Karachi Medical and Dental College entry tests arrangements

KMDC entry tests marred by poor arrangements
Karachi, Oct 26: Selection of an inappropriate venue caused great hardship to the candidates of the entry tests held here on Sunday for admissions to the Karachi Medical and Dental College (KMDC) in MBBS and BDS courses.

Hundreds of candidates got stuck in a snarl-up on the Korangi Creek Road and had to struggle for making it at the centre - the College of Business Management (CBM) - in the Korangi Creek area.

"The KMDC authorities seem to have totally ignored the fact that a portion of the road leading to the centre has been dug up and is still closed for vehicular traffic for reconstruction," the affected students and their parents informed. A narrow track of the road had been kept open for two-way traffic which caused the snarl-up, they pointed out.

Desperate to reach the centre on time, many candidates had to abandon their vehicles and walk up to the centre, more than a kilometre away, it was observed.

The candidates who had traveled up to the dug up section of the road in public transport appeared to be the worst-hit as they had to walk up to the centre from near the Korangi Crossing.

Many of the candidates said they found it very difficult to locate the centre in the absence of any signboard having been put up for their guidance.

Parents and other people accompanying candidates complained that they had to stay outside the centre in the open amid scorching heat as no tent or shelter was put up. Nor was drinking water available, they added.

Some 5,000 candidates had applied for admission to the KMDC against the 100 seats offered in the MBBS programme and 50 seats in the BDS course for the academic session 2009-10.

Of the total seats in both the courses, 70 per cent has been offered on open merit, 20 per cent under self-financing scheme and the remaining 10 per cent have been reserved for foreigners and overseas Pakistanis. Dawn

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Security staff deputed at various points at KU
Karachi: Teachers, students and employees of the University of Karachi (KU) have been directed by the KU vice-chancellor (VC) to cooperate with security staff deputed at various points on the campus. No one will be allowed to enter the campus without proper identification, according to a press statement issued on Sunday by KU authorities. Guests visiting the university have been requested to provide necessary information to the campus security office.

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KU visual studies admission forms
Karachi: The date of issuance and submission of application forms for admission 2010, to the Department of Visual Studies, University of Karachi (KU) has been extended till Tuesday, October 27, 2009. According to a notification issued here on Sunday, the forms are available at the United Bank Limited at Silver Jubilee Gate, KU. List of eligible candidates will be published on October 29, 2009 and admit cards will be issued to eligible candidates at the counter at the Silver Jubilee Gate from October 29 - 31.

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Removal of three adjunct professors by KU
Karachi: The removal of four retired professors by University of Karachi (KU) Botany Department Chairperson Dr Surayya Khatoon has ignited another controversy in the university, with the retired professors claiming that they were never allowed to teach in the department and subsequently removed by the chairperson.

The four professors Dr Mubina Usman, Dr Khalida Khatoon, Prof. Hajra Azhar Ali and Dr Fatima Mehdi were all appointed by Vice Chancellor Prof. Pirzada Qasim in the capacity of adjunct professors in the department, ostensibly due to their excellent academic records. The professors alleged, however, that Dr Surayya Khatoon refused to accommodate them, did not give them any teaching assignments during the entire semester, and finally refused renewing their contracts.

The professors said that Dr Surayya Khatoon claimed that she would not hire these professors because she wanted to have "fresh blood in the department so that young talent got a chance to be trained by existing staff members". Disagreeing with Dr Surayya Khatoon's logic, the professors termed her action as vendetta against senior teachers, who had even taught her (Dr Surayya Khatoon) when she was a student.

"It is absurd to say that. All over the world, senior professors are valued and they teach till the time their mental and physical condition permits them to. Our remuneration was Rs 19,680, and this sum is peanuts in comparison to what we were getting as professors. We want to continue teaching because it is a lifetime commitment and love for the profession. Without that, we feel rusted," Dr Mubina Usman said.

According to details, KU Registrar Prof. Rais Alvi wrote to Dr Surayya Khatoon on February 23, 2009 through letter no B/Estt./2009 advising her to appoint the four professors on the directives of the VC, in 'view of their academic excellence and long career in the university'. The letter mentioned that VC has 'desired that these retired senior teachers of the department should be accommodated as adjunct professors, as they are fully competent and deserve to continue teaching at least till the end of the semester.'

