PEC uniform examination controversy

Controversy likely over grade 5, 8 exams
Lahore, Oct 18: A controversy is expected over the upcoming grade-5 and grade-8 uniform examination this time again as thousands of students from private schools have yet to register for the exams scheduled for February 2011, it is learnt.

The Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) had set October 15, 2010 as deadline for grade-5 and grade- 8 students of public and private schools to submit registration forms. However, according to the PEC sources, except for public sector schools, a large number of private schools have yet to submit forms of their students.

They said it had been decided to extend the deadline but the cutoff date was yet to be decided in this regard. It is pertinent to mention here that over the years, the Punjab government has been facing a tough time from private schools for the conduct of the standardised exams. Every year, a controversy erupts and private schools openly oppose the uniform exams. This time again, the private sector's lukewarm response to the PEC exams is astonishing as the Punjab government had already announced that grade-5 and grade-8 exams would be compulsory for 100 percent students of all government and private schools as well as partner private schools of the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) from primary to higher secondary level without any exception.

Representatives of private sector schools strongly criticised the government, saying the Punjab government was insisting for uniform exams of grade-5 and grade-8 just to continue receiving funding from the foreign donors besides no other province had introduced this type of exam.

All Pakistan Private Schools Welfare Association (APPSWA) President Syed Zulqarnain Shah said it was unfortunate that the Punjab government was forcing the private sector students to appear in the PEC exams while no other province was following such pattern of exams. He said that in this way, the provincial government alone could not ensure uniformity in education across the country. He also claimed that there was also shortage of textbooks in the market, adding that difference in syllabus followed by private and public schools was another issue.

The APPSWA president also warned that if the government did not allow students of private schools, who would not take PEC exams, to appear in its boards matriculation exams, private schools would go for Aga Khan University Examination Board (AKU-EB) for affiliation. He said the private schools under the APPSWA would not go for registration of the PEC exams.

All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association (APPSMA) President Adeeb Jawadani was of the view that only those schools of the association would go for the PEC exams which were registered for 5th to 8th classes, adding that the students of those schools registered for matriculation would not sit in the PEC exams. He also said no where in the country, except in Punjab, the grade-5 and grade-8 exams were compulsory.

It is also important to mention here that during a recent press conference, Chief Executive Officer of the Beaconhouse School System (BSS) Kasim Kasuri had said that it was yet to be decided whether the BSS or The Educators students would appear in the PEC exams.

To a question, he had said that in his personal opinion, students of junior classes should not be tested. We are not opposing this exam but I have ideological differences in this connection, he added.

According to the Punjab government statistics, over 2 million students had appeared in grade-5 and grade-8 PEC exams both from private and public sector in 2010.

The News could not reach PEC Chief Executive Officer Capt (r) Naseem Nawaz despite repeated attempts on his cell phone.

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PBTE affiliated institutes get warning
Lahore: The Punjab Board of Technical Education (PBTE) chairman has issued warning notices to a number of affiliated institutes for not meeting the board's requirements in connection with provision of facilities to the students.

He also warned that affiliation of those institutions would be cancelled which failed to provide practical laboratories and relevant faculties to their students.

According to a press statement, Punjab Board of Technical Education Chairman Dr Muhammad Shafique issued warning notices during his surprise visits to the board's affiliated institutes in various districts of the province.

A notice was issued to a college of technology at Sahiwal for giving admission to students to diploma without seeking its affiliation with the Punjab Board of Technical Education.

Similarly warning letters were issued to a polytechnic institute at Okara, a polytechnic institute at Sahiwal and technology institute at Sargodha for not meeting the required standard of the board and having laboratories below required standard.

During his visit, the Punjab Board of Technical Education chairman also held meetings with the teachers and students and listened to their problems and informed them about the reforms taken by the board for improving technical education to fulfil the requirements of the modern era.

He also held meetings with the owners of the affiliated institutes of private sector and emphasised better teaching and infrastructure.

The heads of various institutions were warned for not paying heed to practical work, unavailability of teachers and official record etc.

