PhD scholars' future uncertain

HEC paucity of funds
Islamabad, Oct 19: The future of over 400 students selected for Ph D from abroad is uncertain, as the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has delayed their departure for various international universities due to reported paucity of funds while the deadlocks seem to linger on between HEC and Ministry of Finance.

A well-placed HEC official said that every coming day was getting harder for the Commission in terms of affording monthly finances of the students.

He revealed that, in a number of cases, the stipends were sent to the students with three to four months delay adding "We could hardly do anything in this regard, as the government is not releasing money for the purpose."

Sources said the travel of 200 students in September to join their universities in France, Italy, Germany, Thailand, Austria and England was planned when the HEC asked them to wait.

Dropping the hammer in a recently held meeting, Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh informed the HEC 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 HEC official.

The sholars were asked to wait for one year, but everything depended upon the government funding for HEC, he said adding the government's cut in the HEC's development grants severely disrupted its ongoing and future scholarship schemes.

He said over 2,700 students in the last two years could not go for their higher studies under different HEC scholarship programmes due to funds' shortage.

According to an official, the HEC has stopped processing applications for the 2,000 approved scholarship slots in foreign universities in addition to 1,700 such opportunities in government-run universities of the country.

Moreover, the HEC had to abandon its proposals under which 4,000 scholarships were to be offered to best Pakistani students for studies in top world universities, said the sources.

With development grants being continuously squeezed, HEC has put on its future scholarship schemes for a time being, sources said.

Since 2002, the HEC had spent over Rs20 billion on its human resource development programme, which covers all its scholarship schemes. It has awarded 13,436 scholarships, of which 5,765 scholars went to foreign universities.

When interviewed, the students said the HEC had advertised the Overseas Scholarship Scheme and assured them that the federal government had approved the funding for their projects but despite of receiving final award letters from foreign universities, funds' provision was delayed which, they added, was shocking for them.

A scholar from Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) said such a situation would tarnish the country's image in foreign universities. She urged the government to look into the matter and save the scholars from educational disaster.

"This is not for the first time that HEC delayed scholarship schemes. Last year too, the Commission cancelled Ph D scholarships on the pretest of lack of funding," she said.

Tahir Mehmood, 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 was dropped from the list."

In view of fund crisis, 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.

Sohail Naqvi, HEC Executive Director, said the departure of scholars had been delayed due to paucity of funds adding the HEC was aware of the fact that few of Ph D scholars resigned but the HEC could not do anything unless getting funds.

He said the HEC received two installments of Rs1.2 billion and Rs3.2 billion which would finance development work in universities, paying salaries to teachers and fees of students already studying abroad on scholarship.

"The meager allocation will not resolve our problems and fiscal constraints will continuously haunt us," said Dr Naqvi.

Dr Naqvi highlighted that 5,000 doctoral students were studying abroad while 4,000 were pursuing Ph D at local universities.

HEC Chairman Javed Legahri said the country needed 20,000 Ph. D scholars to serve nation at present. He urged the government to support high education in this regard. He said Pakistan had over 9000 Ph D scholars abroad under HEC funding while many others were on self-finance basis. He said the HEC along with government support could produce better result in education sector. Daily times

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FDE to celebrate 'Salam Teachers Day 2010'
Islamabad: The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) will hold launching ceremony of `Uniformity of Education Systems and Up-gradation of Teachers of ICT' to mark Salam Teachers Day today (October 19).

A special package will be announced for the teachers for meeting their longstanding demand of up-gradation of scales, along with paying tribute to them for their laudable role of spreading education.

Teachers working in different institutes, officials of FDE and Education Ministry will participate in the ceremony. According to the package, the teachers from Islamabad Colleges for Boys and Girls, Islamabad Model Colleges for Boys and Girls and Federal Government Schools and Colleges will get up-gradations 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.

About regularization of the teachers working on contract or daily wages, an official of FDE said that the matter of regularisation is in court. While up-gradation 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.

