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CSS exams credibility | HEC laptops

Critics raise objection to FPSC exams credibility
Islamabad, Dec 21: Echo of objections over the CSS Examination-2013 is being raised from different quarters all over the country, creating ambiguity in the course of the credible competitive examination, probably, for the first time in the history of the country.

The resound of the criticism over the competitive examination, could be heard in the corridors of the Parliaments House and the lawmakers are thinking to address the matter.

The people raising objections are of the view that on one hand the state of Pakistan faces acute scarcity of brilliant minds in districts administration, police and revenue departments on the other hand the result of CSS-Examinations, 2013 does not only raise the eye brows of many but also, it badly damages the credibility of FPSC and educational institutions in the country.

"Even during British rule, the competence and objectivity of superior civil servants was invariably considered the only criterion for their selection so that they can deliver justice, eradicate crimes and maintain law and order all over British domain. After Pakistan's independence, the superior civil servants were primarily supposed to be competent and nationally as well as humanly spirited souls to ensure good governance and better future to the new sovereign nation. History of nearly seven decades of misrule in Pakistan out rightly negates this prerequisite for selection of CSP Officers through FPSC.

Recently announced result of CSS-Written Examinations, 2013 produces extremely depressive conclusion, perilously damaging our national cohesion in the future, which is already under emerging constraints. According to it, out of 11,480 candidates appeared in the written CSS-Exam, 2013, only 238 candidates have been declared as qualified, which is 2.7 per cent of the total candidates. Although, the CSS written exam held in February, 2013 was initially infested with notorious scandal of Faisalabad centre where the examination-papers were leaked in connivance of examiners, custodians and overseers, yet the main characteristics of the long-awaited, controversial too, result nullifies tall claims of honesty, secrecy, transparency and accountability FPSC usually brags off," the people, raising objections, maintained.

Originally, 15,998 applied but 11,406 actually appeared in the written exam, however, only 172 male and 66 female candidates qualified the exam, totalling only 238. Some failed candidates on CSS Forum have posted alarming data, which has not so far been rebutted by FPSC, according to which 98 qualified candidates belongs to Lahore, 36 Islamabad, 14 Faisalabad, 15 Rawalpindi, 12 Multan, 1 Sargodha and 1 Sialkot, numbering as much as 165 from Central Punjab and only 12 from entire South Punjab. Similarly, among the qualified candidates of Sindh, 12 belong to Karachi, 2 to Larkana and 2 to Sukkhar. Only 8 qualified candidates appearing on Balochistan domicile belong to Quetta while the entire province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has only 3 lucky candidates who belong to Peshawar and Abbottabad.

In nutshell, the entire province of Sindh finds no representation in the future civil bureaucracy except 12 from Karachi while 2 each from Larkana and Sukkhar, which makes negligible impact. The entire Balochistan, except Quetta, finds no room in the slot of the future ruling elite and the same is with the KP that has 3 successful candidates belonging to Peshawar and Abbottabad.

Even if the candidates have been selected on merit, the ultimate outcome of the result shall cost grave impact on the minds of the unemployed but educated youth of the under-developed area having no educational facilities at par with Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, and Karachi. However, this is not the case of natural deprivation because the standard FPSC applied for marking and selection of the candidates evidently shows many loop-holes, showing vital discrepancies in the system and standard of marking as it is gravely self-contradictory. For instance, the candidates who obtained more than 650 marks have been declared failed but those who have secured only 600 marks being passed in all subjects are declared passed.

Likewise, a large number of the unsuccessful candidates are passed in "Essay" are failed in "Précis" and those who are passed in "Précis" but failed in "Essay". It is appalling to note that the components of "English Précis and Composition" paper not only include ideas summation but also idea expansion. It further includes language skills test encompassing vocabulary and grammar test. Evidently, if a candidate passes this paper while failing essay, it is indicative of the fact that either the language skills were not properly tested in "Précis" paper or the essay paper was not effectively marked. Not only that but also the sequence of the passing candidates according to their Roll Nos. is amazingly interesting. Out of 617 from Roll No.1 to 617, only 4 candidates are passed but 4 candidates out of only 33 candidates from Roll No.618 to 667 are passed while the result of three more candidates having Roll No614, 638 and 667 has been held up. Despite sequential scepticism in the passed candidates, there are some mysterious pairs. For instance, Muhammad Imran and Muhammad Irfan Roll No.618 and Roll No. 619, respectively are among the passed candidates. Another pair of the lucky candidates having roll no.11216 and 11217 are among 238 candidates declared qualified.

