Why not student unions in universities? | PST recruitment test

Why are universities reluctant to revive student unions?
Karachi, May 19: It has been more than a year now since Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani announced the restoration of student unions, which were banned in 1984 by General Zia-ul-Haq. The announcement was welcomed with enthusiasm by students, teachers and parents, while some skeptics registered their reservations.

There are, however, no signs of the restoration of student unions and it is evident that the majority of vice-chancellors (VCs) and teachers are against it. In a recent meeting of VCs from public sector universities at Islamabad, most of them spoke against the restoration of student unions, citing issues of law and order in the campus and expressing fear that student unions will be "hijacked by political parties."

University of Karachi (KU) VC Prof. Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui said that the atmosphere at the university was "not congenial enough" to allow the restoration of student unions. "Students are in disarray. A gap of 25 years is long enough to erase the democratic system from the minds of students. I am not against the student unions but I fear the rise in violence if unions are revived," he said.

Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science & Technology (FUUAST) Faculty of Arts Dean Dr Hasan Waqar Gul thinks otherwise. "We should allow students to assume leadership and for that we have to be the guiding force. We should teach them the finer qualities of (student) unions and how to manage their affairs. Depriving them of their basic right of self-governance in educational institutions is not the solution," he said.

Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) Nazim Noman Burney thinks that the universities are not willing to revive unions, in order to control students with their draconian rule and deprive them of their rights to manage their affairs through elected representatives. "Universities have been addicted to the absolute powers they hold. Now they are unwilling to let that power slip through their hands," he said.

Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) Secretary Dr Shakeel Farooqui, the last president of the Karachi University Student Union (KUSU) in 1984 thinks that students are not in a position to be given the mantle of leadership. "Times have changed. A quarter of a century is a very long time to erase any quality that is not used in that period. Students, now, are immature, less educated (in manners and disposition) and they are not aware of the merits or demerits of student unions. It will be disastrous to hand leadership over to them," he said.

Former chairman of the Department of Mass Communication in FUUAST, Prof. Tauseef Ahmed Khan, entirely disagrees with the premise. "I do not agree that students should not be exposed to unions. When will students learn? Who will teach them the qualities of leadership? If teachers, who are, or should be the best friends of students continue shirking their duties who will come to teach them," he asked.

NED University of Engineering and Technology Registrar Engr Javed Aziz Khan was of the opinion that students were "away" from student politics and had become accustomed to this state of affairs. "They should be introduced to the concept of trade unions in a gradual manner. They have to be taught to behave, prove worthy of a place at an institution of higher learning, then expect to manage their own affairs," he said.

Chairperson Department of Islamic Learning at Jinnah University For Women (JUW) Prof Surayya Qamar was sure that "it is not the right time to hand over the unions to the students. They are not trained and they will become tools in the hands of the political parties. We should begin with Student Councils. Provide guidelines to the students and teach them to become good students both in their studies and in their behaviour. Only then we can expose them to the unions".

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82,714 candidates to appear in PST recruitment test today
Hyderabad: A total of 82,714 candidates would appear in the primary schoolteachers (PST) recruitment test in nine districts of Sindh on Tuesday (today).

The University of Sindh announced on Monday that the PST test would be conducted at the headquarters of the nine districts, where 18 examination centres had been set up for that purpose.

In all, 64,705 male and 18,009 female candidates would appear in the test, which would start at 10:30 am. The university has been conducting the test in the first phase at Ghotki-Mathelo, Jacobabad, Qambar-Shahdadkot, Kashmore-Kandhkot, Khairpur, Larkana, Shikarpur, Sukkur and Thatta districts.

It has formed vigilance committees to inspect the arrangements made for the test in the districts. Various teams of the university have reached the district headquarters to conduct the test. The News

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Coop between exam boards, Education department needed
Karachi: Coordination between examination boards and the Education Department is needed in Sindh. This was stated by Pir Mazhar ul Haq, Provincial Minister for Education, Sindh.

He was inaugurating a week-long workshop for research officers from examination boards across Pakistan held at the Aga Khan University Examination Board (AKU-EB) on Monday.

The AKU-EB and the IBCC (Inter-Board Committee of Chairmen) are collaborating on improving the quality of examinations at selected Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education from all over Pakistan.

