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HEC & Dr Sohail Naqvi possible extension

Fears surface Sohail Naqvi may join HEC again
Islamabad, Jan 17: Bad blood between its regular and contract staff that had rocked the Higher Education Commission (HEC) last year over giving a third extension to Dr Sohail Naqvi as Executive Director of HEC looks resurfacing in implementing the Supreme Court's order on filling the post.

It is learnt that the Selection Board met on Tuesday and short-listed 20 of the 57 applicants for the post, for the HEC commission to choose and appoint on January 20 a Sunday.

Those decisions made the staff members who had agitated against a third term for Dr Naqvi, and dragged the HEC to the Supreme Court in December suspicious that he was being smoothed into the post again.They say that not only Dr Naqvi's name tops the short list but the Selection Board at its meeting on a day when the whole nation was rivet on Dr Tahirul Qadri's "million march"" changed the MP-1 pay scale provided for the post in the rules to that prescribed for vice chancellors of the federally chartered public sector universities.

They consider it significant that the very next day the decisions were taken, acting ED HEC and a member of the board, Engineer Syed Imtiaz Hussain, vice chancellor of UET Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, addressed a letter to all members of the HEC commission, saying they "must endorse to make decisions that pass the touchstones of legal correctness, pristine transparency, total impartiality and impeccable administrative propriety and only then decisions will stand unchallenged"".

However, Engr Gilani said that Dr Naqvi's name was selected purely on merit and that, controversial or not, the HEC Commission, of which he is a member, will consider him.

Engr Gilani was appointed acting ED HEC after the Supreme Court ruled on December 21, 2012 that the controversy over extending the stay of Dr Naqvi in the post be settled through a new competitive appointment within one month.

Dr Naqvi became controversial when, just before his retirement, the HEC commission extended his contract for a third term on September 27, 2012, igniting a protest by HEC employees.

The Establishment Division, through a notification issued on November 28, gave additional charge of the post of ED HEC to Secretary Ministry of Education and Training, Qamar Zaman. That generated a tussle between the HEC and the ministry. The matter went to the Supreme Court and in the aftermath Mr Zaman had to give up the charge to Engr Gilani, VC University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar, who enjoyed the confidence of all sides.

An officer of the HEC alleged that the Selection Board changed the MP pay scale for HEC ED to that for vice chancellors "to avoid a possible hurdle"" in the reappointment of Dr Naqvi in his former post from the Ministry of Education and Training, or any other government department which have a say in this appointment.

"Otherwise, the HEC management had no right to convert the pay scale without re-advertising the post of ED,"" he claimed.

"If the new ED was appointed in MP Scale, it would have needed approval of three federal secretaries, including the Secretary Ministry of Education and Training, Qamar Zaman, beside the secretaries of Finance and Establishment divisions,"" he said.In the past principals, head of institutes and officers of ministries used to be appointed on the basis of seniority.

The MP scale was introduced in 1998 to make direct appointments possible. The HEC started implementing the scale from 2002.

Documents available show that the HEC Commission has been summoned on Sunday, otherwise a closed day, and members have been told they will find "the agenda/working papers"" on the table.

When contacted, an HEC official said: "We considered re-advertising the post of ED, mentioning that the pay scale has been changed for the post from MP to that for VCs post. But we are in a hurry because the Supreme Court's instructions are that the matter be settled in one month.""

Dr Sohail Naqvi said that he had served HEC for 10 years and during his tenure HEC progressed a lot.

"Thousands of PhDs and MPhil were produced and literacy rate of higher education improved,"" he said.

"My selection for the interview is a proof that my qualification and experience is beyond any objection. But my family and friends opposed my rejoining the HEC and I will think should I go for interview or not,"" he said. Dawn

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Jordan team, HEC discuss future cooperation
Islamabad: To explore the possibilities of cooperation in the fields of higher education sector, energy and science and technology, a delegation of senior scientists and officials from Jordan paid visit to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Wednesday.

The main objective of the visit was to discuss future prospects of cooperation between the two brotherly countries. Chairperson HEC Dr Javaid R. Laghari welcomed the delegation and apprised them about the working, functions and role of HEC for strengthening higher education sector in Pakistan.

He informed that the establishment of the HEC in 2002 brought revolutionary changes in higher education sector of Pakistan. "The HEC has accomplished more in ten years since its establishment than was achieved in the first 55 years of Pakistan's existence.""

Laghari informed the delegation that due to revolutionary reforms in this sector, Pakistani universities have been able to make their place in the top world and Asian ranking of universities.

The chairman invited Jordanian Higher Education Minister for a visit to Pakistan for the exploration of more avenues of academic and scientific collaboration between the higher education institutions of both countries.

There was consensus that investment in science and technology, higher education and energy sector would be greatly helpful for the economic prosperity and production of skilled human resource for the Islamic world.

The delegation included Dr. Khaled Toukan, Dr. Abdul Halim Wriekat, Dr. Samer Kahook, Eng. Kays El-Kayasi and Dr. Yasser Khalil. Acting Executive Director HEC Engineer Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani, Dr. Member Operations and Planning HEC Nasser Ali Khan, Director General HEC Farman Ullah Anjum and other officials were also present on the occasion. The news

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UET exam began
Taxila: The administration of University of Engineering and Technology Taxila (UET) has announced on Wednesday to hold examinations as per schedule.

