HEC grant | Urdu medium of instruction

No grant to HEC worries PU teachers
Lahore, June 25: The Punjab University Academic Staff Association (PUASA) has expressed strong concerns at non-issuance of fourth installment to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) by the federal government.

An emergency meeting of the association's executive body was held here on Sunday which informed that the government had stopped recurring grant of the HEC because of which universities were borrowing loans from banks to pay salaries to their teachers and employees.

According to PUASA's executive body, the finance ministry had earlier promised to give Rs6 billion recurring grant to the Higher Education Commission but the government was using the amount to pay to the parliamentarians instead of providing the same to the HEC.

The meeting condemned the move, observing that thousands of teachers, students and researchers had been deprived of scholarships and many research and development programmes had stopped which would affect the standard of higher education in the country.

The participants of the meeting said that it clearly depicted that the government was trying to shut down universities and education was not its priority. They said the government was compelling teachers and employees to take to the streets while they were already hit by excessive loadshedding.

It is pertinent to mention here that universities meet major share of their expenditures with their own resources but because of non-payment of recurring amount, they were facing difficulties in paying salaries to teachers and employees.

Interestingly, in a letter to the public sector universities of the province, the Punjab Higher Education Department recently asked the universities to take up their development projects with the Higher Education Commission as the department had no funds for the projects.

When contacted, Higher Education Department Secretary Dr Ijaz Munir said that funding to the public varsities was primarily the responsibility of the federal government through the HEC.

He said the department had asked the universities not to submit new projects to the department but to the HEC, adding that currently, the Punjab government was funding various projects of the province's public sector universities.It is also important to mention here that the Punjab government, in its recent budget for fiscal year 2012-2013, has earmarked Rs180 million to support the public universities.

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PU workshop
Lahore: Punjab University's Centre for Clinical Psychology (CCP) organised a two-day follow-up workshop on "Post-Disaster Management of Children" for the postgraduate clinical students at the centre. According to a press statement, CCP Director Prof Dr Rukhsana Kausar appreciated Resource Persons Nazia Bashir and Amira Amjad for the follow-up of the workshop conducted by Norwegian clinical psychologists.

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Call to make Urdu medium of instruction
Lahore: A declaration issued after education conference organized by Jamaat-ud-Dawa here on Sunday termed English as a medium of instruction a main obstacle to development of the country and called for restoration of Urdu as medium of instruction in all schools.

The declaration also called for immediately banning secular curriculum since it was an effort to distort Islamic identity. It demanded of the Punjab government to end its alleged pact with British Taskforce for introducing co-education at primary and then middle and secondary levels at public schools.

It also rejected the proposed establishment of District Education Authority (DEA) at district level across the province alleging the same was aimed to promote co-education and influence the transfers of teachers for this purpose. The education conference demanded setting up of separate schools for girls and boys.

Earlier, speakers condemned the rulers for receiving foreign aid for education sector alleging the same was being utilized to turn education sector completely secular. Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed attended it.

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Young scholars thank Shahbaz Sharif for foreign trip
London: Top position holders from across Pakistani educational institutions have thanked Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, for arranging their visit to top European institutions.

A group of 41 students who secured top positions in the board and university exams in Pakistan - ranging from the matriculation to the masters degrees are on a visit to Britain, Germany and Turkey as part of the Chief Minister Punjab's Education Endowment Fund programme.

The delegation is led by the Vice Chancellor of the Government College Lahore University Professor Khaleeq-ur-Rehman, Muhammad Shahid Iqbal, Deputy Secretary Assembly, Chief Minister Punjab's Secretariat, and Zubair Gull, who is responsible for coordination.

The visiting students have been selected from Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, KPK, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir Kashmir. Almost all students belong to middle or lower middle class families and they would, unlike their privileged Pakistani peers, not be otherwise able to afford a visit to Europe.

At a reception held in Waltham Forest Town hall, the young delegates shared their enthusiasm at the opportunity to visit educational institutions, think-tanks and historic places in and around London. They said they had learnt a great deal through exposure to some of the best educational institutions in the world such as the Oxford University and London School of Economics (LSE).

During their presentations, the visiting scholars spoke movingly of how they were selected for the visit solely on academic merit and there was no favour or nepotism involved. They hoped that such initiatives would instil confidence in students and help them become role models for others.

Dr Khaleeq-ur-Rehman said the purpose of the visit was to give these young scholars of Pakistan exposure to the best universities of the world and their system of study. He said it was a "revolutionary step" on part of the Punjab government to send young scholars abroad to help them broaden their approach and see where the rest of the world is headed to and what lessons can be learnt. He said the students had been enabled to visit the world class educational institutions and compare them with Pakistani system.

He said: "Students will also take their learning back to their institutions in Pakistan and on the basis of the feedback we get from these student, we will update our education system and give world class education to our children in Pakistan."

Shahid Iqbal said the visit had been a great success and the students were enjoying it thoroughly.Iqbal mentioned the efforts of Mian Shahbaz Sharif and how he is working "passionately for the betterment of education system in Punjab". He said that Punjab chief minister's vision was based on the premise that everyone must get an equal opportunity of education and there should be no class difference. He said education was the only way forward for the new generation and that it was important that all provincial and federal governments encouraged exchange visits to foster better links between students of Pakistan with the rest of the world. The news

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