BISE online system fails its 'entrance test'
Lahore, Oct 11: The Lahore Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education's newly-introduced online system for submitting admission and other forms has failed to facilitate the candidates who ended up facing inconvenience even more than they face in the manual system. So much so that some board officials have been quoted as ridiculing the system: "online means come and stand in line."
The Lahore board has this year introduced the online system to receive admission forms for the FA/FSc supplementary examination for 2010, scheduled to begin on Oct 27. The pilot project was meant to facilitate the candidates while submitting their admission forms. The board also instructed the government colleges in its jurisdiction to send admission forms online – not only of their students but also of private candidates who would approach them. Accordingly, it issued codes to respective colleges.
The board also announced that the private candidates should visit IT labs in government colleges near their homes and send their admission forms online. What the whole concept promised on paper hardly came about in reality as the IT labs in government colleges refused to entertain more than 95 per cent of the private candidates on the plea that "the system is not working".
Having no other option, the candidates rushed to the board offices to submit their admission forms, where another shock was awaiting them. Hundreds of students (and their parents) stood in queues to get the online admission forms and they spent many hours there.
The officials at counters ask each candidate his annual examination roll number and generate his admission form having printed name as well as information about the amount of fee to be deposited with the designated banks. The candidates are required to fill in admission forms, paste photographs, get the forms attested and verified and then return a copy to the board. Some board officials consider this exercise futile because the board has complete particulars of the candidates, which they had provided in the last FA/FSc Part-I annual examination.
After getting admission forms, the candidates are required to shift to queues in front of the banks and then again wait for hours to submit their examination fees.
Some of the candidates said that what use the online system when they still had to stand in board offices and do everything manually.
As for the online system, the board officials say it requires that candidates get the challan forms downloaded from the board website, submit admission fee in banks and then upload the challan form online. The online system has proved a failure as it could not facilitate even one per cent of the only around 40,000 candidates for the supplementary examination.
How the board will manage when over 400,000 candidates will apply to appear for the FA/FSc annual examination for 2011 can be anybody's guess.
Meanwhile, the online system has proved a nerve-racking experience also for those applying for re-checking of answer-scripts. One such example is of a colleague who downloaded a re-checking form from board's website for his son and filled it before going to board offices to submit the form along with fee of Rs600 as mentioned on the website. However, there was altogether different scenario in board offices, where the candidate and his father were told that the downloaded form would not be acceptable and he should purchase a new re-checking form to avoid hassle.
They purchased a new re-checking form that cost them Rs50, though the form had a printed price of Rs20. After filling in the form, they went to the bank where they were told that the re-checking fee had been increased to Rs700.
BISE (Lahore) Secretary Mushtaq Ahmad Tahir said that the board was replacing the old manual system with modern online system and facing teething troubles because everything was new. He said the board was resolving each and every problem as it had to prepare itself for facilitating 450,000 candidates for the next annual examinations.
He admitted that the candidates also faced problems in board offices when internet or website failed. He said he got the online system activated at the APWA College; the Islamia College, Cooper Road, the Dyal Singh College etc, but the students were not going there.
The board secretary said he had announced that the board offices would remain open on Saturday to facilitate the candidates in submitting their admission forms but only 100 to 150 candidates submitted forms. The board offices would witness massive rush on Monday (today) – the last date for submitting forms, he said.Your Comments
PEF plans matric students training
Lahore: The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) has planned to introduce free vocational training for the deserving secondary school students enrolled in its 2,000 partner schools in 29 districts to enable them to earn their livelihood after the matriculation examinations.
This was stated by PEF chairman Raja Muhammad Anwar while chairing a departmental meeting of 30 partner NGOs involved in the training/capacity building of partner school teachers at foundation's committee room on Saturday.
The meeting reviewed in detail the joint collaboration for the training of teachers for improving their capacity building. The training programme would be launched to ensure quality education in low-income schools, where teachers were usually low paid and less-educated.
Raja Anwar told the meeting that the PEF training modules had been designed to sensitise teachers about the menace of corporal punishment, importance of human rights, child psychology and education of students with learning disabilities.
The PEF, with the sole purpose of improving teaching skills and understanding of child psychology, had already imparted training to as many as 90,000 school teachers of private sector that helped improve the standard of education in private sector. He also informed that after computerisation of data of 800,000 students of Foundation Assistant Schools, the computerised data bank of partner school teachers was also being planned for effective coordination with them.
