Over 70 VCs cry out for HEC funds
Islamabad, May 20: More than 70 vice-chancellors of the public sector universities and degree awarding institutions on Wednesday sent a collective SOS to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) over their dwindling development funds, it was learned.
In a video conference, the HEC top brass helplessly listened to their (VCs') concerns and brainstormed to work out a joint strategy for handling the fast emerging gloomy scenario in the coming days.
Every vice-chancellor has the same problem, that is paucity of funds, and the HEC is finding it difficult to address their grievances.
At the end of the conference, the disturbed vice-chancellors said the HEC should seek an emergency meeting, both with the president and the prime minister, to convey to them the gravity of the issue.
They also suggested to look for alternative sources to generate revenue for the development of universities. Due to shortage of money, contractors are running away, and it is always difficult task to bring them back to work, vice-chancellors informed the HEC officials.
Sources at the HEC said the commission's top management was in complete disarray over the government's refusal to release over Rs7 billion committed for developing the higher education sector of the country in the current year.
Under this year's Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), the government initially committed Rs22.5 billion under the development head, which later on due to financial crunch revised to Rs18.5 billion. But so far, the government has only released Rs10 billion and, at the maximum, the HEC is expecting release of Rs1 billion more, hence, facing a shortage of over Rs7 billion.
They said as a result of this massive cut in the development funds, over 200 development projects would be seriously affected. Invoices worth Rs4 billion of scholarships are currently lying on the table, and the HEC has no money to disburse.
The HEC is running an ambitious human resource development programme, whereby over 9,000 students are being provided scholarships. Around 4,000 students are in foreign universities on various scholarships – PhD, MS, MSc, post doctorate, short courses, whereas rest of them are availing indigenous financial assistance.
Besides stoppage of development funds for the ongoing financial year, which is already into its last quarter, the government is not coming with any commitment for next year, the sources said. So far, the government has only committed eight per cent increase in recurring budget, but no increase in development funds.
About recurring expenditures, they said, this year public sector universities had witnessed 15 per cent increase in their enrolment that automatically warranted 15 per cent increase in their regular expenditures.
However, the finance ministry is not only ignoring this fact but also ongoing double digit inflation and has only committed eight per cent increase in the HEC's recurring grant, the sources said.
Practically speaking, there would be no new development scheme during next financial year and it will be great achievement if the HEC would be able to get funds for its ongoing projects.
Under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2009-10, the HEC is working on 358 development schemes which included both ongoing and new ones.Your Comments
QAU to start bachelor courses next year
Islamabad: The Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) is all set to introduce bachelor courses from next academic session.
This was disclosed by the QAU vice-chancellor, Prof Masoom Yasinzai said here on Wednesday.
The QAU was established in 1967 and has been offering courses in Masters, M.Phil and PhD in computer science, economics, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, biology, electronics, earth sciences, physics and Pakistan studies.
Prof Masoom Yasinzai said: "The QAU is currently ranked No 2 among 1,700 Muslim universities across the world, and introduction of bachelor courses is aimed at giving quality education to young Pakistani students."
Prof Masoom said the QAU would also develop three schools of mathematics, economics and management sciences.
He said that introduction of new degree courses at bachelor's and master's level would also increase the student enrolment from 6,000 to 13,000 in the next four years.
Prof Masoom said that school of management sciences would be developed with public-private partnership.
Replying to question he said the university had sought Rs4 billion from the government to expand and develop the university campus.
Sacking of 192 teachers stayed
Rawalpindi: The Lahore High Court here on Wednesday restrained the Punjab education department from sacking 192 contract teachers in the Attock district till the final outcome of their petition.
Taking up the contempt of court plea filed by the teachers, Justice Asad Munir directed the secretary schools Punjab, DCO, EDO education and DO elementary education Attock to submit their comments by June 2.
Advocate Tanveer Iqbal Khan, representing the petitioners Mohammad Masood and others, said that despite unambiguous verdicts of the Supreme Court and Lahore High Court on regularization, the provincial government did not confirmed the teachers and instead initiated the process of removing them.
The petitioners moved the LHC when they were not regularised in 2009. Later, when the Supreme Court in an identical case allowed the regularisation of contract teachers, the LHC directed the petitioners to file their plea with the secretary schools who would decide the matter within 15 days.
However, the petitioners' counsel said, the education department regularised 979 employees in the district but issued show-cause notices to the 192 teachers. Dawn
Workshop on 'Paper and Thesis Writing'
Islamabad: The Area Study Centre (ASC) for Africa, North & South America, Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), organised a one-day workshop on 'Paper & Thesis Writing' here on Wednesday.
