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University of Karachi's 23rd annual convocation

155 KU students get gold medals
Karachi, Jan 31: University of Karachi (KU) on Wednesday organised its 23rd annual convocation in which Vice Chancellor KU Dr Muhammad Qaiser awarded degrees to 3,366 students belonging to nine faculties of 2011 batch besides gold medals were also awarded to 155 position holder students.

It is pertinent to mention here that convocation was attended by only 771 students, including 182 PhD and 101 MPhil. Degrees and gold medals were distributed among students of various departments, who have done BA (Honrs), BS, MA, MLIS, Pharm D, BCom (Hons), BBA, BPA, MAS, MBA, MCom, MHRM, MSC, MCS, MS, MPhil and PhD.

On the occasion, parents and faculties' members were present.

Addressing the convocation, KU VC Dr Muahmmad Qaiser said, "I feel privileged to stand before you this morning and welcome you at the 23rd annual convocation 2012.
"As you are well aware, our convocation is a significant event for the university because it is the time when the university academic grandeur is witnessed in the form of prolific faculty and graduating students. This glorious sight showcases the multifaceted excellence of the university in disciplines."

"After joining my responsibilities as VC, my first priority was to hold meetings with all the statutory bodies of the university and arrange impending selection boards for different positions. Till date the university conducted selection boards for 187 posts of different cadres in various departments of the faculty of Arts, Science, Management and Administrative Sciences and Pharmacy," he said.

VC further asserted that university, at present, offers academic training and research opportunities in nine disciplines, which provides number of academic programmes. In addition certificate, and diploma courses were also offered in various languages and technical subjects. "We will also establish a medical college," he informed.

Qaiser mentioned that despite being ranked as the best university of Pakistan, KU also enjoys its status in the list of top universities of the world. "According to recent ranking by Times Higher Education and Quacquarelli Symonds (THE-QS), UK, KU was ranked among top 700 institutions of world in the disciplines of Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Life Science. KU stands 191st among 425 top universities of Asia as per QS Asian University Ranking 2012," Qaiser informed.

The research and academic output of the university is recognised globally as well. This institution of higher learning has a very good concentration of PhDs, he said.

Talking about major problems that university currently faces, Qaiser said that the major problem of KU was the acute financial crises. In order to deal with this issue, their prime focus was on resources generation. In addition, they had initiated the first official Alumni Association through which they are bringing closer all the alumni. As a result of this reunion, the university would be able to establish its Endowment Fund.

Qaiser stated that he would like to extend his felicitations to the graduating students who had successfully completed a major phase of their life but students must keep this in mind that journey towards knowledge never ends.

Students expressed their jubilation and pleasure for acquiring the degrees. They said that it was the final academic achievement of their career. They were sad because they were about to be separated from their Alma matter, but were also happy for the achievement. They were experiencing mix felling of joy, sadness and an unknown fear due to the situation of job market. Daily times

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SSUET students produce solar-electric car
Karachi: A group of students of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) produced a `solar-energy operated' car which has been further modified to be used during night time. This was claimed in an announcement of the institution here on Wednesday. It said that after modification, the car can now be run both on solar energy and electricity and can be regarded as environment friendly. app

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VCs reject HEC Amendment Bill
Islamabad: Executive Committee of Vice Chancellors (VC) which is a representative body of VCs of 77 universities, on Wednesday, rejected the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Private Amendment Bill, proposing to curtail the powers of the organisation.

The committee members have decided to meet the President and the Prime Minister, in order to directly apprise them of the reservations of HEC.

The VC meeting was held in Islamabad and members of the committee Engr Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani VC University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, Dr Nasser Ali Khan VC Haripur University, Dr Nasir Jamal Khattak VC Kohat University, Engr Ahmed Farooq Bazai VC Balochistan University, Ms Sultana Baloch VC Sardar Bahadur Khan Women's University, Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran VC University of the Punjab, Dr Sabiha Mansoor VC Lahore College for Women University and other VCs participated in the meeting.

A participant of the meeting requesting not to be quoted said that the one point agenda of the meeting was the recent HEC Private Amendment Bill.

In a recent standing committee meeting on education and training at the National Assembly, a draft was approved, proposing a bill to curtail powers of the HEC.

The VCs rejected the proposed bill and expressed apprehensions over any legislation that takes away the autonomy of HEC. According to participants such a move would damage the higher education sector in the country.

