Lahore schools, colleges & dengue

Lahore schools, colleges shut over dengue fears
Lahore, Sep 14: The Punjab government has decided to shut down all public and private sector schools and colleges in Lahore for 10 days to protect students from the dengue virus and to complete spraying and other arrangements. This was announced after as many as 559 new cases of dengue fever were reported during the last 24 hours across the Punjab province. This number includes an MPA and his wife and daughter.

The decision to close down all educational institutions was announced by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif while presiding over a meeting to review measures against the dengue virus here on Tuesday. He said educational institutions would carryout spraying and necessary measures during the holidays while monitoring teams will supervise the process.

He also issued instructions for the immediate suspension of the Medical Superintendent Benazir Hospital, Rawalpindi, saying that doctors and paramedics serving the ailing people would be commended while those showing negligence would not be spared.

He said all possible steps were being taken to control the dengue virus; besides posting additional staff in hospitals for the benefit of patients, machinery had also been made available. He said immediate steps should be taken to import machines from Germany and medicines from India in accordance with the standard of the World Health Organisation and a special team should be sent to India for the purpose.

The CM said a plan should be evolved to distribute pamphlets bearing preventive measures against dengue in the worst affected districts. The CM said that in the light of the negotiations between the Punjab government and the owners of private hospitals, provision of free medical facilities for dengue patients in such hospitals should be ensured and private hospitals should discharge their responsibilities in this regard.

He said that setting up of 10 collection centres with the collaboration of Chughtai Labs and the Punjab government was a welcome step and would result in the availability of free diagnostic facilities for dengue patients.

The CM said that the helpline set up for the benefit of dengue patients was yielding positive results and 10,000 calls had so far been received. He directed that students of medical colleges should also be included in the campaign to counsel dengue patients.

Earlier, Health Secretary Jehanzeb Khan gave a briefing and said that 4,044 dengue patients had been reported in Punjab so far and most of them belonged to Lahore.

While announcing the closure of all public and private educational institutions in district Lahore till September 24, the government also announced the use of police force against the owners of educational institutions who would defy its order.

Schools across Lahore district will reopen on September 26 as September 25 is Sunday. The Higher Education Department announced holidays for colleges from Wednesday (today) till September 23.

However, the All Pakistan Private Schools Welfare Association (APPSWA) has announced keeping schools open in district Lahore despite the announcement by the provincial government. According to a press release, the decision was taken in a meeting chaired by APPSWA President Syed Zulqarnain Shah who said students mostly spent their time at home and attend schools for just six hours daily. He said medical research had also proved that dengue attacked in the early morning or evening so the decision to close educational institutes was irrelevant.

The APPSWA also demanded that the Punjab government revert its decision, warning that in case of forcible closure of private schools, it would file a petition in court. During the meeting, it was also decided that all the private schools would be sprayed with dengue insecticide.

Muhammad Sadiq Siddiqui, Sheikh Javed Aziz, Maqsood Ahmad, Sheikh Muhammad Arshad, Rana Naveed Asghar, Rizwan Yousaf, Dr Mumtaz Hassan, Chaudhry Tariq and others also attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, parents and students have expressed concerns over the Punjab government's notification, saying it should have also covered tuition centres and academies that mostly operate in the evening. They also criticised the government for delaying anti-dengue measures and said if the government had taken timely measures, the situation could have been averted.

They were of the view that the abrupt announcement to close educational institutions was evidence of the bewilderment of the government that had failed to control the virus. They also condemned the involvement of female college students in dengue awareness campaigns on different roads in the provincial metropolis and said the government should engage its own employees for the purpose.

Meanwhile, according to the report issued by the Punjab Health Department here on Tuesday, at least 389 patients were under treatment for dengue fever in different hospitals of the province. The second highest number of dengue patients has been reported from Faisalabad where the total number of patients has reached 196, followed by Rawalpindi where the number is 52.

MPA Farooq Yousaf Ghurki, his wife and daughter are also suffering from dengue fever and are under treatment at a hospital. Children at Edhi Home have also contracted the virus.

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PBTE result
Lahore: The Punjab Board of Technical Education (PBTE) on Monday announced the result of Diploma of Associate Engineering (DAE) and Diploma in Dress Making and Dress Designing (DDM) third year annual examination, 2011. The news

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UHS test: students can work out score
Lahore: As many as 33,694 candidates appeared on Tuesday in the uniform entrance test for admission to medical and dental colleges conducted by the University of Health Sciences (UHS), simultaneously in 12 cities of Punjab amid tight security. The candidates are competing for 3,205 MBBS and 216 BDS seats in 15 public sector medical and three dental colleges, respectively. As many as 2,200 seats are available in private sector institutions of the province.

The UHS has uploaded the answer keys to the question papers on its website With the help of these keys, candidates themselves can calculate their score. The official result will be announced later this month.

The test started at 9am at 21 centres set up in Lahore, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Gujrat, Gujranwala Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi and Hasanabdal.

A large number of policemen were deployed at the centres to prevent any disruption in the examination. Bomb disposal squads were also made available at the centres to counter any untoward incident.

There were separate arrangements for the disabled students, parking and waiting area facilities for the parents of the candidates. Back-up power generators were also provided at all centres.

However, parents and relatives of the candidates faced some problems regarding sitting arrangements at Lawrence Road centre. No untoward incident was reported during the course of the test.

In Lahore, there were three centres; one at Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education examination halls on Lawrence Road where 5,440 female candidates appeared, the second centre was established at the University of Engineering and Technology where 577 male candidates turned up. Punjab University examination halls on Wahdat Road was the third centre where 2,564 male and 1,492 female candidates appeared.

