Sufferings of public universities

The VCs' case
Islamabad, Sept 18: Higher education is becoming another casualty of the floods. Sixty-eight vice-chancellors of our universities gathered at the Higher Education Commission on Thursday to protest at the across-the-board cuts in their already meagre budgets. They were read their fortune by Federal Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh who, we may assume, is going to be having similar meetings with other groups and agencies in the coming weeks as budgets are restructured. Altered realities and hard choices are the inevitable consequence of The Great Flood, and it seems that higher education, which arguably presents in budgetary terms one of the least of the problems the government has to face, is going to suffer out of proportion to its value to the nation.

If ever we needed higher education it's now. We are going to need several crops of the brightest and the best of our young minds to help us out of the difficulties ahead. The future doctors, scientists, economists, engineers and IT specialists who will mend that which was broken. It is all very well for the finance minister to tell the VCs that they must seek diversity of funding in the business community, or utilise their land commercially but these things take time and time we do not have. Growing the networks that would allow public-private partnerships takes years, not weeks. Developing land commercially requires capital do the universities have the ready capital to do this doubtful. Are there private investors willing to commit venture funds? Also doubtful. The VCs have argued that university financing is investment not expenditure, and they make sense. The universities should not have to suffer in a way that produces other sufferings for us as a nation. We would urge the finance minister to take this into account.

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Refusal to provide funds to HEC slammed
Karachi: Senior central leader of PML (N) Mamnoon Hussain has termed Federal Minister for Finance Dr A Hafeez Sheikh's refusal to provide funds to the cash strapped Higher Education Commission (HEC) and his insistence to generate its own resources by the increasing fees as deplorable. He supported the just demands of HEC and Vice-Chancellors of 71 Public Sector Universities to immediately release funds already approved under PSDP 2010-2011. PSDP for this year already reduced to Rs11.5 billion as against Rs18.5 billion of the previous years. He said that any delay in providing funds to the HEC would cause irreparable losses to the higher education sector. The news

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LUMHS symposium from 23rd
Hyderabad: The Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) will hold its sixth national symposium from September 23 to 26 on the theme of "Achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)."

This was announced by Professor Muneer A. Junejo, member of the organising committee of the symposium, at a press conference at the press club here on Friday.

He said that the eight MDGs set at a United Nations conference and agreed to by 189 countries of the world represent the commitment to reduce poverty and hunger, to tackle ill health, gender equity, lack of education, lack of access to clean water and environment degradation.

Pakistan is a signatory country to achieve the MDGs, professor Junejo said adding that many low and middle income countries are not on track to reach the public health targets set out in the MDGs. To accelerate progress towards the MDGs the universities can play an important role, he said.

Prof Junejo said that there would be five lectures by eminent health professionals namely, Prof Ali Mohammad Ansari, Prof Sadiqa Jaffri, Prof Rasheed Juma, Prof Naseem Salahuddin and Prof Zulfiqar Bhutta.

There would be more than 250 oral presentations, 20 workshops, 50 poster presentations on this occasion, he added.

He said that due to prevailing flood situation in the country the event would be held with simplicity and only educational activities of symposium would be held and the money kept for banquet, cultural and musical programmes would be used for relief and medical care of flood victims which amounts to approximately Rs2 million.

The symposium would be inaugurated by Dr Asim Hussain, the chancellor of Ziauddin Medical University Karachi. Dawn

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Health of SMI students suffering due to pollution
Karachi: Pincipal of Sindh Madressatual Islam (SMI) College, Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh, has said that the health of students at his institute is suffering badly due to air and noise pollution created by heavy generators installed by a local bank in the vicinity.

The bank is located on the opposite side of Talpur House Building of SMI on Hasrat Moohani Road. "I wrote a letter to the president of the bank on September 16, 2010 where in I have mentioned that the noise and air pollution created by generators installed in their head office is badly affecting the health and education of young students," Dr Shaikh said.

"In my letter I explained to them that noise pollution was leading to several ailments ranging from hearing loss to cardiovascular diseases. It was also causing annoyance, aggression, stress, irritability, sleep-loss, heartburn, indigestion, ulcers and high blood pressure," he added.

He maintained that in addition to noise pollution, SMI students are also suffering from air pollution created by power generators. "The smoke emanating from these generators directly enters in the classrooms. This smoke contains high content of hydrocarbons, which interfere with the oxygen intake in human beings, and carbon-mono-oxide, which displaces oxygen in red blood cells. These conditions result in fatigue, angina, reduced visual perception, reduced dexterity and even death," Dr Shaikh said. The news

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Educationist passes away
Karachi: Prominent educationist and litterateur M. Anees-ul-Haque died here on Friday after suffering a massive heart attack. He was in his late seventies.

Mr Haque worked as a lecturer in Dhaka, mainly at the Quaid-i-Azam College, and moved to Karachi after the emergence of Bangladesh. He was also associated with PTV and Radio Pakistan. His funeral prayers will be offered after Zuhar prayers on Saturday at the Rahmaniya Masjid on University Road. Dawn

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