Allama Iqbal open university policy

New demands put AIOU students in a quandary
Islamabad, Nov 16: A number of students undertaking current examinations under the auspices of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) are facing a host of problems due to the sudden policy change of the University administration for those who had not received their roll number slips at their addresses.

The mayhem was witnessed during the last two working days at the University's main campus where students were seen visiting various blocks to get their roll number slips.

The exchange of verbal clashes were also reported among the students and the university staff, as the students were arguing that it would be a mere wastage of time to revisit and meet the new requirements of photographs and CNICs to get the duplicate roll number slip.

Earlier, it was a practice that those students, who did not get their roll number slips at their addresses, could download them online or get them from the AIOU campus. But currently, a new policy has been introduced by the officials declaring that online roll number slips are almost `invalid' and candidates are being asked at the eleventh hour to revisit the campus to meet the new requirements.

The students complained that no proper guidance is being provided to them in this regard, as the exams are about to start within days. "We have not received our date sheets and roll number slips, and only a day is left for the BEd exam (third semester). We give postal charges but still we have been forced to take pains to visit the place, which is not fair," a student, Ms Perveen, said.

When Public Relations Officer AIOU Ubaid was asked for his comments on the issue, he, after contacting an official at the Examination Branch, said that this step is being taken as part of the security measures and to ensure further transparency in the examination.

It is to mention that candidates have to produce CNICs at the examination centres if asked by the invigilators, as they are provided in prior the list of candidates appearing in the exam.

An educationist on the issue opined that it is very strange that this step is being taken for transparency. "If we accept this argument for a while, it creates several questions for the previous exams conducted under the auspices of AIOU," he remarked.

He said the proper way is that AIOU must introduce all roll number slips with photographs, strengthen its delivery system or even properly guide the candidates through media or any other channel. Presently, this issue could be addressed by properly checking the CNICs of all candidates at the examination centres.

He said sudden demands at the beginning of the examination have created troubles for those who have not received the roll number slips at their postal addresses.

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AIOU workshop rescheduled
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has rescheduled the National Workshop of MSc Gender & Women Studies Programme for Spring Semester 2009. Now the workshop will start from today (Monday) and will continue till November 21 daily from 8:30am to 3:00pm at the AIOU main campus auditorium. Dr Riffat Haq, Incharge Department of Gender & Women Studies, AIOU, said the students of MSc Gender & Women Studies from all over the country would participate in the workshop. The news

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Decisions on hold as ICU senate failed to meet
Peshawar: Various major decisions in the Islamia College University (ICU) are on hold as the administration has failed to convene even a single meeting of the university senate in over a year, sources said.

The Islamia College University Peshawar Act, under which the university was established in July 2008, has made it compulsory to convene at least two senate meetings in a year but the university administration has failed to hold any meeting so far. After the establishment of the university, it should have convened at least three senate meetings, the sources said. University senate is the single forum to pass annual budget and approve policies and policies implemented without the senate's approval are illegal.

Almost 50 per cent promotions of the lecturers, assistant professors, associate professors and professors have been stopped. The problems faced by contractual and ad hoc lecturers, high fees being charged from students, increase in salaries and other incentives of the employees were the major issues to be resolved in the senate meetings.

Time and again the issue of convening the senate meeting was raised with Vice-Chancellor (VC) Ajmal Khan who each time promised to convene the meeting but to no avail, the sources claimed. "The VC is holding the decision-making power which is harmful for the newly established university. Once the VC takes a decision, he withdraws it on the second day when deans and chairmen of respective departments build up pressure on him."

For instance, the VC stopped interviews for admissions in masters in Urdu and theology on Nov 14 but when chairmen of the respective departments rushed to the VC office, he agreed and allowed admissions, alleging "the VC is dealing the affairs of the university in consultation with his blue-eyed employees, who often misuse the VC's office".

Similarly, the university syndicate, another statutory body, should have held at least five meetings to discuss different issues but so far, the syndicate has held only one meeting on Nov 14, which was made possible after repeated request of teachers.

Likewise, academic counsel which oversees academic related affairs, change in courses and departments and makes admission policies has yet not formed at the university. Giving precedence of the recently established Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, which has already conducted meetings of the senate and syndicate, the sources alleged that the administration of the ICU was inefficient and lacked interest in the university affairs.

When asked the reasons for not convening the senate meetings, VC Ajmal Khan said that he had requested to the chancellor, NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani, to convene the senate meeting. "We are moving slowly and gradually because the university is new and needs more care," he said. Dawn

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Special school security wing setup
Peshawar: To encourage thousands of scared parents to send their children regularly to school, a special school security wing (SSSW) of the police has been established in the Malakand Division.

