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Centre of Advancement Studies in Engineering convocation

370 get degrees at Case convocation
Islamabad, May 29: As many as 370 students were awarded degrees in various disciplines of engineering at the second convocation of Centre of Advancement Studies in Engineering (Case) held here Thursday at Sir Syed Memorial Society.

During the ceremony, degrees were conferred upon 317 BSc students and 65 MSc students in the fields of Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Engineering Management.

Two students, Adnan Ahmed Khan and Ali Ahsan, received PhD degrees in the discipline of Computer Engineering and Engineering Management respectively.

Moreover, the gold medallists included Sadia Shakil and Irum Nosheen of MSc Computer Engineering; Amir Quyyum, Imran Ghafoor Chaudhry and Merai Syed of MSc Engineering Management; and Saira Samar of Electrical Engineering.

President Case Prof Dr Saeed-ur-Rehman while addressing on the occasion said the institute bridges the gap between industry and academia and focuses on character building of its students to produce future leaders with a sense of honour and responsibility. The News

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Issues in education
A report released recently by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) gives a gloomy picture of education in Pakistan. About 40 per cent of the country's children of school-going age cannot access education, and the World Economic Forum's latest Global Competitiveness Report ranks Pakistan 117 out of 134 countries in terms of quality primary education, says the Sparc report. It adds that 20 per cent of the country lacks basic educational facilities, and that the Rs6.5bn Public Sector Development Programme 2007-08 failed to address this issue.

A grim picture is thus painted. The lack of access to schools increases the likelihood of children being abused or exploited, and of becoming involved in crime - the figures for child labour, for instance, have already reached the 12 million mark. A worse predicament awaits them upon reaching adulthood, for there are few employment opportunities for the illiterate and unskilled. Lack of schooling thus robs millions of children of a future, while exponentially increasing the incidence of extreme poverty and crime in the long term. If the country is to command a healthy and productive workforce in later years, the schools that will produce it must be set up today.Building schools, however, is just one of the steps.

Issues such as corporal punishment in schools and the dearth of committed and trained teaching staff must also be addressed. Most importantly, the curricula must be improved to meet internationally competitive standards of education. The texts must be revised and updated, and the focus shifted from rote learning to understanding and analysis. Furthermore, the damage done over the past 25 years to the curricula must be repaired.

This 'mis-education' comprised a skewed version of history, religion and inter-provincial politics, which created a generation divided over issues of sect and ethnicity, culture and identity - a generation of Pakistanis characterised by racial and religious prejudice and nationalistic jingoism. Efforts must be initiated forthwith to reverse these trends; only then can Pakistan prevent a future where the national earning depends on an unskilled and largely unemployable workforce that may turn towards crime and anarchy. Dawn

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NWFP to promote students of conflict-hit areas to next
Islamabad/ Peshawar: The NWFP government has decided to promote the students of Swat and other parts of Malakand division to their next respective levels, a private TV channel reported on Thursday.

According to the channel, the students of matriculation, FA and FSc will be promoted to the next grade, APP reported

Also on Thursday, the provincial government was reported to be considering closing private schools ahead of the summer vacation schedule due to the existing law and order situation in the province and growing influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Swat, Buner, Lower Dir and other areas of Malakand division.

"The government has not yet decided to close private schools. It's only a suggestion," Provincial Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said.

However, the spokesman said the deteriorating law and order situation was not the reason for possible closure of private schools ahead of the schedule for summer vacation. "It's because of the number of the IDPs which was fast swelling. We need more school buildings to accommodate the IDPs and we may need private school buildings," he said. Mian Iftikhar said it was our national duty to cooperate with each other at this critical juncture of our history. app

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VCs meet today to finalise financial benefits criterion
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is holding a meeting of university vice chancellors on Friday to formulate a uniform performance-based criterion for award of financial benefits.

Vice Chancellors of all major public sector universities of the country have been invited for deliberations on BPS Incentive Package (BIP), under which teachers whose academic output is better than their colleagues would be given additional salaries.

HEC Director Quality Assurance & Learning Innovation Dr Riaz Qureshi when contacted confirmed that the meeting had been called to settle issues regarding BIP which have been propped up of late. Qaud-i-Azam University (QAU) faculty is currently on strike for the implementation of the BIP.

Mr Qureshi said in July 2007 when the commission started Tenure Track System (TTS) it gave hefty salaries to high performing university teachers. A second category of performance based financial package was announced for those university teachers who could not qualify for TTS due to its strict criterion.

To qualify for TTS, a teacher should have PhD from some international university, besides his/her active involvement in research duly accepted and published by international research journals.

According to the original plan, under this package 25 per cent faculty of all public sector universities which is not covered under TTS would be offered monetary assistance in the form of additional salaries, maximum up to six salaries per year on the basis of their academic performance, Mr Qureshi said. The condition of 25 per cent was imposed by the ministry of finance due to its financial implications.

However, different universities implemented BIP in different modes, a development which has created problems for the HEC, Mr Qureshi responded to a query. For example, QAU is asking for the BIP implementation on the lines of TTS that whosoever qualifies for the BIP should be awarded financial benefits. However, under the original plan only 25 per cent of the non-TTS faculty could avail the BIP. Dawn

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University of Peshawar inked MoU with Tashkent institute
Peshawar: The University of Peshawar and Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies (TSIOS) have inked a memorandum of understanding for cultural and student exchange. The agreement was reached during the visit of the Peshawar Varsity vice-chancellor Dr Azmat Hayat to Tashkent, last week. The program is aimed at boosting cooperation among the students of Pakistan and Uzbekistan, especially University of Peshawar so that both the countries can benefit from each other experiences in a holistic manner. The MoU was signed by Azmat Hayat and Abdur Rahim. M Mannanov, the rector of TSIOS, who is a noted Pashto scholar. The News

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