HEC development fund & budgetary constraints

HEC denied increase in development fund
Islamabad, May 07: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) may face a severe setback as the budget it requires to run its various programmes smoothly is unlikely to be approved by the finance ministry.

During a 'HEC and Media Interactive Meeting,' HEC Executive Director (ED) Dr. Sohail H. Naqvi said that they had demanded 30 per cent increase in the current budget for the upcoming budget for the year 2010-2011, but received a negative response. "The authorities are unwilling to give the HEC more than Rs18.5 billion for the current fiscal year 2010-2011, which is equal to nothing to smoothly run its various programmes," he said.

According to him, the cabinet has approved a three-year budgetary framework for the HEC in which the recurring budgets will be increased only by 10 per cent, 8 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. With an annual inflation of 23.5 per cent and rupee depreciation against the dollar by 20-30 per cent, means a decrease in operating budget of at least 40 per cent annually, which would have a negative impact on various projects being run under the HEC.

He said that the development budget for the fiscal year 2009-2010 was Rs22.5 billion in which the cabinet cut down Rs4 billion leaving 18.5 billion with the HEC to continue its various projects.

Answering a question regarding ignoring the social sciences altogether over last few years, Dr. Naqvi admitted that they had not done anything remarkable in the field of social sciences which is a way to different and difficult path.

"The quality of undergraduate students produced by different educational institutions was not good as those students produced by engineering or other scientific institutions so they ignored the sector for the time being but now introducing big scholarships in this discipline," he said. He added that now scholarships focusing on social sector have been announced in which the students of engineering and science are not eligible to apply. "We have included subjects like sociology, fine arts, journalism and mass communication in the social sector which has never been done before," he said.

He stressed on the need for the semester system in universities and colleges to engage students throughout the year in academic activities besides incorporating search culture in them. "The learned and trained faculty members are also inevitable in increasing the research culture among the students and HEC is striving to produce competent faculty by not only increasing their qualification but also training them in their particular field," he added.

Dr. Naqvi highlighted the achievements of HEC since its inception and pointed out various challenges they faced during their journey to success. "We have spent our first two years in faculty development as we believe that the standard of education in the country could not be improved without quality teachers who will impart quality education that would ultimately lead to the competent generation," he added.

He said that Pakistan was considered as a rising star in higher education sector as five of its universities are included in top 600 universities of the world. "Only 14 postgraduates of engineering and technology were produced during the span of 1947-2002, while 131 were produced during last seven years," he added.

He stated that the percentage of the GDP spent on education sector was very low and HEC was getting 16 per cent of that GDP.

Speaking on the occasion, HEC Chairperson Dr. Javaid R. Laghari said that it was not only political will that is required for improvement of education sector, but financial will is also required. "We do have a political will but as far as finances are concerned, they are really bad in the country and it is not only HEC whose budget has been cut down but the budget of every institution has been decreased in the wake of current economic crisis in the country," he added.

He said that the government was committed to improve education sector by spending up to seven per cent of the GDP on it. "Currently we are spending less than two per cent of the GDP on education sector and if we could just increase the spending up to four per cent of the GDP, we could take revolutionary steps in this area," he added.

He further elaborated the HEC's threefold agenda, which included quality improvement, easy access to education and relevance in which the HEC has taken remarkable steps during a short span of time. The news

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PM approves medical college for Islamabad
Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday approved establishment of a Federal Medical College (FMC) in Islamabad.

According to a press release, the college will accommodate of students of Islamabad with reserved seats for all the provinces, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan

All the federal government hospitals in Islamabad will be affiliated with the FMC. The state of the art Trauma Centre being constructed by the UAE government on the premises of PIMS would also be associated with it.

The prime minister has directed the Ministry of Health (MoH) to complete all the modalities and formalities to ensure that the classes in the FMC may commence from the next academic year i.e. November 2010. He emphasised the need to uphold merit in selection of teaching faculty and admission of students in the college.

As regards the hepatitis programme, the prime minister expressed concern over the progress and directed the MoH to maximise its efforts so that the benefit could reach at the grass root level. He said adequate awareness campaign be launched to educate the people about the disease and methods of prevention.

He directed the ministry that no syringe should be allowed to be imported, manufactured or sold which is not auto-disabled. He asked that necessary legislation in this respect be under taken at the earliest.

The Prime Minister took the above decisions and issued directions during a special meeting on health held here at the Prime Minister's House Thursday.

Gilani said health sector was a priority area and the government was fully committed to ensure that every citizen must have access to basic health facilities. He directed MoH to hold meeting with the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission and the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance for appropriate allocation to health sector in the next budget.

He asked the ministry to work out details through the Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry with the objective to improve the existing health facilities for the common man in the provinces. He asked the ministry to hold consultation with all the stakeholders in preparing mechanism for price regulation of drugs and medicines.

