Universities not bound to follow NTS: LHC
Lahore, Nov 04: Examination and tests of National Testing Service (NTS) are optional and not mandatory for the universities to follow, a LHC judge, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, observed while hearing a petition filed by Syeda Anam Ilyas questioning the legality of NTS.
Justice Shah also directed the Higher Educational Commission to issue notices to the representatives of 140 universities/institutions of the country to answer in black & white whether National Testing Services tests could be used for the purpose of admission as well as awarding national and international scholarships.
The HEC was also directed to place on record all the monitoring reports of NTS since 2002 before the next date of hearing, December 13.
The counsel for NTS was directed to place on record the corporate profile of NTS, as well as, all the mandatory audits conducted by the HEC starting from the year 2002. NTS was further directed to submit statement of income along with its audited accounts and income tax returns to establish that it is a not-for-profit organization.
Awais Ahmed Ali, Director General, RD and Nazeer Harruni, R. Director, HEC made a categorical statement before the court that educational institutions were not bound to subscribe to the entrance examinations / tests conducted by NTS as it had not been approved by the HEC to act as a testing body under the Ordinance.
The representatives of the education institutions submitted that the testing body at a national level was need of the hour but any such body must be a part of or backed by collegiums of the recognized universities and should not be a private organization without any ownership of the centers of academic excellence in the country.
It was also argued that, in the absence of regulatory framework monitoring and overseeing the services of NTS, award of millions of rupees in scholarships was highly risky and the matter required serious consideration as huge funds from national exchequer were dependent on the services rendered by the NTS, GAT has been made mandatory.
The representatives of University of Sargodha, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore, Women University Lahore, University of Agricultural Faisalabad, University of Health Sciences Lahore, F.C. College, Lahore, Air University, Islamabad, LUMS, Lahore, Government College University, Faisalabad, Govt. College for Women University, Faisalabad, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad, International Islamic University, Islamabad, National Defence University, Islamabad, Lahore School of Economics, G.C. University, Lahore, Virtual University of Pakistan and NFC Institute of Engineering & Technology, Multan, University of Health Sciences, Lahore, NUST, University of Lahore, University of Engineering & Technology, Peshawar, Ahasyn University, Peshawar, University of Education, Lahore, Institute of Management Science Peshawar, National Textile University, Faisalabad, Karahoran Institute University of Islamabad, Mohi-ud-Din Islamic University, AJ&K, Piphah International University, Islamabad, Qarshi University, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Kohat University, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, University of Gujrat, Ali Institute of Engineering, Lahore and Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad appeared before the court. The news
IJT reacts to male students' eviction
Lahore: The Punjab University administration wants to evacuate University Law College Hostel No 16 to accommodate the ever-growing girl students in the university, but the Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) resists the move.
The issue came to surface late on Monday when IJT-led students protested on the university premises and on Canal Road causing immense problems for the commuters.
PU Hall Council Chairman Prof Dr Muhammad Akhtar says the male students will be evacuated from the hostel in a fortnight, while IJT PU spokesman Luqman Ali says the Law College students will not vacate the hostel. He claims the IJT had terminated its protest on Monday after the university administration's assurance that male students would not be evacuated from the hostel.
IJT activists see the move to weaken their party as Law College students are considered the backbone of the Jamiat, while the PU administration says the college is near the girls' hostel and opening of its door from the back side (which is actually the main side) will separate it from boys' hostels.
The IJT spokesman said 300 students were residing in Hostel No 16 and could accommodate another 200 students.
He says the university administration should have foreseen this problem and built new hostels. He claims the varsity built only one hostel since 1984, while the number of students had increased from 8,000 to 30,000.
He said the university was now accommodating new students in Hostel Nos 15 and 18 by allotting a cubical to five students, which was mainly constructed for three students. The over-crowded rooms will create a lot of problems, including infringement of privacy.
Prof Akhtar says many "neutral" students have agreed and shifted to other hostels. He says many rooms are still lying vacant in other boys' hostels as illegal residents are being flushed out.
"Only a few students, either IJT activists or backed by them, are adamant to stay at the Hostel No 16 and confront with the university administration," he said.
On the other hand, Prof Akhtar said the number of girl students and boy students in the university was equal whereas there were 10 hostels for girls and 18 hostels for their male counterparts.
He said girl students were facing serious problems of accommodation. "The university administration decided to convert Hostel No 16 as girls' hostel to mitigate their problems," he added.
Prof Akhtar says boys' hostels have enough capacity to accommodate the students. After the allotment of rooms to new applicants, he says, the university may accommodate four or in some case five students in cubical rooms. He says each hostel has a Study Room and there are libraries for students to study in a peaceful manner.
Prof Akhtar says the Hall Council has this year issued 1,200 forms for hostel accommodation and students are being allotted accommodation on merit. He says the university has this year constructed two new hostels for PhD students – one each for boys and girls.
