BCom External Supplementary Exam 2008

Exams will commence from September 7
Karachi, Sep 07: The Bachelor of Commerce (B Com) External Supplementary Examination 2008 will commence from September 7.

This was announced by the Controller of Examinations of the University of Karachi on Saturday.

The candidates who have not yet received their admit cards have been asked to collect the same on September 6 and 7 between 9am to 1pm from Room No I Silver Jubilee gate. They have also been asked to bring original receipt of the examination form, two passport size photos, original registration card and the computerised national identity card. app

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Anomalies in hiring of ad-hoc KU teachers
Karachi: Despite having resolved time and again that it will adhere to the rules, the Karachi University administration continues to ignore its own laid down procedures for the appointment of cooperative (ad-hoc) teachers, compromising merit and adding to teachers' discontent, it has been learnt.

According to sources, a number of irregular contractual appointments have been made in the KU and there are many cases in which ad-hoc teachers continue in their job despite having failed in selection boards.

Also, a large number of part-time ad-hoc teachers that are hired are generally not subjected to any departmental scrutiny, though the university syndicate resolutions make no distinction between full-time and part-time ad-hoc teachers. Apart from regular teachers (over 500), the university has an army of cooperative teachers. According to the registrar office, there are 300 ad-hoc teachers (150 part-timers and 150 full-time). Some KU teachers, however, dispute this claim and insist that the cooperative teachers at the university cannot be fewer than 500.

This massive ad-hoc teaching arrangement, which in many cases have been in place for up to 10 years, has not only bred discontent among the current group of cooperative teachers, but has also encouraged nepotism and deprived the academia of talented people who could have emerged through a transparent and competitive selection process.

According to the KU's budget for 2009-10, the university spent Rs13 million on the remuneration of visiting teaching faculty. At least Rs15.5 million has been proposed for the next financial year.

Violations of rules
Despite having a large number of ad-hoc employees working as teachers, there is no mention of their status in the university code. The syndicate, in its different sittings, has passed some resolutions on their status.

According to these resolutions, ad-hoc teachers could be hired against a sanctioned vacant post, the post would be advertised in the relevant department for a week and a committee comprising three senior teachers of the department would conduct interviews of the applicant and make recommendations. Also, an ad-hoc teacher, who is hired for six months, cannot continue service after failing in a selection board.

A full-time cooperative teacher gets the basic salary of a lecturer and his experience is also taken into consideration once he is regularised through a selection board. A part-time ad-hoc teacher, however, is appointed for a subject and is paid a fee (Rs500 these days) for a lecture. There is no consideration for the number of his or her service years on regularisation.

Though these resolutions do not specifically talk about full-time ad-hoc appointments, teachers generally assume that these regulations are meant for cases of full-time appointments and part-time appointments are at the discretion of department chairpersons. This has naturally led to nepotism in many cases.

The matter of irregular appointments of ad-hoc teachers was raised at the May 16 meeting of the syndicate and a reference was made to the departments of Islamic learning, botany, Asooluddin and Sindhi in this regard. Upon this, the syndicate unanimously decided that all departments would be directed to follow the rules in hiring ad-hoc teachers and no appointment letters be issued in cases where rules were ignored. However, these directives have not been implemented, in some cases by the administration itself. At the faculty of Islamic studies, there are three cases (two related to the department of Islamic learning and one to the Asooluddin department) in which no recommendation was made by departmental heads. The teachers said they had raised the issue many times at different forums, but to no avail.

"Usmanuddin Haider, Sumbul Ansar and Kamran Qureshi are the three ad-hoc lecturers who were appointed directly and without the consent of department chairpersons. In fact, the registrar has been told in writing to stop their salaries, but no action has been taken so far. In fact, their contracts have been extended for another term," said a teacher.

Earlier, in the middle of the first semester, three adjunct professors were also appointed in the botany department without any recommendation. They were given no class by the department chairperson on whose protest their contracts have not been extended this semester. However, they each got over Rs25,000 per month for six months.

Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim, the KU vice-chancellor, declined to comment on the story.

