BIEK postponed papers | HEC scholarships

New dates of postponed papers
Karachi: BIEK on Tuesday announced the paper that was to be held on May 23 will now be held on Wednesday (today), while the paper that was to be held on May 19 will be held on Thursday (tomorrow). The paper that was earlier scheduled to be held on May 26 will now be held on June 4.

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Class-VI student hangs himself after failing test
Karachi: Unable to face his father after failing a school test, 13-year-old Class VI student, Raza, decided to end his life by hanging himself from the window grill of his room in Paposh Nagar.

When the teenager's mother called out to her son and tried to enter the room, she found it locked. Not receiving an answer after knocking on the door, the woman called the neighbours, who broke the door down and saw the boy hanging from the window. Raza's body was immediately taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where doctors confirmed that the student had breathed his last. The family then decided to take the body away without completing legal formalities.

A local informed the police, who reached the hospital, along with the boy's father. After negotiations the body was taken back to the medical facility for a postmortem.

SHO Paposh Nagar Rizwan said that when the teenager did not do well in his test, he asked his mother to sign the report card. However, she refused and said that his father would sign the report card when he returned home.

That is when things took a turn for the worse and the boy, unable to face his father, ended his own life. The SHO said that the mother's refusal to sign the report card left the boy traumatised.However, others claimed the strict discipline of his school could have led to the suicide.

A professor of mass communication at FUUAST, Dr Taufeef Ahmed, said that one of the reasons that Raza committed suicide is because "the child probably came across an unkind or brutal teacher during his formative years."

Director Teachers' Resource Centre Abbas Hussain said the suicide was a "great pity. The loss of a young life is terrible, but it is much worse when a child takes his or her own life."

He mentioned there were at least 260 ways of disciplining a child, and "none of them involved raising your hand".

"When teachers, who ideally should be mature adults, take out their anger on young minds, there is no place in our society for a child to release his or her frustrations."

As general practice, he added, teachers should be made to understand that "a 13-year old will only make mischief when he is that age, and not as an adult".

Earlier on Tuesday, a class-VII student in Abbottabad committed suicide due to the fact that he was maltreated by his teachers. Before ending his life, the student, Abdul Mobin, expressed his frustration to his parents in the form of a letter. He complained about the hardships of hostel life and appealed to his parents to never send his sisters to a hostel.

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HEC awards 1,000 need-based scholarships
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has approved 1,000 scholarships for needy students from different parts of the country under HEC merit and needs-based scholarship programme.

The first meeting of scholarship management committee held here at the HEC headquarters Islamabad which was presided over by Dr. Nasser Ali Khan, Member (O&P) Higher Education Commission.

The selected students are enrolled in various disciplines at different public sector higher education institutions (HEIs) located in various parts of Pakistan. About Rs5 billion would be spent over this programme. The needs-based scholarships are focused on providing opportunities for access to higher education especially to under privileged students belonging to remote and far-flung areas of the country who despite possessing academic merit, are unable to finance their education.

Under this initiative, special emphasis is given to the students belonging to Balochistan, Fata, interior Sindh and Southern Punjab to support education of maximum number of academically qualified needy students from the very poor segments of the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Nasser Ali Khan Member HEC said that the HEC need based scholarship programme has been especially designed to provide financial support from the HEC recurring budget to Pakistani students who are facing difficulties in securing admission at HEIs because of financial constraints.

He further said that HEC intends to award about 6,000 scholarships during the period of three years under this programme so that equitable access to higher education may be encouraged. Dr. Nasser Ali also emphasised over the university representatives to undertake collaborative efforts to get maximum financial support for deserving students.

Prof. Dr. Riaz Hussain Qureshi, Advisor Human Resource Development Division, HEC in his opening remarks said that this scholarship program is an excellent opportunity for the talented yet needy and deserving students who are eligible to seek admission in HEIs on merit.

