Punjab four-year BS (Honours) degree issues

'Teething troubles' for new BS (Honours) programme
Lahore, Oct 9: The Punjab government's ambitious four-year BS (Honours) programme is facing hiccups like affiliation issues as well as teachers' campaign against the concept of boards of governors resulting in a lukewarm student response.

It is learnt that even the major colleges in Lahore have failed to admit students to the capacity of available seats. In certain disciplines either no student applied or few aspirants turned up to join the colleges.

Earlier, when the application forms for the programme went on sale in 26 colleges across the province a few weeks ago the authorities were delighted at the response. According to the education minister, more than 33,000 forms were sold.

The BS (Honours) classes were originally scheduled to begin on Oct 4 but have now been re-scheduled for Oct 15.

The three major boys' colleges were unable to attract students to the honours programme which promises quality education with better scope in the job market. At the Government College of Science, Wahdat Road, only 310 students have got admissions against the available 750 seats.

College principal Dr Iftikhar Ahmad Baig says the institute will put up two more lists before launching the classes on Oct 15. He said the college was not offering BS (Honours) in education as advertised last month.

Meanwhile, the Joint Action Committee of Teachers and Students claimed that only 160 students had got admission to the Government College of Science by Oct 6. The committee leaders said the Government Islamia College, Civil Lines, had got admitted only 85 students against 400 seats, while no student sought admission to the Government MAO College. So is the case with other 23 colleges selected for the programme in 12 districts.

There're a number of subjects which had not attracted even a single student, they said, adding that no student had applied for admission to Education, Urdu and Islamic Studies subjects. Similarly, few students had got admission to the honours programme in English, political science and other subjects, they said.

JAC chairman Dr Zahid Ahmad Sheikh claimed that less than a dozen students had got admission to each of the 14 disciplines. He said only BBA programme had attracted students and those who got themselves enrolled for this new programme were sceptical about their future because the Punjab University had not granted affiliation to it.

Senior officials in the higher education department say the department was kept in the dark by the affiliation officials (in the Punjab University) and refused affiliation of some programmes including the newly-introduced ones at the eleventh hour. They say the ravaging floods also contributed to delay in the launch of the programme.

The JAC chairman said the BoGs had been constituted in the colleges to "fulfill the IMF agenda". He suggested that the Punjab Assembly should discuss the issue and demanded that the higher education department withdraw transfer orders. The new programme, he said, should be introduced in all 440 colleges in the province.

Punjab Higher Education Secretary Ahad Khan Cheema said it's unfortunate that the college teachers were campaigning against the programme and discouraging students to go for it. He said the department had also received reports that in some districts, teachers and their students tore admission forms.

Mr Cheema, however, admitted that the Punjab University did not grant affiliation to the state-run colleges well in time. He said the department had made commitment that it would complete the PU requirements in due course of time.

He said the PU vice chancellor had now agreed to grant affiliation while exercising his emergency powers.

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Turkish, PU scholars discuss exchange programme
Lahore: Founder President of International Universities Council of Turkey Orhan Hikmet Azizoglu along with a six-member delegation of Turkish scholars and educationists held a marathon meeting with Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and prominent faculty members here on Thursday.

Mr Azizoglu stressed the need for arranging a comprehensive faculty and students exchange programme besides organising joint national and international conferences, workshops and seminars to benefit fully from each others' educational experiences and expertise of various faculties.

Prof Kamran said education was the only tool that could help Muslim Ummah compete with the technologically advanced countries in the world. Without substantial improvement in education system and spread of modern knowledge of science and technology, the PU vice-chancellor said, Muslim Ummah's honourable survival and rapid socio-economic development could not be guaranteed.

Prof Kamran acknowledged that Turkey was on top in respect of scientific research publications in the entire Islamic world. He said Pakistanis had deep sentiments of love for their Turkish brethren and added that Turkish language was being imparted to Pakistani students in the Oriental College since 1950. He, however, stressed that much more was needed to be done to further strengthen the existing bi-lateral ties of language, culture and literature. He stressed the need to promote the Turkish and Urdu languages in universities of both countries.

