HEC financial crunch problems | HEC & student unions

HEC financial crunch affects overseas students
Karachi, Sep 01, 2008: The financial crunch facing the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has created enormous difficulties for students who had received HEC scholarships to study in foreign countries. The continuous fall of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar is also contributing to the hardships being inflicted on the students.

Many students in the United Kingdom and the United States communicated with their families to inform them about their precarious situation in these countries. Some of these families asked about the nightmare of their sons and daughters and sought help in the mitigation of the problem.

We spoke to HEC Chairman Prof Atta-ur-Rahman to seek confirmation of the report. Prof Rahman agreed that they had financial constraints but denied that Pakistani students were facing any hardship due to the non-remittance of their scholarship money. "I have no such information and I am sure that nothing of this sort has happened," he said. "We want to develop a class of highly qualified and professional faculty in Pakistan and so the HEC has launched a series of scholarship programmes. Through this series, the HEC aims at providing the much-needed impetus to the academia by offering indigenous as well as foreign PhD degrees to both faculty members and students. We have done it and mean to continue with the financial backing to the meritorious students who have proceeded abroad."

University of Karachi (KU) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof. Pirzada Qasim differed. "We are receiving news from students and academics who have gone abroad. I cannot say if it is due to the stoppage of funds from the HEC or due to the depreciation of the Pakistani currency against the dollar. But I have information about many such instances and I'm worried. As a matter of fact it has become an ordeal to pay the salaries of teachers and other staff of the university and I am at a loss as how to pay the salary for the month of August."

It may be recalled that under the Foreign Scholarship programme, a number of scholarship schemes have been launched through which students could pursue their undergraduate studies in countries such as Thailand, USA, South Korea, New Zealand, Cuba, and the United Kingdom.

Funding for these scholarships is sponsored by the HEC, Fulbright USA, and the Commonwealth scholarship and fellowship programmes. Moreover, special emphasis is being given to MS studies in engineering disciplines in these countries.

Muhammad Dawood Hussain, an assistant professor at the NED University of Engineering & Technology Department of Textile Engineering, is currently at the University of Manchester, UK, working for his PhD in Textile Engineering, on an HEC scholarship. Hussain said that he had some reports of the problem but since his next instalment (of the scholarship) is due in January 2009, he is keeping his fingers crossed. "I am optimistic that it will not happen. My grant is in Pounds Sterling so I don't have to worry on account of depreciation of the Pakistani currency. Some other students in some other cities (of UK) have complained about the non-remittance of the scholarship money," he said.

Mrs Naila Mahmood, mother of Syed Adeel Mahmood (a student at the University of Nottingham, UK, for a PhD in Electronics), said that her son was in financial trouble because the scholarship money was not remitted to him. "We were very concerned and I requested my brother who is in Norway to send some money to Adeel. Thankfully my brother sent him the money. But what about other students who might not have relatives abroad," she said. The News

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HEC yet to reinstate student unions despite PM's nod
Islamabad: The incumbent government decision to regulate the students' politics is yet to be implemented. The task was assigned to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to implement the Prime Minister's decision regarding the reinstatement of Student Unions.

When contacted to an HEC official wishing anonymity, said that a seven members committee was constituted in this regard but members of the committee could not reach on a final proposal. He informed that consensus could not be developed due to differences among the committee members regarding the formula in a way to reinstate the students union.

Earlier, the committee, constituted over the top public sector Universities VCs and HEC officials, was also called on the government officials to discuss the future strategy. The reliable sources said that in the said meeting members of the committee were not happy with the government decision and they have revealed their concerns to the government officials.

The facts and figures showed that violence graph rose horribly during the period of ban over Students Union. Unprecedented events have made the educational institutions more vulnerable. Conspiracies against the education and the students did work awfully and negative use of the innocent students by the administration of the said institutions itself and then political parties further made the situation problematic.

In the absence of the Student Unions, environment of the educational institutions could not be maintained peaceful, as was claimed earlier at the time of imposing ban on the Unions.

