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PU harassment case | Pakistan ghost schools

Governor takes notice of PU harassment case
Lahore, Aug 30: Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has asked the Punjab Higher Education Department to submit a report on an application by a Punjab University (PU) Law College lecturer on harassment charges against PU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Dr Mujahid Kamran.

The department had sought comment of the Punjab University registrar on the complaint on Aug 21. The department reminded on Thursday the registrar about the response.

As PU Law College lecturer Khujista Rehan had also filed her complaint with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Punjab Ombudsperson Prof Dr Mira Phailbus on July 30, the latter wrote to Ms Rehan on Aug 20 seeking relevant record of an "unsubstantiated inquiry launched against her in 2010", "documentary evidence" in which Dr Kamran was trying to punish her; and the record of her study leave.

Ms Rehan had filed a complaint with the governor, the chief minister and the Punjab Ombudsperson on July 30 against the VC conduct invoking the third part of the harassment definition: "causing interference with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment" alleging that VC Prof Kamran was harassing her. Ms Rehan had also filed the complaint with the PU VC on July 26 that drew a two-page reply on July 31.

In her complaint, Ms Rehan had alleged that VC Prof Kamran was trying to punish her for refusing to his illegitimate demands. Ms Rehan had filed the harassment against women at workplace complaint following a letter issued by the PU additional registrar on July 20 seeking explanation from Ms Rehan whether or not she had used insulting and inappropriate language against the VC at the Academic Staff Association's June 20 general body meeting, as reported by certain faculty members.

Ms Rehan had responded to the explanation letter on July 24 with a two-page reply stating that the letter sent to her was defamatory.

PU additional registrar Prof Dr Aurangzeb Alamgir later informed Ms Rehan that her reply to his July 20 letter as well as her harassment complaint would be placed before a competent body for necessary action. When contacted, Ms Rehan said the PU additional registrar did not inform her about the complainants and which "norms" she had violated till date.

With regard to harassment complaint, the additional registrar on the instruction of VC Prof Kamran had written a two-page reply levelling counter allegations besides terming the letter as malafide, malicious and replete with false statements.

Governor Secretariat's deputy secretary Afzaal Ahmad said the governor had approved a probe into the complaint of Ms Rehan. He said the Governor's Secretariat had also written a letter to the Punjab Higher Education Department.

Punjab Higher Education Department special secretary Suhail Shahzad said the department had sought comments of the registrar after governor's letter on Aug 21. Stating that the PU registrar did not respond, he added, the department had sent a reminder to the registrar on Thursday.

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Sacked PU official held after bid to burn himself
Lahore: The police on Thursday took into custody a former Punjab University employee when he tried to immolate himself as a protest against his termination and forced vacation of his official residence.

PU Establishment Department's assistant in charge Sardar Muhammad, who was terminated for holding malicious campaign against some university teachers and administration, announced that he would immolate himself in front of the VC Office in protest.

Sardar's family and the Punjab University Staff Association office-bearers were staging a protest demonstration when a New Muslim Town police team detained him at the university's main gate for carrying two bottles of petrol.

Meanwhile, on a written complaint by the PU Resident Officer-I, the New Muslim Town police booked Sardar Muhammad under section 325 for trying to commit suicide.

Mr Sami said that Sardar was involved in abusing and maligning the university teachers and administration and had personally distributed slanderous pamphlets. He said Sardar was heard by an inquiry committee headed by Dr Amir Ijaz and declared guilty.

Mr Sami said Sardar was given another chance of personal hearing before an Appellate Committee and on its recommendation, was dismissed from service. He said Sardar was supposed to vacate his official residence within two months but due to cases in court he was issued notices.

As the court did not give his stay order, he said, the PU administration on the advice of legal adviser called the police and got the house vacated. He said Sardar had shifted his household items and only broken chairs and cooler were lying in front of the house.

