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Karachi matric exams | KU points strike

Mismanagement mars matric exams
Karachi, Apr 05: A day after the annual matriculation examinations commenced, students continued to suffer on Thursday because of the apathetic attitude of the authorities.

No admit cards, change of exam centres at the last moment, principals running away with money were just some of the problems being faced by the candidates.

'Principal' issues
Students from the Pak Grammar School in Qasba Colony camped outside the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK). "Our principal, Khalid, collected the exam fee and ran away with our forms. He is nowhere to be found," said a protester.

Students from the Aziz Government School in Korangi have also not received their admit cards. They staged a protest outside the school and demanded being allowed to take the exams.

They claimed that because of their principal's negligence in submitting their forms around 80 students could not take their exams.

On Tuesday the principal had been beaten up by the students' relatives for "putting the careers of their children at stake".

Centre shifted
When the protest on Thursday became too loud for the students taking their exams at the Aziz Government School, the BSEK shifted the centre to the Millat Girls' Secondary School situated nearby.

BSEK Controller of Examinations Noman Ahsan later announced that all the remaining exams, scheduled to be taken at the Aziz Government School, would be held at the Government Comprehensive Boys' Higher Secondary School in Korangi No 3.

No admit cards
With many students yet to receive their admit cards, the delay was attributed to a "suicide".

For the past 15 years Rashid Memon aka Mama had been collecting examination forms from seven schools mainly in Lyari and its adjoining localities. The principals would hand him over the forms and expect to receive the admit cards on time.

"He had told us that he would bring us the admit cards by March 29. On April 1 we found out that Mama had submitted only half of the forms," said Akhtari Begum, a teacher at one of the seven schools.

Mama's neighbours told the school officials that he had attempted suicide and was admitted at the Civil Hospital Karachi.

Another teacher, Shamim, said: "When we went to the hospital to ask after Mama we found out that he was not in a condition to talk." He died a few hours later.

'Death threats'
The teachers are now fearful for their lives. One of them said: "The parents are angry. We are receiving threats. Our schools are situated in areas where gun-toting gangs are common."

Scores of students also gathered outside the BSEK to protest the delay in receiving their admit cards. The protesters requested the authorities to consider their case and allow the 117 affected students to take their exams.

The schools affected by Mama's suicide are the Al-Hamd Public School and the Memon School in Kharadar, the JQJ School and the Royal School at Lighthouse, the Nimra School in Bihar Colony, the Al-Habib School in Baldia Town and the Al-Fakhr School in Bakra Piri.

BSEK undecided
While Ahsan was unavailable for comment on the issue of admit cards, Abdul Fahim Khan, who is in charge of the recently formed complaint cell, said: "We have yet to arrive at a decision regarding the students protesting for their admit cards. The matter is still under discussion." The news

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BSEK takes action against schoolbr> Karachi: Taking action against the Aziz Government Boys Secondary School in Korangi - the school whose 87 boys were supposed to appear in their Matric examinations, but never got their admit cards due to their headmaster's negligence in submitting their forms with the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) - the board took away the school exam centre status and set up an emergency centre for the students for their exams.

The students of the Aziz Government Boys Secondary School in Korangi 1 1/2 had complained that their headmaster, Mr Idrees, took money from them, but never submitted their forms at the board office.

There were 87 students in all from the school and only 29 forms were submitted.

After the boys held protests at the board office for two days, BSEK chairman Fasihuddin Khan issued instructions to secretary of BSEK Hoor Mazhar and controller of exams Noman Ahsan to take away the school's status as an examination centre and make arrangements for the students for their exams at the Millat Girls Secondary School in Korangi 2.

As the Millat Girls Secondary School is already an exam centre and accommodating several examinees, the board made special arrangements for the Aziz Government Boys Secondary School students for their English part-II (science group) exams in a separate portion of the school for Thursday only.

As for the rest of the exams, the board has made Government Comprehensive Higher Secondary in Korangi 3 the regular centre for them. Dawn

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Principal booked for defrauding students
Karachi: The principal of a private school situated in Manzoor Colony was booked on Thursday for defrauding the students about to appear in the matric exams.

The Baloch Colony police station received information on Thursday morning about a protest outside Ayesha Public School, said SHO Ghazanfar Ali Kazmi.

