GCU admin tarnishing institute's reputation by adopting 'anti-student policies'
Lahore, May 10: Despite having produced hundreds of thousands of well-educated students and grooming some of the country's top minds, the GC University – or Government College Lahore, as it is known to the many nostalgic Old Ravians across the world – is on a downward spiral, both in terms of its repute as well as its treatment of Ravians, who have the 'misfortune' of being currently enrolled at the varsity.
Who could have guessed that the torchbearers of the country's future – the students currently enrolled there – would be forced to hold demonstrations and protests on the roads just to get their voices heard and safeguard their right to appear for their exams.
Surely, it is incidents such as these which tarnish not only the institution's repute, but also the memory of all those who grown up under its shadow. Indeed, GCU is very proud of its alumni. Men of great stature, from Allama Iqbal to Faiz Ahmed Faiz, from NM Rashid to Patras Bukhari and, of course, Dr Abdus Salam, who are often touted as 'shining examples' of GCU's traditional commitment to excellence, would have no doubt opposed the attitude being adopted by the current administration. Recent protests by Ravians and their parents across the city have also taken their toll on the entire education sector, and many students feel disheartened. They have also called attention to what many are calling the varsity's 'anti-student' policies. GCU has been serving the country and educating young minds since its inception in 1876. However, most alumni are now openly criticising their alma mater in the wake of the conflict between the GCU administration and its students.
It is understood that the rules and regulations of any institution are aimed at the welfare of its students, but these 'rules and regulations' should not waste both the potential that the country's youth possesses or the money that has been invested by the students' parents. The GCU administration has stood its ground, saying that it was justified in its decision regarding the 88 students who were declared ineligible to appear for their exams because they did not have the required attendance. However, the administration cannot be excused for failing to inform the students and their parents of the criteria that had been set for considering one's eligibility. It is not fair to inform students that they cannot sit in their exams a week before the said exams are set to begin.
It should be noted that it is not the first time we have seen protests against GCU's "unfair attitude". There have been incidents in the past where the civil society and even lawyers have protested against the varsity's policies. But instead of improving its policies, the administration has turned a deaf ear to any and all criticism hurled its way and has decided that it will not compromise on its stance. This stubbornness inevitably led to the Lahore High Court suspending its order directed the Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education (BISE) to issue the roll number slips of the 88 students.
Siding with students: Several GCU teachers have said they are in favour of providing relief to the students, as their futures were too valuable to be toyed with in such a manner. They added that the administration should have informed the students and their parents about the policies on time and not on the eve of their exams, so that the students at least had the option to send their admissions as private candidates. The teachers said that merit, discipline and student-friendly policies had been the foundations of the GCU, adding the administrations decision to deviate from these beliefs was to blame for the protests being seen across the city. They said it was true that GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Aftab Ahmad was struggling to upgrade the statues of the GCU and that he had taken various steps in the past for the institutions academic development, but the last three years has seen the VC taking on one too many challenges, which was not helped by the fact that he was being misguided by an "influential personality". They could only express grief at seeing their beloved GCU, one of the best institutions in the country, being highlighted in the news for all the wrong reasons, with the government opting to stay silent on the matter.
The administration desperately needs to stick to its old traditions since it is the only way it can restore some of the prestige lost in this latest fiasco. Being Ravians themselves, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif are in the best possible position to ensure that the future of these students is not jeopardised by the policies of the institute.
Striking a blow for education
Lahore: The families of the Government College University (GCU) students who were not issued roll number slips for their Intermediate examinations in accordance with the Lahore High Court (LHC) decision, protested against the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE). The decision of the BISE to grant only 37 out of the 88 students their roll number slips is not only illogical but also an absurdly literalist interpretation of the interim relief granted by the LHC. Clearly the court provided this interim relief on the principle of balance of convenience pending a final verdict, since otherwise the students would be permanently disadvantaged by being excluded from the examinations. Since only 37 of the 88 students had moved the court, the BISE in its wisdom has implemented the order by applying it only to the 37 petitioners.
However, the real question remains: where were the parents of these 88 students when they were not attending their classes? It is convenient for the parents to argue that they were not informed about the shortfall in attendance. Two points must be addressed here. First, the GCU maintains that it informed these students and it is the students' responsibility to inform their parents. Second, almost every educational institution requires their students to attend 75 percent of their classes in order to sit for any examinations. Thus while one can sympathise with the fate of these 88 students, they should consider themselves lucky and be grateful to the LHC for providing even the interim relief.
There is deterioration in everything in Pakistan: values, principles and rules. This has also afflicted our education system. Matters are worse with higher education, where the syllabus is narrow, outdated and inefficacious. There is a lack of qualified teachers, the Internet is used as a source of plagiarism, and students are allowed to cheat the system. Protests such as the one mentioned above cannot be condoned, for the simple reason that such acts encourage students to pressurise institutions into concessions on rules that are abundantly clear. Where will it end? And what will be the effect on the education system, which is already in such a crisis? What sort of 'educated' product will emerge? We are already plagued with illiteracy and the uneducated literates that litter our society. By granting such concessions, we will only make matters worse.
While one sympathises with the plight of the students, the GCU and the BISE should work together to find a solution to ensure that the students' future is not permanently threatened. However, it must be said that if we do not follow some rules, our education system is doomed. Daily times
'Detention at UAF hostel': VC's team ' extracts desired statements'
Faisalabad: A committee constituted by the University of Agriculture Faisalabad vice-chancellor to probe the issue of alleged detention of five girls at the hostel superintendent room got the desired statements from the victims by pressurising them, sources said on Saturday.
