Lack of magisterial powers & exam's cheating

Lack of magisterial powers encourages cheating in exams
Karachi, Mar 28: The languid attitude of authorities concerned to provide magisterial powers and protection to vigilance teams has minimised the opportunity to expose mass irregularities being committed in several examination centres during the ongoing Secondary School Certificate (SSC) annual exams across the city. Restrictions on media access to examination centres has also created hurdles in catching the corrupt mafias red-handed, it has been reliably learnt.

Sources in the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) Education Department have said that the vigilance teams cannot deliver results unless provided with personal protection.

Even in their recent raid on an illegal examination centre on Thursday, they endangered their lives to expose the malpractices of the so-called educationists who have been playing with the careers of thousands, they said.

"As far as school management and students are concerned, there is no threat in conducting a raid on any examination centre which is reported for allowing students to use unfair means", sources said. "In such centres, there always lies a great danger since unknown and strange characters are found guarding the place, and more often than not they are armed"." Sources further said that if vigilance teams are given magisterial powers during exams, they can reduce irregularities committed at examination centres to a great extent.

While the efficiency of vigilance teams has been severely affected due to a lack of security, the media too could not access several examination centres despite reports of cheating. Firstly they were not permitted by the competent authority to visit examination centres randomly and then the danger of a clash with the Mafia at the examination centre further blocked their access.

Despite reports of mass irregularities and use of unfair means at dozens of examination centres, if not hundreds, no strategy has been chalked out to tackle this affliction. The ill-planned policies of the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK), coupled with excuses from the Education Secretariat of the Governor's House, have restricted both vigilance teams and media personnel from accessing the examination centers and grabbing the evidence of irregularities.

Incompetence or political pressures?
Karachi: In an informal meeting with senior secretaries of Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan earlier this year, a group of journalists conveyed to the Governor's Education Secretariat that there would be mass irregularities in examination centres with the help of some corrupt officials at the BSEK during Matric exams.

It was also conveyed that bids would be invited by the BSEK from principals and owners of different schools and ones paying higher amounts would be rewarded as their schools would be made examination centres.

In the same meeting, it was also conveyed that those succeeding in making their schools 'examination centres' would be exempted from all kind of vigilance by BSEK and could do whatever they wanted.

It was also proposed in the meeting that the vigilance team would also have representatives of the media. However, the media was not facilitated by the competent authority for accessing the examination centres.

What puts the very credibility of the authority in question is the fact that despite advance reports of what is happening today, they could neither stop the sell-off examination centres by the BSEK nor ensure vigilance to stop irregularities during exams. The News

School rejects Board allegations
Karachi: The administration of Al-Umar Foundation has nullified the allegations of Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) against their school that the said institution has been used as an illegal examination centre during the English paper of matric science group, held on March 26, 2009, and said that the school administration will move to court against the BSEK.

Addressing a Press conference at Karachi Press Club on Friday, School Assistant Administrator Syed Jahangir and Principal Asfa Asad told that BSEK had staged a drama in association with a private TV channel to defame the school, which is situated in Shah Faisal Colony.

They pointed out that the board never declared our school as exam centre, so this was not happened only this year, while the allegations were baseless and unreasonable.

Members of the school management have demanded the authorities concerned to take action against the officials of the BSEK who are involved in this conspiracy. Dozens of students, belonging to Al-Umar Foundation, have gathered outside the Press club and chanted slogans against the private TV channel and BSEK. The Nation

School's 'recognition' still a mystery
Karachi: How an unregistered private school in Shah Faisal Colony where an unauthorised examination centre was detected on Thursday managed to get its students enrolled with the Board of Secondary Education Karachi for the on-going Class X annual examinations is still a mystery.

It is also surprising to learn from board officials that Al-Umer Foundation School's recognition certificate has been cancelled on charges of setting up an unauthorised examination centre on its premises, particularly when such a certificate is issued only to those schools which are registered with the provincial directorate of private educational institutions.

When asked what action had been taken against the foundation school after the detection of the unauthorised centre on its premises, director of Sindh directorate of private educational institutions Mansub Hussain Siddiqui said the school was not registered with the directorate although it was mandatory for a school to get registered before obtaining a recognition certificate from educational boards.

"Our record shows that the school is not registered with the directorate," he said.

The official said the school was initially registered with the city government's executive district officer for education, but its registration expired on completion of a five-year term a long time ago.

"In fact, we had issued a notice to the school management about two months back, asking it to get its registration certificate renewed from the directorate. But we have not received any response from it so far," he said.

He explained that the management of all unregistered schools were asked through notices to provide details about the enrolment of students, number of teachers and their qualification, academic performance reports, fee structures, number of free scholarships being provided to students if any and salaries being paid to teachers.

