HEC has no funds for scholarships schemes

HEC stops 200 students from traveling abroad
Islamabad, Oct 9: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has stopped another batch of 200 students from traveling abroad for higher studies.

"HEC has officially informed us to wait until economic situation improves," a dejected student said, requesting anonymity.

"You can well imagine the shock I got on receiving the HEC letter. To be told to put away your study plans after you have spent so much time and labour in making the arrangements, really breaks your heart," he said.

Travel plans of the 200 students were ready in September to join their universities in France, Italy, Germany, Thailand, Austria and England when the HEC told them to put on hold their study plans. Most of the students had enrolled for MS leading to PhD programmes.

Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh dropped the hammer in a recent meeting when he informed the HEC plainly that the government had no funds for scholarships.

"We had no option but to stop them (the 200 students) from flying to their universities," said an official of HEC. Students have been asked to wait for one year, but everything depended upon the government funding for HEC, according to him.

The government's cut in the Higher Education Commission's development grants has severely disrupted its ongoing and future scholarship schemes.

In the last two years, more than 2,700 students could not pursue their higher studies under different scholarship programmes of the commission because of shortage of funds. Some 1,000 of them were destined for international universities and the remaining had been selected for studies in local universities. According to one official, the HEC has stopped processing applications for the 2,000 approved scholarship slots in foreign universities, and 1,700 such opportunities in government-run universities within the country.

Moreover, the HEC had to abandon its proposals under which 4,000 scholarship opportunities were to be offered to best Pakistani students for studies in top world universities. With development grants being continuously squeezed, HEC has put its future scholarship schemes on hold for the time being, he added.

Since the setting up of HEC in 2002, over Rs20 billion had been spent on its human resource development programme, which covers all its scholarship schemes. HEC has awarded 13,436 scholarships, of which 5,765 scholars went to foreign universities. Of them, 2,449 have returned and the rest continue their educational goals.

"We really are finding it difficult to regularly provide stipend to our foreign scholars. Major chunk of HEC's development grant is going to these scholars," the official said. The official said last year when the government imposed heavy cuts on HEC's development grant, foreign scholars faced difficulties even in meeting daily expenditures. Considering the seriousness of the situation, HEC diverted all its funds to fulfill its commitments with international universities. Some of the international universities threatened to send back the students if financial commitments were not kept. That would have been a national embarrassment, he said.

Tahir, an aspirant for MSc leading to PhD scholarship programme, said despite being a top scorer in the mandatory written exam his plan for higher studies had hit snags. "I was all set to fulfill my dream of PhD in a UK university, but my name has been dropped from the list."

In view of the fund crisis, the HEC looked for foreign universities where they could put scholars without paying any tuition fee but failed. Students, however, were given different reasons for dropping them, he claimed. Dawn

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8th convocation of IIUI
Islamabad: As many as 2,300 graduates of International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI), were conferred degrees on its 8th convocation on Thursday at Jinnah Convention Centre.

Federal Minister for Education Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali was the chief guest on the occasion. IIUI Rector Prof Fatheh Muhammad Malik, President Dr Anwar Hussain Siddiqui, Vice President Parveen Qadir Agha, all deans, directors, administrative officers, employees and a large number of students were also present on the occasion.

The minister stressed upon the need for revival of 'Ijtihad' to cater modern day requirements and said it was need of the hour not only for the Muslim world but also the whole world.

Ali acknowledged the role of 'Madaris' but suggested some structural measures to make them more useful for the humanity at large.

The minister congratulated the university for its achievements during last 25 years of its existence.

The rector spoke on goals and ideas of the university. He said that IIUI was a rapidly expanding institution in all branches of knowledge with a growing focus on engineering, science and technology and social sciences after establishing excellence in the traditional fields of Arabic, Islamic Studies, Shariah and Islamic Economics.

The president presented a detailed report about the university on one year, since last convocation. He said that the university during last 25 years had produced over 1,7000 students out of which 46 obtained PhDs. Last year the university produced 2,389 students with four PhDs and 36 gold medalists. Daily times

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HEC sets up Quality Enhancement Cells in private universities
Islamabad: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has established Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) in 15 private sector universities, which are eligible for public funding.

Earlier, the commission established such cells in 45 public sector universities of the country.

The Quality Assurance Agency of HEC, with the mandate of dealing with quality enhancement parameters, convened the first quarterly meeting of the QECs of these private sector universities at the HEC Regional Centre in Lahore, said a news release issued here.

QECs are mainly responsible for implementation of the Self-Assessment Process at department levels.

During the meeting, representative of 14 QECs presented the status of their progress and discussed challenges faced by them.

The possibility of the quantitative assessment of the QECs performance in implementation of the SA concept in their respective universities was also discussed.

The meeting was followed by a training session on "Quality Assurance and Writing Self-Assessment Reports". The workshop was conducted by Air. Cdre Muhammad Ismail, Director (QEC), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST).

Dr. Khalid Aftab, Vice Chancellor, Government College University, Lahore presided over the closing session and distributed certificates among the participants.

He commended the HEC initiative of launching the quality assurance in private sector universities.