ASC Director Dr Rukhsana Qamber conducted the workshop. The facilitators included Shahida Asghar, head of English Department, Wah University; Zahida Parveen and Amina Ghazanfar. Students from various QAU departments, especially Department of Defence & Strategic Studies, and research scholars from
Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) attended the workshop.
To give a more practical shape to the whole exercise, participants were asked to carry out worksheets to check the output of the workshop.
Dr Qamber said the workshop primarily focused on the need to produce creative work in thesis writing. She also discussed various techniques to avoid plagiarism, like citing sources while quoting or paraphrasing data and viewpoints contained in other publications. She also elaborated the style and formatting of research papers, using the latest guidelines prepared by the Modern Languages Association (MLA).
The facilitators highlighted modern writing techniques that the students must follow while compiling the research work.
They discussed various aspects related to writing a dissertation and provided guidance to students on how to clarify their concepts, focusing particularly on the latest methods recommended by MLA.
Dr Hans Frey of ASC explained the weaknesses and flaws the research students need to eliminate from their research work. The discussion was followed by a question-answer session in which students asked about key problems they face in documenting their research.
Workshop held for job-seeking graduates
Rawalpindi: A workshop titled 'The Idol Candidate' was organised by the Team IMPossible, a corporate and academic training company, at the Riphah International University here on Tuesday, says a press release.
The aim of the event on the theme of 'Myths of Merit' was to encourage and explore the potential of
the fresh job-seeking graduates.
Generally the job-seekers are overconfident of their academic qualifications and achievements.
They are not aware of the requirements of employers and practical obligations of the job, said Osama Izhar Sheikh.
A panel comprising Ilhaam Williams from the development sector, Osama Izhar Sheikh from Jang Group and Humza Afzal, CEO IMPossible, and Shahida Kazmi, human resource director of the Riphah University, interviewed over 20 students on the spot.
After a tough competition, only two candidates were termed 'The Idol Candidate'. The session concluded with the distribution of plaques among the winners and panelists.
The event was facilitated by Hassan Akhtar Mufti, lead trainer of the IMPossible (private) Limited while the tea was served by the host institution.
BFC holds prize distribution ceremony for winners of International Kangaroo Mathematics Contest 2009
Rawalpindi: Bahria Foundation College, Westridge Campus, holds prized distribution ceremony for the winners of International Kangaroo Mathematics Contest 2009, says a press release.
Deputy Managing Director Bahria Foundation (North) Rear Admiral (r) Riaz Ullah HI(M) was the chief guest on the occasion.
The ground of the senior section was decorated gracefully. The fervour of the students reflected through their disciplined and energetic performances.
As many as 164 students participated in the International Kangaroo Mathematics Contest 2009 out of which 34 qualified in flying colours and won the coveted medals, certificates and cash awards.
Principal Commodore (r) Muhammad Younus SI(M) while addressing on the occasion said students should frequently participate in such educational competitions.
The chief guest distributed the prizes among the students. Two students Rafaih Sabir and Haris Bin Afzal of BFC, Westridge Campus, got the honour of receiving two bronze medals and 32 students received high-grade marks and were given merit certificates.
Merit certificates were also awarded to teachers including Ms. Atiqa Abbas, Ms. Beenish Majeed, Ms. Ghazala Jabeen, Ms. Humaira Naz, Ms. Rizwana Tabassum, Ms. Samina Kausar, Ms. Shagufta Shaheen, Ms. Sumiya, Al Madni and Mr. Zaman Khan.
Pakistani students excel in Unesco school projects
Islamabad: Two projects of the Unesco Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) by Pakistani students have been selected for the '2009 ASPnet Good Practices Development Project in Achieving MDGs through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Asia & Pacific Regions'.
The projects by two schools - Academia De Averroes, Lahore, and Grammar School, Rawalpindi - topped among nine selected good practices schemes, submitted by 43 countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. The two were awarded for presenting extraordinarily creative ideas in their projects during an award distribution ceremony organised here on Tuesday.
Under the 'ASPnet Good Practices Development Project in Achieving MDGs through ESD in Asia & Pacific Regions', Academia De Averroes, Lahore, presented its project 'Protecting Biodiversity and Clean Environment for Sustainable Development', while the project of 'Social Work Activities' was presented by Grammar School, Rawalpindi.
The Unesco ASPnet is one of the many activities being conducted by Pakistan National Commission for Unesco (PNCU), which has a network of 275 schools throughout Pakistan. Unesco ASPnet is a global network of more than 8,500 educational institutions of 180 countries. Member institutions, ranging from pre-schools, primary, secondary and vocational schools to teacher training institutions, work in support of international understanding, peace, intercultural dialogue, sustainable development and quality education in practice.
The Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa 2008-09, organised by the National Federation of Unesco Association in Japan with the theme 'Here is My Life', was won by Springfield Public School, Rawalpindi, for its portrayal of daily events and thoughts in the form of five pictorial drawings and corresponding five short essays on them, drawn and written by the students. The Grand Pre-Award worth US $2,000 was given to Arham Bin Tariq of Springfield Public School.
The award for 15th Kanagawa Biennial World Children's Art Exhibition, organised by Kanagawa International Foundation, Japan, was presented to Grammar School, Rawalpindi. In this event also, children drew pictures on various contemporary themes. The purpose of the exhibition is to foster the dreams and creativity of children, who will be the future leader. Five certificates of distinction were given to Mohammad Arham Bin Tariq and Shaheen Amjad of Springfield Public School, and Aqsa Naeem, Hira Ghafoor and Mohammad Furqan of Grammar Public School.
The Unesco Photo Contest for Promoting Gender Equality in Education, organised by Unesco Bangkok, and was won by Springfield Public School, Rawalpindi. The contest focused on women and men to get equal educational facilities and opportunities, realising the full human rights and contributing towards development. The certificates of merit were given to Essa Tariq and Tallah Bin Nasir of Springfield Public School.
Five excellence awards were awarded to the students of SLS Montessori, namely Osama Mehmood Alvi, Muhammad Ammar Alvi, Kinza Nasir, Danyaal Shehzad and Hassan Shehzad. The students were awarded for their work in the Unesco Bangkok Education for Sustainable Development 2008 Asia-Pacific Mural Contest organised by the Unesco Bangkok. SLS Director Asiya Talha was awarded a shield by Unesco and ASPnet for school's continued projects with them.
Unesco Director (Pakistan) Dr. Warren Mellor was pleased with students' work and said he had learnt more about Unesco's work by these students than he had in all those years of sitting through Unesco board meeting in Paris. He said: "Activism is not just about learning about an issue, it's doing something about the issue and I have had the honour of working in wonderful places like Pakistan." The news
IIUI holds first Open House
Islamabad: The Faculty of Engineering and Technology (FET), International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), on Wednesday arranged its "First Open Hose" as a part of IIUI Silver Jubilee celebrations.
Yasmeen Rehman, Advisor to Prime Minister, was the chief guest while Higher Education Commission Executive Director Dr H Sohail H Naqvi and National Commission for Human Development Chairperson Nafeesa Shah were the guest of honour. IIUI Rector Prof Fateh Muhammad Malik, President Dr Anwar Hussain Siddiqui President and Vice President Parveen Qadir Agha were also present on the occasion.
The professionals from industry, academia and the students attended the open house. IIUI Engineering students displayed over 100 commercially viable R&D projects.
Nafeesa Shah said such a huge number of engineering students showed that IIUI was committed to excellence in academics, research and innovation. Daily times
Speech contest held
Islamabad: The students must take up the challenge of biodiversity conservation and halt and reverse the loss to it, said Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) Director General Dr. Syed Azhar Hasan.
He was addressing at the certificates distribution ceremony of a speech competition organised by PMNH on Wednesday as a part of series of events in connection with celebrations of International Year of Biodiversity 2010.
Schoolchildren from 10 public and private sector educational institutions of Rawalpindi and Islamabad participated in the speech competition. app
Sociolinguist disputes Urdu textbook content
Islamabad: Eminent sociolinguist Dr Tariq Rehman claimed on Wednesday that contents of Urdu textbook presented a tainted world view of people of other faiths.
Dr Rehman made the remarks in his talk on school systems and textbooks at Kuch Khaas – The Centre for Arts, Culture and Dialogue.
He explained the findings of a survey in which he had talked to over 1,500 students across the country.
His findings were that generally speaking, Madressah, Urdu medium and cadet college students were anti-India and anti-Israel in their response to circulated questionnaire.
Conversely, English medium school students were contemptuous of Pakistani indigenous culture and are fed on cable TV, and read comics and English magazines.
This kind of literature deletes parochial messages and takes them to a different plane.
According to him, people now consider visiting shrines and tombs or having halwa during Shab Barat wrong.
As for textbooks, Dr Rehman reviewed the objectives of the textbook board, which prescribed writing of book based on unflinching love of Islam and Pakistan and develop a strong sense of national cohesion.
"Books must also evaluate Islamisation effort to inculcate among students the qualities of Khudi, self reliance, research, sacrifices and Jihad."
He said in Madressah education, students were drilled in having manazra, or debates, between the religiosity of different sects. Students were divided in two groups, one taking a position in favour of the topic and the other argues against the proposition. They were obliged to quote texts in favour of their arguments.
Quoting another survey response, Dr Rehman said 41.86 per cent of cadet students agreed that Hindus and minorities should be given equal rights. Dawn