When asked how he would describe the status of Al-Umer Foundation School when it was not registered with the directorate, Mr Siddiqui said: "It's just like a tuition centre and nothing more."

He claimed that the directorate through official circulars had repeatedly requested the board not to issue a recognition certificate to unregistered schools.

It has been learnt that the BSEK after cancellation of the school's recognition certificate has allowed its students to appear in their next papers at the examination centre set up at Govt Agro-Technical High School in Shah Faisal Colony.

An official of the BSEK said that the entire invigilation staff, including the centre superintendent, of the Agro-Technical High School had been suspended on charges of conniving with the management of Al-Umer Foundation School in running an unauthorised examination centre on its premises for 35 students. Dawn

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BA, BSc, BCom admission date extended
Karachi: The University of Karachi on Friday announced that last the date for submitting admission forms and fee for the BA, BSc and BCom (pass) first and second year with a late fee of Rs1,000 had been extended till April 11.

Principals of all KU-affiliated degree colleges have been asked to forward the forms and fee along with the respective list of admissions to the KU registrar latest by April 18.

Digital lab
KU Vice-Chancellor Prof Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui will preside over a ceremony on Saturday for the inauguration of a digital library at the department of computer science. This was announced by a KU official on Friday.

PAF graduation ceremony
The graduation ceremony of Aircraft Accident Investigation Course was held at the Institute of Air Safety, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Masroor on Friday.

Commandant Air War College Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Tubrez Asif was the chief guest at the occasion.

In his address, Asif emphasised the importance of professional investigations in accident prevention programme of the PAF. Stressing upon the role of investigators, he said that only through dispassionate analysis of the accidents, could true causes be found and addressed in order to improve the safety standards. He appreciated efforts put in by the institution in imparting quality education. He awarded certificates to successful participants and awarded the Chief of Air Staff trophy to Squadron Leader, Faisal Bashir Bhura for best performance in the course.

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FCPS students to be trained in Saudi Arabia
Karachi: Twenty-two doctors registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) will receive four-year specialised training in different medical fields in Saudi Arabia.

This was stated by CPSP president Zafar Ullah Chaudhry at a reception held here on Thursday night to mark the departure of the first batch of doctors to the King Fahd Medical City (KFMC), Riyadh, for a residency programme.

Prof Chaudhry informed the audience that this was for the first time in the history of the country and the entire Saarc region that Saudi Arabia had accepted to train CPSP trainees at their institution while adhering to the curriculum and residency programmes of the CPSP.

"You will be supervised by specialist doctors from Canada, America and other countries and also from Saudi Arabia, who have already been accredited by the CPSP to administer the residency programmes and curricula of the college," he told the trainee doctors.

He said that after completing the training, the doctors would be eligible to appear in Fellowship of College of Physicians and Surgeons (FCPS) examinations and would be in a position to receive KFMC certificates in their specialised fields.

STB prepares textbooks
Hyderabad: The Sindh Textbook Board has created a record by distributing textbooks in 23 districts before the commencement of new academic session, says a press release issued by the Board on Friday.

It further said that some 2.721 million sets of textbooks from Class I to Class X had been distributed free of cost to students of these 23 districts of Sindh along with ensured availability of all books in the market, said the statement.

This was made possible after day and night labour of the administration and its workers it said and added that a centre for education and training had also been established at the Sindh Textbook Board with the cooperation of a German organisation, the press release said.

Teachers continue fast unto death
Dadu: Three school teachers continued hunger strike unto death outside the press club here on Friday for the ninth consecutive day, seeking their four-year salary.

The condition of hunger strikers Qurban Ali Panhwar, Ghulam Hussain Panhwar and Ghulam Shabbir Zour deteriorated as they lost their weight by two kilogramme. Medical officer of Civil Hospital treated them at camp and advised hospitalisation of Urban Ali.

Ghulam Shabbir told journalists that they would continue hunger strike till release of their four years salaries. He alleged that education officials and the DCO were responsible for denial of salary to them, though Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq, had issued directives to pay their salaries.

EDO Education Dadu, Sajan Mallah, said that to open closed schools, these teachers were appointed under a special arrangement and were to be paid salaries from the funds of the school management committees (SMCs).

On the directives of Secretary Education, he had verified the names of SMC teachers and sent him a list. He added that after his report the secretary had directed to pay salaries but funds were not made available. He hoped that the SMC funds would l be available soon and the salaries would be released to these teachers.

He said that total 600 SMC teachers were appointed from then SMC funds, which were basically provided by the Asian Development Bank for purchase of furniture and repair of schools.

Meanwhile, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz Chairman Basheer Qureshi visited the hunger strike camp and warned of joining the protest if salaries were not paid to teachers within three days. PML-N ladies wing Sindh President Sorath Thebo also visited hunger strikers' camp and assured support her party's support.