The meeting was attended by Gomal University, D.I Khan, Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Mansoor Akber Kundi, Fatima Jinnah University, Rawalpindi Vice Chancellor Prof Samina Amin Qadir, PMAS Arid University former Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Khan, SBKWU, Quetta, Registrar Prof Jamila Qazi, while Director IBA Sukkar attended meeting through video conferencing. The representatives of twenty public sectors were also present on the occasion.

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Cut in budget to be detrimental for higher education: Dr Laghari
Islamabad: Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr. Javaid R Laghari has said that the time has come to enjoy the interest of investment in higher education, warning any cut in education budget would be detrimental for higher education and could push the country back to a position, it stood ten years ago.

In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Dr. Laghari said: "we are in the final stages of building a strong relation between academia and the industries and at this stage we have to extend more support to our higher education sector to bolster it, otherwise all the exercises of the past 10 years would be fruitless."

Dr. Javaid R Laghari said that it was very unfortunate that Pakistan was spending very meagre amount on higher education because nobody gives priority to education in the country.

HEC chairman said that in total Rs41 billion were passed for the higher education last year, but the financial year is going to end and HEC is yet to receive an amount of Rs13.8 billion, which is pending.

Dr. Javaid R Laghari has said that all the developed and developing countries are supporting their higher education sector, as higher education brings economic revolution in the country, but unfortunately here in Pakistan subsidy for the university students is diminishing with each passing year whereas in India every student is enjoying four times higher subsidy as compared to their Pakistani counterparts. "There is a dire need to increase budget for higher education, if we want to compete in the world and make Pakistan become a stronger nation," he added.

Dr. Laghari urged the government to support the higher education and releases its budget if they want to get best and quick results. "Devolving the HEC or cutting its budget could be very dangerous for higher education in Pakistan," he added.

Talking about the Education Expo, Dr. Laghari, said that it is a good contribution of Jang Group to spread awareness among the students. "In this expo students would get a chance to get maximum knowledge about the universities and the university students would also get opportunity to display their projects and attract the industries," he added.

Talking about the role of HEC, he said that the mission of the Higher Education Commission is to facilitate institutions of higher education, to serve as engine of growth for the socio-economic development of Pakistan. "HEC is faced with three key challenges, quality, access and relevance," he added. He said improvement in quality of academic standards and research is the top priority of HEC. "Huge efforts have been made in the last few years on improvement in quality and as a result we have now 6 universities of Pakistan are now ranked among the top Technology Universities of the World," he added.

Talking about the access to higher education, HEC chairman said that access is one of the major challenges for the commission. Currently only 8 per cent of the students have access to higher education in Pakistan, which is very low. "The number of faculty with PhD degrees has doubled in last five years, but even then hardly 25 per cent of the faculty has PhD degrees," Laghari said.

Talking about the scholarship programmes, Dr. Laghari said that it was very successful and around 1,000 students are returning back and have started serving the country. Currently 812 scholars are serving in different universities of the country and 224 applications are under process for placement of other scholars.

Dr. Laghari said that HEC is supporting and expanding in the establishment of business, agriculture and technology parks and incubators in the country. "We are going to make a technology park in Islamabad, which would be the first one in Pakistan and after that we have planned to make such parks in other major cities as well," he added. He said that HEC is going to host the conference of vice chancellors of the universities of Islamic countries in June and it is expected that around 300 VCs would participate in it. "The main purpose of this conference is to see the strength of Islamic countries and to get support for each other," he added.

Dr. Javaid R. Laghari is Chairperson of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. Previously, he was a Senator from 2006 to 2009. As Senator, Dr. Laghari served in the Senate Standing Committees on Water and Power; Information Technology; and Information and Broadcasting. He was the Deputy Coordinator of the PPP Central Committees on Policy Planning, and Chairman of the PPP Committee on Energy and Power. Dr. Laghari was key Advisor to Benazir Bhutto on Education, Energy and Power, Science and Technology, Information Technology, and was the co-author of the PPP Election Manifesto 2008.

