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HEC chairperson appointment | AIOU exams

Dr Atta to move IHC again
Islamabad, April 12: Founder Chairperson of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and President Pakistan Academy of Sciences Dr Atta-ur-Rahman has decided to move Islamabad High Court (IHC) again for the appointment of permanent and regular chairperson of HEC as per HEC Act without any further delay.

Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman said that he plans to file contempt of court petition within two to three days. "The petition is ready and will be filed within two to three days," he said.

Earlier, he filed a writ petition for the appointment of chairperson of Higher Education Commission on December 30, 2013 in Islamabad High Court (IHC). The court, in its detailed judgment on January 6, 2014 directed the federal government to appoint permanent and regular HEC chairman till February 12, 2014 in accordance with law and prescribed process.

The single bench led by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddique remarked that since the post of chairman HEC is extremely important and carries great significance with regard to higher education, it is expected that the federal government will take decisive steps with regard to appointment of HEC chairman. Therefore, it is directed that before expiry of term of acting chairman, the regular appointment of chairman may be made.

"Now almost two months have passed since the deadline. The actual appointment should have been made eight months ago according to the Higher Education Act. All these factors are having a negative impact on the higher education sector and as a responsible citizen, I believe that it is my responsibility to raise my voice."

He termed it disappointing that the government plans to reduce the budget for higher education up to Rs5 billion as compared to the current financial year. "It is unfortunate that the government plans to reduce both the recurring and development budget instead of increasing the amount to strengthen HEC as promised in the manifesto of PML-N."

He said that this indicates that the present government is going 'unfriendly' towards education and they are not honouring their policies of strengthening higher education sector as was promised in their manifesto.

About delay by the federal government in the selection of HEC chairperson, he said that it is sad fact that the government is not able to select one person for this important position. "HEC is not the only organisation. There are many such posts vacant and waiting for the decision of federal government. It goes to show the chaos prevailing in every sector," he pointed out.

Regarding the right choice for HEC chairpersonship, he said only a qualified person of international eminence and proven ability could be selected for this position. "The person needs to be a PhD but only degree is not enough. International eminence is a basic requirement for this post according to HEC Act."

He suggested the government to take guidance from the list of people with international eminence in research recently published by Pakistan Council of Science and Technology.

"Internationally there are three factors that are considered criteria for grading academicians at this level. It includes cumulative impact factor, science citation index and H Index," he said.

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Merit-based appointment of HEC chairperson urged
Islamabad: Parliamentarians, academicians, representatives of civil society, faculty associations and student organisations urged the federal government for transparent and merit-based appointment of Higher Education Commission (HEC) chairperson.

They expressed these views during a dialogue titled 'Current Challenges for Higher Education Sector in Pakistan' organised by the Muslim Hands International on Monday.

Islamabad High Court Bar Association President Mohsin Kiyani said that there are 64 organisations working without permanent heads and federal government should pay special attention towards addressing this issue through appointment of qualified and experienced persons.

Speakers were of the opinion that in order to resolve the increasing higher education issues, the federal government needs to consider highly educated, qualified academician of international eminence as permanent HEC chairman in accordance with the eligibility criteria laid down in the HEC Act and court orders.

Founder chairman of the Higher Education Commission and President Pakistan Academy of Sciences Professor Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman, in his written message, said that the HEC Ordinance requires that the HEC chairman must be a person of "international eminence" but according to press reports attempts are being made to defy the HEC Ordinance by ignoring this aspect of the law. He demanded immediate appointment of a person of international eminence as HEC chairman.

Tahir Naeem Malik from National University of Modern Languages said that non-appointment of HEC chief is badly affecting day-to-day affairs of universities. He emphasised over revision of university curriculum as per requirements of the country.

Director of the Oxford Institute and former president of Oxford University Pakistan Society Adnan Rafiq said that only capable and competent leadership in higher education sector could take up the challenges.

Fazaldad Human Rights Institute Pakistan Chairman Naeem Sarfraz suggested that the research work at the Pakistani universities should be focused on, addressing the socio-economic problems of the country. "In post 18th Amendment scenario, the provincial governments should also undertake efforts for improving higher education," he added.

Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) President Dr. Waheed Choudhry said that the university faculty is facing a lot of difficulties in their appointments on tenure track system due to delay at HEC. "The autonomy of universities should be respected and federal government and HEC administration should pay special attention towards addressing financial problems of higher education sector.

He also demanded bailout package for universities of Balochistan.

Organization for Research and Education Pakistan Executive Director Khurshid Nadeem opined that access to higher education in Pakistan is below as compared to international standards.

He stressed upon the promotion of critical and independent thinking and values of tolerance, peace, co-existence at higher education institutions of Pakistan.

Member National Assembly from MQM Ali Rashid said that without prioritising education and respect for merit and transparency, Pakistan could not make headway. He emphasised over collaborative efforts for improving standards in higher education sector and increase in budget for education.

Member National Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education and Member Sub-Committee on HEC Muhammad Rehan Hashmi said that higher education should remain as federal subject and uniform policy may be introduced.

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AIOU exams from April 21
Islamabad: The final exams of ATTC, PTC, CT and B.Ed programmes for Autumn, 2013 would be held from April 21. Controller of Exams, Dr. Hamid Khan Niazi said in a statement that 762 centres have been set-up across the country for the exams.

The roll number slips, he said are being dispatched to all the eligible/enrolled students at their given addresses by Postal Mail Service.

The students who cannot not receive their roll number slips till April 15 are advised to contact the nearest Regional Office of the University or Superintendent Teacher Education Section, examinations department for issuance of duplicate roll number slip.

For duplicate roll number slip students are required to bring two passport size photographs duly attested by a gazetted officer. Roll number slips along with date sheet are also being placed on AIOU website for the convenience of students, he said.

The students are also advised in their own interest to read the instructions mentioned on roll no. slip carefully before entering into the examination centre. The news

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1,000 students get medals at Roots annual convocation
Islamabad: The annual convocation of Roots International Schools was held at the Jinnah Convention Centre on Friday, where around 1000 students were awarded platinum, gold and silver medals.A written message from President Mamnoon Hussain for the students read, "Your success is a testimony of your effort and hard work, the commitment and professionalism of the staff of the RIS and the prayers of your parents and guardians. As you all are ready to enter your professional life, I wish you all success in achieving best and also upholding repute of Roots International Schools."The president also congratulated RIS CEO Walid Mushtaq, faculty members and the high achievers for setting new records of excellence in the field of education.Minister of State for Education, Training and Standards in Higher Education Baligh Ur Rehman, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch, CEO Cambridge International Examination Michael O' Sullivan, Ambassador of Argentina Rodolfo Jose Martin Saravia, Ambassador of Cuba Zenen Buergo Concepcion, Ambassador of Italy Andriano Chiodi Cianfarani, Ambassador of Spain Javier Carbajosa, High Commissioner of Republic of Mauritius Rashaad Dauraaewo, Ambassador of Austria Axel Wech, Ambassador of Romania Emilion Ion, Ambassador and Head of European Union delegation in Pakistan Lars Gunnar Wigemark, Ambassador of Turkmenistan Atadjan Movlamov, Military Attaché of Ukraine Andre Barbak were the esteemed guests at the ceremony.Students like Sakeena, Madiha Khalid, Zain Shahid, Mohid Janjua, Fahad Mehmood Khan, Awais Raza, Hamza Mehmood Malik, Ali Hassan and many more who brought honour to the RIS by securing acceptances from long lists of universities.The chief guest congratulated the students, saying that before the students stretch a lifetime of adventure and opportunity, they must look back with fondness and happy memories but always look forward with strength and determination.Students presented colourful performances on the theme of environment and gave their perspective on the role of institute in their lives.Ahsan Iqbal, minister for Planning and Development said, "If you are determined and if you work hard you can achieve. I wrote seven years ago in my book that I would like to serve my country in public office. It took me seven years of hard work and dedication to materialise my wish. This country is full of opportunities but you have to have one believe and determination in your life"."There are many differences between animals and humans, 1st being that humans can bring innovation but animals cannot."Abdul Qadir Baloch, minister for SAFRON, spoke on the Millennium Development Goals of 2025.Walid Mushtaq told the gathering, "I believe there are two things that account for the improvement in their results every year. First, we have made significant progress in raising achievement in under-performing groups. And second, teachers teach more effectively and pupils work extremely hard. Our staff is experienced, talented and dedicated to the success of our students. The school system places high value on the education of our youth, and that expectation serves as a catalyst for student success in a rigorous learning environment." Daily times

