Last ditch effort to save HEC from devolution
Islamabad, March 29: Making a last ditch effort for survival, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has sent a request for a meeting with Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, who is the controlling authority of the HEC, in which they would ask him to intervene and stop the process of devolution in the larger interest of the country.
According to well-placed sources, the PM appears to be the last ray of hope for the sinking HEC, which appears quite disappointed by the decision of the Implementation Commission. "Although the HEC has been literally wrapped up yet we intend to make one last effort to save it," said sources.
Sources believed that the HEC at first could not be devolved as it was a federal body that comes directly under the PM. "Now when the Implementation Commission has decided to roll back the HEC, the PM is the one whom we all are looking towards," they said.
According to sources, the HEC would make all possible efforts to save the higher education sector in the country. "We are also planning to meet the parliamentarians who have knowledge about the issue and would ask them to raise their voice against this injustice," sources said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the HEC former chairman, Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, had written letters to President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, however, he did not receive any response as yet. "I believe that the prime minister must intervene to save the future of Pakistan by saving HEC from devolution," said Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman.
The HEC officials during the meeting would focus on the cover that the HEC gets under the 18th Amendment and also the role of universities in building economies. "The 18th Amendment, through the 4th Schedule (Article 70(4) of the Federal Legislative Lists Part-I and Part-II, fully supports the current powers and functions of the HEC, and includes higher education and research as federal subjects," said sources.
According to sources, the officials would try to convince that Pakistan needs to develop critical technology for industrialisation, economic growth, energy growth, to explore map and mine natural resources, including coal at Thar, gold at Riko Deq, copper at Saindaik, gas at Qadirpur, and others yet to be explored. Pakistan needs technology for information and communication technologies; to drive its own high tech manufacturing industry; for transportation and avionics; for weather predictions so disasters like floods and tsunami are forecast and for health, agriculture, natural and applied sciences among others.
The delegation would emphasise the need for the technology to continue to protect its national assets and defend its borders. "Flanked by a hostile neighbour ten times its size, Pakistan has no choice but to be at least ten times smarter and efficient in the utilisation of its resources. Even if it had the financial resources, it is a known fact that money cannot buy everything, especially where strategic interests are concerned," the source believed.
The source highlighted that the total science and technology workforce in Pakistan is around 130,000. Out of this, the total number of researchers & scientists is 53,000, but only 10% (about 5,300) hold PhD degrees. Eighty per cent of these PhDs (about 4,000) are in higher education institutions governed by the HEC. Of the total 53,000 researchers & scientists in Pakistan, 24% are in SS and Humanities; 24% in Natural Sciences; only 18% in Engineering; 16% in Medicine and 14% in Agriculture.
HEC Chairman Dr. Javed Laghari confirmed that a formal request for the meeting has been sent to the PM. "We have sent him the request and are very hopeful that he will give us date for a meeting on priority basis," he added. Laghari said that the 18th Amendment provides full cover to the HEC so there was nothing against law, which they were demanding.
QAU ASA wants deans as heads of committees
Islamabad: The Academic Staff Association (ASA) of the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) has expressed concern over bypassing of senior faculty members like deans while appointing heads of committees.
According to minutes of a recent executive committee meeting of the ASA, the members observed that a dean used to chair the meetings of departmental promotion committee and house allotment committee but now the practice had been discontinued and administrative officials like registrar had been made heads of such committees.
The executive members said that faculty's input is very important for promotion of technical and administrative staff and had been the practice for many decades at QAU where a dean used to head most of the committees. Members of EC demanded that the administration should notify the committees with dean(s) as their heads.
ASA President Dr Afzal Bhatti informed the house that the ASA office-bearers had held a meeting with the vice chancellor to express faculty concerns regarding delay in processing the cases for the posts of associate professor and professor and failure of the administration to place the cases of some faculty members before the selection board.