Dr. Laghari has published over 120 research papers and presented over 70 papers at international conferences. He is also the recipient of the 'Distinguished Leadership Award', 1987, the 'IEEE Award for Leadership and Dedicated Services', 1994, and the coveted national award 'Tamgha-e-Imtiaz' conferred by the President of Pakistan in 1998. The news

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HEC foreign faculty member found guilty of plagiarism
Islamabad: A committee of experts formed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has found one of the foreign faculty members and former director general of National University of Science and Technology (Nust) centre for virology and immunology guilty of plagiarism and academic fraud, it has been learnt.

According to documents available with Dawn, Professor Ishtiaq Qadri, along with two other Nust researchers – Kaneez Fatima and Rehan Zafar Paracha – conducted a study on blood cancer in December 2011, which was published in the Molecular Biology Report.

However, the HEC management was informed by Professor Dr Ishrat Waheed that he had supervised Kaneez Fatima for her MPhil thesis at the Punjab University in 2005. But in 2006, she registered herself with Prof Qadri for her PhD degree. Dr Waheed said later Dr Qadri and Ms Fatima along with another student, Rehan Zafar Paracha, copied and published Ms Fatima's MPhil thesis without giving him any credit. Dr Ishtiaq Qadri and Kaneez Fatima later got married.

Dr Waheed sent emails all over the world criticising the education system of Pakistan. Later, the HEC decided to hold an inquiry into the allegation through independent experts – Zia Batool, director general (QA & statistics), HEC; Prof Dr Saqlan Naqvi, dean, Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi; Prof Tariq, chairman department of biology Lums, and Munir Ahmed, deputy director (QA) HEC.

The investigation showed that the research paper contained significant amount of fake and forged data in addition to the plagiarised material. Nust later requested the publishers of the journal to retract the disputed publication.

The documents further showed that Prof Qadri had already been fired and fined over Rs2 million by the Nust administration on separate charges of academic and financial corruption, mismanagement and nepotism since September 2011. However, the HEC continued to pay Dr Qadri Rs400,000 per month salary and extended his contract for another year by approving his appointment at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU)'s faculty of biological sciences as head of its biotechnology research park.

But the QAU management terminated the services of Prof Qadri in February 2012 when they came to know that he was involved in corruption and plagiarism.

The committee, while announcing its findings on April 30, 2012, maintained that prima facie Dr Qadri had committed plagiarism because he seemed to have played no role in the MPhil studies of Ms Fatima, and, therefore, he was not supposed to be the corresponding author. Secondly, Ms Fatima should have taken the consent of her thesis supervisor for inclusion of names of other authors. Thirdly, Dr Waheed should have approached the departments concerned at the HEC to get her concerns addressed instead of sending emails abroad which tarnished the image of the scientific community.

However, a number of foreign faculty members claimed that an influential group within the HEC and in the universities never tolerated them.

Ms Fatima said that it was correct that she had started research paper under the supervision of Dr Waheed but he left her paper incomplete. "So how the question of plagiarism arises? I did lots of work on the thesis after which it was published," she added. She said her husband Dr Qadri had not done any corruption. There is record of all the expenses but the Nust management alleged that funds were spent without getting permission from the rector. "If approval was required, why the management released the funds to him in the first place?" She alleged that the Nust management had detained them in a house of the university colony for five days and forced them to sign some cheques."Director Budget and Accounts Nust, Nasir Amin Khan, however, refuted her allegation. He said some amount had been recovered from Dr Qadri and the remaining would be recovered in installments.

Pro-Rector (Research Innovation and Commercialisation) Engr M. Mushtaq said Dr Qadri was appointed through the HEC and after the incident HEC got involved in it. He said if Dr Qadri had any complaint, there were forums for him to approach. "Dr Qadri had confessed that all the allegations against him were true," he said.