VC Quaid-i-Azam University Profs Dr Masoom Yasinzai informed the participants of the meeting that faculty members of his university had been planning to move abroad because of the situation.

"Participants were of the unanimous view that an institution which has functioned extremely well and has delivered during the last decade, should not be disturbed," the VC said.

VC University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that it was a step to push HEC into the dark ages and the whole nation would suffer because of the decision.

"The vice chancellors felt that after the 18th Amendment, changes in the HEC Act should also have the recommendations of the Task Force proposed by the Prime Minister's High Powered Committee. These recommendations should be incorporated in the proposed amendment bill," he said.

During the meeting, it was decided that the Executive VC Committee meet the President, Prime Minister, and other law makers to apprise them of the situation.

It was further decided that a meeting of all VCs, both from public and private sector universities would be held on February 6, 2013, to have a broad based discussion and to come up with recommendations.

Executive Director HEC Imtiaz Gilani said that VCs had concerns that if HEC loses autonomy, quality of higher education would suffer.

"We have decided to meet the President and Prime Minister. We will tell them that it was not a political issue, it is related to the future of Pakistan and all stakeholders should be contacted before any legislation," he said. Dawn

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Bill to deprive HEC of financial, administrative powers
Islamabad: A highly controversial Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Bill 2012 mainly carries four amendments in the existing HEC Ordinance 2002 with an aim to deprive the sole independent regulatory institution of its financial and administrative powers in favour of the Education Ministry whose own status stands disputed after the 18th Amendment, reliable sources said.

The draft of the Amendment Bill, initially submitted by two ruling party MNAs Yasmin Rehman and Nafeesa Shah, suggested removal of various clauses including Clause 2 of Article 5 of Ordinance 2002 that would deprive the HEC chairman of the status of the federal minister, Para (E) of Clause 1 of Article 10 to ensure ranking by the independent body and Para (G) of Article 10 regarding provision of funds to the universities.

It was also suggested in the Amendment Bill to reduce term of the HEC chairman from four to three years, cut in powers to approve funds, stoppage of unnecessary provision of funds to the private universities and constitution of an independent body to ensure transparent ranking of the universities.

The draft emphasised to replace words of "for approval and provision of funds" with "recommendation for approval of funds" that means that HEC would not be able to directly approve funds for the public and private sector universities.

It maintained that after devolution of the federal education ministry the secretary education should be replaced by the secretary cabinet in the Commission.

It also suggested removal of power of 17-member HEC Board (including one member nominated by each province to allocate funds to the universities). This power would then be transferred to the Secretary Division with which HEC would be attached.

Currently, the control over funds lies with the HEC Commission made of 17 members which is chaired by the chairman. All policy making and financial policy powers are with this Commission consists of vice chancellors, provincial representatives, federal secretaries and eminent academics. No person has control over this body and the HEC chairman himself is not 'executive' authority.

The Amendment Bill would also deprive HEC of power of attestation and verification of degrees as the universities would do this work at their own.

The sources said two drafts of legislation with regard to removing independent status of HEC were also provided to the Minister for Education and Trainings in October last year, but he did not come up with this idea and instead decided to distance himself from the whole issue.

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600 students of Rawalpindi division still waiting for laptops
Rawalpindi: More than 600 female and male students of the Rawalpindi Division, who obtained more than 70 per cent marks in their final examinations, have still not received laptops, which negates the claims of the Punjab government that this reward has been given to all position-holders and brilliant students of the province.

A number female and male students of different schools and colleges, on condition of anonymity, while showing their marks sheet told this scribe that they have achieved 75 per cent and plus marks in the final examinations of Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, as well as Punjab University and other universities of Punjab in their final examinations held in 2012, but were not given laptops so for.

They said that as the Punjab government announced the scheme of laptops for students, the heads of their respective institutions included their names and sent the lists to the concerned authorities in the Punjab government.

Even on the day of distribution of laptops, as per directions, the students were taken in buses to the venue where Chief Minister Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif was to distribute laptops along with distribution of internship letters. However, at the last moment the students were not allowed to enter the venue and were asked to sit in their buses.

Interestingly, during the event, laptops were not distributed but only internship letters were given to those students who were present in the ceremony.

Over three months have passed on now but we are still waiting to get laptops from the scheme announced by the CM, they said. A good number of students also showed their mark sheets obtaining more than 70 per cent marks.