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Oriental College role lauded
Lahore: Punjab University (PU) Vice Chancellor has said that during 140 years of its existence, the varsity's Oriental College has produced the largest number of Urdu language and literature scholars who have rendered unforgettable services for preservation and promotion of Urdu language, poetry and literature in the Subcontinent.

PU VC Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran was speaking at a farewell function held at Sherani Hall of the college to honour three retiring professors namely Dr Muhammad Akram Ch, Dr Tehseen Firaqi and Dr Muhammad Saleem Malik.

Paying glowing tributes to retiring scholars on their outstanding teaching and literary contribution, VC said they had rendered tremendous literary and linguistic services in addition to polishing academic and creative faculties of young graduates and promoting understanding of Urdu language and literature at the international level.

Speaking on the occasion, Academic Staff Association (ASA) President Prof Dr Mahr Muhammad Saeed Akhtar lauded rich contribution and services of retiring colleagues for promotion of Urdu poetry and literature.

Earlier, Principal Prof Dr Mazhar Moeen shared with the audience his personal experiences and pleasant memories with retiring scholars during their service at college.

Retiring professors said they would never forget the honour which had been extended to them on their retirement through holding of this memorable farewell function. They briefly spoke about their long association with their colleagues, teaching experience and remarked they would always remember pleasant memories of their life at college.

PU publication: The Punjab University's Department of Library & Information Science has published the 2010 issue of Pakistan Journal of Library & Information Science (PJLIS).

The issue has been published under new Editor Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood which covers research papers on important areas of library and information science. An online version of the issue is also available on its website

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PhD awarded
Lahore: The Punjab University has awarded a PhD degree in Zoology to Asma Abdul Latif. She completed her thesis "Genotyping of Echinococcus Granulosus in Punjab" under the supervision of Dr Tanvir Akhtar.

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Six ICU teachers deprived of doctoral studies abroad
Peshawar: Poor response of the federal government and indifference of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Islamabad, have put the future of Islamia College University Peshawar (ICUP) at stake, as six of its teachers selected for PhD are yet to be sent for the studies abroad.

Established in 1913, the Islamia College Peshawar was upgraded to the university level in December 2007. After being upgraded, the institution needed high calibre teachers for running MPhil and PhD programmes, sources said.

Various steps in the direction of strengthening the higher education and research activities in the universities across the country by the HEC had opened up new vistas for the ICUP teachers to improve their qualification abroad for running MPhil and PhD programmes, the sources said.

Some of the teachers have already gone abroad on the HEC scholarships to pursue their higher education. Six of the teachers from English and Physics departments are, however, still awaiting green signal from the HEC for going abroad despite getting admission to various universities of the United Kingdom (UK). "They are not being sent abroad on the plea of non-availability of fund with the HEC," an official of the university told this reporter.

Despite fulfilling all requirements like IELTS, written tests, interviews and medical tests, the HEC is not releasing them funds for going abroad, creating serious problems for them, as timeline for them to join the respective universities might exhaust this month, he added.

Prof Ziaullah Sehrai, president of Islamia College University Teaching Staff Association, expressed concern over denial of scholarship by the HEC to the teachers for their studies because of the lack of funds. He demanded the federal government to release funds for the foreign scholarships of the ICUP teachers and appealed to HEC Chairman Dr Javed Leghari to look into the matter for allaying the concerns of the teachers and save the future of the university.

Dr Sehrai said it was a matter of great pleasure for the ICUP to have its young teachers successfully gone through the rigorous process of selection for the scholarship. Many of the senior teachers of the university with PhD degrees, who have been looking after research work of MA, MSc, MPhil and PhD students were about to retire and it was necessary for the young teachers to acquire higher education to fill the gap, he added.

"However, when our teachers were at a hand's distance from going abroad, a letter from HEC forestalled their departure, telling them that the HEC had no funds to meet their higher education expenses abroad," he deplored.

Dr Sehrai said the ICUP was already short of competent, foreign qualified MPhil and PhD teachers and if six young teachers were deprived of their higher education abroad, this would be the grave injustice to this great seat of learning. The news

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