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. While 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 promotees. Promotion 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 Rs3,000 and Rs4,000 respectively. While the hardship area allowance will be increased to Rs2,000.

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.

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HEC determined to verify lawmakers' testimonials
Islamabad: Higher Education Commission (HEC) would stick to its stance over provision of degree supplementary form and attested copies of matriculation and intermediate certificates by lawmakers in verification process, ignoring questions being raised by some quarters about this strict criterion, sources said here on Monday.

The sources claimed that the issue of criterion for verification of degrees came under discussion when HEC's focal person Rahim Bux Channa met his counterpart in Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) today (Monday) before weekly hearing to listen to viewpoint of the lawmakers.

They said the HEC' official argued that when the people come to them for attestation of their bachelor's degree, they also demand copies of matriculation and intermediate certificates so the same procedure has been adopted in the legislators verification process.

The sources said the verification process would continue to move ahead in line with procedures set by HEC, keeping in view various instances when people secured bachelor's degrees on the basis of fake matriculation or intermediate degrees.

The sources said most of the lawmakers had provided their bachelor's degrees but the procedure set by HEC require of them to also provide degree supplementary forms along with certificates of matriculation and intermediate examinations.

The sources said HEC is hoping against hope that 423 elected members who have yet to submit required degrees and documents would respond swiftly and positively despite the fact that none of them has so far even provided reasons for non-compliance of set rules and procedures.

The sources said out of 428 lawmakers five of them including Environment Minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi have submitted the documents that have been provided to HEC for verification.

The controversy over alleged stoppage of verification process by HEC is now over as the officials of HEC are harping on the same tune as they claimed that the Commission had not written a letter to ECP and never stated that it would stop verification process due to non-provision of required educational documents.

The sources further said ECP was quite sure that lawmakers would not make any delay and when they would be approached properly they would provide their educational documents for complete verification.

They said HEC has renewed its vigour and commitment for verification of degrees of the elected representatives after finding out that under Article 220 of the Constitution all executive authorities in the federation and provinces are bound to assist the chief election commissioner and the Election Commission in the discharge of their functions.

The sources further said HEC was so close to inform in writing that it would discontinue verification process due to non-provision of required documents by the elected representatives but ECP strictly resisted the move and threw the ball again in the court of HEC.

An HEC official said it would be a daunting task to complete the verification process if lawmakers continue to delay provision of attested copies of their educational certificates, as has been the case for the last many months.

HEC's focal person Rahim Bux Channa said the verification process would continue in line with the set procedures and they would try their best to complete it at the earliest.

To a question, he said ECP has not raised objections over the procedure adopted for verification of degrees and it has been continuously cooperating with the Commission.

Rahim Bux Channa said HEC is fully capable and committed to completing the verification process and ECP is also extending its full support as it has written a letter to the Speaker National Assembly, requesting her to ensure provision of required educational documents by the lawmakers.

He said whenever any university sends them report about verification of degrees they immediately inform ECP about it, which has been conducting weekly hearings to hear arguments of lawmakers.

Channa said they have not given any fresh deadline to the universities to verify the degrees sent to them but said "we want them to complete it at the earliest."

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NUML student's distinction
Islamabad: The National University of Modern Languages (NUML) has awarded a PhD degree in Management Sciences to Muhammad Safdar Rehman, general manager (Human Resources) with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), says a press release.

Dr. Hamid Rafiq Khattak supervised his thesis titled 'Impact of Job Analysis on Job Performance: A Study of Public Sector Organisations of Pakistan.'

His research article impact of job analysis on job performance: analysis of a hypothesised model has been published in the Journal of Diversity Management, USA having an impact factor of 3.70 Safdar Rehman is also certified Human Resource Professional from the International Personal Management Association (IPMA), Canada.