Earlier, Minister for Health Makhdoom Shahbuddin and Secretary Health Khushnood Akhtar Lashari briefed the prime minister on issues concerning the health sector and MoH. They also apprised him about the progress of various programmes and developments after the approval of NFC Award and the enactment of 18th Amendment.

MNA Yasmeen Rehman and senior government officers were present in the meeting. Daily times

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"GOOD NEWS!.....well done YOusaf raza ...."
Name: ayesha tahir
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Availability of BA books: Minister puts onus on private publishers
Islamabad: State Minister for Education Ghulam Farid Kathia on Thursday told the National Assembly that Ministry of Education was not responsible to ensure availability of syllabus books for colleges or universities rather private publishers were responsible for it.

Replying to a call attention notice, the minister said the Education Ministry did not publish any textbook for students of the college or the university level, rather publishes books for students up to matriculation.

He said the ministry issued course outlines only and then the private publishers published books on the subject, following the outlines, adding, however, the ministry could only ask the private publishers to ensure availability of the books.

Yasmeen Rehman, the mover of the call attention notice, said the subject of Women Studies was introduced in 1999 in BA but until now, the books were not available in the market. She sought the government's direction to publishers to make up the deficiency.

The state minister assured the House that the ministry would ensure availability of books in the market. app

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Pak-Korea IT Centre to be set up in Islamabad
Islamabad: Pak-Korea Information Technology (IT) Centre would be established in Islamabad for enabling Pakistani youth to work in South Korean multi-national companies.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed Thursday between both the governments.

According to MoU, South Korean government would provide &3 million for infrastructure including building and equipments for the centre. The government of Pakistan would provide a piece of land for the centre in Sector H-9. The Korean government would bear the operational cost of the centre.

At the signing ceremony, Adnan A Khawaja, Chairman, National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (NAVTEC), said thousands of Pakistanis were already contributing positively to South Korean economy.

"Total workforce trained in this centre would be accommodated in Korean companies," he said. Daily times

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NBF's annual book exhibition getting good response
Islamabad: The annual book exhibition being arranged by the National Book Foundation (NBF) continues to attract readers across the country.

The month-long exhibition started on May 3 in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Bannu, Abbottabad, Kohat, D I Khan, Wah Cantonment, Multan, Faisalabad, Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana, Nawabshah, Jamshoro, Jacobabad, Bahawalpur, Sukkur and Quetta.

Medical, engineering, law, science, literature and culture books and imported notebooks are being sold at special discount. Braille books for blind person are also available. Urdu dictionary and other new books published by the National Book Foundation are also available in the exhibition.

NBF Managing Director Mazhar-ul-Islam has directed the officials to facilitate book lovers. The exhibition will remain open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. even on holidays. The news

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IMCB students, teachers protest boundary wall demolition
Islamabad: Students, teachers and parents in a protest demonstration on Thursday expressed resentment against demolition of boundary wall of Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB) F-11/3, saying it hindered plans for further expansion of the institution.

The participants of the demonstration said the demolition of the wall by Capital Development Authority (CDA) was illegal and against the understanding reached earlier.

They said the claims of CDA that the college was encroaching upon the land around the wall were baseless.

They said the CDA hindered their plans to open new classes for granting admissions in more disciplines.

They chanted slogans against CDA and threatened to continue protest till the Education Ministry comes to their aid and asked the civic body to refrain from its actions.

The parents said CDA was razing the wall as most of the students at the college were from lower and middle class families.

They said they were sure that if students had come from influential families CDA would have kept mum about the issue.

The college which began functioning on May 15, 1999 was facing controversy over the wall as a religious body Anjuman Darbar-e-Alia was adamant that the land over which the wall was constructed was under its control.

The President of the Anjuman said the land on which a shrine and a graveyard existed was given to it for maintenance through an order on May 15, 1990.

CDA kept silent over the claim of Anjuman after which the college administration approached its president who not only agreed to concede his claim but also showed willingness to donate a further piece of land to the institution in case his suggestions were duly considered for approval.

The college administration approved all suggestions that included naming college after the name of Baba Sakhi Muzammil Shah Kazmi, admitting students of Anjuman on priority basis and awarding contract of canteen to the administration of shrine.

A three page document submitted by the principal of the college to the CDA chairman after demolition of the boundary wall stated that layout plan of an upgradation project costing Rs 57 million has been completed, so CDA should formally allot that piece of land to the college donated by the Anjuman.

The college principal, Dr Ali Ahmad Kharal said when the college administration was struggling to convince the president of Anjuman for provision of piece of land no one from CDA claimed that all the land was under its control, but after donation of land and preparation of upgradation project the authority intruded and started raising the issue of encroachment for unknown reasons.

"When I reminded the CDA officials during a recent meeting about non-issuance of any kind of notice they told me that there is no need for it and they have authority to demolish any structure without any prior notice," he said.

He demanded that the education ministry take notice of the situation otherwise issue of boundary wall would not only pose security threat to the students but will also cause unnecessary delay in upgradation work in the college. app

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