Another letter B/COOPT. Botany/09 dated March 21st, 2009 appointed the four retired professors on the directive of Prof. Pirzada Qasim. Dr Khatoon, however, refused to receive the joining reports of the professors. When the professors wrote to VC about their dilemma and sought his advice on the matter, the VC advised them to communicate with Dr Khatoon once more.

The four professors wrote to Dr Surayya Khatoon once again on March 28, 2009, requesting her to accept the joining report or give her comments. This time, Dr Khatoon did comment: "Guess reasons for not forwarding this joining."

The four professors alleged that they were treated like pariahs, as Dr Khatoon had, soon after assuming charge as chairperson, called a staff meeting on November 20, 2008, where she succeeded in passing a resolution, written in her handwriting, of not hiring the professors at all.

The professors added that they had to write another letter to the VC, reminding him that there was no uniform policy in the University for re-hiring retired professors and they have been terminated by Dr Khatoon on her own whims.

The professors said that many others have been appointed in the department but they were denied their job as teachers. They pointed out that only Dr M. Zafar Iqbal, a retired professor and former chairman of the department, had been engaged as an adjunct professor.

They said that many others have also been appointed as full-time cooperative teachers, but they have M.Sc degrees and little teaching experience. The only exception is Dr Humaira Gul, who is a PhD.

Another cooperative teacher, Muhammed Imran, is also teaching in the mornings on a part-time basis despite the fact that he is a lecturer in Gulzar-e-Hijri College. "Is it not discrimination, nepotism and discrepancy on the part of Dr Khatoon, who claims high principles but acts in very dubious ways," one of the professors asked.

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Selection committee responsible for hiring, not VC
Karachi: KU Botany Department Chairperson Dr Surayya Khatoon said that as per the regulations of the university, the selection committee of a particular department is responsible for hiring, while the VC or registrar have no concerns with employing teachers.

Dr Khatoon showed a memo issued from Registrar Prof. Muhammad Rais Alvi regarding 'Re-employment of Retired Professors', and said that it was sent to all deans of faculties, urging them to follow Resolution No 5 of the Syndicate meeting held on August 27, 2005. The resolution read: "Recommendation/full justification, including opinion of the Committee consisting of the three senior-most teachers, Chairperson of the department and the Dean of the Faculty concerned, number of publications of the retired teachers during the service and number of M.Phil/PhD scholars supervised by the retired teachers during the service who have been awarded degree."

"The resolution leaves no doubt that the retired professors could only be hired if they fulfilled the basic requirements, as set out by official KU documents. The appointment letters by the registrar and the VC were against the spirit of the resolution. In any case, half the semester had already passed," she said.

Khatoon said that the four professors had not been fired, but their contracts had expired and were not renewed. She said that the selection committee of the Botany department included two senior professors of the department, Dr Javed Zaki and Dr Syed Ehteshamul Haque, and there was a consensus among all of them not to renew the contracts of the four professors.

Dr Khatoon was surprised to hear about the allegations made by the four professors, and said that she had already filed a defamation case in the Sindh High Court against them. "For a long time, retired teachers were not leaving the department, they were occupying the labs and continuing to use their clout. They considered it as their right. I myself have a few years to retire and after that I will not manipulate to continue teaching unless the department needs me," she explained.

When asked about the appointment of cooperative teachers, Khatoon said: "We chose to appoint cooperative teachers through the right procedures. The cooperative teachers are teaching BS-I and II, and one Coop teacher with an M.Phil degree is teaching BS-III. The allegation that I was involved in nepotism in the case of Muhammad Imran is incorrect. He was appointed after obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the college principal where he is employed," she said.

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Diploma courses at Leprosy Hospital
Karachi: The Institute of Infectious Diseases at the City Government's Leprosy Hospital has received approval from the Sindh Medical Faculty to offer 11 medical courses. The institute has now started admissions for diploma courses and the Food Inspector and Sanitary Inspector Course are being offered for the first time. Previously these courses were held in Lahore. The Institute will also offer diploma courses for field assistants, leprosy and ophthalmic field assistants, dispensers, leprosy technicians, laboratory technicians, X-ray technicians, operation theatre technicians, physiotherapy technicians and dental surgery assistants.