MBBS anatomy paper 'leaked'
Faisalabad, Nov 02: Question sheets of MBBS First Professional (Part-II) Anatomy (including Histology), short essay questions (SEQs) and multiple choice questions (MCQs), along with answer key were reportedly leaked out several hours before its start.
The University of Health Sciences (UHS) conducted the exam by setting up scores of centres across the province for thousands of students attached with more than two dozen medical colleges.
Sources said that a number of students received calls in different cities of Punjab from unidentified people who informed them that they had question sheets and answer key of the exam. They offered both the question sheets and answer key for Rs20,000 that could be paid after the examination. They said some of the students had purchased papers and later on shared the questions with their fellows through short message service (SMS) of their mobile phones on Friday.
A student, requesting anonymity, said question sheets leaked out through SMS at about 4am on Friday and a majority of the students had messages in their cell phones prior to the examination. He said most of the students did not believe in the message sent to them, considering that somebody had played a prank on them. However, on the Friday morning, the SEQs and MCQS shocked them when they were exactly the same questions as sent through the SMS.
"Those who got the message will have fun but what about those who did not get the message and worked hard all the year." he added.
Dawn has obtained the message that was sent to students hours before the paper with time and date.
Another student confirmed that he had received a call from an unknown number at about 10pm on Thursday and the caller offered him a copy of question sheet with key for Rs22,000. He said the man had offered him the hard copy, saying that a number of students of private medical colleges in Lahore had purchased the question sheet. He said the man also offered him the Anatomy paper along with its backup, prepared by the UHS. The backup sheet had been obtained if the UHS would change the first paper on information of its leak, he quoted the man as saying.
Sources said the paper leak was the sole responsibility of the examination branch as its secrecy branch had entrusted duties of security of question sheets, paper setting, printing and sealing of question sheets, coding of answer books with fictitious numbers and bar coding and centralised paper assessment.
They said it was point to ponder that how the answer key was also leaked out that was about to be given to the examiners at the central examination hall as the university had arrangements of central marking.
UHS Controller of Examinations Dr Saqib said that they had found no evidence that the question sheets had been leaked out or anybody had its answer key. He said the people had been talking about the paper leak but nobody was providing any evidence.
To a query that how answer key was also circulated as it was not yet distributed to anyone, he said the university had prepared four answer keys.
However, a doctor said the question of number of keys did not matter. The point was the leaked key had exact answer of the questions taken by students in anatomy exam. All the MCQs were the same, only question order had been changed in the four different sets of papers, he added. Dawn
PU launches new course
Lahore: Punjab University (PU) Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences dean Prof Dr Zakria Zakir on Friday said that new course in MSc Development Studies at the varsity's Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) would help resolve problems of land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement of victims of development projects. He was addressing the launching ceremony of new course in MSc Development Studies at National Centre for Resettlement and Rehabilitation, ISCS, "Management of Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation."
Mr Chaohua Zhang from Social Development Unit, World Bank, faculty members and a large of number students were present. Dr Zakria Zakir said the new programme would help understand science of rehabilitation and resettlement. He said if proper attention was not given to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the victims of development projects, the real development would not take place.
Five PhDs awarded
Lahore: Punjab University (PU) awarded five PhD degrees to scholars on Monday. According to a press release, Liaqat Sohail Meer s/o Bashir Ahmed Meer has been awarded PhD degree in the subject of Punjabi after the approval of his thesis titled "Kashmir Which Punjabi Shairy Adab (Mudh Toun 2008 Tikar)", Muhammad Ihsan s/o Muhammad Amin in the subject of Islamic Studies after the approval of his thesis titled "Jadeed Parliament Ki Islami Shura-Iat Ke Usoolon Par Ta’Ameer-O-Tashkeel (Aik Tahqeeqi Jaiza)", Muhammad Nazir s/o Sultan Ahmad in the subject of Persian after the approval of his thesis titled "Editing of Zad-ul-Muttaqin By Abdul Haq Muhaddis Dehlavi", Abdel Hafiz Adam Dahab s/o Adam Dahab in the subject of Molecular Biology after the approval of his thesis titled "Association Mapping For Drought Stress Tolerance In Cotton (Gossypium Hirsutum L.)" and Ahmad Bilal s/o Muhammad Yasin in the subject of Education after the approval of his thesis titled "Differential Effects of Content Based And Pedagogical Training On Teachers' Professional Development".
PU reception for new students
Lahore: Punjab University's Oriental College is organising a reception for newly admitted students on Tuesday (today). The ceremony will be presided over by Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and held on the varsity's Old Campus. Honoured: Youth Foundation Nepal has awarded a Pakistani youth the Nepal Friendship Peace Award on presenting a South Asian Union Model at Global Platform Nepal held at Kathmandu. According to a press release, former member of National Youth Parliament Qaiser Shahzad is the only Pakistani to represent the country at the Global Platform and complete the Campaign Designing Course. He achieved the award out of 20 participants belonging to five countries.