Education proved to be the worst victim of terrorism in the Malakand Division, where the militants destroyed over 200 schools, mostly for girls, in Swat district alone during the last couple of years, forcing the schoolchildren to abandon their studies. "We have established the SSSW to ensure protection to schools, colleges and university all over Malakand. The wing is headed by an inspector, who is assisted by two sub-inspectors, four assistant sub-inspectors and other cops who would monitor the security of educational institutions in Swat," Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Malakand, Mohammad Idrees Khan was expressing his optimism about the establishment of permanent peace in the area.

"Life is returning to normal. The cinemas have reopened in Swat and people can watch movies there. Also, barbers have reopened their shops while women now live without any fear in the militancy-hit areas of Swat and other districts of the Malakand Division," said the senior police official.

The federal and provincial governments are strengthening and equipping the police force in the division so that the militants are unable to stage a comeback. Besides providing facilities and funds, more vacancies for officers and cops have been created for Malakand. Apart from recruiting regular police, the government has sanctioned 3,725 posts of Special Police Officers (SPOs) at a fixed pay of Rs 10,000 per month. Over 1,800 of the SPOs have started performing duty while 1,200 others would join duty in a few days. The rest would be recruited soon.

Six more police stations have been established in Swat district, which raised their number to 15. Also, the number of subdivisions has been raised from three to seven to help improve the law and order situation.

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RMC research on Dengue virus
Rawalpindi: A study conducted by a postgraduate trainee (PGT) at Pathology Department of Rawalpindi Medical College revealed that nearly 15 per cent of rural population living in Tehsil Kahuta is infected with dengue virus.

Dr. Humaira Zafar conducted the study under supervision of Head of Pathology Department at RMC and allied teaching hospitals Professor Dr. Abbas Hayat, which is believed to be the first of its kind in any rural area of Pakistan.

The study was aimed at finding out the prevalence of Dengue Viral Infection in the healthy population of rural areas of Tehsil Kahuta and surroundings, in district Rawalpindi. It is important that the viral infection has been believed to be present only in urban and semi urban areas.

The current study was done on the basis of random selection procedure. 84 healthy individuals were tested for the presence of IG Anti Dengue Antibodies by 3rd generation ELISA. Out of them 13 (15%) were found to be positive for the said infection. "The results of the study are very much alarming showing the high prevalence of Dengue Infection in rural areas besides urban areas of Pakistan," Dr Humaira said.

She said that in developing countries like one of ours, this preventable disease is one of the important causes of high morbidity and mortality rates. "The mortality rate with the said infection might exceed 15%," she feared. "Thus keeping in view these results the government, higher authorities, epidemiologists, infection control units and media should be on high alert to find the real extent and control of this deadly disease. Otherwise Dengue will grow up and soon take an epidemic proportion," she said while responding to a query. She added that in the absence of specific vaccine and anti-viral treatment, the disease prevention and control efforts should be mainly focused on vector mosquito control. "Moreover by early diagnosis and prompt management, the morbidity and mortality rates can be reduced to great extent."

Serious viral infections - Dengue fever and Dengue Hemorrhagic fever - are caused by the bite of female mosquito namely 'Aedes Aegypti'.

Professor Dr. Abbas Hayat has repeatedly expressed that the spikes of dengue fever, if occurs repeatedly, might be more deadly and might result in severe complications including hemorrhagic manifestations. The second bite to an already infected person might cause Dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is a cause of disease and death primarily among children in tropical Asia.

Dr. Humaira believes that in the light of results of the study, regular cross sectional, daily surveillance, serological surveys and co-coordinated correspondence between administrators, epidemiologists and infection disease control units can provide a proactive approach for disease control. "The results of the study will be very much helpful to plan for potential epidemic control," she said.

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Dr. Chohan delivered lectures at PIMS
Islamabad: An eminent US based Pakistani physician, Dr. Kazim Raza Chohan, delivered a series of lectures at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) & Quaid-i-Azam Postgraduate Medical College (QPGMC), Islamabad.

According to a press release issued here Sunday, Dr. Chohan is currently working as Associate Professor of Pathology and Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Director of Andrology at the State University of New York: Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York.

The focus of his lectures at the PIMS was on the role of environmental contaminants effecting human health especially reproductive health. He warned that the environmental contaminants like Bisphenol, Pthalates etc. and adulteration of milk and food products with hazardous chemicals may be a cause for increase in infertility and cancer in our society. His interactive deliberations at the postgraduate medical college was on sperm DNA damage and male infertility, which were attended by faculty, and postgraduate residents.

Later an agreement was signed between Dr. Chohan, Dr. Ghazala Mahmud and Dr. Altaf Hussian Executive Director PIMS, Islamabad, which will allow two OBGYN residents to do 4-6 weeks internship annually in USA. The news

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