Social activists led by Dr Jabbar Babar and Inayat Jamali of Citizen Action Committee and SUP activists took out rallies in support of the teachers. Dawn

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Dress show at IIU ends in chaos
Islamabad: The dress show as a part of cultural week celebrations at the International Islamic University (IIU) Islamabad was cancelled following a protest by the students of Usul-ud-Din Department, terming the show as un-Islamic.

The three-day cultural week celebrations started on Thursday at women's campus of the university where the students participated in different items and dress show was one of the major attractions for the visitors of the gala.

Sources in the university revealed that the students of Islamic studies condemned the Faculty of Management Sciences (FMS) for conducting such events and said that it was prohibited in Islam.

"Before the opening of the show, the students of Usul-ud-Din gathered in front of auditorium and staged their protest against the dress show," the source revealed.

The young girls who were to take part in the show found roaming around the university campus in utter disappointment while cladding in colourful traditional dresses.

"It is the only colourful event in the university in the whole year and still we are deprived to enjoy it," said a student requesting anonymity.

She said that there was no point in creating so much fuss over a non-issue. "Only girls were admitted to participate and watch the show but even then they stopped us from doing so," she said.

According to the sources the actual tussle was on the issue of utilising the newly built auditorium of Usul-ud-Din as the students and faculty of the department were not willing to allow their facility to be used for such practices.

"The protestors were of the opinion that other halls of the university should be utilised for such shows rather the hall of a religious department," he said.

While the other students of the university also expressed disappointment in the cancellation of the show. "It is just nonsense to cancel a female dress show by making such lame excuses," said a student.

She said that the university administration should have taken stand against the students who protested for such an entertaining activity.

"This shows that the university administration is helpless before the handful people who are trying to run the whole university according to their own desires and wishes," she said.

On the other hand another student said that such practices were bringing bad name to the university in particular and Pakistan in general.

"These extremist views were portraying a negative image of our country in front of rest of the world," she said.

On the other hand the university administration was not available for comments while the in charge students' affair Qaisra Naqvi was not picking up her phone despite various attempts by this scribe.

IIU convocation
Islamabad: The International Islamic University (IIU) plans to hold its seventh convocation here on April 11. Director Academic and Planning and Chairman Convocation Management Committee, Gulzar Ahmed Khawaja told APP here over 2200 degrees and 45 medals would be awarded to the students who have completed their graduation during academic sessions (from Sept 2007 to Aug 2008). He said full dress rehearsal would be held on April 10.

St Mary's Academy welcomes new term
Rawalpindi: The students of St Mary's Academy enthralled the audience with their performances at a function organised by the administration to mark the beginning of the new term of year 2009 here Friday.

St Mary's Academy Principal Group Caption (r) Cicil Chaudhary was the chief guest on the occasion.

Academy teachers Tarranum Manzoor, Uzma Manzoor, Ruby Michael and Asma Rehman helped the students in preparing the segments for the function. The students sang national anthem, read a story and performed tableau, dance and drama.

Speaking on the occasion St Mary's Academy Principal Cicil Chaudhary said that the overall education standard of the country was not at par with other countries.

All the concerned quarters particularly teachers should join their hands together and start a campaign to lift the educational standard of the country.

He urged the students to work hard and maintain discipline to achieve success in life. He appreciated the teachers for arranging such a lovely function.

Later he awarded certificates among several students.

Scholarships for 6 special children
Islamabad: Preston University Chancellor Dr. Abdul Basit has announced 100 per cent scholarships for six students of Al-Maktoom Special Education Centre for Visually Handicapped Children (VHC).

The announcement was made at an award distribution ceremony held at the university's Islamabad Campus to acknowledge the outstanding performance of Al-Maktoom students on Iqbal Day function jointly organised by Preston University and the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) in November last, said a news release issued here Friday.

Dr. Basit said that the university has always made sincere efforts to fulfil its corporate social responsibility in the best possible manner serving the less privileged segments of the society. He expressed the hope that the six special students of Al-Maktoom to whom he has offered 100 per cent scholarship will grab this opportunity and join Preston University as soon as they pass their Intermediate or 'O' Level exams to pursue their graduate and post graduate studies at the university.

Dr. Firoza Ahmed, Dean Faculty of Social Sciences and Director General (HRD), Preston University as the chief guest on the occasion profoundly congratulated the director/principal and faculty members of Al-Maktoom Special Education Centre for VHC for building up the centre through their dedicated and untiring efforts.

Director/Principal of Al Maktoom Special Education Centre for Visually Handicapped Children (VHC), Rubina Anjum expressed profound gratitude to the Dr. Abdul Basit for the generosity shown by him in offering 100 per cent scholarship to six of Al-Maktoom students Rida Gul, Yasra, Maria Kanwal, Bushra Bano, Iqra Noor and Najmul Hassan. The News

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