Schools academic sessions: PU registration, 'Incompetent' teachers

Private, govt schools academic sessions to start separately
Lahore, March 17, 2008: The government has considerably failed in achieving parity, regarding the commencement of academic session, as almost all private schools, especially elite ones, are ready to observe new session, starting from March/April unlike government schools where the same will commence from August/September this year.

The private sector's "defiance" to follow similar academic session as followed by government schools very well exposes government's "control" over the schools, working in private sector. The previous Punjab government's role in connection with streamlining and monitoring the affairs of private schools has always been a subject criticism, as it failed to evolve any regulatory mechanism for this purpose over the years.

In 2006, the government had introduced a uniform academic session, starting from August/September, for both private and public schools, however, later, it proved an announcement for the government schools only, as majority of the private schools were still following the old pattern.

The decision had become controversial ever since its announcement when most of the stakeholders, from both public and private sector, had raised their voices against it and had strongly criticized the change but to no avail. The issue was taken up by the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers' Meeting at Karachi in February this year. However, no decision was taken, as the caretaker government did not want itself to be a part of any controversy afterwards. It was decided that the coming government would take a final decision in connection with the start of academic session.

It is interesting to note here that private schools have to follow the August/September session for students of matriculation who appear in local board examinations.

Stakeholders from the private sector schools argue that August/September session is not suitable, as students have to sit in examination in extreme hot weather whereas frequent power failures and lack of facilities at exam centres also put the students in hot waters.

Those, representing government schools, argue that the past two years had proved a great academic loss for the students because soon after the annual exams, summer vacation were observed while books for the next classes were provided to the students after the vacation. "One can well imagine how students will be observing these holidays without books", they pose a question.

Academic circles are also very critical of the prevailing disparity and urge the government to ensure uniformity in this regard so that students, who have to change their schools in any case, may not suffer and can continue their studies without any difficulty.

They also urge the coming government to ensure much awaited and much debated legislation, regarding private sector's involvement in school education.

PU registration
Lahore: The Punjab University (PU) has started registration of private candidates who want to appear in BA/BSc Annual Examination 2009. According to a press statement, the last date for registration with single fee has been set as June 28 while the last date with double fee is July 31, 2008. The registration forms can be obtained from the New Campus, the Old Campus and nominated branches of the Habib Bank on depositing Rs 15. The registration form downloaded from university website www.pu.edu.pk is also acceptable. The News

Visiting faculty: 'Incompetent' teachers giving PU a bad name
Lahore: The 'incompetent' and 'irregular' visiting faculty at the Punjab University (PU) is bringing a bad name to the 126-year-old institute.

Last week, the PU administration wrote a letter to all departments regarding their 'incompetent' visiting teachers.

The letter stated that the visiting faculty was unaware of academic discipline and they were damaging the university's repute among academic circles. It also read that most visiting teachers were government employees and they had not sought permission from their respective departments to teach at the PU.

Hassan, an Institute of Administrative Sciences student, said, "Three retired colonels have been appointed to teach administrative sciences at our department. Our coordinators are also retired army officials. They have been appointed on the basis of their contacts."

Usman, an Institute of Communication Studies student, said, "About 90 percent of the visiting teachers have been appointed on the basis of nepotism."

A Political science student said that it was the need of the hour that the PU administration should frame a complete strategy in this regard.

PU spokesman Dr Mujahid Ali Mansoori said, "We have received complaints from students about inefficient visiting teachers. Most visiting teachers are relatives of department heads and 'influential people'. The PU vice chancellor has issued instructions in this regard and we will frame a mechanism to evaluate visiting teachers."

PU Registrar Prof Dr Naeem said, "Presently, about 150 visiting teachers are teaching at the PU. We hired these teachers to help our students perform well." Daily Times

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