While referring to the statements made by the Punjab chief minister in a public meeting held recently in Rawalpindi at PMAS-UAAR that his government has spent Rs8 billion over the distribution of laptops among brilliant students of Punjab educational institutions, the students asked where their laptops have gone which are still not distributed. The affected students have demanded inquiry into the matter.

The students demanded of the chief minister Punjab for taking notice into the matter and directing the related authorities in the city district governments and educational departments to distribute laptops among those students who were left over.

However, when this correspondent sought comments from Commissioner Rawalpindi, Imdad ullah Bosal, he said that the matter is not in his notice and has to be checked up.

Rawalpindi Division Director Colleges Humayun Iqbal while reacting first stated that laptops were distributed among students belonging to government educational institutions and not private. However, when he was informed that the affected students are also belonged to colleges and universities of Punjab government, he said that laptops were distributed among brilliant students of universities. While in the second phase, Punjab government has planned to give laptops to the students of colleges affiliated with Punjab.

When asked when the second phase is likely to be implemented as little time is left in general elections, Humayun Iqbal said it depends upon the Punjab government. But whenever it would be implemented the college students would get their share.

It merits to mentioning here that several students belonging to different colleges in Punjab have received laptops. Even the Punjab chief minister time and again have announced on different occasions that laptops have been distributed among every student without any discrimination.

PML-N MNA Malik Shakil Awan, while commenting on the issue said that he would discuss the matter with the Commissioner Rawalpindi, Imdadullah Bosal and DCO, Captain (r) Saqib Zafar to know the real facts behind it. At the same time, Shakil Awan said that the left over students whose names are included in the lists forwarded by the head of educational institutions would be provided laptops for which date would be announced by the Punjab government. The matter would be resolved before the dissolution of assemblies, he assured.

However, despite repeated attempts, Hanif Abbasi did not received calls on his mobile for comments. The news

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Scholarship programme ray of hope for poor students
Peshawar: "My mother has told me to save money from my monthly scholarship, which is to last a year, for higher education," according to a shinning student of University of Peshawar.

Rizwanullah, student of second semester of bachelor of studies in UoP environmental sciences department said that he would have been unable to get admission to the university had the provincial government not financially supported him by giving him scholarship.

"My parents admitted me to a government school as they couldn't afford to pay my Rs500 monthly tuition fee when I was a student of a private school," he said.

Rizwanullah, resident of Hassankhel area of Frontier Region Peshawar, got 856 of 1,050 marks (81 per cent) in Secondary School Certificate examination in 2009. He later passed intermediate examination in 2011 from Government Higher Secondary School, Sama Badhber, FR Peshawar.

The youngster remained the top first position holder among the students of government schools by obtaining 838 of 1,100 marks (77 per cent).

Being on the list of brilliant students enrolled in the government schools, he earned the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's scholarship titled 'Stori da Pakhtunkhwa' (Star of Pakhtunkhwa) programme. Currently, he draws monthly stipend of Rs15,000.

'Stori da Pakhtunkhwa' programme was launched in 2011 for brilliant students enrolled in government schools.

Under the programme, the provincial government give Rs10,000 and Rs15,000 for one year as scholarship to top ten position holders of each board of SSC and intermediate respectively.

Around 700 students have been benefiting from the scholarship programme for two years, said an official of the elementary and secondary education department. All these students belong to the lower middle class of the society as well-off and middle class don't admit their children to government schools.

"My father is a watchman in a factory in Balochistan. His salary is Rs7,500 a month," Rizwanullah said. He said that his elder brother was a driver in Karachi while younger one was a labourer. They also wanted to get education but my father couldn't afford their tuition fees, he said.

"Even my father had also asked my mother to let me out from the private school but my mother opposed and insisted to continue study," he said.

After qualifying SSC examination, Rizawanullah got admission in the government higher secondary school Sama Badhber in FR Peshawar. He said he avoided taking pocket money from his mother as he understood the financial condition of his mother. "My mother used to give me Rs100 per week as pocket money," he said.

According to him, it was a surprise and happy news for his family when it learnt that the government would pay him Rs15,000 per month.

Now, he is a student of the second semester of four years Bachelor of Studies programme in environmental sciences department and so far paid fee of the two semesters.
"I pay Rs14,000 per semester," he said.

As the government would support him for one year, he said his mother had asked him not to waste the money and save it for further education as his father couldn't afford continuation of his higher education.

Mr Rizwanullah said after paying Rs28,000 for the two semesters, he had Rs40,000 in his bank account and that money had been saved from the monthly scholarship. Dawn

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