Geology students without field work opportunities
Lahore, Mar 24: The students Geology at various universities, especially the Punjab Universities (PU), have been missing opportunities of field work in various parts of the NWFP because of the prevailing instability in the country.
Nonetheless, cuts in grants to institutes of higher learning by the federal government is said to be another factor behind "limited" field work, which is undoubtedly the backbone of geological research.
The students believe that the curtailment in connection with duration and destination of field work is badly affecting the standard of education.
Unlike past, the universities now have been imposing more and more restrictions in connection with field visits which, according to the students and teachers, have marred the real spirit of the research based program.
According to a senior faculty member, who wished to remain anonymous, the PU department of geology is the oldest seat of geological learning in the country which produced many eminent geologists.
He said in geology the field work was considered a natural lab work, therefore, students in the applied courses were sent to 50 days guided excursion as a whole during 3 years BSc and for 90 days for theses work. He further said students were also paid daily allowance for it in the past, but, He added, the things had changed.
He said the field work duration had been reduced to 30 and 20 days for BSc and theses work respectively.
According to him, working conditions were no more favorable in remote areas, especially in several of the NWFP areas like Swat and some parts of Balochistan. He added meager funding to the universities by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) was also one of the important factors for shortening the field work. He said owing to security reasons most of the field visits were restricted to areas like Salt Range, Murree, Khanaspur and Abbotabad etc. He was of the view areas like Swat, Kohat and Bajur etc were some of the most suitable places for geological research in the country besides some parts of Balochistan.
"However, under the prevailing circumstance it is impossible to carry out field work in such areas", he added.
The faculty member was also of the view that geological fieldwork involved some level of risk, however, he added, it could be greatly reduced by awareness of hazards and experiences.
He further said owing to the prevailing circumstances more risk was involved in visiting these areas because of which field work was not being carried out there. However another faculty member said still there were suitable areas for field work if university allowed and provided finances.
He said it was strange that field visits were not being arranged in areas like DG Khan, Rajanpur and some parts of Sindh province.
According to a student, the curtailment in connection with duration was badly affecting the standard of education.
A senior official of PU Institute of Geology commenting over the issue said the PU Vice Chancellor had been informed about the problems being faced in connection with field work. He said it was expected that the issue would be resolved soon.
He, however, agreed that field trips to areas like Swat, Kohat and other areas of the NWFP and Balochistan were not being arranged owing to security risks involved. The NewsYour Comments
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Islam allows stem cell research: Israr
Lahore: Punjab University Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB) organised a workshop on 'Ethical Issues Related to Work on Stem Cells'. PU former Vice-Chancellor Prof Khairat Ibn-e-Rasa, AIMC Principal Prof Javed Akram, and PU Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan jointly presided over the workshop.
Dr Israr Ahmad, Prof Muhammad Salim Akhtar, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Muneer Ahmad Mughal and Prof Dr Sheikh Riazuddin spoke at the occasion. CEMB Director Prof Dr S Riazuddin introduced the subject matter of the workshop and highlighted the points for discussion to the speakers.
University of South Asia Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Salim Akhter discussed development of potential life in utero and in vitro (test-tube) as a result of conception. He described the life of stem cells up to day 120 after fertilisation. He also explained the use of stem cells for implantation into the womb and the use of excess stem cells for research purpose.
Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) President Prof Dr Yasmin Rashid presented a pictorial review of fetal development including appearance of sex and other organs in the fetus. The Nation
Unaffiliated BSc Crimes Studies degrees: Fate of 360 probationer ASIs hangs in balance
Lahore: The Police Department is giving fake consolations to 360 probationer assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs) to award them Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Crimes Studies degrees, which according to a Punjab University (PU) official has no standing and authenticity, it was learnt on Sunday.
The Police College Sihala (PCS) is the premier training institution of the Punjab Police. It runs six courses for various ranks, which include a probationer ASIs' course as well. In 2006, the Punjab Police took the initiative to modernise the police structure by improving the investigation training of policemen. The Punjab Police introduced the BSc Crimes Studies programme and made it mandatory for all newly-recruited probationer ASIs to go through the programme and get a degree at the PCS in two years. The Punjab government and the Police Department at that time had also announced that the PU would award the BSc Crimes Studies degree to successful probationers.
In December 2007, 360 ASIs through the Punjab Public Service Commission were recruited in the Punjab Police, and the ASIs started taking classes at the PCS in January 2008.
The syllabus of BSc Crimes Studies is Criminology, Sociology, Criminal Psychology, Law syllabus (CrPC, PPC, PPW Police Practical Work), Behaviourist Science, English, Islamic education, Pakistan Studies and Medical Jurisprudence.
Before introducing the BSc Crimes Studies programme, all ASIs had to get a one-year training after passing out, and had to work for three months in courts, two months in the Police Lines and three months with the senior superintendent of police (operations) to get the experience of investigation.