Generally, FPSC blames the universities in its annual reports for poor results of the candidates but it considers itself far beyond scrutiny and accountability. If audit of the performance of their chosen ruling elite, FPSC shall be the national institution giving the nation the army of incapable, arrogant and dishonest superior civil servants who have led this country in unending peril.

The spokesman for the FPSC, Rameez Ahmad, when contacted by this scribe to seek his comments, rebuffing the objections raised by the critics, said that paper marking was not job of FPSC and the FPSC could not evaluate it. He said that the FPSC selects the panel of examiner with tough criteria who check papers. "We cannot ask the examiners to increase the marks of any candidate," the spokesman said adding, "This is a subjective approach, not objective." Responding to a question, Rameez said that the standard of graduation has transformed and now the graduates have degree of equal to masters as they get degree after 4 years instead of two years. "Doctors and engineers are graduates too," he maintained.

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Prime Minister's intervention sought for rectification of deficiencies
Islamabad: After being stopped by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PDMC) from offering new admissions, Islamabad's government-run Federal Medical and Dental College (FMDC) has formally sought the prime minister's intervention to ensure early rectification of the 'gross' infrastructure and faculty deficiencies identified.

In a recent letter written to the secretary of the Cabinet Division, which oversees the college, FMDC Principal Professor M Zaheer Abbasi said that the PMDC had banned new admissions to his educational institution on December 13 following a surprise visit to the campus during which gross deficiencies in infrastructure and faculty were pointed out.

"The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council asked us to stop new admissions when admission process was almost complete. Names of successful candidates were posted on the National Testing Service website, and we'd planned to send admission letters to successful candidates and call them for orientation, document verification and medical fitness test. We'd planned to start regular classes in the end of January 2014." While confirming the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council findings, the principal said in the letter, which is seen by this scribe, that the college faced acute shortage of faculty in basic sciences and was short of infrastructure and equipment.

"The main reason of lack of faculty is low salary paid to the basic sciences' teachers compared with those teaching at other private and public sector medical and dental colleges," he said.

Professor M Zaheer Abbasi warned that the future of the existing two batches of FMDC was uncertain due to the deficiencies in question.

"There is no guarantee that PMDC will not close down the college in future. The students, teachers and college authorities are extremely upset at the situation." The principal requested the secretary to seek the prime minister's immediate intervention to resolve the situation.

The FMDC, first and the only government medical college in the capital city, was established in 2011.

Currently, 200 students selected on the basis of their performance in matriculation and intermediate examinations and National Testing Service test are enrolled there for the five-year MBBS course. The college needs 18 teachers, including professors, associate professors and assistant professors, of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, forensic medicine, community medicine and pharmacology but the current strength of teaching staff is four only.

Among the existing are one biochemistry professor, whose deputation is about to end, two assistant professors of physiology and one assistant professor of forensic medicine.

Earlier, too, in August this year to be exact, the FMDC principal had informed the secretary of the Cabinet Division about the faculty and administrative deficiencies, shortage of administrative staff, availability of limited space at the girls' hostel, absence of hostel for male students, and the lukewarm response of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, the attached teaching hospital, towards the college's academics.

However, his request to the secretary for corrective measures has drawn a blank until now.

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HEC invites companies for laptop manufacturing
Islamabad: Acting Chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Engineer Imtiaz Gilani has said prime minister has launch the scheme to distribute 0.5 million laptop among the youth all over the country and has given this responsibility to HEC.

Now HEC is inviting well known companies to start manufacturing laptops here in Pakistan, as this would generate business activities as well.He was addressing a media briefing session at HEC secretariat on Wednesday. On the occasion, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, executive director of HEC, shared how government's focus on higher education has paid dividends and elaborated Commission's future strategy for further strengthening of the sector.

HEC chairman said that education is the only solution to all the challenges being faced by Pakistan. He said that investment of resources for holistic development of education sector was imperative for a stable economy and a prosperous society.

Gilani said that Vice Chancellors of the country have been continuously urging the government to increase GDP ratio of education to four per cent. "Our children and youth have tremendous potential but if we do not give proper opportunities to learn and develop themselves, this asset will become a liability and the only way to tap it is the investment in education," he said.

