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HEC closure rumours, Academics concerned

Academics concerned over HEC closure rumours
Lahore, Dec 12: Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) showed great concern over the rumors about the closure of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and demanded a high level committee to investigate the finance and other malpractices in the HEC.

It was demanded in the Executive Council meeting presided over by Dr Arbab Khan Afridi and attended by Prof Dr Mumtaz Salik, Prof Badar Soomro, Prof Kalimullah Barec, Dr Arshad Zia and Prof Bashir Ahmed.

Fatiha and condolence was also offered to founder president of FAPUASA Professor Dr Khalid Alvi on his death. After a lengthy discussion, the following resolutions were unanimously passed.

FAPUASA showed great concern over the cut of universities budget and demanded for its restoration and demanded that PhD scholarship programme should be continued for all those who have qualified for the scholarship. Elected representations should be made obligatory in the entire policy making bodies of the universities, besides, teachers and students election must be held at the end of every year.

Removal of ban on recruitment in all the universities particularly in Universities Sindh. Dichotomy in the fringe benefits must be removed. 2002 PRSO Ordinance must be taken back. Restoration of fuel allowance, new universities must be brought under University Act according to 1973 Constitution. Model University Ordinance must be repealed.

All the retired administrative head from the universities must be replaced by in service teachers including vice-chancellor and pro-vice-chancellor. The portfolio of chancellor and Governor must be separated due to the large number of universities in the country.

Executive council decided to negotiate with the government at all level, otherwise general body will decide its line of action in the meeting, to be held in January 2009. The Nation

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Economic crisis forces HEC to stall NRPU
Karachi: The prevailing financial crisis has compelled the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to temporarily stall the National Research Program for Universities (NRPU), it was learnt.

"Under the NRPU, research grants are awarded to faculty members and researchers holding full time positions in public and selected private sector universities," HEC officials said.The NRPU was established keeping in mind the dearth of literature and equipment required to conduct research and it aims at financially assisting researchers in their research pursuits. "At present, work on 551 research projects, financially assisted by NRPU, is underway", the officials said. They added that it was feared that these projects might be suspended till the release of funds to HEC.

According to officials the research grant program was providing financial support for research projects in Humanities, Social, Management, Basic, Natural, and Medical Sciences. "The projects are also focused towards discovering affordable treatment of lethal diseases including hepatitis and malaria, as well as suggesting financial models to solve the country's economic woes" they maintained.

Officials said that an agreement was signed between the host institution, HEC, and the principal investigator to ensure the accurate usability of grants, which are provided for a period of one to three years. The officials were of the view that such research projects, for which HEC provided grants of up to Rs 15 million per project, could not be financed by researchers themselves without any assistance.

Twenty two projects have been completed so far under the NRPU, including drug prescriptions for pregnant women and a pharmaco-epidemiological study by Agha Khan University's Dileep K Rohra that cost Rs 0.4 million, Characterization of Loci responsible for Inherited Eye Anomalies in Families of Pakistan by COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Dr Arshad Muhammad Rafiqat a cost of Rs 4.9 million and Screening for Vision and Hair Impairment in Rural Sindh and Balochistan by Dr S Riazuddin of Punjab University that cost around Rs 1.7 million.

It may be pointed out here that researchers of 15 private universities are eligible for NRPU research grants. They are Aga Khan University, Karachi, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute, Topi, LUMS, Lahore, Riphah International University, Islamabad National Textile University, Faisalabad, Foundation University, Islamabad, Institute of Business and Technology, Karachi, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Islamabad, Indus Institute of Higher Education Karachi, University of Lahore, Lahore, Institute of Business Management, Karachi,Ziauddin University, Karachi, University of Management and Technology, Lahore,University of Faisalabad, Faisalabad,Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education, Karachi. Daily Times

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