When police officials reached the spot they found around 21 students and their parents protesting against not being issued admit cards for board examination.

The police officials asked the school staff about the principal, Ayesha, but she was not present at her office.

The students alleged the principal had taken extra money from them for issuing admit cards but so far they had not materialised.

According to the students, a few months ago Ayesha while asking for examination fees from the students took Rs1,000 extra, claiming to issue them the admit cards earlier.

When after a few weeks the students began asking her about them, the principal gave them a run around without issuing admit cards.

As the students continued to protest, said SHO Kazmi, the city police chief Shahid Hayat Khan also reached the spot and gave a call to the officials of the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) who also arrived at the scene.

Hayat assured the protesting students of registering a case against Ayesha at the Baloch Colony police station under section 420 (fraud) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Meanwhile, the BSEK officials reassured the students of delivering their admit cards to them so they could appear in the ongoing board examination. The school principal is yet to be arrested.

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KU students suffer as points' drivers continue strike
Karachi: Students at Karachi University staged a protest outside its administration block as points failed to run for a sixth day in a row on Monday.

The protesters raised placards which read 'save the university' as they camped on the road that divides the arts lobby and the administration building.

"In the absence of university points we have to rely on private transport which costs us a lot more," said a protester.

The drivers of 32 points on campus remained on strike for the sixth day in a row as they demanded that the transport director be removed from his post.

They alleged that he was responsible for the deteriorating condition of the point shuttle service. "Transport Chairman SM Khalid does not take care of the wear and tear of vehicles.

Often used oil and rusted metal sheets are used to repair the vehicles, which results in their frequent breakdown," said a driver.

Ahmed Daraz, a student leading the protest and member of the rightwing Islami Jamiat Talba said, "The deteriorating condition of buses results in road accidents where sometimes students even get run over."

Last Thursday, a large number of students staged a protest outside the point terminal, demanding that drivers end their strike and give students some relief. In the process two students fainted because of the heat.

Following the protest, the vice chancellor directed the drivers that the strike be called off. But only after a day's break the drivers went on strike again.

On Monday, the protesters dispersed as the management met students and listened to their grievances.

"We have assured students that points will run from Tuesday. Meanwhile, a three-member committee has been formed to look into the allegations levelled against the transport director," said Khalid Iraqi, director admissions of the university.

"We will make sure that the safety and convenience of the students is taken care of," he said.

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'Karachi students prefer studying hard sciences'
Karachi: A large number of students attended a university fair organised by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) at a hotel on Thursday.

The fair was attended by representatives from the University of Northern Iowa, the Hiram College, the Valparaiso University, the University of Kentucky, the Savannah College of Art and Design, the Emporia State University and the New York University-Polytechnic School of Engineering (NYU-PSE).

"We are trying to help students get admission in universities of their choice and guide them through their visa process. This is to prevent them from going to consultants who hoodwink them. We give them our services free of charge," said a USEFP official.

Of the 49,000 universities, students in Karachi know of only a handful. Philip Assis, a representative of the US Consulate in Karachi, said: "This fair is an attempt by the USEFP to connect students with the universities and give them an opportunity to choose from a large pool of options."

While a large number of options were available, it was observed that universities offering courses in hard science had the largest number of applicants.

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Acting VCs of Gomal, Hazara varsities are junior among aspirants
Peshawar: The two professors given acting charge as vice-chancellor of Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan and Hazara University, Mansehra were not only junior in terms of seniority but also had allegations of academic corruption against them.

The process for appointment of acting vice-chancellor is that the Higher Education Department (HED) submits a panel of candidates, mostly three senior most deans of the university concerned, to the chief minister to choose anyone among them and forward the name to the chancellor for final approval. The chancellor in consultation with the chief minister can also pick a person other than those recommended by the HED to name him as acting vice-chancellor.

The office of vice-chancellor Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan fell vacant after the sudden death of Professor Dr Amanullah Akhtar in December 2013 and Prof Dr Inayatullah Babar of University of Engineering and Technology (UET) was given the acting charge.

The position was later advertised for which around 70 applicants applied and scrutiny is yet to be made, the sources said. The appointment of Inayatullah Babar triggered criticism from certain academic circles, as he is not only junior among the list of professors but has also been accused of academic corruption.

