HEC shelves future scholarships

HEC shelves future scholarships: Cut in funds
Islamabad, Nov 06: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has shelved all its future scholarships after the government imposed major cuts on its annual budgetary allocations, reliable sources said. In view of the government's decision not to provide funds to the HEC, which were promised under the cash plan for the current financial year, the HEC has stopped offering scholarships for higher studies.

However, knowledgeable sources said, the existent scholarships would not be affected by this decision.

"At present a major chunk of the money which the government is releasing to the HEC is going to our students who are studying at various international universities and left with no money to spend on other projects. Supporting our present scholarship holders is HEC's prime responsibility," they said.

Under an extensive Human Resource Development (HRD) project, the HEC had sent 6,500 scholars abroad for higher studies, and nearly 4,000 scholars are busy on various research projects within the country.

Considering the importance of HRD and HEC's agreement with international universities, where Pakistani students are currently studying, the commission had to divert Rs1.5 billion of the Rs2.555 billion released by the government for the first quarter of the current financial year for this purpose. Therefore, the HEC is left with little funds to support more than 250 ongoing development projects in the higher education institutions of the country.

The financial worries of the HEC started when the government imposed a cut of Rs2.61 billion on its developmental grant of the fourth quarter of the last financial year. The government had only released Rs2.555 billion against the demand of Rs4.523 billion in the first quarter development grant of the current year.

The grant was required under the cash plan for 284 approved projects of the HEC. Moreover, the government has also warned the HEC with more budgetary constraints in months to come.

Public sector universities had already started complaining scarcity of funds to spend on their ongoing and new approved projects for the current financial year. The HEC had also stop paying monthly stipend to university teachers which they were getting for supervising PhD students.

"At present, we are in a tight corner and if the same condition persists, it would be difficult for us to continue working on most of HEC ongoing developments projects," they said. Dawn

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RBISE to change procedure of form submission
Rawalpindi: On special directives of the Punjab chief minister, Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education (RBISE) has decided to completely change the procedure for the submission of examination forms of SSC and HSSC Part I and II for 2009. According to sources, a printed receipt having a diary number, a form number and

the name of the candidate would be handed over to the candidates at the time of receiving admission forms, aimed to make the system of examinations transparent. The slips and model papers are also being updated on the Board's website, aimed to facilitate the students.

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HEC launches MERC project at Punjab University
Islamabad: A project of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) titled Microelectronic Research Centre (MERC) has started at University of the Punjab, Lahore, says a press release.

An amount of Rs38.5 million was allocated for this centre and the university has utilised it for the establishment of classrooms, computer laboratory, research laboratory, electronics workshop, etc.

The centre has been established in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence in Solid State Physics in order to modify the building and other basic infrastructure that already exist.

Its major objective is to train manpower in the important field of electronic devices with the help of international collaborations.

The centre offers MPhil degree in Microelectronic Engineering & Semiconductor Physics (MESP), which is a unique blend of Engineering and Physics.

This is the first time in Pakistan that such a degree related to the high-tech industry of Microelectronics is being offered that will provide an excellent opportunity to physicists and engineers to join hands for research.

The project funding was also utilised for setting up a Local Area Network (LAN) for research students to not only access e-literature but also perform research modelling and simulation work.

The facilities of MERC and CSSP have been made open to all public sector universities through HEC's programme titled Access to Scientific Instrumentation and hundreds of samples are being characterised for various universities of the country. The News

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