Engineers convention on 18th
Lahore: The Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Pakistan, a forum representing 15,000 electrical and electronics engineers of Pakistan, is holding its 34th Convention and Annual General Meeting on 18th of November 2013 at a local hotel.
President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain is expected to grace the inaugural session of the convention as chief guest along with the Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal joining as a guest of honour. All the IEEEP office-bearers, fellows and members will be attending this convention.
Eminent engineers and delegates from all over Pakistan, representing major organisations like WAPDA, KEPCO, HUBCO, SIEMENS, PEL, KESC, PAEC, OGDC and PTCL will also participate. In addition, industry and corporate sectors will also be appropriately represented.
Various regular activities will take place all the morning followed by a highly informative seminar explaining the service rules for engineers in Pakistan by Engr. Amir Zamir Khan and recommendations on Power Policies 2013 by Engr. Tahir Basharat Cheema. Shields and mementos will be awarded to the eminent engineers and professionals who have excelled in their fields.
The paramount objective of the institution (IEEEP) is to enable the country to achieve self-sufficiency in modern technologies so as to remain abreast with the latest technical developments taking place in the advanced countries of the globe. To achieve this objective, the institution has set up local centers at Lahore, Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad and Karachi. The news
7th Children's Literature Festival
Lahore: The 7th Children's Literature Festival (CLF) was held in Lahore, spanning two days, under the auspices of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), which collaborated with a number of other eminent institutions to bring forth the literary event for children.
The event, which began on Wednesday, was organised jointly by the Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), Oxford University Press (OUP) and Open Society Foundations. The key founders and organisers of the CLF are ITA Director Programmes Baela Raza Jamil and OUP MD Ameena Saiyid.
Spreading the message of disseminating the concept of book reading amongst children, with all its prosperous gains, the event highlights the importance good literature brings with it in shaping up a child's personality. To travel the whole world with just a chapter of a good read, undoubtedly gives wings to a child's imagination and perspective. Adding an immense lot to a child's vocabulary, knowledge, insight and awareness, books are rightfully called a person's best friend.
The event housed a number of fun activities for children, that included not just reading books, but a lot of other informative and educative programmes, that made the concept of book reading fun altogether.
"CLF has been a vision, which has turned out to be huge with its implementation. With this platform, we have effectively tried to disseminate a healthy vision of education amongst children, which is not just confined to books. With sessions containing puppet shows, group discussions, storytelling rounds, writing and drawing/painting competitions, we have made sure that children engage in all such activities as much as they can for them to be exposed to a wider environment of knowledge sharing. The passion and enthusiasm with which the children are participating is heart warming to see. A mother called me saying her two daughters aged seven and nine, were writers and wanted to participate in the event. That shows how creative genius our new generation of children has turned out to be and events like these are only furthering their skills," Baela said. "Katha, which is an Indian organisation that aims to develop children's literature, have fervently participated this year. You see the first year, we envisaged a total participation of 3,000 people, but the number turned out to be that of 22,000. So afterwards, there was no stopping us. Eminent writers and artists that have taken part just want to give back to society through this platform," she further added.
Having started tentatively in 2011, CLF now boasts of its own publication Uran Tashtaree magazine, catering to important writers, poets, students and the very younger lot.
"I carried out this workshop for children on the first day, 'Peace Education' being the topic. I made sure that every child was vocal on their opinions as I asked them questions on travelling, reading and their daily routines," said writer Chintan Modi. Chintan had come especially from India to participate in CLF.
Tutorials on computer skills were being distributed in DVD format. Also, Quranic teachings were given the most preference as its books, audios and videos were available at every stall present at the event and that too for free. To pull off such an event with success and togetherness and that too on such a large scale makes us wonder what the challenges could have been for these ace organisers.
"Thankfully, the challenges were minimal and easily manageable. The stalls have 90 percent supplementary books. The most interesting workshop amongst others, which I attended during the two-day event was the one on school libraries being enforced effectively in all schools. We discussed how media can also play a vital role in this. I'm just feeling very inspired by all this," Ameena said.
CLF former ambassador and now panellist Romana Husain was also vocal and physically active in her thorough support for CLF and all its ventures and activities.
A nine-year-old student Anusha Riaz, who claimed to have written seven books, starting from the age of seven, lent her support to CLF with all her might, "I've made so many friends today who share such diverse backgrounds. However, we all share the same interest and that is of book reading. Fiction somehow stands out for me more as that way, you can delve so much deeper into things, which are not real and have fun with your imagination."
The Lahore CLF is the seventh literature festival for the children of Pakistan; the first was held in November 2011 in Lahore followed by Quetta, Peshawar, Bahawalpur, Karachi and Islamabad in 2012/2013. Daily times