The digitalisation would ensure better coordination and working with the partners, he maintained. "PEF is committed to improve its partnership with the partner organisations so that the benefits of public-private partnership could be effectively delivered to poor students."
Raja Anwar also impressed upon the partner NGOs to promote the universally accepted principles of human rights and child rights, besides improving the communication skills of the teachers. He maintained that PEF was doing a great job by providing educational opportunities to the poor strata.
The meeting was also attended by DMD (Operation) Tanveer Ahmad Zaffar, Project Officers Sadia Zia, Munazza Zameer, Ali Khan, Mariam Shakir and others. Dawn
PU equivalence issue heats up
Lahore: The Punjab University's Institute of Plant Pathology (IPP) remained the subject of a heated debate during the last week due to the expulsion of around eight students for protesting over the instituteís failure to ensure equivalence of its degrees.
Besides expelling the students, the PU administration also removed seven special security guards for not baton-charging the protesting students despite orders from the universityís chief security officer (CSO).
The issue had surfaced earlier this year when demonstrations were held against the PU as well as the instituteís administration in which the students strongly protested and expressed resentment as their BSc (Hons) and MSc (Hons) Mycology and Plant Pathology degrees were not considered equal to degrees of BSc/MSc (Hons) Agriculture.
A number of meetings were held while the issue was also taken up by the governor/chancellor. Afterwards the PU administration claimed that it had obtained approval of the change of nomenclature of degrees from BSc/MSc Mycology and Plant Pathology to BSc/MSc Agriculture (Plant Pathology) and adoption of HEC recognised curricula in Plant Pathology for the said degrees from the Board of Studies in Mycology and Plant Pathology and Board of Faculty of Life Sciences.
It also claimed to obtain the approval of change of nomenclature of the institute from the Institute of Mycology and Plant Pathology to the Institute of Plant Pathology (IPP). But after that, there was complete silence for a couple of months.
But now the issue has once again surfaced and it is learnt that a recent meeting of the Qualification Equivalence Determination Committee could not reach any conclusion maintaining the reference from the PU was not a case of the equivalence of degrees.
According to the minutes of the meeting, a copy available with The News, chaired by Secretary Agriculture Arif Nadeem, the PU Institute of Mycology and Plant Pathology lacks mandatory infrastructure for grant of BSc/MSc Agriculture degrees.
The meeting was informed by representatives of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, that in the year 2004, this matter was thoroughly discussed in a meeting chaired by the chancellor in Governorís House with faculty members of both the universities. It was concluded that unless the curriculum and faculty with relevant qualification was made available by the PU, the degrees of its institute could not be considered for equivalence with BSc/MSc Agriculture.
ìSix years have passed after that meeting but they (PU) did not recruit sufficient staff members possessing relevant qualifications to teach the studentsî, reads the minutes of the meeting.
It is pertinent to mention here that the IPP students have given a call for protest demonstration on Monday (today) at the PU New Campus for allegedly victimising the students by expelling eight of them from the institute.
According to documents, available with The News, eight students, namely Umer Maqsood (Roll No MPPL 07-10), Muhammad Atif (Roll No MPPL 07-17), Mehwish Rauf (Roll No MPPL 07-20), Hafiz Husnain Nawaz (Roll No MPPL 07-30), Muhammad Shakil Shaukat (Roll No MPPL 08-01), Muhammad Bilal Haider (Roll No MPPL 09-21), M Adnan Saeed Mian (Roll No MPPL 09-08) and Ms Aysha Bibi (Session 2008), were expelled on October 7 as they were found involved in ìagitation at the Institute of Plant Pathologyî in an allegedly serious breach of discipline.
ìThey gathered in front of main building at about 07:45 am and stayed there till noon. During this time, they misbehaved and manhandled with teachers and a research scholar.î
However, some of the expelled students denied the allegation of manhandling saying the students were peacefully protesting on October 4 when on orders of administration, some security guards allegedly resorted to baton charge. They said the CCTV cameras were installed at the institute adding if the administration had any footage of manhandling, they were ready to face any punishment.
ìWe were not even provided an opportunity of personal hearing,î said one of the expelled students who added that the instituteís disciplinary committee took the unilateral decision just to pressurize the rest of the students so that they might not agitate in future.
Another expelled student alleged that the protesting students were severally baton charged by some of the security guards and added that those who refused to beat the students were removed from the service. He further said that the PU vice-chancellor should also seek explanation from the instituteís incharge as well as dean of the Faculty as to why the problem related to the degrees equivalence could not be solved yet.