We spoke to Dr Aqeel Ahmed, the president of the Karachi University Teachers' Society, on the issue.

Dr Ahmed said the implementation of laws on ad-hoc teachers had been weak in the past. But, now, the academic council had made it compulsory that the recommendation must carry the signatures of three senior teachers.

"There are rules for every post and it is basically the responsibility of respective chairpersons to take up a case if the rules have been violated. I think all old and new ad-hoc appointments should be reviewed at the time of renewal. Many problems could automatically be solved if selection boards are held on time.

"The rules for appointments of part-time and full-time teachers are the same and people who are not doing this are violating rules and regulations," he said.

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ICCBS, KU sign MoU with University of Hamburg
Karachi: The International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi (KU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The University of Hamburg, Germany to further enhance research cooperation between both the countries in the area of natural sciences and bioinformatics.

An official of the ICCBS, through a press statement on Sunday, notified that Director of ICCBS Prof. Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary on behalf of the centre has signed the MoU in his recent visit to Germany.

The basic objective of the agreement was to initiate and promote scientific cooperation and academic exchange in the field of natural sciences and bioinformatics between the University of Hamburg and academic institutions of Pakistan, supported by the ICCBS and the ministry of science and technology, he said.

"It was agreed that the University of Hamburg will accept up to 10 MS/PhD students annually upon availability of supervising and teaching capacity who fulfil the admission criteria of the University," he said while adding that these scholars will be supported by the ICCBS or other funding institutions of Pakistan. The required bench fees PhD student will be provided by ICCBS.

It was also agreed that the majority of these students will be admitted in contemporary scientific fields, including Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Structural Biology. It was also agreed that annual binational workshops will be organised in fields of Bioinformatics and Structural and Systems Biology. These events will be held on rotation basis (one year in Pakistan) and the following year in Germany.

In Pakistan, the host institutions will cover the local hospitality of 10-15 guest scientists while in Germany, the host institution, here in particular the head of the organisation committee, will submit in time a proposal and application to the appropriate funding agencies to obtain the required funding to cover the costs of guesthouse accommodation, the daily allowance for the guest scientists from Pakistan and the appropriate overhead to organise the workshop.

It was also agreed that the first two workshops will be held in Pakistan. University of Hamburg and ICCBS will encourage on-going collaboration in natural sciences and particularly in the fields of molecular biology structure-based drug design and bioinformatics.

The University of Hamburg will facilitate short-term trainings (up to three months) and long-term training (up to one year) of Pakistani junior scientists; the travel and living costs will be covered by their parent organisations in Pakistan, he further added.

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SSUET prepares project for betterment of handicapped
Karachi: A group of students of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) has prepared a project with the target to navigate a person through an unknown location, by use of technology. The team members focused their skills for the betterment of the blind, to serve those who got less served by nature and the project was meant for the betterment of the handicapped, according to a press statement issued here on Sunday.

As per details, the hardware and software used in the project consist of interactive voice response circuit, hand held GPS, FM Receiver Transmitter circuits, Bluetooth dongle, Microsoft Windows (XP or later), Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2005. The project employs a hand held GPS to be worn by the user of the system while the user should have his own FM receiver (as is present in many basic cell phones nowadays). The user would have a custom built option selection device (IVR).

A computer would be located inside the building where the navigation of a person is required, continuously checking for signals from the blind. As soon as the computer system had a blind in range, it will invite him (the blind) to select a destination in the environment through voice messages. On selection of option, the computer would guide the blind to the desired spot carefully so that he doesn't collide into obstacles, the statement added.

The group members said that with financial resources a lot of additional power could be added into the system. The GPS technology lags in accuracy and they designed a plan to improve the accuracy using sonar's and rotating it on a stepper motor, they said adding, "Such a rotary sensor would help us navigate in narrow corridors".

Appreciating the project, Chancellor SSUET ZA Nizami observed that the project is highly adaptive for changes. With slight modifications (albeit costly) they can enable the system to work over long ranges, where the computer would be at a remote location in the huge environment such as forest and any human would be able to navigate, said Nizami. The news

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