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SZABIST gaming competition
Islamabad: The Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) organised a gaming competition in collaboration with the Intel at its Islamabad campus, says a press release. More than 20 teams from different institutions and gaming zones participated in the competitions, which included animated games Mohaa and Counterstrike. The three-day activity comprised qualifying rounds, semi-finals and final. Cinepax was at the top of Mohaa while GIKI won the Counterstrike. Meanwhile, Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP) has organised a five-day Active Citizenship Workshop in collaboration with the British Council at SZABIST, Islamabad.

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Compulsory Pashto teaching in Tank opposed
D.I Khan: Different chapters of the Seraikistan Qaumi Movement were dissolved on Monday and three office-bearers named to hold the party elections set for October 27.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the office-bearers held at the party's secretariat. It was presided over by Qari Gul Zaman while Qari Falak Sher, Malik Ayaz Cheena, Qari Meherban, Sohail Riaz, Aqeel Chakaryaal, Qari Salman and others attended the meeting.

It was decided that Malik Khizer Hayat Diyal would be the central convener, Aqeel Chakaryaal general secretary and Qari Falak Sher finance secretary of the party till the elections of new office-bearers at a party convention scheduled for October 27.

The meeting flayed the provincial government's decision to introduce compulsory Pashto teaching from Class 1 to 12 at schools and colleges in Tank district and said that it would create problems for Seraiki population.

It criticised the government for sacking 1,613 teachers who had been recruited in the Education Department during the Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal government. They asked the government to employ local people in the Education, Health and other departments because it was their right to get jobs in their hometown.

The participants demanded cancellation of dual domiciles as those possessing domiciles of settled and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas simultaneously were depriving the local people by availing various facilities and getting jobs.

The meeting asked the government to resume work on the Chashma Right Bank Canal project, as it was a project of vital importance for the southern belt of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The news

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Protest at campus for VC's recovery
Peshawar: The university students held a protest demonstration at the campus here on Monday and asked the government to take immediate measures for securing release of Islamia College University's vice chancellor Ajmal Khan.

The VC, who was kidnapped on September 7, appeared in a video a few days back asking the students, teachers and others to press the government for taking steps for his release.

Activists of Insaf Students Federation, Jamiat Talaba Islam, Muslim Students Federation and Pakhtun Students Federation (Azad) gathered at the University of Peshawar (UoP) and reached the vice-chancellor's office after passing through the Media Market and hostels.

Speaking on the occasion, ISF's Mena Khan Afridi blamed the government for militancy and lawlessness.

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QAU alumni to help 1,800 flood-hit students
Abbottabad: A get-together of old students of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad, was held here in connection with countrywide fund-raising campaign to assist 1,800 flood-affected students of the university.

The QAU alumni belonging to various cities of Hazara region attended the function. Murtaza Noor, secretary general of the QAU Alumni Association, briefed the participants about the measures taken by the association to help the 37 per cent students of the university who had been affected by the flood.

He said that the measures include award of 25 need-based scholarships, assistance to affected students in job placement and establishment of flood relief fund for providing financial assistance to the students. He said that regional chapters of the alumni had been activated for fund raising campaign.

Mr Noor said that among the affected students 34 per cent belonged to Punjab, 28 per cent Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 19 per cent Sindh, two per cent AJK, eight per cent Fata and six per cent were from Northern Areas. He appealed the alumni to come forward and assist their alma mater in this critical time.

Speaking on the occasion, Hazara University vice chancellor Prof. Sakhawat Ali Shah praised the efforts of QAU Alumni Association to assist the students from flood-stricken areas and observed that other universities could follow the QAU for assisting their students.

He proposed that each university should establish permanent student welfare fund to provide financial support to its students during emergency situation. Dawn

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College teachers protest to press for their demands
Peshawar: Members of the Sarhad College Teachers Association held protest Monday outside the Peshawar Press Club to press the government for the acceptance of their demands. Carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans, the protestors chanted slogans against the delaying tactics being employed by the government in meeting their demands. They reiterated the pledge to render every sacrifice to achieve their rights. The speakers deplored that the government had been creating hurdles in their promotion for the last several years without any reason. The news

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