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HEC new chief | FDE no holiday on saturdays

Education circles keep on guessing as suspense of new HEC chief lingers on
Islamabad, Dec 03: The Supreme Court's (SC) new direction to the federal government for selection of a regular chairperson of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and recent appointments on important positions in last few days by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has enhanced the hope of the long-awaited nomination of the HEC chairperson in coming weeks.

The apex court has directed the federal government to make appointment of a regular chairperson of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) within 15 days. The SC further remarked that no acting appointment could be made on regular posts.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Nasir ul Mulk, took up the case of Law College for hearing on Wednesday. During the course of hearing, the court was told that two names have been short-listed for appointment of the HEC chairperson and consultation process is underway in this respect. Imtiaz Hussain Gillani has recently been appointed as acting HEC chairman.

The court expressed dissatisfaction over the appointment of acting HEC chairman and remarked "this is a regular post and neither any ad hoc appointment can be made against this post nor an acting chairman can be appointed."

The HEC, the policy-making institution in higher sector of Pakistan, is working without a chairperson since August 26, 2013 when the first four-year term of Dr. Javaid Laghari ended.

Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani was appointed as acting HEC chairman on November 9, 2013 till the appointment of a permanent and full-time HEC chairman. At the same time, he is also looking after administrative affairs of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar.

The education experts believe that delay in the appointment is badly damaging the higher education sector as the HEC chairperson takes the key decisions regarding the functioning of national universities and higher education institutions.

As per HEC Act, all key decisions related to higher education have to be taken by the HEC Board, which is headed by its chairman and the secretariat acts as the executing wing of the HEC, which is responsible for implementation of all orders, decisions, directives of the board.

A vice chancellor said that the quick decision for the post of HEC chairperson would greatly help in discouraging ad hocism in higher education sector. He expressed hope that the government would appoint a well-reputed educationist on pure merit basis on this important post.

Earlier, PML-N leader Razina Alam Khan said that the prime minister will carefully consider all options and nominate the most appropriate person for this position. She said that after the appointment of Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani as acting HEC chairman, the administrative affairs will be managed aptly.

"The last government appointed Begum Shehnaz Wazir Ali as acting HEC chairperson before taking final decision for this important post," she said, adding that education is the priority of present government and all decisions will be taken in the greater interest of the country. She said that the PML-N government is committed to strengthen higher education sector and would appoint capable person for this important slot on merit.

Similarly, in his address to the Vice Chancellors Committee meeting, Minister of State for Education, Training and Standards in Higher Education Baligh ur Rehman said that despite financial constraints the PML-N government increased funding for the HEC. He said that they have proposed the formation of a committee for the selection of HEC permanent chairperson.

Though the Ministry of Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education has moved a summary to the PM Secretariat supporting extension of the contract of Dr. Laghari due to his contribution and a group of parliamentarians from treasury benches has written a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif requesting him for the continuation of Laghari as HEC chairman, the appointment of new chairperson is still a suspense for academic circles which believe that it can also be a surprise.

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Bahrians win declamation contest
Islamabad: Bahria College, Sector E-8, won the trophy in the final session of All Pakistan Bilingual Declamation Contest held at the Fazaia Inter College here on Thursday.

Pakistan Air Force Women's Association (PAFWA) President Begum Shehla Tahir was the chief guest on the occasion.

Talented students of 22 schools and colleges from all over the country took part in the competition. The participating speakers delivered speeches on different topics. Begum Shehla Tahir awarded prizes to the winners.

First prize in English speech was awarded to Feruzan Butt of Beaconhouse School, Islamabad; whereas second prize was won by Nimra Khursheed of Bahria College, E-8, Islamabad. In Urdu speech, first prize was awarded to Faseeh-ur-Rehman of Bahria College, E-8, and second prize was given to Mubeen-ur-Rehman of Fazaia Model Inter College, Mushaf (Sargodha).

Begum Shehla Tahir appreciated the public speaking skills of the students of various schools and colleges. She reiterated that students should actively take part in co-curricular activities for their grooming and confidence-building.

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No holiday on Saturdays in FDE institutions
Islamabad: The federal government has announced to end Saturday as weekly holiday in the F G educational institutions from December 7.

According to Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) Joint Secretary Rafique Tahir, there would be no weekly holiday on Saturday in all educational institutions falling under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) from December 7.

He said the decision had been taken to enable teaching staff cover syllabi of their respective subjects by the time annual examinations start in March next year.

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Model college teachers to observe strike on Dec 3
Islamabad: The teaching staff of Islamabad Model Colleges would boycott the academic work in protest against the apathetic attitude of the officials of Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) towards their demands on December 3 (Tuesday), says a press release issued by Central Academic Staff Association (CASA) of Islamabad Model Colleges here.

According to the press release, the teaching community of senior and junior sections of the model colleges would go on a complete strike for indefinite period against the proposed merger of the model colleges with the federal government schools and colleges in the name uniformity rather the move is aimed at ruining the standard of education being maintained at the model colleges.

The Casa spokesman Mehbub Ali said that the junior lady teachers (JLTs) working in BPS-16 were denied up-gradation announced by the prime minister in 2010 but the same facility was being given to the teachers working in the same grade in federal government schools, He said that the discriminatory attitude of the CADD ministry officials was of a serious concern for them. He said that the nomenclature of the Senior Lady Teachers (SLTs) had also been changed into Secondary School Teachers (SSTs) which stood nowhere in the model college setup.

He said that the model college teachers and non-teaching staff were also being discriminated in the grant of their hiring allowance while the staff of the federal government institutions was being facilitated by all means.

He said that the CADD ministry and the education minister should look into the whole matter and redress the grievances of the model college teachers forthwith otherwise the teaching staff would continue the strike till their demands were met. The news

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UoP to start joint degree programmes
Peshawar: The University of Peshawar (UoP) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) will start joint degree programmes in departments that are the most strongest in the respective varsities.

This was decided in a meeting of the visiting five-member Malaysian delegation, led by the USM vice-chancellor Prof Dato Dr Omar Osman, with UoP VC Prof Mohammad Rasul Jan, according to a press release issued here on Friday.

The two sides resolved to take benefit from each other's strength and exchange student faculty, as was decided in the MoU signed earlier this year for three years between them.

The UoP and USM also referred to as University of Science, Malaysia acceded to the idea of taking the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on board for collaboration in diverse fields to enhance the university-industry cooperation in future and prepare a working paper in this connection for the upcoming visit of Malaysian prime minister to Islamabad early next year.

With 45 disciplines the UoP offers diverse courses ranging from social sciences to natural, humanities and applied sciences, said Prof Jan while briefing the delegation.

He said that in the past few months about 100 PhD faculties had been added to the existing pool which reinforced the departments to impart quality education and research among students. He called for enhancing cooperation among the two universities. Dawn

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