Varsity teachers continue protest
Karachi, Sept 24: Representatives of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association and different college and university teachers' associations have announced that they have not ended their protest against major cuts in funds being given to the public-sector varsities and a decision on the issue will be made after mutual consultation on Friday.
Addressing a press conference on the Karachi University campus on Thursday, they said they would not toe the line of the Higher Education Commission or vice-chancellors on the funding issue, arguing that they had not initiated their struggle on the directives of the HEC or VCs. They claimed that they would make their "own independent decision".
The press briefing had representation from Fapuasa, Karachi University Teachers' Society, the staff associations of the NED University of Engineering and Technology and the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology and the Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association.
Prof Dr Badar Soomro, who heads the Fapuasa's Sindh chapter, said it was regrettable that the decision to cut the budget of universities had been taken by an elected government. "The government strategy is nothing but a reflection of the lack of a vision and bad governance. It has been the tactics of dictatorial regimes to give a low priority to such key issues as health and education in budgetary allocations. The two sectors, however, should have been close to the heart of a democratic government," he remarked.
He categorically rejected the setting up of a committee by the prime minister for negotiations and termed it a delaying tactic.
At the time of budget, the HEC had requested for allocation of Rs30 billion, he recalled. However, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani instead showed "generosity" towards his hometown by announcing a development package of Rs30 billion for Multan, Dr Badar said.
The professor added: "The prime minister preferred his hometown over the rest of the country. This is unfortunate. Over 150 scholars have been waiting in Sindh alone to go abroad for many months after passing the relevant exams, but the HEC has no money to offer them scholarships," he said, adding that a number of projects launched on the commission's directives were in pending due to financial crisis.
In reply to a question about the government's reported agreement to release some funds to the HEC initially, Dr Hasnain said that university teachers across the country had not initiated the struggle on the directives of vice chancellors nor they would end it on their request. "The FAPUASA represents the will of teachers and it would make an independent decision and announce a strategy on Friday after consulting all colleagues," he said.
KUTS Secretary Dr Faiyaz Vaid said that university teachers had serious reservations over the unilateral role of the HEC in the affairs of the varsities. He explained that the HEC imposed its policies on educational institutions instead of making them part of the decision. The HEC had been reminded time and again to include senior teachers from public sector universities while introducing new programmes and policies, but to no avail.
"Fapuasa had held two meetings with the HEC a few months ago over some academic matters. But, there has been no response yet," he said.
The HEC's policies were dictatorial in nature and the commission's establishment had seriously affected the autonomous status of universities, Dr Hasnain said.
Raza Ali Khan, who represented the staff association of the NED varsity, deplored what he termed "anti-education attitude" of the government. He regretted that people, who were unaware of the significance of education, were making national policies.
Voicing similar sentiments, Nasir Abbas of the Urdu varsity was of the view that the government decision was a conspiracy to privatise the institutions of higher education and deny the right to education to students belonging to the middle and lower-middle income groups.
Meanwhile, classes remained suspended for two hours in major public sector universities in the city. The protest will continue on Friday when no classes will be held for similar hours.
The Karachi University Employees Welfare Association, meanwhile, issued a statement condemning what they called "an indifferent attitude" of the government officials towards the financial woes of varsities. "This mirrored the feudal mindset," the association said, reiterating the demand for immediate release of funds so that academic activities could resume in universities.
SU extends deadline for admission
Hyderabad: The University of Sindh has extended deadline for obtaining and submitting admission forms to Sept 30 in view of difficulties being faced by candidates who belong to flood affected areas.
The director of admissions said in a notification issued on Thursday that last date for obtaining and submitting forms for bachelors, masters (morning and evening) in all disciplines and MS/M.Phil degree program had been extended to Sept 30.
The deadline for admission to Sindh University Laar College Badin and Sindh Universitys Mirpurkhas Campus had also been extended to Sept 30, it said.
The notification advised interested candidates to obtain admission form from prescribed branches of Habib Bank or download it from the university's website www.usindh.edu.pk
SCHEDULE: The controller of examinations (annual) of the University of Sindh on Thursday announced schedule for submission of examination forms for postgraduate degree (college side) annual examination of 2009.
The controller Mohammad Nawaz Narejo said in a handout that deadline date for submission of forms for M.A, M.Sc, M.Com previous and final had been fixed as Oct 10 without late fee.
SU VC allows combined examinations
Hyderabad: The vice-chancellor of the University of Sindh has allowed conduct of combined examinations (annual system) for the same degree for regular and external candidates of various affiliate colleges, according to a handout.
He took the decision in light of recommendations of the 17th meeting of Vice Chancellor's Executive Council, it said.
Many injured as students clash in QUEST
Nawabshah: A number of students of Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering, Science and Technology, Nawabshah, were injured in a clash between two groups on Thursday.
Muslim Latif Bhutto, an activist of Muslim Students Federation-Functional was seriously injured as he received bullet injury in a clash between MSF-Functional and Peoples Students Federation (Shaheed Bhutto) whereas few other students, including Shahraiz Dehraj of PSF-Shaheed Bhutto, Darban Ali Panhwar, Zainul Abideen Rajpar, Irfan and Amanullah were also injured during the clash at the university premises.
The injured were removed to Peoples Medical College Hospital where Muslim Latif Bhutto was referred to Karachi due to his critical condition.
However, refusal of providing ambulance from the hospital administration enraged the students who later smashed the window pans of administration and other blocks, broke down other furniture and misbehaved with the acting medical superintendent and other staff. He was later taken to Karachi through a private vehicle.
Panic and tension spread in the university and a number of students living in the hostel left for their homes. No FIR was lodged till the filing of this report. Dawn
Government plans tent schools for regular classes
Karachi: The Sindh government intends to establish tent schools for holding regular classes that have been suspended for the last two months as flood-affected people were staying in government school buildings throughout the province.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah informed this to a delegation of different United Nations organisations which called upon him at the Chief Minister's House on Thursday.
The delegation included Louis Georges Aresnault of United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Dr Eric Laroche of World Health Organisation (WHO) and David Kaatrud of World Food Program (WFP).
According to an official handout, the chief minister informed the delegation that most of the relief camps were established in schools buildings and the government wanted to resume classes by establishing schools in tents, for which the government needed tents at the earliest.
He told the representatives that over 7 million people have been affected in the province and underlined the need for cooperation from the whole world as the government was facing difficulties to rehabilitate the displaced population.
Shah also said the government needed water-purifying units to provide clean drinking water to the flood affectees at relief camps and avoid the spread of water-borne diseases.
The province, which depended on agriculture, has suffered the worst damage to crops, including wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane and others, he said, adding that the whole infrastructure has been destroyed.
The representatives of the UN organisations assured the chief minister of their continued cooperation in relief and rehabilitation of people.
The chief minister appreciated the role played by world organisations and international community for the rescue and relief of the flood-hit population. Daily times