Mr Sami said the police was informed on Aug 20 and a report was registered. He said the police arrested Sardar near the PU Gate No 2, where he tried to sprinkle petrol on himself. Upon arrest, he said, he again wrote to the police to arrest him to stop him from committing suicide.

PU Staff Association President Ghulam Abbas Lodhi told the media that Sardar was information secretary of the association and protesting against the vice chancellor for not holding association's elections. He said the varsity administration terminated Sardar's services and he was contesting the case in court.

Meanwhile, he said, the varsity administration forcibly vacated his house and Sardar was camping with his family outside his residence for the past couple of weeks.

Mr Lodhi said Sardar decided to immolate himself as his grievance was neither heard by the varsity administration nor by any higher authority.

The association president said the aggrieved employees would go for immolation outside the Governor's House and the Chief Minister's House. He demanded that the government should hold an impartial inquiry. Dawn

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PU MBBS admission schedule
Lahore: Punjab University Examination Department has issued a revised schedule of admission fee and form for MBBS examinations 2013. According to a press release issued on Wednesday, date for submission of admission form and fee for First Professional MBBS Part-I annual and Second Professional MBBS annual exams 2013 is 03-09-2013 while form can be submitted with double fee till 16-09-2013. Detailed schedule is also available on PU website

Seminar on dengue, measles: Punjab University Institute of Education and Research is holding a seminar regarding Anti-Dengue, Anti-Measles Awareness Campaign on Thursday at 10:00am at Al-Raazi Hall for undergraduate studies.

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PU date sheets
Lahore: Punjab University has issued date sheets for the MBA and M Com examinations.

According to a press release on Thursday, the date sheets of MBA (3 1/2 years programme) part-I (1st year) annual examination 2013, MBA (3 1/2 years programme) part-II (2nd year) annual examination 2013, MBA (3 1/2 years programme) part-III (3rd year) annual examination 2013, MCom (3 1/2 years programme) part-I (1st year) annual examination 2013, MCom (3 1/2 years programme) part-II (2nd Year) annual examination 2013 and MCom (3 1/2 years programme) part-III (3rd year) annual examination 2013 has been issued.

Details are also available at PU website

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Over 1,200 ghost schools found all over the country
Islamabad: A fresh study has revealed that there are 1,205 ghost schools in Pakistan where teachers are getting salaries for 'promoting literacy' but no educational activity is taking place at all.

The study conducted by third party validation teams hired by the government revealed that ghost schools exist in all provinces of Pakistan under the Basic Education Community Schools (BECS) project, which is supervised by the Ministry of Education. The project is being run with a hefty budget of Rs7 billion.

However, sadly, the Minister of State for Education and Training Balighur Rehman appears to be completely unaware of the fact, revealed in the study, that 57 such ghost "schools" are operating right under his nose in the Federal Capital.

"I have not seen any report on ghost schools yet," the minister said that when his attention was drawn towards the recent study.The minister was of the view that the government would only initiate action against ghost schools once the final report of the third party survey team is received by the ministry.

However, according to an official letter written by the Project Director of the BESC, Sajid Baloch, the fieldwork of the third party validation team has already been completed and the first draft has detected 1205 ghost schools under the project.

The letter gives the break-up of these ghost schools where no teaching activity is taking place while the national exchequer is continuously used to pay salaries to teachers and the related project staff.

According to draft report, out of total 13,213 schools under BECS, only 12,008 are functional. The report has pointed out 57 ghost schools in Islamabad. Overall, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) takes the lead in hosting ghost schools with 345 such institutions while Fata has 305. There are 276 ghost schools in Punjab, 69 in Balochistan, 64 in Sindh, 48 in Azad Kashmir and 41 in Gilgit Baltistan.

In his letter written on July 5, 2013, Baloch promised the Ministry of Education officials that he would furnish the accurate number of un-authorized and non-functional schools within a week. But he failed to do so after the lapse of more than seven weeks.

