to universities were discussed in the Tuesday's meeting, including introduction of 4-year degree programmes in colleges.
He said the demand to seek funds after scrapping of self finance scheme was quite logical and rational, adding that the same would be forwarded to the higher authorities.
To a question, Ahad Khan Cheema said the government had planned to give regular grants to the new autonomous colleges besides ensuring best faculty, modern and well-equipped laboratories and libraries and infrastructure. He claimed the government would ensure that none of the new autonomous college could increase fee. The news
Increase in salaries: PU likely to face Rs763m deficit
Lahore: The Punjab University is expecting a deficit of Rs763.4 million after calculating payment of salaries and allowances to its employees with a 50 per cent increase, as announced in the federal budget for the fiscal year 2010-11.
The PU administration held a special meeting with Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran in the chair on Tuesday to review implications of the pay raise announced in the federal budget. The meeting was attended by Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan, Treasurer Dr Uzma Ikram, IBA Director and Budget Committee Chairman Prof Dr Ehsan Malik, deans of all faculties, principals and heads of teaching and non-teaching departments.
The VC said the varsity would make all-out efforts to meet the likely deficit of Rs763.4 million by generating income from its own resources. He said the university's present strength of employees stood at 7,415, while pension was being paid to 1,960 retired employees. Of Rs3.63 billion university budget for the current financial year, he said, the Higher Education Commission provided Rs1.10 billion.
He said the varsity was earning Rs21.7 million annually from 270 acres of its leased land. Similarly, he said the university was collecting Rs54 million from students under the fee head. Stating that the university was offering academic scholarships to students to the tune of Rs60 million, he promised the university would not take any budgetary measure leading to financial burden on poor parents.
Later, the meeting participants gave proposals for meeting the fiscal deficit through enhanced generation of revenue.
GAT: Adopting the new rules laid down by the Higher Education Commission, the Government College University has made the General Aptitude Test (GAT) a prerequisite for all candidates applying for admission to M.Phil/MS programmes.
According to the new rules, the GAT conducted by the National Testing Service with a minimum 50 per cent cumulative score will be required at the time of applying for admissions to MPhil/MS. - Staff Reporter
APPOINTED: The VC has appointed Dr Sadia Ata as assistant professor in the Institute of Chemistry under the Tenure Track System in anticipation of approval from the syndicate. Dawn
PU faculty member accused of violating PhD semester rules
Lahore: A Punjab University (PU) senior faculty member has exposed a violation of semester rules of the PhD programme by Dean of Social and Behaviour Sciences Dr Mugheesuddin, learnt on Tuesday. The dean is reported to have enrolled two students in the second semester, despite them failing in the first semester exams.
PU Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) senior faculty member Dr Affira Hamid exposed the violation by submitting an application to PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and requested him to take action for the betterment of the university.
Dr Affira, in her application, said according to the rules, a student could not be promoted to the next semester without obtaining passing marks in the previous semester. However, Dr Mughees promoted Shafique Kamboh and Naveed Iqbal, violating the regulations.
She said Shafique and Naveed were not even eligible to appear in the first semester examination of ICS due to a shortage of attendance with 39 percent each. She said the dean had displayed a notice that said students with less than 75 percent attendance were not allowed to sit in the final exams of the first semester of PhD.
She also claimed that their attendance records had been manoeuvred on the dean's orders, adding that all their classmates were a witness to their poor attendance.
Dr Affira Hamid said that she could even provide evidence of this misconduct on the part of the dean.
Denial: Dr Mughees on the other hand denied all such accusations and claimed that the VC himself distributes all the degrees, consequently eliminating any chance of irregularity.
He also said these students passed their exams in open competition and no corruption of any sort took place.
He said a re-examination had been conducted for the "failed" students, who were later declared pass by a third examiner – the authority that a department possesses under the rules in case of any confusion. Daily times
45pc of DVM final year students get jobs
Lahore: Almost 45 per cent students of final year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) are grabbing a major share of employment in well-known national and international private companies.
This was stated by University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) acting Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha while speaking to DVM final year students at the concluding ceremony of "Internship Programme 2010" arranged by the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences (FVS) on varsity campus on Tuesday.
Siemens Pharmaceutical CEO Syed Sajjad Hadier, UVAS registrar Dr Kamran Ashraf and all deans and departments heads were also present on the occasion.
Dr Pasha urged UVAS students to play their role in strengthening the livestock and poultry sector by exploring their skills in field. He said on-farm trainings broaden internees' experience to enrich their professional capabilities. He said the university students were ambassadors of their alma mater, and they must learn and strive to boost up the national kitty.
He urged the students to equip themselves with practical knowledge and hands-on training while doing their jobs in the national and multinational organisations. He also urged them to keep in touch with the UVAS and stay focused on selected area of veterinary sciences.
It may be mentioned that some 121 DVM final year students had participated in the internship programme to improve their skills and gain hands-on training experience in four modules – animal husbandry, improvement and management, pre-services field, and training in the area of veterinary medicine. Of them, 54 students got jobs in various national and multi-national companies after doing their internships.
Speaking on the occasion, Siemens Pharmaceutical CEO Syed Sajjad Hadier lauded the efforts of the UVAS and acknowledged that the university was now facilitating the private sector through its advancement of studies and skilled human resources.
He urged the students to enlighten the future of the country through their hard work and dedication in their related fields.
Earlier, FVS dean Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad gave briefing about the procedure of the internship of DVM final semester students. He said the objective of the internship programme was to provide pre-service field training to students in the area of veterinary medicine, animal husbandry and allied fields.
He said this internship programme provided a golden opportunity to the students not only to improve their skills but also to become successful entrepreneurs in near future. Dawn
GCU MPhil admission
Lahore: The Government College University (GCU) adopting the new rules laid down by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has made the GAT-General Test passing a prerequisite for all candidates applying for the admissions to MPhil/MS programmes. The news