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Pakistani student wins distinction from top UK university
London: A Pakistani student has gained top position in Bachelor's of Business and Finance at the Heriot-Watt University by gaining 14 As. 

Ahmer Baloch, aged 26, originally from Haveli Naseer Khan, a small village in the district of Lodhran, started his studies at the UK university in 2012 after qualifying for the American High School Diploma from Pakistan's American School of International Academics (ASIA) in Lahore.

Heriot-Watt University is ranked within the top 20 universities of the UK i.e. 9th on the Sunday Times Top 100 Universities and 18th on The Guardian University Rankings, 2nd in Scotland and has the top ranking for many degree disciplines in the UK. Heriot Watt has three campuses in Scotland, one campus in London and one each in Dubai and Malaysia with combined student strength of over 30,000 students.

Although the graduation ceremony will be held on 27th of June 2014, the results have been published and it has been confirmed to Ahmer Baloch that he has topped the university.

Ahmer Baloch said he felt very proud at achieving the distinction: "It's a proud moment for me as a Pakistani student from a highly ranked overseas university. I want this to be an inspiring and motivating factor for all the Pakistani students out there and want to let them know that if they work hard and persevere then only sky is the limit. From all the students combined, less than 5 percent achieved a distinction (highest possible mark for a degree). Among those that did achieve a distinction, I was the highest achiever (top graduate) around the world." Ahmer Baloch, who now has offers of jobs from leading European financial firms, wants to make his achievement a special note for all the youngsters in Pakistan who lose their way in high school and come to a point where they think all hope is lost for them. It's because Ahmer Baloch had given up on studying himself when he was 18. After finishing high school, he thought studying was a waste of time and he would be better off working on the lands of his father in Lodhran.

That all changed when he met his future wife Umme Rubab, a Briton of Pakistan origin who is a broker at a London firm, in Lahore and she went on to change Baloch's whole perception.

"She taught me how to remain positive in the most negative of situations and never give up. I also learnt from her the joy of being self made and independent. I moved to London after my marriage and started my bachelor's once again but this time, with absolute determination and drive to achieve success. I worked extremely hard preparing for the exams and after the finals, I could easily say that I was expecting to be the top in my class. Little did I know how strongly Allah helps those who help themselves. Two weeks after the results were posted, I received a letter from my university informing me that not only had I achieved a distinction, I had achieved a higher distinction among all of the university's students around the globe! To make it even better, the degree helped me land a job at Ernst & Young, one of the 'Big 4' Professional Services firms in the UK and one of the best around the world."

Ahmer paid tribute to his father Muhammad Iqbal Khan Baloch who never gave up on him "and found a way to see past all my previous mistakes and persisted with supporting me financially no matter what".

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National Book Festival to start from 22nd
Islamabad: National Book Foundation (NBF) would hold a three-day National Book Festival from April 22 (Tuesday), as a part of its efforts to promote book reading culture in the country.

The event would be held under the supervision of a renowned literary figure and NBF Managing Director, Professor Dr. Inam-ul-Haq Javed.

Talking to APP, Deputy Director (Publications), Afshan Sajid said the programme would be held at Pak-China Friendship Centre and Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is expected to inaugurate the mega festival.

The celebrations include a variety of prestigious and colourful programmes including reading sessions based on diverse literary, cultural and educational activities, she said.

Afshan Sajid said the festival would feature a Grand Book Fair which will consist of the books of different writers and publishers in different languages and fields.

A separate segment named 'Overseas Pakistani Writers Corner' has been planned for the first time in this Book Fair which those writers who would be in Pakistan in those days will read out excerpts and poetry from their books personally. The news

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