The BECS is a project of the Ministry of Education aimed at enabling poor children from far flung rural areas and urban slums to complete primary education. However, according to sources barely 20 per cent of the enrolled students make it to class fourth and fifth, speaking volume of improper supervision and corruption in the project.

A recent report of Auditor General of Pakistan had pointed out massive irregularities in the provincial division of the BECS but the Ministry of Education had not taken action on even a single point of the audit report despite the laps of one year. The report mentioned irregular expenditure worth Rs51.48 million in the appointment of 130 supervisors who had no sanction post.

According to sources, the management of the project had always been able to please the higher ups in the Ministry with gifts of official cars and fuel, thus escaping any scrutiny by the Ministry.

Last week, the Ministry of Finance also launched an inquiry into dozens of illegal promotions in BECS. The violation of rules in BECS has even been acknowledged by its project director who has recently written a letter to the Ministry of Education and Training containing a list of 40 project employees who got illegal promotions during last six years.

While asked about the illegal promotions in BECS, the minister of State for Education said he was unaware of any such practice but would take strict action if it was proven. "I will take strict action against all those involved in illegal promotions," he promised.

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Proposal to name varsity after Quaid rejected
Lahore: The Punjab Assembly passed the Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Agriculture University Multan Bill on Thursday while the opposition parties walked out, showing strong resistance to naming the university after a political leader instead of some non-controversial national leader like Quaid-e-Azam.

The Treasury benches demolished all the amendments, proposed by the Opposition benches, including that which called for changing the name of the university to Quaid-e-Azam Agricultural University Multan. Opposition members, led by Jamaat-e-Islami parliamentary leader Dr Waseem Akhtar and PTI leader Dr Murad Ross, walked out at the time of voting when the Speaker did not allow them to speak on the amendment, calling for naming the university after Quaid-e-Azam.

The Opposition members demanded that if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wanted a university named after him, he should have established it from his own pocket instead of the public money. They asked how a political leader could name a university built from taxpayers' money after his own name.

PTI leader Dr Murad Ross said it was time we, as a nation, should do away with the ugly tradition of promoting our own names at the expense of taxpayers' money. He said such a practice had been dividing the nation on political lines. He said Nawaz Sharif should have set up a university from his own pocket if he badly wanted to have it named after him.

He also questioned empowering the chancellor of the university with unquestionable powers of overruling and overriding the decisions of the syndicate and said what was the use of having noted people from important departments in the syndicate if the chancellor could overthrow their decisions on his whims and wishes.

Dr Waseem Akhtar demanded that the elected leaders of student unions should be included in the syndicate to ensure academic peace and solving their problems.

However, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah rejected the Opposition's demands of changing the name of the university, saying he knew there were many public institutions named after political leaders sitting in the government and were alive. He warned the Opposition members not to insist on their point for if he began counting those names, the debate would get too far to be wound up in time. PTI's Saadia Suhail said the university should have been named after any non-controversial unanimous leader who had passed away. Upon the uproar from the women on Treasury benches, she interjected with the prayer that Allah might give a long life to Nawaz Sharif, saying that it would have been proper if the university would have been named after some great Sufi saint from Multan. She said political governments had been changing the political names of public institutions and it was feared that any future government would change this name.

When Treasury benches women hooted against her questioning the name of Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Saadia replied that the hospital was not named after Imran Khan and the person whose name it was carrying had already been dead when it was built.

JI's Dr Waseem Akhtar walked out twice during the proceedings. First he walked out alone when Law Minister Rana Sana ruled out incorporating student unions' heads into the syndicate on the plea that the syndicate was authorised to do that on its own. He walked out again with all the Opposition members during the second reading of the bill after the Speaker treated the amendment to change the name of the university after Quaid-e-Azam as rejected since it was identical to those already voted out by the House.

Opposition's Sibtain Khan, Arif Abbasi, Taimoor Malik and others also participated in the debate. The session was adjourned for Friday (today). The news

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