Teachers against election duties | HEC degree verification powers
Teachers speak up against election duty
Lahore, May 14: Teachers have openly spoken about the ordeal of doing
election duty. "We have passed through terrible times during the last 15
days, waiting at training sessions, collecting materials and conducting
polling," said Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) central president Sajjad
Teachers say they were made to suspend their basic duty of teaching since April 1 owing to election duties.
Talking about teachers' ordeal, PTU deputy general secretary Rana
Liaquat said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) failed to develop
a system to conduct the election smoothly. He said the ECP deputed
teachers, especially women teachers, 40 to 50 kilometres away from their
houses. There were many instances that teachers were deputed at two or
three places and were admonished by ECP officials if they did not reach
there. Liaquat said ECP officials told the teachers to leave various
stations and reach where they were being asked to report. "Teachers
faced mental stress and some have fallen sick," he said.
At training sessions, teachers said they had to wait for long hours
and on May 1 they were asked to report at 10am and were relieved at
around 4pm, while only one hour was properly used.
A college teacher, who acted as a presiding officer, said the ECP
management was flawed because teachers' duties were changed every
alternate day before the election.
Besides a poor mechanism for collection of material and transport to
polling stations, the presiding officer said election material was
highly substandard, printing was third class and serial numbers were
randomly placed. "Such a situation created problems for presiding
officers because they were supposed to submit statements of ballot
account," he added.
On election day, the college teacher said, available rooms were too
small to accommodate voter rush and the polling staff could not find
even few minutes to take water, what to say of lunch.
The presiding officer said the ECP needed to reform the general
election activity and it must take suggestions from the staff, which
performed election duties all over the country.
The PTU president and deputy general secretary demanded that the ECP
engage other departments' officials and depute teachers only to fill the
gaps. "Teachers were busy in the Universal Primary Education survey,
admissions, examination duties and finally election duty for the past
one-and-a-half-month. Now, asking for cent per cent results from
teachers will be too much," Liaquat noted.
Meanwhile, he condemned PTI leader Ibrarul Haq for allegedly using
derogatory language against teachers at a protest demonstration against
rigging on Ghazi Road.
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HEC's power to verify degrees withdrawn
Islamabad: Friction between politicians and the
Higher Education Commission (HEC) is likely to emerge after the Cabinet
Division withdrew HEC's power to verify degrees and handed them over to
the newly established Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation
and Coordination (MNHSRC).
However, Chairman HEC Dr. Javaid R. Laghari on Monday wrote a letter
to the Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso stating that the notification
regarding the transfer of power was against the rules and contempt of
the Supreme Court orders.
Therefore, the HEC would continue verifying degrees.
Tension between politicians and HEC rose after the Supreme Court
ordered in June 2010 to verify degrees of all parliamentarians and
members of the provincial assemblies.
Some politicians tried to obtain no objection certificates (NOC)
without verification of their degrees, but the HEC refused to do so.
Resultantly, politicians including Jamshed Dasti had to resign and
former minister for education Sheikh Waqas Akram preferred not to participate in the elections after he was declared a fake degree holder.
According to the notification dated 9th May 2011 and signed by the
Deputy Secretary MNHSRC Saleem Khan (available with Dawn), the subjects
regarding standards of higher education and external examination
including equivalence of degree have been transferred to the MNHSRC. The
ministry has been instructed to transfer all relevant records from the
HEC to its office.
An officer of HEC, requesting anonymity, said the government had
established HEC as an autonomous organisation with the Prime Minister as
its controlling authority.
In view of its self-governing status, the HEC was neither an attached
department nor a subordinate office of any ministry or division.
"Three times between 2010 and 2012, attempts were made to put HEC
under a ministry, but twice the Supreme Court and once the Sindh High
Court assured the autonomy of HEC. In a recent attempt, powers of degree
verification and status of the degree awarding institutes have been
withdrawn from HEC," he said.
"Now, the HEC can neither verify degrees nor prevent any institution
which does not meet the standards from providing degrees. This would
allow fake degree holders to get their degrees cleared from the new
ministry," he said.
"On April 12, 2011, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had clearly
directed that the HEC shall continue discharging its functions and
duties as it has in the past unless a fresh legislation is promulgated,"
When contacted, Chairman HEC said he had come to know about the
notification on Monday, and on the same day, had written a letter to the
premier stating the notification was a clear violation of the rules.
"My meeting is already scheduled with the PM on May 20. I will also
inform him about the previous attempts of disturbing the autonomy of HEC
and will request him to instruct withdrawal of all notifications," he
Mr Laghari added that HEC would continue verifying degrees, and only an act by the Parliament could prevent HEC from doing so.
Former Chairman HEC Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman said the caretaker government
had no right to harm the autonomy of HEC. "The cabinet division's
notification is illegal and the secretary cabinet should be sent to
jail," he said.
He added that 35 politicians who had failed to verify their degrees
had been allowed to contest the elections and they knew their degrees
would not be verified by the HEC.
"Therefore, they (politicians) want to verify their degrees from
ministries. The autonomy of HEC is protected and all notifications
regarding HEC are illegal," he said.
Legal expert Justice (Retired) Tariq Mehmood said that although he did not agree with General Pervez Musharraf's
decision which only allowed degree holders to contest elections, the law
should be implemented in its true letter and spirit.
"The bureaucracy should start obeying the law because otherwise we
will collapse as a nation. I am getting a similar news regarding
elections, which shows transparency is nowhere," he said. Dawn
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AIOU to set up science laboratories in its countrywide campuses
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will set up science
laboratories in all its regional campuses around the country and
state-of-the-art laboratory equipment will be provided to ensure equal
access to quality education and promote science education in the
This was stated by the AIOU Vice-Chancellor Dr Nazir
Ahmed Sangi, while addressing the opening session of the weeklong
faculty development workshop on "physics equipments".
The workshop has been arranged by science department in collaboration with HEC.
faculty members from public and private Universities and post-graduate
colleges across the country were attending the training workshop.
setting up science laboratories at regions, the vice chancellor has
constituted a three-member committee comprising on the Faculty of Social
Sciences Dean Prof Dr Rashid A Naeem, Faculty of Science Dean Prof Dr
Nowshshad Khan and the Department of Physics Chairman Prof Dr Syed Zafar
Ilyas to chalk out the ways, means and plan for the purpose.
Addressing the function, the VC said that books and laboratories should remain available for the learners.
Sangi said that AIOU has the country's best science laboratory at its
main campus wherein all needed state-of-the-art equipment has been
provided and professionally efficient laboratory technicians are working
AIOU will soon set up a science club to involve and
encourage youth for promotion of science and technology in the country
and the club will work under the name of 'Science for the Society' on
Under the scheme, the students of AIOU and
other educational institutions will be invited to present their projects
that could be useful in resolving issues.
"AIOU is providing
quality education to the masses across the country, mainly in the
neglected and far-flung regions. New campuses and study centres are
being set up and the university is providing video-conferencing
facilities to the students of remote areas," he added.
said about 100,000 open schools will be set up across the country to
educate those dropout male and female students who could not continue
their study due to financial or social reasons. At the first stage, one
million students will be educated till Matric at their door-step.
Meanwhile, Department of Physics Chairman Prof Dr Syed Zafar Ilyas, and
Faculty of Science Dean Prof Dr Nowshad Khan also addressed the opening
session of the weeklong faculty development workshop on physics
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