According to a research report, published by Center for Educational Research & Policy Analysis (CIRAPA), Pakistan, during the period of Student Unions (1947 to 1984) , 151 violence cases were recorded while during the period of ban on Union (1984 to 2004) 525 cases were recorded.

Similarly, before the ban period 13 students were killed but during the ban 165 students were murdered. Before imposing the ban, 284 students were arrested while during the ban period this figure was 7235 and 110 students were expelled while after that 985 students were expelled. It was observed that from 2004 to date these figures reached at horrible level.

In the absence of an organise body, students divided into the regional, linguistic, ideological bases thus widening the vacuum for conspiracies, violence and misunderstanding. To divide the students in different factions, administration of the educational institution however, succeeded to achieve their limited goals but they did not analyse that how much damaged they have caused to educational institutions.

While talking to us, Vice Chancellor Qauid-e-Azam University has said that he did not oppose the government decision to reinstate the student unions, as it was the democratic right of the students. "But yes, I have shown some concerns and fears, which exists in my mind", he revealed. He was of the view that authoritative students might be misused their power. However, he condemned the decision of ban over student Union. He was of the view that ban was imposed in the past on the behest of a military dictator only to serve his vested interests.

"There is no concept of ban on students' politics in the democratic societies of the world but unfortunately democracy in our country could not mature due to continue intervention of military dictators one after other", said Zubair Safdar, Director SERAPA.

He maintained that so-called intellectuals had been advocating here against the students' politics, which have resulted that these institutions could not succeed to produce leadership to the society during the ban period but before that many leaders were introduced like Javed Hashmi PML-N, Jhangir Badar-PPP, and Liaqat Baloch -JI. He was of the view that it was also the main function of these institutions to train the students during their study period.

Unfortunately, we could not succeed to create a culture of tolerance and coexistence in our society, which ultimately affected our institution like Universities, which have significance in every society and considered brain of a nation. But the decision of the present government to reinstate the student Unions has created a ray of hope in the darkness like situation. The Nation

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46,000 grads from homeopathic colleges, 15,000 to follow
Islamabad: The country's homeopathic colleges have so far graduated 46,000 people and 15,000 more are currently studying at these institutes, said Health Secretary Mehmud Saleem Mehmud on Sunday.

Addressing participants of a ceremony to distribute certificates among four-year homeopathy diploma holders at a local hotel, the secretary said that the government had recognised homeopathic education due to cost-effectiveness of homeopathic system of disease diagnosis and treatment.

He said around 130 colleges were currently offering homeopathic courses.

He said homeopathic doctors mostly prescribed imported medicines however a large number of pharmaceutical firms had begun production.

Mehmud declared homeopathic education need of the hour and said all stakeholders, including Health Ministry, homeopathic colleges and Pakistan Homeopathic Council would jointly work to make health education more responsive to the current needs of health sector.

Principal of Capital Homeopathic Medical Collage Homeo Dr Nasir Ahmad Chaudhry said on the occasion that a large majority of population was benefiting from homeopathic system of medicine.

He called for steps to improve educational and training standards in the field of homeopathic medicines to providing better, safe and effective health care to people at large.

Homeo Dr Chaudhry said Drugs Act of Traditional Medicine had been awaiting approval by parliament since long. He said the Act, when enforced, would ensure availability of quality and safe traditional medicinal products to people.

He said homeopathic system of medicine should be improved to review composition of the National Homeopathic Council.

Later, Health Secretary Mehmud Saleem Mehmud distributed certificates of advance homeopathic diploma to 48 homeopathic doctors, including 28 women. Daily Times

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Dr. Asifa FCPS-II distinction
Rawalpindi: Dr. Asifa Dian Khan of the Holy Family Hospital, Rawalpindi, has been awarded 'Professor Zafarullah Chaudhry Medal' by the College of Physicians and Surgeons (Pakistan) for securing the highest (72.33 per cent) marks in the FCPS-II (General Surgery) Examination 2007, says a press release. She also secured high marks in the MRCS Examination 2007 of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Glasgow) in her first attempt. The News

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