Higher education progress | FAPUASA strike

'Higher education pivotal to progress'
Islamabad, Nov 25: Three-day International Strategic Partnership in Research and Education's Regional Policy Dialogue (INSPIRE-RPD) commenced on Tuesday to develop an understanding of national policies, institutional approaches and outreach programmes, which enable knowledge transfer for economic and social enefit.

This regional dialogue has high-level participation from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangla-desh, Egypt, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the UK. Participants include representatives of Ministries of Education of the above countries, Vice Chancellors and Pro Vice Chancellors of Universities and industry specific representatives.

The dialogue has been jointly organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the British Council under the INSPIRE programme of the British Council.

Adam Thomson, British High Commissioner to Pakistan was the chief guest on the event while Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr Javaid Laghari, and Country Director British Council Pakistan David Martin, also attended the opening ceremony.

The British High Commis-sioner to Pakistan speaking at the occasion said, "Higher education is of extreme importance in the progress of a country.

I am really glad that this regional dialogue is happening in Islamabad and thankful to the HEC and the British Council for organising this momentous event."

The opening day explored the role and responsibilities of government in economic, social and cultural develop-ment of a country both nationally and internationally. Pakistani perspective was outlined by Dr S Sohail Naqvi, Executive Director, HEC and Dr Mukhtar, Member Operat-ions and Planning, HEC.

Foreign perspectives were given by Dr Mohsin Elmahdy, Executive Director, Projects Management Unit, Ministry of Higher Education, Egypt and Prof. Geoff Layer, Pro Vice Chancellor University of Bradford, UK.

The evening sessions of the day were on the perspective of universities particularly highlighting the challenges in establishing external linkages with industry, business and non-commercial sectors. Presentations were given by David Coates, Head of Knowledge Sharing, Techn-ology Strategy Board, UK; Dr Atiq Sedi, General Director, Afghan Geological Survey, Afghanistan; Prof Zainul Zainuddin, Director of Innova-tions Office, USM, Malaysia and other esteemed guests.

The second day focuses on the needs and demands of industry and society at large and the external perspective on higher education.

The industry perspective will be presented by Rafiqal Islam, CEO RAK Pharmaceuticals, Bangladesh; Kumru Adanali, MD Carbon Clear Turkey; Abdul Razzak Dawood, a renowned industrialist from Pakistan and Rector of Lums and other distinguished guests.

Case studies of successful collaborations between educa-tion institution, governments, donors and the industry will be given by Dr Ihtesham Rehman, Queen Mary, University of London; Myrkhalykov Uzhk-empirovich, Dean South Kazakhstan State University and Ajmal Sherazi, Afghan Institute of Rural Develop-ment, Afghanistan.

The evening sessions will focus on action planning and chalk out strategy on moving the dialogue forward and incorporating learning from the event in Pakistan.

The Action Planning session will be led by Lynne Heslop, Regional Director, Higher Education, British Council; David Martin, Director, British Council Islamabad and Dr Mukhtar of the HEC.

The Action Planning Group will analyse the different strategies and vote on the best practices to be taken forward.

The final day will summarise the work of the first two days and discuss how higher education in Pakistan can be made more industry specific and how the right environment for knowledge sharing can be achieved.

Institutional drivers and initiatives in Pakistan will be analysed and the prospects for the future will be discussed.

The British Council has been working closely with the HEC since 2004 and has connected 50 universities in Pakistan with universities in the UK to help the capacity building of higher education institutions in Pakistan.

INSPIRE RPD explores many critical questions in knowledge transfer in higher education and how best practices from the region can be implemented in Pakistan. The nation

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FAPUASA likely to call off strike
Peshawar: The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, is likely to call off strike at all the public sector universities today as the governor held out an assurance on Wednesday that serious efforts were being made for the safe recovery of Ajmal Khan, the kidnapped vice-chancellor of Islamia College University (ICU), it was learnt.

Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani met a four-member delegation of FAPUASA led by Prof Dr Fida, provincial president of the association, on Wednesday. The other members included Dr Ziaullah Sehrai, president Islamia College University Teachers Association, Dr Johar Ali of Peshawar University Teachers Association, and Siddiq Akbar of the University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar.

Sources said that the governor informed the delegation that the government had been making efforts from day one for the safe recovery of Ajmal Khan. He said the government had its own mode of action to tackle such cases and had not shown any laxity in this regard, the sources said.

He told the delegation that observing strike was no solution to the problem because the authorities concerned were already making hectic efforts to secure the recovery of the kidnapped VC.