Cheating: Most probationer ASIs said that the PCS administration had told them that the degree would be affiliated with the PU. They said they had been told in January 2008 to deposit the examination fee in the PCS for their enrolment in the PU. They said they had completed their syllabus in one year, and had graduated in January 2009, adding that they would now take further courses as A-courses (judicial prosecution), B-courses (police lines), C-courses (assessment of the intensity and intention behind the crime) and D-course (18-month courses in the police stations concerned). They said not even a single faculty member of the PU had taught them in one year, adding that their seniors had pledged that experts would teach them various courses. They said the PCS administration had told them that their examination for BSc Crimes Studies would be held in January 2010, adding that the Punjab Police had deceived them because the PCS was not apparently affiliated with the PU. They said some probationers had joined the Punjab Police only because of its newly-introduced degree. They said the Punjab Police had not informed them about their future.
PCS Commandant Major (r) Fateh Sher Joiya said that the BSc Crimes Studies degree was affiliated with the PU. He said further detail about the topic would be available from the PCS Studies Department. PCS Studies Director Hashim also claimed the degree was affiliated with the PU, adding that the examination for the programme would be held in January 2010. He said the PSC had already enrolled its probationers in the PU for the examination, adding that the PSC officials had started having meetings with PU officials in 2006 regarding the affiliations of the degree. He said a team from the university had visited the PCS and asked the PCS administration to fulfil the requirements. He said all demands of the PU had been fulfilled by the PCS. He said the college would send a schedule to the PU in December to issue the BSc Crimes Studies examination date sheet. He said the batch of 360 probationer ASIs had graduated and they would return to the PCS for their examination.
No affiliation: PU Registrar Dr Naeem Khan said that only one meeting had taken place between the administrations of the PCS and the PU. He said there was no affiliation between the two institutes for the BSc Crimes Studies programme, adding that the PCS was yet to fulfil the requirement for the affiliation. He said the PCS officials' applications regarding the affiliation were yet to be taken up by the PU Board of Studies, Board of Faculty and Board of Academic Council. He said that PU would provisionally allow the affiliation if the PCS fulfilled the requirements of the PU. Daily Times
NCA dialogue on Urdu theatre ends
Islamabad: Mesmeric performance on extracts from Agha Hashr and feelings of deja vu and despair about the state of theatre and stage drama in Pakistan marked the concluding session of the four-day series of lectures and dialogue on the evolution of Urdu theatre and drama in the sub-continent organised by NCA Rawalpindi Campus at NAG on Saturday.
Though the impending realisation and despair regarding the regretful state of theatre and stage drama in Pakistan came up again and again during the discussions, however, one must appreciate the efforts of NCA Department of Theatre's team under the enthusiastic supervision of Claire Pamment for bringing out to the fore the need to stimulate the glory of Urdu theatre and stage plays in Pakistan.
The concluding day's proceedings were alternately chaired by Zia Moheyuddin and Dr. Anna Suvorova, while both presented their lectures on Agha Hashr Kashmiri in different context. Sitting inside the National Art Gallery and hearing about Hashr's theatrical excellence and peak of his dramaturgy, one can't help but wonder why none of his grand plays were ever enacted in this country.
Over sixty years of existence failed to create any impact on the theatrical and stage drama scenario. The younger generations are fed with borrowed stuff from the west, and are growing up knowing nothing about the rich heritage of Urdu theatre and drama. In the absence of any cultural policy, and the apathy shown by institutes like PNCA, the performing arts remains captive under the shadow of bureaucratic rules and fundamentalist ideologies. The multinational companies also sponsoring western soap operas and remain reluctant to spend money on the traditional Urdu theatre. Whatever exists in the name of Urdu theatre is either mere commercial vulgarism or concerted activism by a select theatre group. Nothing was ever done by the government on national level to revive classical Urdu theatre.
During the discussion, Agha Nasir informed that Radio Pakistan in its earlier days did produce some plays of Hashr, but Zia Moheyuddin clarified that other than the efforts of his NAPA, no serious efforts were made in this regard. Zia Moheyuddin along with others thought it interesting and heartbreaking to discuss such matters under the roof of a national institute that was supposed to uphold the litro-cultural legacies and heritage of this land.
Coming back to the short performances on extracts from Agha Hashr's play 'Khubsurat Bala' directed by Sarmad Sehbai, the students of performing art students Fauzia Mehmood, Sana Khalid, and Samara Momin gave enchanting performance. Fauzia Mehmood received tremendous applause from the audience for her superb performance while enacting four characters alone for a scene. She proved her talent and enacted all roles by changing style, movement and vocal tone while delivering each dialogue with such superb subtleness and finesse, that not only recognised her talent, but also the unseen hand of the directors firm guidance.
Though classical theatre is almost non-existent in Pakistan, but one thing is certain that there is no dearth of talent, be it directors, playwrights, or actors. We only lack sincere efforts and commitment from the concerned departments and ministries responsible to promote and preserve our culture and heritage.
The HEC sponsored Russian Scholar Dr. Anna based her lectures on historical perspectives, starting from Awadh, Lucknow and so on so forth, deliberating her research done regarding the origin of Urdu theatre and drama from eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century. However, on concluding day, she stayed close to Agha Hashr and his wonderful plays and chose to talk about him as a 'shimmering Height'. The News
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