Vice Chancellor QAU Dr Masoom Yasinzai said Prof Qadri worked most of the time at Nust and came to the QAU for just three months. When the HEC informed us that Prof Qadri was involved in some cases, he himself left the university. "I cannot understand why the thesis of a woman was given to her husband," he said.

Educationist Pervez Hoodbhoy said whenever someone returns to the country he faces difficulties but with the passages of time all the issues get resolved. The same is the case with the foreign faculty members. "So many have come and so many have gone back. A study should be conducted on this issue because some foreign faculty members are not doing anything."

When contacted, Prof Qadri said: "I am a gifted scientist with 70 international publications and 220 impact factor and have the potential to contribute for the benefit of the nation. After May 2007, I also established the state-of-the-art Nust Centre of Virology and Immunology, secured Rs200 million grant from national and international sources, developed curriculum for PhD and MS programmes for over 50 new subjects and established 18 virology research laboratories from my R&D grants with most advanced equipment."

He said he also established a diagnostics lab for commercial work generating Rs10 million/year, organised first ever hepatitis-C virus meeting in Pakistan, launched first journal of natural sciences in the country and one of my students won the most prestigious research award on a novel interferon lambda from the prime minister of Pakistan. "Despite all these, some elements are trying to defame me nationally and internationally."

Adviser to HEC Dr Riaz Qureshi said he did not know whether all the allegations against Prof Qadri had been proved. If they are proved, he will not be allowed to work with the HEC as a foreign faculty member, he added.

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Numl students protest new policy
Islamabad: New policy introduced by the National University of Modern Languages (Numl) making 70 per cent attendance mandatory for participation in the examination has sent a wave of unrest among the students of the university.

Over 300 students were asked on Tuesday that they could not sit the examinations beginning from Thursday as their attendance was less than 70 per cent.

The new rule took the students by surprise and they constituted a delegation which met the university Rector Maj Gen (retired) Masood Hasan in a bid to convince him to implement the new policy from next session but he refused to entertain their request.

Later, the students gathered outside the management block and started chanting slogans against the management and the new policy. They also blocked the transport of the university.

Some students while said that in the past the students having overall 70 per cent attendance were allowed to sit the examination but now the management had changed it making 70 per cent attendance in each subject mandatory.A teacher of the university on condition of anonymity said: "Even teachers were not aware of the new policy otherwise they would have made the students to attend all the classes."

The Numl spokesman, Malik Amir said during orientation ceremony in February this year, all the students had been informed about the new policy.

Meanwhile, the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) students protest entered second day on Tuesday as a result of which studies could not be started in the university. The protesting students announced that they would start hunger strike from Wednesday.

A student while said that they would continue their protest till the reinstatement of all 11 students who were expelled after the protest on April 27.

On the other hand QAU management  in a press release condemned the continuing acts of indiscipline and harassment of the faculty by some students. Dawn

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IIUI exhibition
Islamabad: Calligraphy is an important element of Islamic culture and civilisation, said International Islamic University's Faculty of Social Sciences Dean Dr NB Jumani. He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of an exhibition of paintings, organised by Department of Islamic Art & Architecture (Women Section) of the university on Tuesday. More than 80 art pieces created by students on Islamic patterns and Islamic calligraphy and drawing work have been put on display. Daily times

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Mari Gas chair established at QAU
Islamabad: A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between Mari Gas Company Limited (MGCL) and Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) to help bridge the gap between the academia and the industry, says a press release.

Quaid-i-Azam University Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Masoom Yasinzai and Mari Gas Company Managing Director and CEO Lieutenant General (r) Raza Muhammad Khan signed the MoA, to establish MGCL chair in the Department of Earth Sciences at the QAU.

The MoA will not only help bridge the gap between the academia and the industry but also acquaint the students of QAU with ground realities and challenges of the petroleum exploration and production, and provide them an opportunity to build their core strengths as per the requirements of petroleum industry. The news

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