Dr. Mukhtar said that Scimago Research Output Forecast says that if the current focus of Pakistan on research continues, the country will cross Singapore in 2018. He also elaborated how HEC has funded universities for physical and technological infrastructure.

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HEC rotting without a qualified head
Islamabad: The headless Higher Education Commission (HEC) is rotting as it has been handed over to a non-PhD person, who is regulating 150 universities of the country, most of which are being headed by foreign qualified PhD professors.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has failed to meet the deadline given by the Supreme Court to appoint a regular chairman HEC while the acting chairman (who does not hold a PhD degree) is lobbying to get permanent.

The SC on November 27, 2013 directed the government to make appointment of regular chairman of HEC within 15 days and the judges remarked that no acting appointment could be made on regular post.

A three-member bench of SC led by Justice Nasir ul Mulk was hearing the case. The deadline given by SC has expired on December 12 but the government is yet to appoint a regular chairman for HEC. Well-placed sources in the government said that the acting chairman HEC Imtiaz Gilani was trying hard to get permanent as head of the HEC. Strangely, Pakistan is the only South Asian country where, its higher education regulatory body, is working under non-permanent and non-PhD head. Such is not the case in Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, the sources said.

The sources said that the Punjab government had made it mandatory for a vice chancellor of a university to hold a PhD Degree while the government in Centre had made a non-PhD as head of HEC.

The sources said that it was strange policy of the government that on one side, it had made mandatory for a VC of a university, who would be in charge of only one university, to hold PhD degree while on the other hand, a person who regulated 150 universities of the country, i.e. chairman HEC, was only a Master degree holder.

Interestingly, the incumbent acting chairman HEC has also remained a provincial minister during Pervez Musharraf's Emergency Rule from 1999-2003. He was Provisional Minister for Education, Information, Tourism, Culture, Sports, Archives, Archaeology and Youth Affairs, Government of the then North West Frontier Province now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The resume of incumbent acting chairman HEC shows that he is neither a PhD nor has any sound research experience. The sources quoted the law for appointment of chairman HEC which says, 'The Controlling Authority shall appoint a person of international eminence and proven ability who has made significant contribution to higher education as teacher, researcher or administrator'. The sources say that the law mentions that a person of international eminence shall be head of HEC which means who has worked on research oriented projects world over.

The sources maintained that most of the chiefs of University Grants Commission (UGC) (1974-2002) and all chairmen of the HEC (2002-2013) were the eminent educationalists and researchers with highest qualification of PhD from leading foreign universities of the world.

The PhD holder chairmen of UGC include: founder Chairman of UGC Dr Mumtaz Ali Qazi and last serving chairman Dr AQ Mughal along with Dr Muhammad Afzal longest serving chairman UGC, Dr AQ Ansari, Dr UG Issani and Dr Naseer A Shakih. The founder chairman of HEC Dr Atta-ur-Rehman was also leading academician with PhD degree and same Dr Javaid R Laghari.

The academic circles have expressed reservations on non-initiation of process for appointment of permanent chairman HEC. Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, renowned academician, President Pakistan Academy of Sciences and founder chairperson HEC has already demanded for earliest appointment of permanent and regular chairperson HEC through a competitive, transparent, open and merit-based mechanism. He also demanded that a highly educated and qualified academician might be considered for this important slot.

Acting Chairman HEC Imtaiz Gilani said that he would not like to comment on the appointment of a non-PhD as head of HEC. However he maintained that things go as the law says.

Regarding him being getting permanent, Imtiaz Gilani said that it is the duty of the government to appoint chairman of HEC he has no knowledge that who will be the permanent HEC chairman, whether he or someone else.

When asked about the fake degrees issue, Gilani held that HEC sends the degrees to the respective universities for verification and if the respective universities declare any degree fake, then HEC also declares it fake. The HEC relies on the universities regarding fake degrees whether of a common man or of a parliamentarian, the acting HEC chairman said.

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Medical educational institutions asked for faculty registration
Islamabad: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has asked all public and private educational institutions to get their medical and dental faculty registered with it by December 31.

After December 31, PMDC will neither allow faculty migration from one educational institution to another, now register faculty, Hina Shaukat, spokesperson for the council, told this scribe.

According to the spokesperson, all medical and dental educational institutions and their teachers should examine the details of faculty registration at the PMDC website.

"If there is any correction or omission required, they should inform us without delay. After December 31, no change shall be made in the faculty and it shall be consider final," she said.