The meeting discussed the overall security for the teachers and administrative heads of the universities. The governor promised to beef up security on the campuses. He told the delegation about the government's plans to construct a boundary wall around the Professors Colony in Peshawar University and negotiations with the nearby villagers were in final stages, the sources added.

Ajmal Khan, VC of the ICU, was kidnapped on September 7 along with his driver when he was on way to his office. The militants twice released the videos of Ajmal Khan. In both the videos the VC appealed to teachers, students, workers and leaders of Awami National Party (ANP) to make efforts for his early release. Ajmal Khan is the cousin of ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan.

The protest against the kidnapping of the VC gained momentum after the release of the second video in which Ajmal Khan urged the government to negotiate with militants and accept their demands or else after November 20 he might not be alive. The news

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Dr. Ishaq group wins QAU ASA polls unopposed
Islamabad: Dr Eatzaz Ahmed-Dr.Ishaq Group won all the seats of office-bearers for the next term (2010-11) in the annual elections of Academic Staff Association, Quaid-i-Azam University.

The group was declared winner when Dr Afzal Bhatti of Computer Sciences Department, the Presidential candidate of the group, was declared elected unopposed after the withdrawal of nomination paper of his lone contender Dr Umar Saeed Qureshi of Physics Department.

All the other office-bearers hailing from Eatzaz-Ishaq group had already returned unopposed after the scrutiny of the nomination papers before Eid.

Dr Bhatti represents the panel of Dr Eatzaz-Dr Ishaq Group formed in 2001. This group first time fielded its candidates in 2002 and since then won all elections except one where it could not clinch all the seats.

After the withdrawal date, the candidates returned unopposed are Prof M Afzal Bhatti from Computer Sciences (President), Dr Irfan Zia Qureshi from Animal Sciences Department (Vice-President), Dr Nawazish Ali Khan from Physics Department (Secretary), Anis Ahmad Bangash from Department of Earth Sciences (Joint Secretary) and Fakhar Bilal from History Department (Treasurer).

One reason for the candidates of the group returning unopposed is related to successes of outgoing ASA on many accounts for which the previous ASA had to observe token strike for many days in 2009.

The current ASA had succeeded in persuading the QAU authorities to pay BPS Incentives for 2008 and the case for 2009 is in the process.

The HEC had allowed this option to compensate those who could or did not apply for controversial Tenure Track System offering hefty salaries to faculty since 2007.

The upgradation of stuck-up cases is also in the process and regularization of contractual appointments is expected to be completed in the coming Syndicate meeting scheduled in the first fortnight of December next.

In addition to that, some other major achievements of current ASA were the successful resolution of the issue of International GRE for PhD admissions and getting finalised and implemented the pre-planned schedule for the meetings of statutory bodies (Syndicate, Selection Board, Academic Council, AS&RB and F&P).

Academic Council and Syndicate approved a proposal of ASA paving the way for promotion of 12.5% of Professors in BPS 21 to the status of Senior Professor in BPS 22 and with the collaborative efforts of FAPUSA, persuaded Higher Education Commission to extend the dates of recognising articles published in X, Y and Z categories till June 30, 2011 for appointments.

Dr Eatzaz (the outgoing President), Dr Gulraiz Akhter (the outgoing Secretary) and Dr. Ishaq (member Syndicate) have congratulated the new office-bearers of ASA and hoped that they would carry forward the agenda and try to achieve what the current ASA could not do despite strenuous efforts. app

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Beaconites spend a day with students of Al-Makhdoom Foundation
Islamabad: Students of the Beaconhouse School System, Margalla Campus, A-Level Branch, visited the Al-Makhdoom Foundation, a school for the visually impaired children, to share the joys of Eidul Azha with them, says a press release issued here on Wednesday.

The Beaconites were led by Syed Babar Jan, the head of the Community Service Society at the Beaconhouse School System, Margalla Campus, A-Level Branch.

The society members and volunteers spent the whole day with the children at Al-Makhdoom Foundation, who sung patriotic songs and were full of lively spirits. Later in the day, the society members served an appetising 'biryani' with juices and chocolates to the children. Overall, the interaction with the children of Al-Makhdoom Foundation proved to be a learning experience for the student volunteers.

Earlier, members of the Community Service Society of BMI-A attended Pukaar Youth Mobilisation Campaign conducted by Imran Khan to promote awareness about the flood victims where they donated thousands of rupees in contribution to funds for the flood victims.

Syed Babar Jan also undertook a trip to Charsadda and Nowshera with members of the Beaconhouse Community Service Society to reach out and comfort the flood-affected children there. The society members distributed Eid gifts, clothes and milk cartons among the children. The news

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