Research officers from Sukkur, Larkana, Mirpur Khas, Mardan, Bannu and Multan are attending a week-long workshop from May 18-22. The Officers are being exposed to how examination papers, based on academic standards for what students should know and be able to do, can be composed.

The aim of these series of workshops is to reduce the differences in evaluations between various regions and boards of the country and to bring standards-referenced assessment into their procedures, leading to the establishment of standards in the Secondary and Higher Secondary School Certificate.

AKU-EB's role is to facilitate and provide BISEs with the technical support and training required to both define and then implement the standards to be maintained in education.

On this occasion, international support is being provided by Dr Yolande Wright from the Caribbean Examinations Council. IBCC Secretary, Ramzan Achakzai spoke about the value of activities aimed at strengthening examination boards and how these officers can help improve standards in their own institutions. He said such inputs will help in creating a conducive environment for the establishments of standards across the Boards. In addressing the AKU Examination Board staff, the Provincial Minister of Education Pir Mazhar ul Haq expressed his commitment towards increasing transparency and accountability in public examinations and looked forward to the outcomes of the serious attempts being made by IBCC and AKU-EB, under the Ed-Links project, for the strengthening of the local exam boards.

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A strike on students
Karachi: Citizens of Karachi have been suffering the strikes since 90's and the trend still continues unabated. Irrespective of the seriousness of issue and its repercussions, the first form of every protest is calling a strike thus putting all activity on halt. The situation is further exacerbated if the students are going through their exams. Students study the whole year in the hope of better future prospects. Exams are the implementation phase of their entire career planning and a ladder to their future success.

The unavailability of transport and poor law and order situation during strikes poses a serious threat to their personal safety making it almost impossible to reach the examination centers. Recent calls of strike on 8th of May from transporters and 12th May from major political parties in Karachi were detrimental for the future of thousands of students due to appear for their examinations. -Ali Ammar, via e-mail (The Nation)

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Karachi University suspends three professors
Karachi: The University of Karachi has finally issued orders for suspension of three senior teachers on charges of plagiarism in accordance with the decision of its syndicate.

The services of Prof Dr Jalaluddin Ahmed Noori, the dean of the faculty of Islamic Studies, Prof Dr Saeed Arayne, the chairman of Chemistry department, and Prof Dr Najma Sultana, a former dean of the faculty of Pharmacy, who was currently teaching at the department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, were suspended on Monday.

A termination letter was issued to Dr Zakia Bibi, a cooperative teacher at the department of Chemistry, on charges of plagiarism.

The university also issued a warning letter to Faiza Abdur Rab, a lecturer at the department of Food Science and Technology, for wrongly accusing a teacher of plagiarism.

Meanwhile, Prof Dr Akhtar Saeed and Prof Dr Zahida Maqsood were appointed dean of the faculty of Islamic Studies and chairman of Chemistry department, respectively, till further orders.

A committee on plagiarism had earlier investigated the charges against the three senior teachers and found them true. Headed by Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim, the committee comprised Dr M. Ajmal Khan, Dr Shakeel Ahmed Khan, Prof M. Sajidin, Dr Aqeel Ahmed, Dr Jameel Kazmi, Dr Aqil Burney, Dr Fahimuddin and Dr Fauzia Shamim.

The committee's findings were later approved by the university's syndicate in its meeting on Saturday. The syndicate decided that the teachers should be suspended and a formal inquiry be instituted against them.

It may be recalled here that Dr Noori is also accused of holding two identity cards with different dates of birth. He allegedly changed his date of birth from 1950 to 1956. On this allegation, Dr Noori was once demoted from professor to associate professor. However, he was exonerated of the charge in a subsequent inquiry. Dawn

KU announced BDS supp exams from 25th
Karachi: The examination department, University of Karachi has announced that the first professional BDS Supplementary Examinations-2009 will be held from May 25 to June 4 at the Department of Microbiology. The timings will be 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. The News

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'SMI to be upgraded to university level'
Karachi: Federal Minister for Education Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani said on Monday that the Sindh Madressatul Islam (SMI) College would be upgraded to the level of a university.

He said this while addressing the faculty and students of the SMI at its premises. Bijrani said that the SMI would be awarded the status of a university during the present government's term. "An ordinance was issued by a governor of Sindh in 1990s for university status for the SMI and a draft charter was also prepared for it but after 1999, the whole process was stalled. Now the present government will give university status to this historic institution without any delay," he maintained. app

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