Students & power outages | Edu sector funds

Students protest power outages
Lahore, March 20: Dozens of students, staging a demonstration, strongly protested the ever increasing loadshedding during the ongoing matriculation examinations.

The demo was organised by Mustafvi Students Movement (MSM) outside the Lahore Press Club on Friday in which protesting students, carrying banners and placards, chanted slogans.

They said the excessive and frequent loadshedding was badly affecting students, as they could not prepare well for the exams. They said thousands of students were appearing in the ongoing matriculation exams across the province, adding the worst ever power crisis had made their lives miserable.

The students demanded the authorities concerned take steps to ensure uninterrupted power supply at least during the exams period so that students might not suffer and sit in the exams with ease of mind and full preparation.

It is pertinent to mention here that the matriculation annual examination 2010 had commenced simultaneously across the province on March 13. The news

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Edu sector fails to utilise funds of millions
Lahore: Due to cumbersome procedures in Punjab finance department, millions of rupees of college and school funds are lying rotten in the banks since years.
The public sector schools and colleges receive funds in the form of fine for absence of students, security, cycle stand, uniform, ID card, library and laboratory funds etc from the students which are deposited in the respective school, college accounts in the banks. Over the years, these funds have been multiplied into millions and are virtually abandoned, as neither the principal nor the headmaster is competent to utilise these funds without the consent of the Secretary Education and Secretary Finance thus the amount remain unspent.
To refer a few cases, the Central Model School Lower Mall have 2.50 million in its account, Central Model School Rattigan Road 2 million and an amount of Rs0.5 million to 2 million in different schools having 4,000 to 6,000 students strength. Islamia College, MAO College and almost all women colleges maintain their own accounts of millions of rupees.
The provision of missing facilities, like class rooms, boundary walls, electricity, furniture, drinking water facilities etc were the responsibility of the government which spent a sum of Rs21 billion under the Punjab Education Sector Reform Programme during the past few years while school, college funds were not allowed to be spent on any infrastructure development or improvement of facilities.
The colleges also fetch millions of rupees revenue from the second shift tuition fee etc which are also at the disposal of principals but they can't spent any amount by virtue of their grade and status. What could be the utilisation, it is a matter to be pondered over by the policy makers in the education department.
The education department, however, conceived a plan to utilise the college, school funds by empowering the respective principals, headmasters to utilise the funds up to certain amount under intimation to the secretaries of education and finance.
A committee was formed to deliberate the modalities and areas where the heads of institutions can spend amount on necessities like shortage of teaching and non-teaching staff, improvement of library and lab facilities, provision and repair of furniture and spending on extra curricular activities like sports, debates and study tours.
A six-member committee headed by the then principal, Science College and comprising principals of leading city colleges deliberated the issue and prepared a draft recommendations for implementation. However, with the passage of time government failed to implement the recommendations and with the change of government, the issue was driven to cold storage. The nation

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PU employees continue protest
Lahore: Some employees of the Punjab University (PU) continued protest against the varsity administration under the PU Administrative & Technical Staff Association (PUATSA) on New Campus on Friday.

They also set up a hunger strike camp outside the office of the Vice Chancellor and criticised the administration for issuing show cause notices to four protesting PUATSA members.

PUATSA has been protesting against the administration, demanding upgrade of posts, increase in different allowances and issues related to promotions.

However, a PU spokesman said the Punjab University Administrative & Technical Staff Association was operating illegally.

He further said the self-styled union and its constitution had already been set aside and declared unlawful by a Civil Court of Lahore on February 25 last.

He further said the unlawful association was involved in unauthorised political and group activities.

In a press statement issued a couple of days ago, the Punjab University administration had directed all the administrative sectional heads to ensure that none of their subordinate staff member participated in any rally or agitation of the said association.

They had also been cautioned that those elements found disrupting official business of university and creating hindrance in smooth provision of essential services to students, teachers and visitors would be proceeded against as per varsity rules and service disciplines.

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Lahore: Punjab University (PU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has said that our honourable existence in the world and rise to the level of development achieved by the educated nations depends on our firm resolve and focused attention on the spread of literacy and education in the country. He was addressing participants in a dinner reception hosted in honour of nine Professors Emeritus appointed by the university recently. The news

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GCU gala
Lahore: A Reunion gala of the Old Ravians is going to be held at Oval Ground of the Government College University Lahore on Saturday (today). Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Sharif will be the chief guest while GCU Vice Chancellor Dr Khalid Aftab will also be present on the occasion. Meanwhile, the 15th Government College University (GCU) annual parliamentary debates kicked off on the varsity campus on Friday. As many as 200 orators and adjudicators from all over Pakistan will participate in the eight rounds spread over four days.

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Govt unable to accomodate Masjid Maktib students in public schools
Lahore: The future of the students of 3,985 Masjid Maktib Schools (MMS) hangs in a limbo, as the Punjab government appears unable to meet the deadline it had set for shifting them to other government schools.

The reason cited by Punjab government officials for making the shift is "to protect the students from being influenced towards extremists by learning under the guidance of potential hardliners as a majority of the MMS' are situated in Southern Punjab". The MMS were officially launched under Gen Ziaul Haq. The programme aimed at the children being taught mainstream primary and secondary education subjects such as English, Maths and Science at the mosques themselves. During former president Pervez Musharraf's regime, a move was initiated to merge these schools into mainstream educational institutions, but the target was not met due to pressure from religious elements in the government. Most of these schools lack proper infrastructures and facilities, including playgrounds, benches, blackboards, toilets and drinking water.

Failing to meet: The government had set March 31 as the deadline for shifting all MMS students to other public sector schools, but that deadline will probably be missed due to the "bureaucracy's inefficiency" and influence of religious clerics, sources said on the condition of anonymity.

Protection: Parliamentary Secretary for Punjab (Education) Mushtaq Ahmed Jaja confirmed the move was being made "to protect the students from the influence of any radicalised clerics". He said that 65 percent of MMS exist in Southern Punjab and that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif wanted to bring the students in the education mainstream. However, he said it was not possible for education department officials to meet the deadline "because the process of merging the MMS' to other public sector schools was still in its preliminary stages and so far only initial surveys have been worked on". Jaja said he could not give a final date for when the task would be completed, but assured that the officers concerned were making all efforts to complete the task as soon as possible.

Sources in the Punjab Education Department on Wednesday said that the executive district officer's (EDO) Education in 37 districts were facing issues in merging MMS' in developed schools of their areas. They said that committees across the province were surveying the MMS' and that according to initial reports it would not be possible for the provincial government to complete its task by March 31.

EDO (Education) Lahore Dr Muhammad Arshad said that he was working on following the government's instructions, however, a source in the EDO Education Lahore office said that out of the 48 MMS' in Lahore, only eight had been selected to be merged before the government's deadline. Hafiz Qasim, a religious cleric and teacher at the Jamia Naqshbandia Narowal, said that he was not in favour of the merger.

He said that thousands of poor students were being educated at MMS' across the province, adding that the teachers provided religious education to the students, but never "brainwashed them according to specific radical ideologies". Razaul Mustafa, a cleric from Bahawalnagar, said there were around a 100 students being educated in his MMS.

Failure to act: He said the teachers condemned the government for targeting MMS' "and failing to act against those schools that were actually fanning extremism". Daily times

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