Mr Azizoglu apprised the PU faculty members about membership of International Universities Council of Turkey and added that membership of PU with the council could lead to enhanced academic and research cooperation between the scholars and students of the universities of both the countries.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jamil Anwar Chaudhry, Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Akhtar, Prof Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal, Prof Dr Javed Ahmad, Prof Dr Shahida Husnain, Prof Dr Liaqat Ali, Prof Dr Mugheesuddin Sheikh, Prof Dr Mahmood Akthar, Prof Dr Mazhar Moen and External Linkages director Maria Maldonado attended the meeting and discussed as to how greater collaboration could be made to benefit students and scholars of universities of both the brotherly Islamic countries.

The Turkish delegation was also accompanied by University of Lahore chairman Muhammad Abdul Raoof and Rector Prof Dr Muhammad Saleem Shuja.

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Degree equivalence issue: Punjab University expels eight protesting students
Lahore: The Punjab University administration has expelled eight students of the Institute of Mycology and Plant Pathology (IMPP) allegedly after a clash with teachers and varsity guards.

The students were continuously protesting against the credibility of the degree issued by the institute.

The students said the Punjab Public Service Commission told the Punjab University in 2004 that its IMPP faculty was irrelevant, but no action was taken during the last six years. They said IMPP graduates were shocked to know in an interview at PPSC after qualifying a written test that they were not eligible for the interview.

Recently, they said, the Punjab Agriculture Department asked the university to hire a permanent faculty. The students alleged that the university administration transferred the only relevant teacher along with another IMPP teacher to the PU College of Pharmacy on charges of instigating students.

The students said university guards baton-charged them when they were protesting. As a result, a female student's arm was fractured and a number of others were injured.

It is learnt the PU has expelled students Adnan Saeed and Ayesha Majeed (PhD); Muhammad Atif, Umar Maqsood, Hasnain Nawaz and Mehwish (7th semester); Shakeel Shaukat (5th semester) and Bilal Haider (3rd semester). The students said the PU administration terminated the services of seven guards, who could not protect teachers and "properly baton-charge" the protesting students.

The PU spokesman said the university administration was trying to resolve the issue of IMPP degree equivalence at the earliest. He said IMPP graduates' future was top priority of the administration and it would get their degrees recognised everywhere.

In April last when the issue of degree equivalence came into light, the spokesman said the university administration got approval of change of nomenclature of degrees from BSc (Honours) and MSc (Honours) in Mycology and Plant Pathology to BSc (Honours) and MSc (Honours) in Agriculture (Plant Pathology). He said the PU adopted the HEC recognised curricula in Plant Pathology and got it approved from the Board of Studies in Mycology and Plant Pathology and Board of Faculty of Life Sciences.

In addition, the spokesman said, services of qualified visiting faculty were requisitioned to run deficiency courses free of cost for the students who had passed out from the institute. In this connection, experts of a subordinate body of HEC -- the National Accreditation Council for Agricultural Education visited IMPP and sent its recommendations to the commission. He said senior PU officials were in touch with HEC authorities and hoped that the commission would apprise the university of its opinion soon.

The spokesman said a few protesting students had been expelled from the varsity for their "flagrant misconduct, manhandling of senior IMPP faculty members, hurling life threats and stopping them from entering the department". He said IMPP students never recorded their protest to the varsity authorities during the last eight years and those who qualified from the institute were serving in key research institutes of the country.

He held out a firm assurance to students and their parents the administration would always keep students' interest high. He said students should not indulge in illegal activities and disturb peaceful atmosphere of the university on the instigation of any student group, expelled students or outsiders.