According to Mahmood Akhtar, Controller of Examinations, University of Engineering and Technology Taxila, BSc civil engineering, environmental engineering, electrical engineering, electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, computer engineering, software engineering and telecommunication engineering, MSc and PhD end Semester (Fall-2012) examinations would begin from January 17. Dawn

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GCU Lahore PhD
Lahore: Government College University Lahore produced a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the field of Physics.

According to a press release on Wednesday, a student named Mazher Shad completed his research titled "Nonlinear Dynamics of Large Scale Vertical Motions in Electron-Positron Plasmas and other Multiple Component Plasmas"" under the supervision of Prof Dr Tamaz David Kaldze and Chairperson, Department of Physics, Prof Dr Hassan A Shah.

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KU foundation day on Jan 18
Karachi: The 53rd foundation day of the University of Karachi would be marked on January 18. A spokesman of the institution said on Wednesday that a ceremony to this effect would be organised at the Arts Auditorium of the University. It will be attended among others by former vice-chancellor Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, former federal minister Javed Jabbar, Administrator Karachi Muhammad Hussain Syed and Azhar Abbas Hashmi. app

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Education in Sindh in a mess despite more funds
Karachi: Despite the massive budgetary allocation of Rs111 billion for education, Sindh's managers have failed to make a mark, a glaring example of which is the fact that the number of children in the province having no access to primary education has increased.

These observations are part of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan that portrays a dismal picture of the state of education in Pakistan, especially in Sindh.

The survey was conducted by ASER in collaboration with the Information and Communication Resource Programme (HANDS), the Sindh Education Foundation and the National Commission for Human Development. It was funded by SAFED and Oxfam.

Speaking at a news conference at the Karachi Press Club, ASER Research Associate Ansar Shah said the report would be released in Islamabad on January 21 and in Sindh on 31st.

The survey was conducted in 136 rural and six urban districts. They included all of Sindh's 23 districts. It took cognisance of school-going children's attendance and absence and those who were never admitted to a school.

Shah said according to the ASER 2011, 20 percent of children across the country had no access to primary education. In Sindh, the ratio was 30 percent, 50 percent of them girls. "According to ASER 2012, the ratio has increased,"" he added.

Shah further said the 2011 survey indicated that 68 percent of schools lacked toilets and 53 had poor drinking water facilities. Thirty percent of them lacked boundary walls.

"In 2012,"" he added, "no progress was made in these areas.""

Citing the report, Shah said the Sindh government had allocated Rs111 billion for education, but as this money was not properly utilised, the state of education in the province was showing signs of further deterioration.

"Better results can be achieved if funds allocated for education are judiciously utilised.""

Reading ability
Shah said certain tools were used in the survey and more than 50 percent students of class V were unable to read any other language other than their own.

"Children were asked to read capital letters, small letters and a sentence and if children studying in a school could not read capital letters, they were ticked as illiterate.""

Responding to a question, Shah said he was a political scientist and immensely inspired by the great Italian Marxist thinker, Antonio Gramsci, who presented the concept of organic intellectuals.

"There are 60 secondary schools in country for every 600 primary schools. Our education system is flawed.""

Shah was flanked by HANDS General Manager Bilquis Rehman and Mujib-ur-Rahman Khatri.

"ASER operates at the national, provincial, district and village levels,"" said Rehman. "At the national level, it's governed by international non-governmental organisations,"" she added.

"Education should be made one of the main agendas prior to the general elections because it's the right of every child.""

The HANDS general manager also pointed out that the government owned the report.

"By the year 2015, we have to push our literacy rate to 85 percent in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals. ASER is analysing the quality of education and its compatibility.""

Rehman said the survey was conducted by several non-governmental organisations and volunteers were trained for three days to carry out the task. "Citizens themselves carried out the survey; so there is no monopoly.""

She said the report was sent to the media, executive district officers, politicians and all other stakeholders.

To a question, she said both government and private schools were surveyed.

"Essentially,"" she noted, "it's a rural-based survey."

A documentary was also shown on the occasion. It revealed that 10 percent of world's children who do not go to schools live in Pakistan.

The documentary also focused on issues related to gender, drinking water facilities and the role a mother plays in rearing her children if she is literate.

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Students protest against hooliganism in exam halls
Karachi: The Students Action Committee of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology (Fuuast) Abdul Haq Campus disrupted the semester papers of different departments on Wednesday to lodge their protest against the apex court order to arrest the prime minister on corruption allegations.

Activists of the student body misbehaved with the faculty members and students after forcibly entering the exam halls.

Later, over two dozen students of the university reached the Karachi Press Club along with their examination copies and staged a protest demonstration against the hooliganism at the campus. They also solved their papers outside the press club to record their protest.

The protesters, led by Kamil Ahmed, Faisal Awan, Muhammad Arshad, Ubir Fatima, Farwa Haider, Yawar Abbas, Muhammad Sultan, Iqbal Ahmed, Hassan Abbas, Kamran, Amjad, Faheem Kaneez Fatima and Sumaira, demanded that the government and the vice chancellor should make efforts to bring an end to the harassment of students by the student wings of political parties and ensure a peaceful environment at the campus. The news

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