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Chief Justice Dogar's daughter marks row

Dogar's daughter defends herself in marks row
Islamabad, Dec 15: Farah Hameed Dogar, the daughter of Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, on Saturday came out in defence of herself in the controversy regarding grant of additional marks in the FSc examination, saying her career had no grey area and her blotless performance in school and college could be verified.

"The campaign against the dignity of my father and family has some ulterior motives other than emphasising educational justice," Farah Dogar said in a much delayed statement issued to the media.

The controversy has already reached the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court (IHC) as the high court has sealed relevant records of the federal board while the Supreme Court has stayed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education from probing into the matter - a move that instantly triggered a standoff between the parliament and the Supreme Court.

The apex court has also received a petition to unseat the chairman of the standing committee for aggressively pursuing the issue.

In the statement, Farah Dogar also resolved to contest the pending case before the high court, in which her FSc mark sheets have been challenged and said she reserved the right to sue for damages. She said she was also considering filing cases against the people concerned.

Former Attorney General Malik Mohammad Qayyum has given a nod to defend Farah Dogar before the high court where he is also planning to file a contempt of court petition for defaming the judiciary.

The "ugly" campaign in a section of the press has caused her great mental agony and pain to the extent that she may not be able to continue studies, the statement said.

"In fact my future has been put at stake," she said.

"The pursuit of education is my fundamental right," she said. "Is it a crime to seek education or employment as a child of a judge or the chief justice?"

"For the past several days, I am being constantly targeted by a section of media that seems hell-bent to question the integrity of my dear father who happens to be the Chief Justice of Pakistan," the statement said.

Unlike influential critics, it said, she did not exercise any influence over the media or the parliament, adding that she would exercise her right to state the truth in black and white.

About special favour in her FSc examination, the statement said that she was just one of the 1,093 applicants who applied for re-checking of their answer books after the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education declared the results.

She said she was among the 201 students in whose favour the board revised marks sheets. She applied for admission in three private medical colleges and also appeared in the entry test after the revision.

Not a single of the three institutions was in the public sector and their doors are open for self-finance studies, she said, adding that she got admission in the International Islamic Medical College wherein 50 seats were filled on merit and another 50 were reserved for children of overseas Pakistanis.

"The college has allocated five seats for Pakistan Railways and one for Al-Mezan Foundation, a welfare body of retired judges.

"The seat in question is rotated among the four provinces and this year it was reserved for Sindh from where I happened to be the only candidate," she said.

She explained that the constitution extends state protection to the daughter of the chief justice until she attained the age of 21 years but the ruthless critics were unwilling to accept her rights like any other citizen.

"If a thousand students were entitled to apply for rechecking, why should the child of the judge be denied a fair chance," she asked.

She said she was not resourceful to pull the strings in the media yet her faith in God Almighty reassured that the truth would prevail.

"I shall defend all my legitimate acts as a student and secure my due without any trespass," she said. Dawn

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No winter vacation in schools this year
Rawalpindi: Winter vacation would not be observed in educational institutes throughout Punjab including Rawalpindi. Sources in the Education Department told Online that the Punjab government has decided to start the academic year from April 1 instead of September 1, therefore, winter vacation would not be observed in educational institutes. Sources went on to say that winter vacation would be observed in educational institutes situated in mountainous areas and those experiencing snowfall.

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RBISE HSSC examinations result on Jan 3
Rawalpindi: Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education (RBISE) will announce the result of supplementary examination of Intermediate on January 3, 2009. Spokesperson of the Board Arslan Cheema said the results would be announced by eight boards of the province on the same day. Chairman RBISE Dr Iftikhar Baig would announce the results at 10am at a press conference. The News

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AIOU nears enrolment target of 1m students
Islamabad: Distant education has proved its worth in the country, which is evident by the fact that Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is going to make one million enrolments shortly.

This was stated by AIOU VC Prof Dr Mahmood H Butt in an exclusive interview. AIOU, a member of a limited network of universities offering distant education, would start four-year graduation programme next year to meet international standards, he said.

The programme had been designed according to recommendations of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and initially students would be enrolled in the disciplines of chemistry, microbiology and education.

Dr Butt said 30 percent of total teachers in the country were once students of the AIOU in one way or the other. He regretted that around 70 percent of the teachers in the country were undergraduates.

He said only less than four percent of the total students could reach the higher level of education, which was much lower than the international standards. He was of the view that in order to earn a respectable ranking in the world, there was a need to lift this percentage up to 10 percent in the next 10 years.

To drive his point home, he put a comparison of Pakistan with South Korea, where more than 45 percent students went to universities.

He expressed concern over less than 60 percent enrolment of children in schools with a 30 percent dropout rate in the first three years of education saying another 20 percent left school before completing primary education.

"The country is allocating 2.5 percent of the GDP in education sector, which should be enhanced to nine percent in the next ten years," he recommended. "If we want to achieve millennium development goals (MDGs), we should at least double the allocation for primary education sector within a couple of years," he said. The AIOU vice chancellor said the mode of prevailing distance learning system had changed and recommended technology-driven distance learning to replace the system. "Easy access to computer for students at reasonable price, subsidised connectivity and no-taxes on computers for education is a must to achieve desired results," he said.

He dispelled the impression that AIOU degrees had less worth, saying it was only a perception and not a reality. "We have adopted a strict criteria for tutors and only those with Master's degree in relevant field and five-year experience are registered as tutors with the AIOU," he said.

He said before enrolling students for MPhil and PhD programmes, the university set a high merit and students with at least 60 percent marks could take admissions, having passed GRE.

"Moreover, the university does not start any programme unless it has at least three PhD teachers for it," he said.

About financial crunch in higher education sector, Dr Butt said it did not affect much as the AIOU got only 11 percent of its recurring grant from the HEC while it met the rest of its expenditure by its own resources. However, the government's decision to hold up the HEC grants had badly affected development projects in the education sector as a whole, he said.

He said it was astonishing that the HEC budget was even less than any one university in Singapore. "Allocations in educations sector is investment in future of the nation," he said. Daily Times

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