Punjab colleges BS(Honours) new degree programme

BS (Honours) draws massive response
Lahore, Sept 21: The newly-launched four-year BS (Honours) programme in 26 selected colleges in 12 districts has drawn an overwhelming response from students as the colleges have received admissions forms much higher than the total admission forms received last year. Still, the last date for submission of admission forms in some colleges is Sept 25 and others Sept 30.

Following massive response to BS (Honours) programmes in various universities, it seems the students community has realised the importance of studying market-driven courses and gaining practical skills to compete at home and abroad.

Punjab higher education department senior officials say the selected 26 colleges have so far received over 24,000 admission forms against 20,000 submitted last year. They believe that the merit for admission to the four-year programme will surely go up as compared to the last year, when the colleges offered two-year degree programme.

Some students applying for the four-year programme in selected colleges in Lahore said their confidence boosted with the assurance from the Higher Education Commission that the programme had international standing and market was also responding positively towards the BS (Honours) degree holders. They expressed the hope that the colleges would be able to engage highly competent faculty to impart them learning in practical terms instead of the theoretical knowledge that was leading the youth nowhere.

The students said constitution of boards of governors was a good step if they strived to improve academic standards while exploiting all resources except raising fees as feared by respective colleges' teachers. They, however, admitted that the respective colleges and the higher education department had assured that no college would revise the fee structure and keep the fee for new market-driven disciplines like business and information technology in the same bracket.

Punjab Higher Education Secretary Ahad Khan Cheema said the Punjab government was committed to provide basic infrastructure as well as latest equipment for labs. He said the BoGs had been constituted to delegate powers at college level so that institutional development could take place without falling into the quagmire of procedural snags in the overall government functioning. He said the BoGs would also ensure that the teachers stay at their colleges to take their due teaching workload.

Protest: The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of schools, colleges and universities' teachers and students association has decided to hold a protest rally from Nasser Bagh to the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday (today) against the constitution of BoGs, District Education Authority, increase in fees and class-based education.

The rally will be led by JAC chairman Dr Zahid Sheikh and other leaders of respective teachers and students' associations. The JAC has invited teachers and students from all divisions to participate in the rally.

Dr Sheikh said teachers did not want to take to the streets but the government had pushed them against the wall. He demanded that the chief minister de-notify the constitution of BoGs in 26 colleges and abandon the four-year BS (Honours) programme. Dawn

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Varsities urged to generate funds
Lahore: The vice-chancellor of the Government College University (GCU), Prof Dr Khalid Aftab, has said that in the wake of ongoing financial crunch when the higher education is being pushed downward, the public sector universities are in a dire need to generate money from their won resources. He said the options available to the universities include fee raise, industry funding and finding the donors for building Endowment Funds. The news

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GCU won't leave talented students in the lurch: VC
Lahore: The Government College University (GCU) will not leave its deserving students in the lurch and despite all financial constraints it will make all possible efforts to provide financial aid to them.

This was stated by university's vice-chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Aftab while addressing members of the Higher Education Commission at the GCU on Monday.

According to a press release, the HEC team led by its adviser Dr Riaz Ahmad Qureshi visited the university to discuss scholarships/financial aid for university students.

Prof Aftab said in the wake of ongoing financial crunch when the higher education was being pushed downward on the priority list, public sector universities were in dire need to generate money from their won resources for survival.

He said the universities around the world were establishing their endowment funds of billion of dollars with the help of their alumni. "Harvard University has an endowment fund of about $37 billion and even a small university like the University of Virginia has an endowment fund of $3.219 billion," he said.

HEC adviser Dr Riaz Qureshi said the opportunity of acquiring higher education was available only to five per cent of the 20 million country's youth.

However, despite all constraints the HEC was arranging scholarships for talented students with the help of international donor agencies, he said.

Funds crunch: Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran on Monday apprised Education Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman of the crisis which the universities, including the Punjab University, were facing as a result of a cut on the HEC budget during the current financial year.

The VC stressed the education minister, who called on him at his office, that the provincial leadership must approach the federal government for the allocation of additional funds to the HEC to pull state-run universities out of financial crisis.

He said the financial crisis in universities would negatively impact on the future of younger generation.

The VC also informed the education minister that the cut in funds would adversely affect the completion of ongoing infrastructural projects as well as scholarly research works and foreign scholarships programme of the varsity.The minister acknowledged that the PU was making impressive strides in the domain of academic and research fields in a peaceful scholarly atmosphere. Mr Rehman said the Punjab government would do everything within its available resources to brighten up the academic future of the country's youth.

The VC and the minister also discussed issues to raise the standards of academic and research activities on the campus.

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Tuition fee waiver in flood-hit areas
Lahore: Punjab Education Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman says the Punjab government has waived tuition fee of 65,000 students to the tune of Rs300 million in the flooded areas. He said the government was trying to provide a maximum relief to flood affected people for their rehabilitation.

He said this at the inaugural session of the second international conference on 'Realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through Teacher Education' on Monday. Over 50 scholars from national and international universities are participating in the conference.

He said that he would also recommend to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to give a fee concession to the students of sub-campuses of the University of Education (UoE) in Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan.

Mr Rehman said Pakistan was committed to achieving MDGs, set by the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, which had set a specific timetable and roadmap for the international community to achieve them.

Therefore, he said, the government had attached great importance to the implementation of MDGs and had incorporated these goals into its national development strategy and set a series of objectives for building a well-rounded society in Pakistan.

He said the government supported institutions and organisations working towards MDGs. But, he said, it was still a challenge for countries like Pakistan to achieve these goals, since the economic growth was unevenly distributed and poverty was a big problem.

UoE Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Munawar S Mirza said that education was instrumental for human resource development. She said that dedicated teachers could play a pivotal role to eradicate poverty through raising awareness among the people about the significance of education and enhancing literacy rate by providing friendly environment to the students in classroom.

She added the conference would prove helpful to guide teachers and also cover all areas of teacher education and related disciplines, including teacher education for sustainable development, development of teachers for promotion of peace, and internationalisation of practices and universal primary education. Dawn

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Fsc pre-engineering distinction
Lahore: Hammad Shakil, son of Ch Shakil Ahmad, a student of Forman Christian College, secured second position in Fsc pre-engineering in the Lahore Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education examinations. He obtained 1,020 marks out of 1,100 marks. The news

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