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Fusion of two cultures at AKU
Karachi: The synergy of two radically different cultures came forward on saturday evening at an annual fundraiser at the Aga Khan University (AKU). The musical fusion between Kenya and Pakistan was an electrifying event.

"Our part of the world is quite misunderstood and this is an effort to understand the issues of poverty, as well as learn different aspects of music, dance and literature," AKU President Pervez Rasool said.

At the start of the programme, artistes Nighat Chaudhry and Fernando separately showed their skills and later indulged in a 'Jugalbandi' which enthralled the audience. Fernando also performed the famous 'Masayi' dance which included a lot of jumping; it was a way to seduce women, he said.

Both artistes matched each other step for step and left the audience in awe. In a question-and-answer session after the performance, Chaudhry said that vocals or language are not needed to understand music. "You just need to feel it and that is what makes the difference," she said.

The next performers were Nizar Lalani and Njane Mugambi. Their music spoke of celebration and spirituality, and appreciated the difference between African and Asian music which gelled superbly. The songs performed by Mohammed Ali of Pakistan and Thelma of Kenya were fiery and soothing at the same time.

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Constitutional, legal issues hindering
Karachi: Constitutional and legal bottlenecks were causing hindrances in the restoration of student unions, Sindh Education and Literacy Minister Pir Mazharul Haq has said.

"No particular timeframe can be given for holding these elections owing to constitutional impediments," he said, adding that orders from the prime minister were awaited in this regard.

In his address to the parliament on March 29 last year, Prime Minister Gilani had announced the restoration of student unions, but he did not authorise any legal procedure or code of conduct to this effect. Nonetheless, the decision was warmly welcomed by students, because it gave them a ray of hope after 24 bleak union-less years.

The University of Karachi (KU), a premier public-sector university where around 25,000 students are enrolled, has always remained the stronghold of student politics and has given the country many top-notch politicians. The delay in holding student union elections at KU and other educational institutions, however, is raising doubts regarding the government's policies towards developing a deep-rooted democratic culture in the country, for which students' unions play the role of a nursery.

Democratically-elected student unions also bear the sole responsibility for ending inter-student conflicts on campuses, blocking disruption in the education process, and providing peaceful and healthy curricular activities to students.

All-Pakistan Muttahida Students' Organization (APMSO) KU Sector Incharge Muhammad Muneeb said that student union elections should be held at earliest, because this will allow students to help solve the problems of their institutions. "It is clear that the government is not paying heed to this important issue," he said. Muneen criticised the bureaucracy for delaying the matter for the past 18 months.

Islami Jamiat-e-Talba Karachi Assistant Information Secretary Waqas Kayani termed the role of student politics as imperative for accentuating the rights of students in terms of running smooth education activities at universities and colleges. He criticised the delay in holding student union elections, and said that students were seeing it as a failure of the government.

KU Students' Advisor Tanveer Khalid supported the role of student unions at the university. She, however, opposed the "student wings" of various political parties on campus. "We should remember that our utmost purpose of attending universities is to acquire education and not to indulge in mainstream politics," she said. "Student unions should be restored but they should not disturb the smooth academic process."

People's Student Federation (PSF) KU President Basharat Ullah candidly stated that the students themselves were responsible for the inordinate delay, because they have not raised their voices for countrywide student union elections. "All student parties should sit together to get the matter solved. If we stand united no one can dare block our path," he said.

"Student politics is one of the factors which can help in running the education system smoothly, but giving them a free hand to do whatever they wish would surely jeopardise the very concept of education. There must be some code of conduct to prevent student unions and their leaders for illegal activities such as clashes and conflicts," said Syeda Zehra, a KU student.

Former KU media advisor and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Mass Communication, Prof. Inam Bari, was quiet cynical about student politics at the university. He said that as far as the law was concerned, no political party was authorised to operate in any educational institution. He added that the government should devise a code of conduct through which student bodies could be recognised officially.

"The university management should curb all adverse activities which disrupt the education process," he maintained.

Students said that the government's aim of achieving 85 per cent literacy in the next five years, as suggested in the Education Policy-2009, cannot be achieved until students are given their due rights, including that of running student unions. The news

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