He also shared the experience of implementing the quality enhancement parameters at his University. Best practices of quality assurance in international scenario were also discussed. app

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Armyman as head of FG schools: LHC accepts intra-court appeal
Rawalpindi: A division bench of Lahore High Court here on Wednesday admitted an appeal against appointment of a serving brigadier as director of the Federal Government Educational Institutions Cantonment and Garrison (FGEICG).

Justice Rauf Ahmed Sheikh and Justice Shahid Hameed Dar issued notices to the secretary ministry of defence and the director FGEICG to respond to the intra-court appeal filed by Izharul Haq, an official of the directorate.

The appellant through his counsel Fazil Siddiqi has challenged the September 16 verdict of the LHC dismissing his petition against appointment of the serving army officer on a civilian post.

The appellant said the court in its earlier decision had ignored certain facts and legal points regarding functioning of the army officer in the education department when he was not even from the education corps.

The petitioner maintained that FGEICG was declared as an attached department of the ministry of defence in 1992 but was being run through the inspector general of training and evaluation of GHQ in violation of rules.

The director FGEICG in his comments had earlier claimed that in 1977 the cabinet secretariat with the sanction of the President of Pakistan transferred the control and management of the schools and colleges in cantonments from the directorate of nationalised cantonment educational institutions, ministry of education, to the director army education, GHQ, with serving military officer in the command. Dawn

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APCOMS students protest against college administration
Rawalpindi: Students of the Army Public College of Management and Engineering Sciences (APCOMS) blocked Benazir Bhutto Road here on Thursday and staged a protest demonstration against the academic institution's administration for not getting their degrees recognised from the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).

A large number of students, carrying banners and placards, shouted slogans against the college administration. The protesters said that the future of around 700 students is at stake due to non-recognition of their degrees from the PEC, which is necessary for getting jobs and further education in the relevant field.

The students alleged that the APCOMS administration is not willing to apply to the PEC due to lack of educational qualification on their behalf. They said that as per PEC rules, the dean of an institution imparting engineering education should be an engineer, while the dean of APCOMS is not an engineer. The protesters said that more then 700 students are waiting for recognition of their degrees from the PEC for the last 11 years, but the college administration is doing nothing in this regard.

They said that they are facing problems because their degrees are not recognised by the PEC. "We even couldn't get admission in any foreign university, if we want to study abroad," they added. "We are also not qualified for the government jobs due to the degree dilemma," they said.

The charged students urged the concerned authorities to take action against the college administration and solve their problem at the earliest. The protesting students said that the college administration instead of solving their problems has been threatening them to refrain from protests.

When contacted APCOMS Principal Brigadier (r) Hubdar Ahmed Madani a few days back, he had said that there were some reasons for delay in recognition of degrees from the PEC. According to him, the college administration was trying to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

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1,200 students vying to show their talent,skill in three categories
Rawalpindi: The five-day EME Olympiad kicked off here on Friday with 1,200 participants putting in their best efforts to win top prizes in various categories.

The purpose of the mega event is to provide students with an opportunity to show their talent and skill in three different categories - arts, engineering and sports.

The participants studying in educational institutions of Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Taxila and other parts of Pakistan got themselves registered after the opening ceremony. They would compete in different competitions.

The categories have been made keeping in view the ages of the participants as students from 'O' level to bachelor's level would be eligible to participate in the competitions.

EME Dean Academics Brigadier Akhtar Nawaz was the chief guest at the opening ceremony, which was attended by students, their parents and people belonging to various walks of life.

Maeeda Wahid, convener of the Society for Promotion of Arts and Literature (SPAL), Miraj Hassan, convener of the IEEE, and Haris bin Maqbool, convener of Sports and Adventure Society (SAS), gave presentations to highlight their targets and goals of the event.

'Rhythm for a Cause' would be a charity concert of Noori pop band and all proceeds would be used for relief efforts in the flood-affected areas.

The concert is a part of the EME Olympiad's social events. Its tickets could be availed by students of any educational institution. The social event ticket would make the participant eligible for 'Battle of Bands' (8th October), Fun Fair (9th October), Noori's Concert (10th October), 'Tambola' (11th October) and Scavenger Hunt (11th October).

Speaking on the occasion, Brigadier Akhtar Nawaz said that the institution offers numerous sports facilities like cricket, football, hockey, volleyball, basketball, handball, table tennis, tennis, badminton and squash.

He said it is necessary to offer students opportunities for curricular and extra-curricular activities and the event would greatly help them shine in their respective categories.

"We always keep the students engaged in versatile activities to enhance their technical and social skills," he said.

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NIP designed to benefit young graduates
Islamabad: National Internship Program (NIP) is designed for the benefit of young unemployed postgraduates and graduates all over the country, who have completed sixteen years of education from recognised universities or degree awarding institutions including external candidates.

This was stated by an official of NIP, who said that the scheme is intended to provide financial relief to fresh graduates and also to keep them engaged and interested in acquiring additional knowledge and real work life experiences, thereby facilitating their employability in the country.

He said that the ministry also working with private companies to further provide opportunities to the youngsters.

He said that the placement with various government organizations will be based upon the academic qualifications of the interns and matching the broader academic disciplines with broader functional categorization of jobs within the government.

He said that the youth is an imperative section of society, which plays a pivotal role in the economy for sustainable growth and overall progress of the country. The news

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