ìThe administration is stopping us from protest but it has ignored that future of the students is at stake owing to the equivalence issue,î he added.
A show-cause notice issued to one of the removed security guards also complicates the whole story as he was removed for not baton charging the protesting students despite the orders from the chief security officer.
The notice originally issued in Urdu reads, 'You were deputed at the IPP on October 4, 2010 to stop agitation by the students. You failed to protect senior teachers and administrative officers on their arrival. Furthermore, you avoided baton charge despite orders of the CSO.' The news
UET VC extension
Lahore: The vice chancellors of the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, and the University of Gujrat are likely to be granted extension in their terms as the chief minister has reportedly received positive reports about their working.
Tenures of UET VC Muhammad Akram Khan and UoG VC Prof Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin ended in February and September this year, respectively, and a decision to appoint VCs is awaited to carry on proper functioning of the varsities.
Recently, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had constituted a committee to assess these two VCs' performance. The committee has reportedly given positive feedback about the two VCs and the Chief Minister's Secretariat gave a green signal to move a summary for the re-appointment of Mr Khan and Prof Nizamuddin.
The higher education department has moved the summary and Governor Salmaan Taseer is expected to make a decision of the VCs' appointment for four years, on the advice of the chief minister.
PU book on Students' Politics
Lahore: Punjab University's History Department lecturer Mahboob Husain's new book "Students' Politics in Pakistan" has been published from Germany.
The book addresses the issues of political consciousness of the students and their response to the major political events which took place during the Ayub Khan regime. The book also deals with historical context in which it examines the phase of students' active participation in the Pakistan Movement and new trends of students' politics after independence.
The book is an interesting study for the people who like to know more about various significant phases of Pakistan's political history.
German company VDM, which publishes more than 10,000 new titles annually and is one of the leading publishing houses of academic research in the world, has published the book. It is available for sale on all major online book stores of the world. Dawn
UHS commemorates 'World Mental Health Day'
Lahore: The University of Health Sciences (UHS) organised a seminar on Saturday to commemorate the World Mental Health Day. Addressing the seminar, UHS Vice Chancellor Prof Malik Hussain Mubbashar said that mental illness affects everyone, whether personally or through a family member, friend or colleague. Malik said that one in four people in the world suffered from mental illness at some time in their life. He added that an estimated 450 million people suffered from some mental or behavioral disorder and it amounted to 42 percent of the total burden of diseases worldwide.
On the occasion, prominent psychiatrists stressed that mental health issues should be made a national priority, highlighting the lamentable fact that there was still too little attention being given to aid people suffering from mental problems and to promote mental well being. Mubbashar paid rich tributes to renowned psychiatrists Dr Muhammad Farooq Khan and late Prof Haroon Rashid, who died last week. Former professor of Psychiatry King Edward Medical College Lahore, Prof Tareen, Prof Najma Najam, Prof Ijaz Haider, Dr Aftab Iqbal Shaikh, Dr Nasir Saeed, Dr Altaf Qadir and Dr Mujtaba also attended the seminar. Daily times
PU Education moot
Lahore: The Punjab University's faculty of education will organise a three-day International Education Conference in collaboration with the Promotion of Education in Pakistan (PEP) Foundation, HEC and Pakistan Association for Research in Education (PARE) at IER from October 21 to 23.
The conference will provide a platform where elementary, high school, vocational, college and university level educationists will discuss educational path in Pakistan, identify its needs and response to new market requirements and bring positive change and recommendations to the attention of policy and decision makers.
So far, the IER has received about 130 abstracts from national and international resource persons. After a blind peer review, 80 abstracts were accepted for oral and poster presentation. The news
AIOU plans to set up radio stations
Dera Ghazi Khan: Out of 36 regional centres of Allama Iqbal University, 15 were affected by floods.
"That is why the AIOU has withdrawn fee to provide relief to flood-affected students," says varsity vice-chancellor Nazir Ahmed Sangi.
Sangi said students of Dera Ghazi Khan division had also been granted fee waiver. He said affected students would also get free books.
The VC said nearly 600,000 students were getting education through the AIOU, including 500,000 from Punjab.
Talking about future plans of the university, he said radio stations would be established at every regional center and cyber lectures of foreign teachers would be held to promote distant learning. He made a request to well-off residents of Dera Ghazi Khan to donate a piece of land for hostel for the regional campus. Dawn