Higher edu no more a priority | Scholarship's mechanism

In Higher education, something is going wrong, and going wrong very badly
Lahore, Mar 09: Education unfortunately has remained one of the most neglected sectors in the country. Although no one denies, and neither can if anyone even chooses to, its importance and the prevailing realities present a very gloomy picture. Everyone knows who is responsible but not those who are at the helm of affairs.

There are many questions needing immediate answers. If we look at the higher education one can easily feel that something is going wrong, and going wrong very badly. Is it true that the present regime is ignorant of the importance of higher education in science and technology for the development and progress of the country, as it has drastically slashed the budget for the Higher Education Commission (HEC)? Whether it wants to reverse the progress and consciously or unconsciously undo the achievements made in the promotion of higher education during the past over 8 years when the public sector universities expanded and grew tremendously? Whether the cut imposed in the HEC budget is result of a conspiracy, bad governance or corrupt practices?

There is no denying the fact that curtailment of the funds allocated for HEC has denied the opportunity to the public sector institutions to grow at par with private counterparts with quality education at competitive tuition fee. Now, the private sector will find an open opportunity to fetch students at their campuses, which had suffered a set back with the better facilities at public sector varsities through HEC funding.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani's orders to maintain the recurrent budget of HEC to Rs23 billion from the previous Rs44 billion means almost half the cut in the three years time. The cabinet has approved an annual increase of only 10 per cent in the amount in view of the inflationary trend while ignoring the fact that inflation is climbing at a rate of almost 23 percent. The Nation

'No compromise on girls' education'
Peshawar: The Awami National Party-led government will never compromise on women's education and rights, ANP NWFP President Afrasiab Khattak said on Sunday. Addressing a meeting organised by the ANP Women's Wing on the Role of Women in Peace and Security held in connection with International Women's Day - the ANP NWFP president said new bills would be tabled in the provincial assembly to empower the women of the province. Daily Times

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Academics want centralised mechanism for student scholarships
A number of government as well as private organisations offer scholarships to needy as well as talented students. Nevertheless, one wonders and feels sorry when reports emerge about the students who could not continue education due to extreme poverty and end up their lives by committing suicides.

Recently in the provincial metropolis, a girl student committed suicide by swallowing poisonous pills when her father told her that he was not in a position to deposit her BA examination fee.

The student had earlier failed to pass the exam but, being enthusiastic about studies, she wanted to appear again and pass the exam but circumstances led her to pass away. This is not a single incident of this type rather such stories do appear on and off in our part of the world.

Former Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif had recently established Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) to bear the educational expenses of needy but talented students. There are other government agencies as well as private organisations which have been offering scholarships to the students over the years. It is generally observed that the students, seeking support through scholarships, have to face a lot of troubles owing to negligence of the authorities concerned.

The Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) had announced the scholarships (Phase-II) in April 2007 for BS, MS and MPhil/PhD students in various disciplines for Punjab domiciled, academically talented and financially needy students.

After the selection of the successful candidates, scholarship deed was signed by students and their parents/guardians. But what could be more tragic and unfortunate that since then the selected students had been waiting for funds from the government to pay for their studies.

Academic circles are of the view that the government should evolve a centralised mechanism for the award of scholarships to students of schools, colleges and universities. The scattered efforts, no doubt, create troubles for the funding agencies too while stressing a more focused approach.

The other important factor, which the academicians stress, is the provision of financial assistance to needy students through newly launched PEEF which at present is aiming to accommodate only talented-needy students. They are of the view that there should be a helpline available to the students so that those who are really in dire need of financial assistance can contact the respective agency or department.

Tree plantation campaigns
With the advent of spring season, a number of educational institutions, especially universities, have started organising tree plantation campaigns on varsity campuses.

It is generally observed that after a particular launching ceremony, the entire campaign goes silently which, in fact, mars the very spirit of such healthy and essential campaigns.

In order to achieve maximum out of such campaigns is maximum involvement of the students which is only possible when a student is practically invited to plant a sapling by himself/ herself.

Moreover, there should be a close liaison between provincial forest department and educational institutions to create awareness at massive level, as the growth of trees is mandatory to maintain ecological balance and protection and preservation of natural environment. -lachvee@gmail.com (The News)

BISE Girls Inter-College Games FCW clinch overall trophy Hina declared best athlete
Peshawar: Hina Jan of Frontier College for Women grabbed two gold medals and one silver and was declared best athlete of the Year_2009 in the BISE Inter-College Athletic Meet held here Saturday. Hina Jan claimed gold medal in discuss throw, shot put and took silver medal in 400m race, she was closely followed by Aysha Khan of with two gold medal while Nagina of FEF Nodhia took one gold and on bronze medal.

In the overall games Frontier College for Women secured 41 points by winning general trophy while the same college took the winner trophy of the Athletic with 39 points. City District Girls College won the runners-up trophy by scoring 18 points and Govt. Girls College Charsadda got third position by scoring 15 points. On the final day athletic events, in the shot put Hina of Frontier College took gold medal, followed by Habeeba of Chamkani and Hira of Charsadda, in the 800m Anum of City District took gold, followed by Monaza of Charsadda Girls College and Sabeen of City District while in long jump Tabinda of PMDC took gold medal, followed by Anila Gul of FCW and Farkhanda of Chamkani, in 400m Anum of City District, Hina of FCW and Marium of PMDC got the positions. In 4X100m relay, FCW team comprising Gul Zeb, Abeer, Amina, Layba, PMDC got runners-up trophy as the team comprising Faryal, Tabinda, Faqiya and Ghazal while City District team including Rabia, Neelam, Sabeen and Anum took third position. In the overall games results, FCW won winners trophies of Badminton, Cycling, Cricket, Handball, Hockey and athletics. In Badminton GHSS Hayatabad won winners trophy, followed by City District, University Town won runners trophy in Cycling and PMDC won third position.

The cricket runners-up trophy won by GHSS, University Town and GGDC Charsadda got third position, in Handball GGHSS Comprehensive took second position, followed by Charsadda. PMDC won runners up trophy in hockey while GGHSS Comprehensive took third position, PMDC and Charsadda won runners-up and third position trophies in table tennis, Jinnah college won Net ball trophy, followed by FCW and PMDC. At the end Chairman BISE Professor Farhad Jan gave away trophies. Secretary BISE Islamuddin Khan, Controller Nasir Ali, International athlete Bahre Karam, Mehdi Jan, President BISE Girls Games Nasim Habib, Vice Principal FCW Tasleem Akhtar, Director Sports Manzar Khan, players and officials were also present. App

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