PUASA: Punjab University Academic Staff Association general secretary Javed Sami, who is also resident officer-I, has condemned IMPP students for "manhandling senior faculty members, locking the department and not allowing teachers into the department". He asked varsity administration to take stern legal action against the 'culprits'. Dawn

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PU ICS tussle takes new turn with plea to dismiss faculty members
Lahore: A tussle between two seniors at the Punjab University Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) took a new turn on Thursday when an application had been filed with the vice chancellor against ICS Director Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz and former director Dr Mugheesud Din Sheikh. Dr Afirah Hamid, a senior ICS faculty member lodged the complaint, asking VC Dr Mujahid Kamran to dismiss Dr Naz and former director Dr Mugheesud for corruption. She alleged that Dr Mughees, currently the dean of Social and Behavioural Sciences, and Dr Naz, had committed various irregularities, including tampering of the MPhil and PhD results and an inquiry committee had recommended their dismissal from the services.

Earlier an inquiry report had accused Dr Mughees and Dr Naz of tampering with results and unlawfully conducting special exams. Dr Afirah said that she had submitted the application with the VC and demanded for justice, alleging that the ICS director had harassed her on exposing his corruption.

A PU official said that Dr Afirah's application had been received and corruption at the ICS was in the knowledge of the VC. He said the VC was consulting with officials in this regard. Dr Naz said that Dr Afirah obtained a PhD degree in Urdu while he was her student but had done PhD in journalism. He said he had challenged her status at the ICS, on technical grounds as she was not eligible to stay at the institute and should be transferred to the Urdu Department. He said she was doing negative propaganda against him and application and inquiry against him were baseless. He said there was no reality in the allegations of corruption, and that Dr Afirah was damaging the PU repute.

Dr Mughees said it was an internal matter of the university, and such issue was a routine matter in departments. He denied that he had ever been involved in corruption, but said a favour on the humanitarian grounds could not account for corruption. He said two seats were available at the ICS and university could accommodate both of them. Daily times

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'Medical colleges to follow LHC ruling'to
Lahore: The University of Health Sciences (UHS) administration has said that admissions in medical and dental colleges of the Punjab will be granted strictly as per the rules and regulations of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and as per the September 6 judgment of the Lahore High Court.

UHS spokesman in a press release here on Thursday said that UHS would announce the schedule of admissions after conducting another entrance test in pursuance of the orders of Lahore High Court on October 14 for all those candidates who have secured 60 per cent or above marks in FSc or equivalent examination and who could not appear in the entrance test held on July 20.

The combined merit list, based on the results of both tests, for medical and dental colleges shall be prepared according to a "pre-set formula" laid down by PMDC in its regulations of 2003 and quoted by Lahore High Court in its judgment of September 6, 2010, according to which weightage of marks obtained by a candidate in matric examination would be 10 per cent, FSc 40 per cent and that of entrance test 50 per cent. The news

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UET faculty members make it to syndicate
Lahore: Six faculty members of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) have been elected as syndicate members.

Two professors have been elected as syndicate members from varsity's Senate members, while four faculty members from amongst professors, associate professors, assistant professors and lecturers were elected through general election. Prof Dr Abdul Sattar Shakir and Prof Dr Khalid Mahmoodul Hasan were elected from Senate with 74 and 54 votes, respectively.

In general election among faculty members for representation of all cadres in the university syndicate, Prof Dr Ajmal Chishti was elected with 35 votes, associate professor Sardar Muhammad Arif won with 23 votes, assistant professor Amanat Ali Bhatti elected with 39 votes and lecturer Attiqueur Rehman won the election with 115 votes.