The sources said the inquiry committee, comprising Dr Tanvir and Ms Bushra, summoned the victims and grilled them one by one. The team had been pressing the girls for withdrawal of the application they submitted reporting their detention, use of filthy language and threats by the accused, they said.
According to the sources, initially the students resisted the pressure and asked the team members why they had been trying to save the skin of those who detained them for seven hours without any justification.
Five girl boarders were allegedly detained at the hostel on April 28 from 7pm to about 1am to probe into the issue of protest rallies organised against the varsity administration's decision of expulsion of more than one dozen ad hoc lecturers, allegedly to accommodate some blue-eyed persons.
Reacting to the expulsions, students of different departments had organised protest rallies on Apr 19 and Apr 28, demanding the restoration of the expelled lecturers that affected their research work.
The sources said the committee members had first dealt with the students strictly, threatening them with expulsion from the university and other punishments. However, seeing the girls were not budging on the issue, the team members tried to convince them to change their stance, saying they wanted to save their future, the sources added.
They said the committee members tore off the written statement of the girls and asked them to rewrite the document describing the detention incident as 'a little mistake' and that they had no intention to proceed against anyone.
Vice-Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmed, a day after the inquiry proceedings, visited the hostel and held talks with the boarders. The victim girls categorically told the VC that the inquiry committee had pressurised them to get the desired statements. The students told Dr Ahmed that application submitted by them seeking action against the hostel incumbents was based on facts. The girls said they were terrorised after they submitted the application while no action was taken against the accused.
Dr Ahmed assured the girls that they would not be called for any kind of inquiry onwards.
A senior faculty member, requesting anonymity, said the girls could not get justice from the so-called inquiry committees as all the people at the helm of the affairs were well aware of the questioning and detention of the girls at hostel.
He suggested the chancellor should constitute an independent committee to probe into quizzing of female students at night.
PU's LL.B suppl exam results
Lahore: The Punjab University on Saturday declared the results of LLB Part-I and Part-II supplementary examinations for 2009.
In Part-I, as many as 624 candidates appeared out of whom 449 were declared successful with a pass percentage of 71.96.
In Part-II, as many as 619 candidates appeared out of whom 453 were declared successful with a pass percentage of 73.18.
EXAMS: The PU has announced that the MEd (Mater of Education) visual impairment second annual examination for 2008 (session 2007-08) and annual examination for 2009 (session 2008-09) will begin on May 18. Dawn
Lahore: The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) has declared the result of Quality Assurance Test (QAT) held to select partner schools in Lahore and Kasur for phase-6 of the Education Voucher Scheme (EVS). According to a DGPR handout, detailed result has been placed on the PEF website www.pef.edu.pk .
Upgrade of 74 schools in City lacks planning
Lahore: It IS generally observed that decisions taken in haste without considering ground realities hamper the most important process of implementation.
An example in this regard is the recent upgrade of 74 government schools of district Lahore which could not be done in true spirit despite the passage of a month. The notification regarding upgrade of the 74 schools was issued by EDO (Education) Lahore Dr Muhammad Arshad on April 3, 2010 according to which 30 junior model schools and middle schools were upgraded to high school level while 44 primary schools were upgraded to middle schools across the provincial metropolis.
The stakeholders argue that if schools upgrade was really needed and demand based, the arrangements, including required infrastructure and teachers, should have been ensured in time. They are of the view that the notification should have been issued much before the start of the academic year which commences from April so that proper academic activities could have started in the newly upgraded schools.
The recent move is being criticised by teachers who believe a proper procedure was not followed while the effort was made just to please the parliamentarians who had demanded upgrade of schools in their constituencies.
A number of teachers, seeking anonymity, said some upgraded schools were even lacking the required infrastructure and the government was reluctant to start new sections there. They said that usually creation of new posts along with the required budget was sought from the finance department for an upgraded school so that teachers already serving somewhere were not disturbed. They said the government had launched enrolment drive, adding, however, that it lacked proper planning. "The campaign is meant to attract more and more students," said a teacher, adding "However, it is not being realised that more students would need more teachers."
Elaborating his point of view, the teacher asked how the government would manage the required strength of teachers at a particular school attracting new enrolments when they were being transferred to newly upgraded schools.
A schoolteacher, Jan-e-Alam Khan, who is also representing a teachers" association said some schools were upgraded despite the fact that they had no laboratories while required infrastructure was also missing. He said the department high-ups were taking initiatives just to please the chief minister who was known for his pro-education policies, while ignoring the ground realities.
According to sources in the office of the EDO (Education), ever since upgrade was notified, not a single new teacher could be posted until recently as there was great resentment among them. It is learnt that after notifying upgrade of schools, a massive exercise was launched to reshuffle the teaching posts in various schools in order to adjust the required teaching strength at newly upgraded schools. However, the practice proved a worst nightmare for schoolteachers as they were being transferred against their will to make the government move a success.
The education authorities, justifying their move, blame the teachers for politicising the issue and safeguarding their own interests. They believe that the teachers' primary duty is to teach and they should not be reluctant to serve in schools where their services are required.
A teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, said "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" seemed fit in this case.
He said the way the whole issue was handled had not only exposed the lack of coordination but also "over-efficiency" of the high-ups who never welcomed input of the stakeholders. The news