In Rawalpindi, the number of candidates who appeared in the test were 5,252, Multan 4,779, Faisalabad 2,430, Gujranwala 2,594, Bahawalpur 1,712, Sargodha 1,170, Sahiwal 1,313, Gujrat 1,115, D.G. Khan 1,024, Rahim Yar Khan 853 and in Hassan Abdal 369 students took the test.

Divisional Commissioner Jawwad Rafiq Malik, DCO Ahad Cheema and other senior officials monitored the arrangements.

Health Secretary Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan termed the arrangements satisfactory. "No cheating incident was reported from any of the centres across the province," he said.

UHS Vice-Chancellor Prof. Malik Husain Mubashar told the media that a scientific method had been adopted to maintain secrecy in examination papers and the entire process of the test. He said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had expressed his satisfaction over the procedures adopted by UHS to maintain secrecy in the preparation of papers and facilities extended to candidates.

He said medical college admission test was compulsory across the world, both in developed and developing countries.

Neighbouring countries such as Iran, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka conducted entrance test every year, he said.

"The marks obtained by candidates in various education boards across the province are not a standardised measure of their abilities. It is, therefore, important to let all of them go through a comprehensive test."

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Medical education: PMDC criticised for 'decline' in standard
Lahore: A Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) elected member from Sindh and PMA office-bearers have criticised the council for its failure in maintaining medical education standard in the country.

PMDC member Dr Sher Shah Syed told the media at the Lahore Press Club on Tuesday that the council miserably failed in performing its duties in line with its rules and regulations. He demanded immediate restructuring of the council with at least 50 per cent representation from public medical institutions.

Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Punjab president Prof Dr Ashraf Nizami, PMA central joint secretary Dr Shahid Malik, PMA Lahore general secretary Dr Izhar Chaudhry and Young Doctors Association Pakistan general secretary Dr Salman Kazmi were also present.

Dr Syed said only a strong, autonomous, democratic and powerful council could regulate medical education in Pakistan. He said recently the council advertised the list of recognised medical institutions of the country without mentioning their attached hospitals.

"We are concerned about deterioration in the medical education standard in the country because of council's apathy, irregularities, lack of transparency in government medical universities and exploitation of medical students and their parents in both private and public medical institutions," said Dr Syed.

He said it was a matter of concern that federal and provincial governments were not doing enough to stop this exploitation and streamline the medical education.

In recent years, the council recognised every medical college except one in the public and private sector without proper faculties, infrastructure and some of these even without hospitals. He said now the council was bent upon changing the world recognised criteria by supporting the idea of night medical colleges at vested interests' behest.

"It is a matter of concern that with the exception of one, all medical colleges are part time institutes in Pakistan. Right from vice chancellors to principals and faculty members all are part time faculty members working in medical colleges and teaching hospitals and at the same time extensively involved in private practice. The standard of medical education has been compromised because of this practice. We are producing half-cooked half-baked glorified quacks with MBBS degrees. Unfortunately, these doctors have no role to play in our health care system," he said.

The mushroom growth of medical universities is not the solution to problems. There was no system for recruitment, appointment and promotion for faculty members, he said, adding that there was a need to develop a transparent system for appointments to key posts in medical universities and colleges.

These medical universities have introduced diploma and degree courses without trained faculty members and standardisation, says Dr Ashraf Nizami. He said very soon Pakistan would be flooded with specialists without proper training, knowledge and ethical standards. "We are concerned about the amount of fee private medical colleges are charging in the name of admissions and tuition. It is regrettable that public medical colleges are also charging huge fee in the name of self-finance scheme," he said.

It is high time the government should intervene in the affairs of medical education and training in Pakistan. The government should not play in the hands of vested interests and protect the rights of patients and medical students, Dr Nizami said. Dawn

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PU teacher's book selected for award
Lahore: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has selected the book titled "Kuch Ehm Maholiati aur Arziati Masail: Aik Sainse Nuqta-e-Nazar," written by Punjab University Institute of Plant Pathology faculty member Prof Dr Ghazala Nasim, for Best Book Publication Award for the year 2009.

The award, consisting of a certificate and a cash prize of Rs 300,000 would be given to Dr Ghazala Nasin in a ceremony to be held on September 22 at HEC head office Islamabad. Dr Ghazala Nasim's said book is the only book which has been selected from all leading national universities of the country for the said award. PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has congratulated Dr Ghazala Nasim on her achievement and said it was a pride for the varsity. The nation

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UMT offers new programmes
Lahore: The University of Managements and Technology (UMT), Lahore, has launched new undergraduate programmes to meet the changing requirements of the job market and increasing demands of students who want to explore study options that will lead to challenging careers.

BS Aviation Management and BS Aerospace and Avionics Engineering are exciting new programmes aligned with emerging market needs. The BS Media and Communication programme is geared to produce professional communicators and journalists. The BS Economics and Finance (BSEF) has been launched to produce future economic leaders and managers.

The new programmes at the technological front include BS Solar Technology Management (BS-STM) that is being pioneered as a much needed effort to train human resources to seek alternative energy. The BS Mobile Commerce and Computing (BS-MCC) is being offered with a view to tapping the potential of the mobile web. The BS Agribusiness Management (BS-ABM) caters for the needs of the agricultural sector and processed food industry. All programmes are of four years duration and conform to HEC standards.

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New academic block
Lahore: The inaugural ceremony of new academic block of Punjab University Hailey College of Banking & Finance (HCBF) will be held on September 15 at College premises. According to a press statement, PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran will preside over the ceremony. The news

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