University of Cambridge Scholarships in Pakistan
Lahore, May 14: The University of Cambridge has launched its 800th Anniversary Scholarships in Pakistan, offering fully-funded scholarships to at least 15 undergraduate students who will obtain admission to the varsity.
The scholarships, to be funded through the Cambridge Assessment, will cover tuition fees, maintenance and travel costs. The £1.25 million initial fund for the purpose will be spent over the next five or so years.
This was announced by Cambridge Assessment's Group Chief Executive Simon Lebus at a news conference at a local hotel on Wednesday.
Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) chief executive Ann Puntis, Inter-Boards Committee of Chairmen (IBCC) secretary Ramzan Achakzai and CIE's regional manager for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan William Bickerdike were also present on the occasion.
Mr Lebus said this was a new scholarship programme for undergraduates from Pakistan with first admission applications for the academic year 2010-2011.
He said the scholarships were competitive and conditional on a college admission at Cambridge, which would be subject to the varsity's normal admission criteria. He said the prospective applicants for the scholarships would be interviewed in Pakistan in October/November this year. The last date for the submission of applications for the scholarship would be September 20.
To a question, Mr Lebus said the Cambridge Assessment would consider increasing the number of scholarships, if there were certain competitive cases. "If this scholarship scheme meets success, it is hoped that it will act as a pathfinder and will encourage other benefactors to provide additional funding to continue it, once the initial funds are spent down," he added.
Stating the Cambridge Assessment was a not-for-profit organisation and a department of the Cambridge University, he added it owned varsity's three examination boards – OCR, ESOL and CIE: the largest provider of international qualifications.
Saying that Cambridge had historic links with Pakistan, Mr Lebus added the launch of the 800th anniversary scholarships was an opportunity to further develop these links and express university's commitment to the cause of education in Pakistan.
Appreciating the achievements by Pakistani students in O and A Level examinations, CIE chief executive Ann Puntis said this year several local students secured top global scores in a number of different O & A Level and IGCSE subjects, including economics, psychology, mathematics, chemistry and literature.
Answering a question, Ms Puntis said the CIE would introduce A* grades in O and A Level examinations from 2010 and not this year. The A* grades will enable students to get 90 per cent marks, when they will get the equivalence certificate from the IBCC for admission to local medical, engineering and other professional education institutions.
Currently, the CIE is giving A grade to high achievers, which is equivalent to 85 per cent marks as calculated by the IBCC, which does not enable A-Level graduates to compete with their counterparts having local boards' FSc qualifications for seeking admission to professional education institutions.
Ms Puntis said the Pakistani high achievers as well as other students were very creative and enthusiastic learners. She said Pakistani teachers were also continuously augmenting their learning base and holding workshops.
IBCC secretary Ramzan Achakzai and CIE's regional manager William Bickerdike also spoke on the occasion. DawnYour Comments
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Irregularities surface in agricultural varsity
Peshawar: Serious irregularities have been unearthed in the NWFP Agricultural University, but the vice-chancellor of the varsity has termed reports about the anomalies as baseless and part of a campaign against him.
Sources said that Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Said Khan Khalil was involved in gross irregularities pertaining to financial misuse, nepotism and favouritism in recruitment and promotions and others.
The sources said the vice-chancellor owned MP-2 (Management Position-2) instead of BPS-22. In such a case, he was supposed to avail the perks specified for MP-2 and was to withdraw all the privileges he had attained as BPS-22 officer. But he was getting the package of MP-2 along with all the perks and privileges of BPS-22, the sources said.
However, when contacted the vice-chancellor said he joined the revised shape of MP-2 that allowed him to avail himself of the perks he had already got. The sources said the university employees' benevolent and endowment fund money was kept in a secret account, not disclosed despite continuous insistence by the Agricultural University Teachers Association.
The vice-chancellor, on the other hand, said it was an old issue. The amount had already been used in disbursement of salaries by a previous vice-chancellor when the university was in financial crisis. "The issue has been resolved now," he clarified.
Another allegation levelled against the university administration was that a sum of Rs10.356 million was invested in the PICIC at the rate of 11.55 per cent profit, but after a week they invested a sum of Rs50 million at 10.50 per cent profit in Habib Bank Limited. Now the money has been transferred to the NIB to pocket extra commission from the bank, the sources alleged, adding that there was no record of the same.
Prof Said Khan, however, said there was an investment committee to decide as to where the university money should be invested. He said the money was deposited with the HBL and the NIB that were offering comparatively higher rate and it was never changed.
The sources said that embezzlement was made in the general sales tax in the installation of feed mill in the university. The sources said the firm that installed the mill offered Rs13.44 million without the GST. But two bills have now been passed and the GST payment has been made to the supplier instead of the GST Department.
The vice-chancellor rejected the allegation as baseless, saying they had withheld 25 per cent of the payment for other expenses. He said payment of the GST to the relevant department would be ensured.
The sources alleged that the vice-chancellor went to Nepal on a non-governmental organisation-sponsored trip, but he also charged Rs50,000 from the university for the same purpose. On this, the vice-chancellor said he visited Nepal thrice and every time he got advance amount from the university, but the amount was adjusted on his return. "It is very much on the record," he pointed out. The News
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Schools closed in Mardan
Peshawar: The Provincial Government has closed all the government schools in Mardan district for indefinite period. This was state in a notification issued here on Wednesday. It is further stated that the Internally Displaced Persons of operation-stricken districts of Swat, Dir and Buner would be accommodated in these school buildings. It is to mention here that earlier it was decided to announce summer vacation in Mardan and Swabi districts but later the government schools were closed for the unannounced time. F.P report
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Punjab University Hostel No. 3 students' demo against lack of facilities
Lahore: The students of Punjab University hostel No.3 (Quaid-e-Azam Hall) have staged a protest demonstration against the irresponsible behaviour of Hostel Warden and shortage of facilities provided to students. The students were carrying play cards in their hands on which the slogans against Dr. Haris Rasheed (Warden Hostel No.3) and illegal assistant superintendent Azizullah were written. The students were demanding that Azizullah (Lecturer at department of Mathematics) who is assistant superintendent of hostel has been illegally appointed here, because he is on leave of four years from his department and therefore not able to be appointed as assistant superintendent. There are many illegal persons living in hostel on behalf of Azizullah.
