HEC excuses itself from verification
Islamabad, Oct 14: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Election Commission (EC) were locked in a verbal duel on Wednesday, with the HEC saying it had informed the EC that verification of degrees of 428 lawmakers was not possible unless their matriculation and intermediate certificates were provided and the EC denying having received any such communication.
Sources in the HEC said that sets of educational documents of 428 lawmakers were incomplete and their record was not available with the universities either. "In a situation when neither the previous record is available nor are the lawmakers providing copies of their certificates to the HEC, it is practically not possible for us to carry out the scrutiny process," an HEC official said.
Election Commission spokesman Mohammad Afzal Khan, who is supervising the process of degree verification on the directives of the Supreme Court, said the commission had received no such report from the HEC. He said the issue was also not raised by an HEC official who visited the Election Commission offices on Monday.
The spokesman praised the work done by the HEC which has so far verified the graduation degrees of over 600 legislators. He said the Election Commission would help the HEC if it was facing any problem.
Under Article 220 of the Constitution, all executive authorities in the federation and provinces were bound to assist the chief election commissioner and the Election Commission in the discharge of their functions, he said.
Another official expressed his displeasure over HEC's move to raise issues through the media, instead of using the normal channels of communication.
He said the Election Commission had received copies of the degrees of five lawmakers on Wednesday and forwarded them to the HEC.
He said the lawmakers, including Environment Minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi, had submitted the documents voluntarily.
Sources close to the minister who had challenged media reports accusing him of holding a fake degree said he had never been asked by the HEC to provide copies of his matriculation and FA certificates.
The HEC has so far verified the degrees of 603 of over 1,100 lawmakers who had contested elections when being a graduate was a condition to be an eligible candidate.
Of them, 545 have been given a clean chit and 58 degrees have been declared fake or invalid.
The lawmakers accused of holding invalid or fake degrees include two federal ministers, Mir Israrullah Zehri and Humayun Kurd. Dawn
Future plans of 400 students hit snags due to lack of funds
Islamabad: The future plans of around 400 students, who cleared the mandatory written examinations for foreign scholarships, have hit snags due to financial inability of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to provide them with any assistance after drastic cut in its annual budget.
Sources said that these students were destined for universities in Italy, France, Germany, Australia, England and Thailand and most of them were almost ready to fly to their respective destinations, but at the eleventh hour the HEC directed them through letters to abandon their plans, as it could not provide them with any financial support.
Sources said that the travel plans of 200 students, who were ready in September to join their universities, were first put on hold and now the remaining students also faced the same fate, much to their disappointment and their family members as well.
According to sources, the HEC has also stopped processing of 1,700 such opportunities in government-run universities within the country that resulted in a wave of disappointment among young and talented students, who planned to secure higher education on scholarship.
Sources said that Federal Finance Minister Hafeez Ahmad Sheikh has told the HEC high-ups that the government could provide funds only for those who were currently studying in foreign universities and it would never facilitate any such foreign scholarship scheme in future.
One of the senior HEC officials claimed that when the finance minister was asked to extend funds for those who were already selected for the foreign scholarships then he said "not to even think about it."
Since its inception in 2002, the HEC has so far spent Rs20 billion on its human resource development programme that covers all its scholarship schemes. Out of the total 13,436 scholarships, 5,765 were given for foreign universities. Of them, 2,449 have returned and the rest were still studying abroad.
It is pertinent to mention here that the cut in HEC budget led the situation to the extent where the commission stopped funding those students studying in the foreign universities, but when students raised their voice the government promised to provide funds for their ongoing studies. A total of Rs15.762 billion PSDP budget for 2010-11 was approved for the HEC, which is Rs7 billion less than the last year's approved budget of Rs22.5 billion. The issue had drawn widespread condemnation for the government after which it promised to provide the required funds for ongoing development projects and students currently studying in foreign universities.
The official said there would be no new development project and local or foreign scholarship scheme unless the government increases the funding to a required level, apparently showing a dismal situation in the higher education sector.
HEC Executive Director Dr. Sohail Naqvi said that they are in touch with the government high-ups and trying to secure funding for students selected for foreign scholarships this year. "These students are our future and we should try our best to secure funds for their scholarships. We have not yet lost hope that is why we have informed students through letters that they should postpone their travel plans for the time being," he said.
He said that the HEC has not launched any new development project due to lack of funding, but "these students must go abroad for higher studies as they are future of our nation." The news
Teachers' dreams to come true on 19th
Islamabad: The federal government is all set to announce a special package of incentives on October 19 for teachers to address their longstanding demand of upgradation of scales.