According to sources, Babar has done his MS and PhD in computer science and was made chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department of the UET for which he was not eligible.

He got four research papers published with slight changes in his name in a single journal, the sources said. The officials at HED were of the opinion that they had recommended his name in view of his rich curriculum vitae.

When contacted, Dr Babar said he might be junior on the list of professors because of his age, but he met the criteria required for the office of vice-chancellor. "The search committee for appointment of vice-chancellor also recommended me for a few universities during the previous government," he said.

He said he was eligible for the chairmanship of electrical engineering as he had done his PhD from Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, George Washington University, USA. Also, he reminded that he was Higher Education Commission (HEC) approved supervisor for electrical engineering.

Dr Babar rejected the allegations of academic corruption against him as baseless and argued that the four papers published in the UET journal had been submitted on different dates. "The journal is normally published quarterly, but in that year only one issue was brought out and all the pending papers were published in it," he said.

He added any paper published in the same journal had to be verified by a foreign and a local expert and finally be approved by the vice-chancellor. "All my papers had been formally approved by the experts and the vice-chancellor before publication. One of my papers won an international award," he argued.

In the Hazara University, Mansehra, the vice-chancellor's office fell vacant after the retirement of Prof Dr Sakhawat Shah in February last. Prof Dr Sohail Shehzad was given the acting charge. Objections were raised as Sohail Shehzad too was not only among the junior most professors, but had allegations of plagiarism against him.

The HED officials said they had recommended Dr Sohail Shehzad's name because he was the senior most among the current deans of the university. This post too has been advertised with March 25 is the last date for submission of applications.

The official website of Hazara University said: "Sohail joined lectureship in Peshawar University in 1999. He completed his PhD in 2005. He joined the Hazara University in 2006 as an associate professor. He became full professor in 2007 and dean in 2013."

Dr Sohail Shehzad is a graduate of law and has done his PhD from Area Study Centre. He got a research paper "A Right-Based Approach to Development" published in the International Human Rights Perspective, a journal of Khyber Law College, University of Peshawar in January 2003. Co-authored by Prof Ahmad Ali Khan and Asad Ali Durrani, the paper is a clear case of plagiarism, the sources alleged.

A presentation made by one Jorge Daniel Taillant at a seminar on Globalization and Human Dignity in March 2002 and a discussion paper filed by Flore Nguyen, research assistant at the Office of High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) in September 2002, have been combined and published in the journal without even making the slightest changes, the sources said.

Dr Sohail Shehzad said he was the acting charge of vice-chancellor because he was the senior most among the four faculty deans.

Regarding the relevance of his post-graduation and PhD degrees, he said that he was having a LLM degree which was enough of a qualification for professor. "It is not the institution where you studied but the thesis you have done that counts for PhD. I have done my PhD on the constitution making of Afghanistan, which is relevant with my graduation and post-graduation," he said.

Regarding plagiarism, Dr Sohail Shehzad said he was not the first author of the paper. He said the paper had been given to him for editing and his name was given as co-author. The news

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Govt asked not to interfere in Edwardes College affairs
Mardan: The local Christian community has threatened to move court against a plan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to appoint principal of the Edwardes College, Peshawar.

The chairman of Church Construction Committee, Indaryas Maseeh, told a press conference here on Sunday that an advertisement flouted by the provincial government about filling the vacant post of principal of Edwardes College Peshawar was illegal.

Flanked by Chaudhry Fayaz Maseeh and others, he said that the bishop was authorised to appoint or terminate principal of the Edwardes College.

Mr Maseeh said that under Articles 20 and 36 of the Constitution of Pakistan, minorities of the country were autonomous to run their own institutions as per their wishes and aspirations.

He said that the provincial government terminated the principal of Edwardes College to appoint its blue-eyed boy on the vacant post.

He said that a foreigner could be appointed principal of the college as per the rules.

Mr Masseh said that the terminated principal had also filed a case against his termination by the government. He said that provincial government should reconsider its plan and should not interfere in the affairs of Edwardes College, Peshawar.

He threatened that Christians would launch protest movement against the government's decision.

The protest would be extended to the entire country with passing of time, he added.

He also appealed to the prime minister, chief justice of Pakistan and chief justice of Peshawar High Court to take notice of the issue and provide them speedy justice. Dawn

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