It may be mentioned that the associate and assistant professors and lecturer had been re-elected. UET VC Muhammad Akram has congratulated the newly elected syndicate members and hoped that they would work for the benefit of their teaching community and the institution. Dawn

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GCU library
Lahore: Government College University (GCU) library has signed an agreement with an international organization, Developing Library Network. In a press statement, GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Aftab said this has made accessible over 7.5 million bibliographic records of books, journals, articles, video recordings, Urdu manuscripts, theses and dissertations databases available in 1,500 libraries of 22 countries. The news

GCU gets access to 7.5m Int'l bibliographic records
Lahore: The Government College University library has got an access to more than 7.5 million bibliographic records of books, journals, articles, video recordings, Urdu manuscripts, theses and dissertations databases available in 1,500 libraries of 22 countries, by signing an agreement with an international organization, Developing Library Network. GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Aftab and Developing Library Network Director Dr A H Kaul signed the agreement which was sent to both the parties through mail.

Talking about the agreement, GCU Chief Librarian Abdul Waheed said a large number of libraries from India, United States, Oman, Philippines, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates are members of the Developing Library Network. However, he said, that Government College University is the first library from Pakistan which had become member of network.

He said that the agreement with Developing Library Network would highly benefit the GCU scholars and faculty members in undertake research, especially in the filed of Information Science and Technology.

The chief librarian said the Developing Library Network also facilitates promote delivery of documents manually and mechanically. "If a GCU researcher requires any material from the network's bibliographic records, the Developing Library Network would make it available to the library in digital or hard form," he added.

Abdul Waheed said that GCU tops the libraries of Pakistan in terms of excess to the international digital material. He said GCU is also the member of the World Digital Library, operated by the United States Library of Congress and UNESCO, and has recently contributed first ever digital book from Pakistan to its electronic catalog. "Besides this, as many as 25 electronic databases are also available for GCU students which provide a vide range of software, books, journals and other data to students and researchers," he added. The nation

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IUC president arrives
Lahore: President of International Universities Council (IUC) Mr Orhan Hikmet Azizoglu arrived as a guest of the University of Lahore.

According to a press release, Chairman University of Lahore and Secretary General International Universities Council Mr M A Raoof greeted him at the airport. After breakfast at the University of Lahore, Mr Azizoglu attended a discussion at the University of Engineering & Technology by Vice-Chancellor Lt Gen (r) Muhammad Akram Khan.

Later, they visited the Punjab University where Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran greeted them and also discussed the need of enhanced relations between international and Pakistani universities and the promotion of culture and language between Pakistan and Turkey. The new

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Progress on Daanish schools
Lahore: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif says Daanish schools, to be launched from the next month, should have an independent income generation mechanism so that these schools are not dependent on other departments for funds.

At a meeting of the Danish Schools Authority held on Thursday to review progress on the three schools going to be opened next month, Mr Sharif suggested the authority plan use large chunks of land adjacent to schools for livestock and agri farming.

Other government departments should help the authority but without having any role in the projects, he said.

In the first phase, Danish schools will open on Nov 22 in Rahim Yar Khan, Chishtian and Hasilpur, and in the second phase in Mianwali, Attock, DG Khan and Rajanpur.

He said simple furniture should be bought for the schools, and a committee headed by the chief secretary should submit its recommendations regarding the project shortly.

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WPP backs varsity teachers' demands
Lahore: The Workers' Party Pakistan (WPP) has expressed unqualified support for the struggle of college and university teachers for an increase in the education budget and warned of more protests if the government continued to ignore the legitimate demands of working class people.

The WPP has also condemned the plan to privatise numerous colleges in Punjab and the proposed fee increase in public colleges and universities across the country, saying the moves will further consolidate the class-based education system in the country and increase alienation across ethnic and other social divides.

WPP President Abid Hasan Minto and secretary general Akhtar Hussain in a statement reiterated their long-standing demand for a change in budgetary priorities by spending more on education and health instead of increasing defence budget and debt servicing.

They said dictator Pervez Musharraf created the Higher Education Commission (HEC) with a view to 'corporatise' education with little positive effects.

They said what was actually required was a revamp of primary and secondary education which could only be achieved if the requisite money was provided.

They said the attacks on public services and budget cuts would lead to a rise in social disaffection and could only harm the cause of democracy. Dawn

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