The VC assured at that time that such discrepancies will not occur in the selection bard and cases of all the faculty members whose reports had been received in the registrar office will be included. The committee also wanted that a copy of the reports should be sent to the concerned chairperson, dean and the vice-chancellor also to ensure transparency and punctuality.
The committee also discussed the decision of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) seeking implementation of Supreme Court's verdict to remove all contractual appointments of retired personnel in the universities. The federation had announced to start protest campaign against the appointment of superannuated vice-chancellors, deans, directors, chairpersons and professors if they were not removed within a month.
The QAU ASA decided to first go through the SC verdict and deferred the matter till the next meeting. The EC also created two subcommittees to expedite the progress in phase-2 of the QAU Staff Housing Scheme. The news
RBISE sets up committee to probe answer sheet scam
Rawalpindi: The Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (RBISE) has formed a three members committee to investigate the 9th and 10th class answer sheet case and will submit the report to the board chairman today (Tuesday) and will also fix whether the board staff is involved in the scam or not.
The RBISE has suspended a clerk Muhammad Arif who was responsible to bring the answer sheet from the United Bank Chowk Pindori Branch after delivering the question paper.
Police on a road near Rawat stopped a car driven by Waqar Ali Satti and Chengez Khan while another person sitting on the back fled the scene. After checking the police found six bundles of solved answer sheet of 9th and 10th class. After quizzing, the persons informed the police that on of them was working as a teacher in a private school and they were doing this on the behest of Zahir Shah, an owner of private school in Kahuta for which they were paid. The two persons were taken into the custody along with the answer sheet bundles.
Sources in the board said that the committee would be consisting of Prof Mamoon Abbas, Prof Masood Ali and Iftikhar Shah. They said that the committee would investigate the case and determine the negligence on the part of the board staff.
The board authorities has also informed the Zonal office of the UBL for action against the staff members of the branch as the papers were kept in the bank locker and with the bank staff involvement the papers were brought and exchanged. Dialy times
College fair held
Islamabad: A two-day college fair jointly organised by the US embassy and United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) concluded with a commitment to promoting educational and cultural exchange between the two countries.
The event, held at a local hotel, was attended by representatives from 11 American universities to encourage more students to study in the US.
This was the first time that so many American representatives have travelled together to Pakistan.
In addition to meeting hundreds of prospective students and parents in Islamabad, the university representatives spoke to hundreds more in† Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar via digital video conferences.
Speaking at the fair's closing ceremony, Embassy Counselor for Public Affairs Mark Davidson said the United States had a long tradition of embracing foreign students.
"We want more Pakistani students to enrich our classrooms and benefit from our world-class universities. Our doors are open to Pakistanis to study in the US," he said.
Work on AIOU campus to begin next month
Gujranwala: Construction work on Gujranwala Campus of the Allama Iqbal Open University will begin in April, says AIOU Regional Director Mukhtar Ahmad.
Talking to reporters on Monday, Ahmad said 12-kanal land had been acquired in X-Block of People's Colony for this purpose and boundary wall of the campus had been completed. Dawn
Students light candles to mark Earth Hour
Islamabad: Around 500 students from Roots School System (RSS) participated in the candle lit ceremony marking the celebration of Earth Hour here at its regional office at Nazim-ud-Din Road.
The school was decorated with banners, balloons, oil lamps and candles. The lights were shut down for an hour and at that time while students were carrying lit candles and sang national anthem.
Vaneeza Ahmed, ambassador of WWF, Rawalpindi and Islamabad lit the candle first to celebrate the Earth Hour. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari also graced the occasion.
"I am pleased to have been asked to be the ambassador for Earth Hour in 2011 for Islamabad & Rawalpindi. Each of us has a responsibility for the sustainability of our planet and each of us can make a difference if we choose to do so," Vaneeza said.
Director RSS Faisal Mushtaq said that awareness was created through the event, but there's more to it than switching off lights for one hour once a year. It's all about giving people a voice and working together to create a better future for our planet and students
who are the future of tomorrow will make the difference, he added. The news