The students were also demanding that Dr. Haris Rasheed and Project Director Muhammad Ali must has to be inquired after the corruption they made in hostel funds on the name of construction. On the order of warden, hostel administration is not allowing any person to enter in hostel either he is relative of students or any legal student of other hostels of PU except Hostel No.3. due to which the group study of the students of same department living in separate hostels. After the protest Dr. Haris Rasheed made dialogue with students and said to give a written application of their demands which was later provided to him. The students at the movement announced that if warden fails to fulfill their demands, a big protest will be organized against him. Ppi
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HEC scholarship programme team visits PU
Lahore: A five-member delegation of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Scholarship Programme visited Punjab University and called on Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran in his office here at New Campus on Wednesday. The members of the delegation included Scholarship Programme Advisor Dr Syed Mahmood Raza, Project Director Rizwana Siddiqui, Project Manager Baqir Hasnain and Assistant Director Rizwan Shaukat. PU Doctoral Programme Coordination Committee (DPCC) Chairperson Prof Dr Shahida Hasnain was also present on the occasion.
The vice-chancellor said the HEC Scholarship Programme was very important for the universities of the country but unfortunately the previous administration of PU could not get much benefit from the programme and only 37 faculty members went abroad for PhD while 150 from University of Engineering & Technology (UET) and 350 faculty members from COMSATS availed the opportunity of PhD under this programme. Dr Mujahid Kamran said, however, the present administration of PU was very serious to address the issue of the shortage of PhD faculty in the varsity. He said that PU sent its 38 faculty members to abroad for doing PhD on its own resources and he himself used to urge the young lecturers and assistant professors to do PhD and get enrolment for PhD at various forums and meetings.
The delegation also asked about MPhil leading PhD programme of Punjab University. The vice-chancellor told the delegation that the PhD programme of PU was of running smoothly and theses of the scholars were being sent to foreign experts for the final evaluation. The delegation assured HEC's all-out cooperation to PU administration for producing quality PhDs. Later the delegation alongwith PU Doctoral Programme Coordination Committee (DPCC) Chairperson Prof Dr Shahida Hasnain addressed a meeting of PU PhD scholars and their supervisors and urged them to complete their research as soon as possible. F.P report
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Report sought on use of 'pig' fat in chips
Lahore: Justice Saifur Rehman of the Lahore High Court on Wednesday sought a report from three respondents, including federal and provincial health departments, in a petition challenging the use of colour, extracted from pig fat, in preparing chips available in the market.
The judge ordered the respondents to file their replies till June 2. The judge issued the order while hearing a petition moved by one Muhammad Yousaf Ansari.
The petitioner's counsel Rana Asadullah submitted that the ingredient of chips included a colour named E-631, which was extracted from pig fat. He said the research, conducted by an America-based scientist, Dr Amjad Khan, proved that the colour was prepared from pig fat.
He said any such product was prohibited under the Islamic injunctions and also by the Constitution and its sale should immediately be stopped.
The counsel submitted that the manufacturer of the said colour had claimed that it had obtained a no-objection certificate from a Muslim organisation of Thailand.
He said such a green signal from a non-Muslim state was of no value. He requested the court to impose a ban on the product prepared with use of E-631. The News
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TEVTA utilises only 10% of allocated funds
Lahore: The Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) has utilised only 10 percent of development funds allocated (Rs 2,300 million) in the Annual Development Programme 2008-9, an official of the Punjab government said on Wednesday.
He said the financial year was ending on June 30, adding that the remaining funds would lapse on that date. The Punjab government, on TEVTA's request, allocated Rs 1,351 million as development funds for the execution of 51 ongoing schemes during 2008-9. Of the total schemes, 20 were technical, 25 vocational, five commerce, and one miscellaneous.
The Finance Department allocated Rs 950 million in the current ADP for TEVTA to initiate 34 new development schemes, including 7 technical, 22 vocational, one commerce, three miscellaneous and one in block allocation.
He said it was strange that the authority had not initiated work on any new schemes in the past 10 months. He said the authority's vision was to enhance global competitiveness through skilled, qualitative and productive workforce. He said to achieve this vision, TEVTA would have to develop a demand-driven, standardised, dynamic and integrated technical education and vocational training system. Non-utilisation of funds means that the authority has no capacity to deliver or impart technical and vocational skills to unemployed educated youth, he added.
Bureaucrats: TEVTA Chairman Mosin Syed alleged that the bureaucrats who had been appointed in the authority during the past nine months were responsible for the low utilisation of funds. He said they had not designed the development schemes properly, as they had no concern with ground realities. He claimed the utilisation of funds was approximately 50 percent in ongoing schemes, adding that Rs 400 million would be used to revamp the authority and necessary maintenance work on defective machinery before the end of this financial year. He hoped the utilisation of development funds would be more than 70 percent by the end of the current financial year. He said the work on new schemes would be initiated within this month. Daily Times
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