PU students financial assistance

Rs 20m to finance PU students
Lahore, May 07: Punjab University (PU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has announced Rs 20 million for financial assistance of university students under the newly established Students Advancement Fund Endowment (SAFE).

The announcement was made at a workshop on Students Advancement Fund Endowment and Student Start-Up Business Centre (SSBC) organised by PU Faculty of Education, Higher Education Commission and Promotion of Education in Pakistan (PEP) INC, New York, here on Saturday.

Sartaj Aziz, Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB) VC Prof Dr Muhammad Mukhtar, Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) VC Prof Dr Sabiha Mansoor, University of Gujrat (UOG) VC Prof Dr Nizamuddin, Forman Christian College Rector Prof Dr Peter H Armacost, PU Faculty of Education Dean Prof Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal, PEP Foundation President Dr Khalid Iqbal, Dur-e-Shehwar from Higher Education Commission, Afaque Ahmed from Education Enrichment Foundation Karachi, ITC-ILO consultant Sadaf Abid and many others from various top public and private sector institutions participated in the workshop.

Dr Kamran said the workshop would bring something new for students. He said PU was already financing students with an amount of Rs 70 million and the amount of 20 million would be allocated from the earning of its own investment of Rs 4 billion.

He said the administration was working on the revival of Punjab University's alumni association which would also help support the programme.

Giving presentation on establishment of Students Advancement Fund Endowment, Dr Khalid Iqbal said the purpose of SAFE was to make higher education accessible to the needy students, enhance their learning experience and make the universities more competitive.

He said PEP Foundation had already established SAFE at Punjab University, GCU, Lahore, UET, Lahore, GCU, Faisalabad and at a private university in Lahore.

He said each beneficiary might sign an honorary agreement to return voluntarily an amount twice equivalent (received) to SAFE within 10 years of gainful employment, which would provide funds for future scholarship programmes.

He thanked HEC Executive Director Sohail Naqvi for providing all-out support for establishing SAFE as HEC would award at least Rs 1 million to the university.

Dr Sabiha spoke on "Fundraising Done Right" and said that financial pressure was growing on universities. She said it was very difficult for women to return educational loans as they got married after education.

Prof Dr Hafiz Iqbal said that because of initiatives taken by HEC, higher education enrollment had increased substantially. He lauded the efforts being made for the establishment of SAFE at educational institutions.

Later, a discussion forum was also held to exchange ideas.

diploma approved: University of Animal and Veterinary Sciences' Advanced Studies and Research Board chaired by Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha has approved the launching of new postgraduate diploma "Food Safety and Controls" at the Food and Nutrition Department.

The ASRB also discussed and approved 81 MPhil synopses and 31 PhD synopses. The Vice-Chancellor also briefed the board members about university's achievements like winning projects of approximately Rs300 million. He congratulated his team on attaining the good HEC ranking.

The meeting was attended by members of the board from UVAS and other nationally renowned scientists from various organisations. The news

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Teachers on road to seek justice
Lahore: Schoolteachers are protesting against the Punjab government's policies and 'apathy' towards their problems. The teachers, who are considered the nucleus of the school education system, had started their protest campaign in February and stepped it up from academic boycotts to protest meetings, demonstrations at divisional headquarters and finally a big show of protest rally and sit-ins on Shahrah-i-Quaid-i-Azam, where Section 144 was imposed banning protest rallies and gatherings.

A case had been registered against 31 nominated and 700 unidentified teachers with the Civil Lines police. Still, none of the government functionaries came to negotiate with teachers even for the implementation of the already-decided incentives.

Criticising the government functionaries, a Punjab Teachers Union leader said the 'so-called' education minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman was so oblivious to teachers' issues that he did not even issue a statement – in favour of or against the teachers.

"The teachers have made up their mind that they will get justice on roads as was the case of restoration of the chief justice of Pakistan. So they are protesting and will now hold march in Islamabad from the National Press Club to Parliament House and then observe a sit-in on May 16," the PTU leader said.

The schoolteachers say they had prepared a 12-point charter of demands and submitted to the School Education Department,
the schools secretary, the chief secretary and the chief minister. The teachers say they were demanding that they should not be involved in non-academic activities and allowed to teach students with peace of mind.

They stated that last year they performed various duties like correction of voter lists, census, anti-polio vaccination duties and Universal Primary Education survey and remained absent from schools. They claimed that teachers' absence from schools decreased enrolment in the public-sector schools.

"There were 11.1 million children in schools but this year the enrolment fell to 10.6 million," a PTU leader claimed.

The teachers' representatives say the government had launched 100 per cent enrolment campaign without taking teachers into confidence. In rural areas, they say, children work with their parents in fields or work in factories and shops to make both ends meet.

They said the teachers were asked to find out-of-school children and enroll them. They said the teachers' UPE duties charged those already enrolled and dropped out due to teachers' absence. Then, they said, the school education department directed monitoring officials to check teachers' attendance. The teachers were even denied their casual leaves.

The respective schools headmasters' powers to grant leave to teachers were also withdrawn and were asked to get leaves approved from DDEOs or DEOs. Citing two examples, a PTU leader said a teacher's father died and he was compelled to attend school in Khanewal with the direction that he could attend funeral in the evening.

On the other hand, they say, almost 50 per cent primary schools have two teachers and no replacement was available in case a teacher could not attend school for one or another reason. They say the government was also merging male and female primary schools but it will lead to drop out of girl students.

The PTU leaders say the Punjab government as well as the school education department top bosses are giving step-motherly treatment to schoolteachers. Explaining teachers' demands, PTU central president Syed Sajjad Akbar Kazmi said the primary and elementary teachers should be given BPS-16, SSTs be given BPS-17, while subject specialists be given BPS-18.

He said the government should either give time-scale promotions to teachers or incentive package against all sanctioned posts of teachers. The teachers' pay scales should be revised by merging 65 per cent ad hoc relief.

The house rent and medical allowance should be raised up to 60 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, while conveyance allowance be doubled. The benevolent fund should be transferred to the Punjab Teacher Foundation and revived as a functional organisation.

The PTU also demands in-service quota promotions, quotas in jobs for teachers' children as well as cent per cent concession on fees for higher education studies. The union also demands that Urdu should be allowed as medium of instruction along with English medium in public-sector schools. The NGOs, boards of governors and monitoring cells should be abolished.

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UVAS develops vaccine for poultry disease
Lahore: The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) has developed a vaccine for new castle disease in poultry birds that has killed millions of birds and cost the industry more than Rs7 billion in recent days.

According to Vice-Chancellor Prof Talat Naseer Pasha, the vaccine was successfully applied to birds in the university and its trial at the farm level was currently under way. These trials are now 22-days old, and results are encouraging so far.

The disease, which originated from Malaysia, regularly kills billions of birds around the world and Pakistan, where migratory birds brought it with them, has been no exception. "In the last few months, the industry has suffered a loss of over Rs7 billion, as the disease kept killing the entire flock of many farms," says Maj Javed Bukhari of the Pakistan Poultry Association.

The disease is a global phenomenon and Pakistan has been regularly importing vaccine for it. However, there was some change in virus anatomy, which made traditional vaccine totally ineffective. This triggered panic in the industry as millions of birds fell victim to it. Things are still not fully under control, but situation has improved with new vaccine, he claimed.

According to Prof Pasha, the university and the industry, along with the government, were making efforts to control the situation. The Punjab government had already made committees for long- and medium-term solutions and legislation. Dawn

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