The announcement of package eagerly awaited by teachers will be made in a function to be organised by Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) in connection with celebrations to mark 'Salam Teachers Day'.
Teachers working in educational institutions of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) will benefit from the package.
The teachers from Islamabad Colleges for Boys and Girls, Islamabad Model Colleges and Federal Government Schools and Colleges will get upgradation in scale under the Time Scale Promotion formula.
The package will be a step forward making the FDE set up a role model for other provinces.
An official of FDE said that the matter of regularization of the teachers working on contract or as daily wagers is in court, while upgradation was the main concern of the teachers at this time.
The main focus of the package will be on implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) and meeting Education For All (EFA) goals, uniform education and removing disparity between urban and rural education set up, the official said.
Director General FDE Shaheen Khan in a meeting has taken into confidence and briefed the officials of different associations including Federal Government College Teachers Association (FGCTA) and Federal Government Teachers Association (FGTA) about the package.
According to FGCTA Press Secretary Mohammad Tahir Matric Trained Teachers (MTTs) and Junior Language Teachers (JLTs) in grade 9 will be promoted in grade 14 if they have degree of B.Ed.
It was revealed in the meeting that around 80 percent MTTs in F.G schools meet the criteria and will get benefit under this package, Tahir said.
While Trained Under Graduate Teachers (TUGTs) in Grade 14 will be promoted as Trained Graduate Teachers (TGTs) in Grade 16 with six years service experience.
Trained Graduate Teachers (TGTs) in grade 16 will be promoted in grade 17 on the basis of 10 years service experience in the same grade. Teachers in Grade 17 with five years of experience will be promoted in Grade 18. Teachers in Grade 18 will be promoted in Grade 19 with seven years experience in case of direct appointment and five years experience if they are promoted.
omotion from Grade 19 to 20 will require five years experience and teachers of above grade 20 will not come under Time Scale Promotion Formula.
The allowance of heads and principals will be raised upto Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000 respectively. While the hardship area allowance will be increased to Rs. 2,000.
The package also includes merger of F.G schools and colleges into Model schools and colleges to improve their standard and reduce disparity in standard of education.
According to the expected announcement, evening shift will be abandoned under the package so that the students can get equal facilities. And to accommodate the students of evening shifts, 600 more classrooms will be constructed.
The FDE is giving final touches to the preparations to mark Teachers Day in a befitting manner. app
Lecture on violence against women held at FJWU
Rawalpindi: The Women Research and Resource Centre (WRRC) at the Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) organised a lecture on 'Violence Against Women (VAW)' here on Wednesday.
Musarrat Misbah, owner and president of the 'Depilex Smile Again Foundation' was the key speaker on the occasion.
The speaker was formally introduced and welcomed by Dr. Samina Amin Qadir, dean of the Social Sciences and the Women Research and Resource Centre in-charge. She briefed the audience on the contributions of Musarrat Misbah in helping the victims of acid and kerosene burns not only in medical care and assistance, but also in providing them opportunities to become productive and self-reliant members of society.
Dr. Samina Amin Qadir also deliberated on the role of WRRC, which was established to sensitise women on gender issues and emphasise research on gender and social issues to reflect the academic and professional development of women in general and within the context of society in particular.
Musarrat Misbah shared her experiences with students about victims of acid and kerosene burns. She said that her foundation is not only providing medical treatment free of cost to the victims, but also help them in standing up on their feet to become productive citizens of Pakistan.
She said: "We need strong measures to end these crimes by giving severe punishments to the accused and providing justice to the victims. The number of victims per year is on the rise, which is alarming." She said that the mothers could play important role in implanting the values of tolerance in their children, which can reduce these deliberate actions.
Sabra, a victim of kerosene burns, told the audience that she was burnt because of the dowry issue and shared her experience on how she survived through the circumstances and now working, as a coordinator with the 'Depilex Smile Again Foundation'.
FJWU Department of Communication and Media Studies Chairperson Dr. Shamim M. Zaidi said that Musarrat Misbah has written a story of humanity, compassion and care and is giving confidence and hope to the acid burn victims.
In the end, university souvenirs were presented to the honourable speaker as a token of appreciation by FJWU Vice Chancellor Dr. Saeeda Asadullah Khan.
IIU to remember bomb blasts victims
Islamabad: The International Islamic University (IIU) will organise two separate functions at its male and female campuses on October 20 to remember twin bomb blasts victims of IIUI campus last year. It is worth mentioning that two male, six female students and one employee lost their lives due to those blasts, which also injured scores of other people. The news