Hina Shaukat also said the PMDC wanted the people wanting to consult with physicians and dentists to verify whether their degrees and other educational qualifications were registered with it.

She said the registered doctors and dentists having only basic medical/dental qualification were not authorised to carry out specialised procedures.

"Only doctors, who have acquired additional medical and dental postgraduate qualifications, are authorised to practice as specialists in their respective specialty and render expert opinion," she said.

The spokesperson said all doctors and dentists were bound to display their PMDC registration certificates prominently at the place of practice. The news

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Spanish speech contest held at NUML
Islamabad: A Spanish language speech contest was arranged by the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Spanish Language Department here on Tuesday.

Addressing a big gathering of students and faculty members, Argentinean Ambassador Rodolfo Martin-Saravia said due to the rapid increase in the number of Spanish speakers all over the world, time was not afar when the United States of America would have a Hispanic president. Ambassador Rodolfo Martin-Saravia said speaking Spanish gave people a competitive advantage in countries that work with Latin America and Spain. "China is an example that has realised this trend and, as a result, the demand to learn Spanish has grown significantly in the country. China does a lot of business with Argentina and Brazil in Latin America," he added.

He said Spanish was the second most spoken language in the world in terms of native speakers and considering the number of Spanish speakers spreading all over the world. He said it was no wonder that the demand for the language had been increasing as companies try to reach Spanish consumers. Multinational companies use Spanish in commercials and there were many international TV channels that broadcast in Spanish, he added.

Earlier, the students of the NUML Spanish Department delivered speeches, sang songs and performed skits in Spanish. The audience appreciated their fluency.

The event was attended by Cuban Ambassador Jesus Senen Burgo, Acting Spanish Ambassador Bibian Zamora, NUML Rector Major General (r) Masood Hasan, the Chilean ambassador, NUML Spanish Department Head Mercedes Checa, officials of different embassies and deans and heads of different departments of the university.

At the end of the event, the NUML rector, the Argentinean ambassador, the Cuban ambassador and the Spanish ambassador distributed prizes among the winners and university shields were presented to the guests. Daily tmes

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AIOU to conduct FA English exam on Dec 21
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will conduct the final examinations of Intermediate English, course code 386, for the Spring Semester 2013 on December 21. The examinations were scheduled to be held on December 11, which were postponed due to 'unavoidable' circumstances. According to AIOU Examinations Controller Dr Hamid Khan Niazi, the centres and timing of the examinations would remain unchanged. The revised roll-number slips had been sent by post to all the students concerned.

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AIOU's polytechnic institute to be functional by March 15
Islamabad: A polytechnic institute at Mehra Begwal near Bahra Kahu, being established by the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), with the collaboration of the Capital Administration and Development (CAD), will be inaugurated by March 15.

AIOU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi said through efforts of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (late) and Raja Zafarul Haq, the 132 kanals for the institute were acquired. He said the building of the institute had been constructed more than twenty-five years ago but, regrettably, it had not started to function so far.

He said the inhabitants of the surrounding areas were happy, as the old Polytechnic College of their area was about to be functional for the first time since its establishment with a new name, the Model Polytechnic Institute.

"Setting up a Model Polytechnic Institute is a major facility, that has been specially arranged for the people of the capital and it is also a major development in the education sector and the credit of this great national initiative goes to Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi", MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said.

The institute is being established through an agreement signed between the AIOU and the CAD. As per the agreement, the institute would be run by a joint management committee that would include members from both organisations.

Under the agreement, the AIOU would be responsible for the management and operational affairs of the institute including recurring and technical educational.

Dr Sangi said a full-fledged technical and vocational directorate had been established, which was equipped with all necessary facilities and staff on the premises of the Model Polytechnic Institute to run the affairs of the institute efficiently.

He said similar institutes would be established in various parts of the country, ensuring equal access to skill-based and job-oriented programmes for socio-economic development of the country.

Dr Sangi thanked the government for reposing confidence in the AIOU.

He said the institute would be a centre for providing technical and vocation training. Most modern facilities would be made available to students, he added.

He said the AIOU would initially introduce diploma and associate diploma courses in five disciplines. The AIOU would later introduce other programmes to meet the needs of around 250,000 students.

The vice-chancellor announced that a 50 per cent fee concession would be given to each student by the AIOU for two years.

Technical and vocational courses offered at the campus include mechanical, welding, robotics, automation, biotechnology and telecom, while one-week short courses will be offered to media persons. app

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