CSS exam 2009 scheduled for March 14 in jeopardy

CSS exam unlikely as FPSC employees' strike continues
Islamabad, Mar 03: The CSS exam 2009 scheduled for March 14 seems to be in jeopardy, as the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) employees continued their strike for the fifth consecutive day on Monday to press the authorities concerned for removing what they called a corrupt secretary.

Sources in the commission said that the roll number slips of around half of the candidates were still lying with the Receipt and Issuance (R&I) Branch due to the strike.

The employees, through a letter, have asked Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to immediately remove the FPSC Secretary Bashir Ahmad Chohan and DG (Admin) Raja Pervez Akhtar failing which they would not resume duties. They told the prime minister that timely commencement of CSS-2009 exam was at risk.

On Monday, the FPSC employees assembled in front of their secretariat and chanted slogans against the secretary and senior management.

They further demanded cancellation of amendments made to the recruitment rules, abolition of the post of Executive Director General (EDG), raising the quota of BS-17 posts for steno typists to 20 percent and enhancing their quota from the existing 50 percent to 75 percent for promotion to stenographer. They further demanded that the minimum invigilation fees should be fixed at Rs 500 and revised every two years.

They further demanded increase in promotion quota for BS-18 and BS-19 posts (IT Wing) from the existing 50 percent to 75 percent, revision of rules and regulations of Employees Welfare Society to make it more effective for solving the genuine problems of employees and preferential treatment to the contingent staff in matters of promotion against vacant posts.

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Senate body concerned over cut in HEC allocation
Islamabad: The Senate Standing Committee on Education was informed on Monday that the government had withheld almost 50 percent budgetary allocation to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) threatening various ongoing projects meant for improving the quality of education at higher level.

The committee met here at the Parliament House with Senator Razina Alam Khan in the chair to discuss mid-term review of the budget of the commission for year 2008-09.

The committee pointed out that a number of projects launched by the HEC were in the doldrums due to unavailability of adequate funds and cumbersome procedures hindering the prompt release of funds.

Emphasizing the significance of higher education in the socio-economic development of the country, the committee urged that the government should provide sufficient funds to the HEC to enable it to complete various ongoing projects.

"A country can't grow and prosper without strengthening various critical areas of higher education and there is dire need for working collectively to bring about improvement in the system," the committee members observed.

The committee voiced its concern over the government's decision to slash the commission's allocation despite the fact that it had ensured proper utilization of funds in the past.

Some members of the committee were of the view that it would panic the students, professors and other stakeholders and suggested that the government should review its decision and take urgent steps for providing adequate funds to the commission to safeguard the future of young generation.

"The HEC authorities informed us that they have not so far received 50 percent of the total budgetary allocation, which has aggravated the commission's problems," Senator Liaquat Ali Bangulzai said.

"We have strongly recommended that the government should not slash the budgetary allocations of education and health sectors," he added.

Bangulzai said that he suggested allocation of 2.5 percent out of the 16 percent general sales tax (GST) to health and education sectors - 1.25 percent each for the two sectors.

The committee also discussed the problems being faced by Pakistani students studying in Cuba and directed the HEC to provide all-out support to them.

Senator Raza Muhammad Raza, who had earlier raised the issue on a point of order in the Senate, also apprised the committee of the factual position and problems being faced by the students in Cuba.

Earlier, Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, acting Executive Director of HEC, informed the committee about the recurring and development budget of the commission. He said delay in the release of funds had not only marred the performance of the commission, but also created uncertainty among the stakeholders.

He said all the universities were facing severe fiscal crisis, however, the HEC was making all-out efforts to improve the system. He briefed the committee about the progress made on the recommendations of the committee about the problems being faced by the medical students in Cuba.

The committee members also lauded the services of Razina Alam Khan for her valuable contribution to bringing about improvement in the system of education. Razina will be retiring on March 11.

Senators Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Dr Muhammad Said, Liaquat Ali Bangulzai and Prof Muhammad Ibrahim Khan attended the meeting besides senior officials of the HEC.

UoP dept launches tree plantation
Peshawar: Institute of Education and Research (IER) of the University of Peshawar (UoP) launched tree plantation drive and computer lab here on Monday. UoP Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Azmat Hayat Khan on the occasion said that our region has great strategic importance in the world and there is a dire need to depict true picture of NWFP and FATA to the world. UoP Registrar Shireenzada Khattak in his address praised IER staff for their performance, saying most of the teaching staff of the institute hold Ph.D degrees and excellence in education is their prime objective. Daily Times

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