Karachi University MS, PhD classes | Professor Amberina Kazi

MS, PhD classes will not commence if..
Karachi, Feb 02: The Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) has warned that teachers will not resume teaching MS and PhD classes unless the university administration stops taking steps that are not approved by the academic council.

The KUTS General Body meeting on January 21 and January 29 decided that the present form of the MS and Ph D programme is not workable because of topsy-turvy arrangements that are confusing students and teachers alike. The KUTS also demanded that steps that are not approved by the academic council but show conflicts and flaws should be corrected in an emergency academic council meeting. "We will not commence MS and PhD classes if the flaws are not rectified immediately," KUTS President Dr Aqeel Ahmed said.

The KUTS has also aired its disappointment and surprise that flaws which were agreed upon during a meeting between the KUTS Executive Council and the KU Vice-Chancellor and Deans are yet to be rectified. Moreover, the absence of official announcements has created confusion and a sense of distrust among teachers and students. Unfortunately, the respectable academic programme has become a topic of joke and sarcasm from the students, they said.

The most ironical side of the story is the fact that all serious suggestions and culture of dialogue has been ignored by the administration. "If a Dean and administration think they are so capable, they can run this programme. The teachers, however, will not be a part of it," Dr Ahmed said firmly. "We demand an immediate meeting of the Academic Council and a withdrawal of the announcement for commencement of classes from February 2, 2009."

The KUTS has called a meeting of the Executive Council at 11.30 am at the Staff Club to decide the course of action to follow.

KU seminar on Youth Entrepreneurship Training: The Faculty of Management and Administrative Sciences, University of Karachi (KU), in collaboration with Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of Sindh, and the SMEDA, is organizing a one-day seminar on Youth Entrepreneurship Training on Monday (today) at 9:30 am at the Arts Auditorium.

KU's inventive literary mentor and connoisseur
Karachi: Asking any student at the University of Karachi's (KU) Department of English Literature about Professor Amberina Kazi will result only in a positive response. Students not only hold her in high regard, but look up to her for inspiration. What makes Prof. Kazi, a former chairperson of the department, particularly popular is her willingness to do things differently and think outside the box.

"I have never been afraid of challenges and have strongly felt that in order to produce better thinkers, we should first modify our syllabus and then expect students to bring about some change," believes Prof. Kazi. She differs with the widely-held belief that most students are not creative thinkers. "They just need to be guided."

When it comes to teaching the subject she is most passionate about English Literature she says it becomes all the more difficult as students are unwilling to recognise and appreciate their own literature. "I think it is essential for students to become familiar with post-colonial literature as well. South Asian literature is just as rich and we have produced great writers and poets whose writings we can learn from as well as relate to."

Sharing the challenge of setting up such a course at KU, Prof. Kazi discloses how reluctant the faculty initially was. However, through a series of meetings, she gradually managed to convince them and introduced South Asian Literature in the syllabus, which remains one of her biggest achievements.

One of our problems, she feels, is we let experts from abroad hijack our thoughts and are easily influenced by their opinion. "When it comes to contemporary fiction, I think writers like Kamila Shamsie have done a great job. We should learn to appreciate our people as well."

Apart from teaching at the university, Prof. Kazi also runs a cassette library for the visually impaired students at KU, and, today, aims to establish a disability unit in the Faculty of Arts for special students to benefit from. She has maintained the library for several years now, running it with the help of students on voluntary basis.

"But now in the age of technology, when we have the relevant software, I think a disability unit should be an inherent part of our university as well so special students of all departments can access academic material from one place. Most universities abroad have one." It was back in her university days that she thought a cassette library should be maintained for special students. "Actually my own best friend was visually impaired. That's when I felt something needed to be done for such students as well."

Prof. Kazi believes it is not just education but community service and extra curricular activities that shape a student's personality. However, in her case, she also gives credit to her mother who had always been involved in social welfare activities while her father was working in the Navy.

With pessimism currently prevalent among the youth, she feels community service can help change their perception and make them more useful members of society. "The problem with most of us is we are too shy to praise ourselves and our heroes even when our society is full of them. We keep trying to prove that we are realists and refuse to portray our people and country in good light. And that's what makes us hopeless."

Since education is the primary way to induce this sense of optimism, Prof. Kazi wishes to remain in the teaching profession. "It gives me the opportunity to mould a student and invest in our future. These young students are the wealth of our country."

Prof. Kazi has also authored two academic books that have been included in the syllabus of the Sindh Textbook Board for classes 11 and 12. In addition to this, she is one of the founder members of SPELT, a professional body of educationists committed to the training of teachers to teach English effectively. The body will mark 25 years of its existence this year. "You should not let go of any opportunity to share your knowledge with others," she says.

Prof. Kazi is currently planning to resume her PhD that she could not complete owing to her father's health years ago. Looking back, she says she has no regrets.

"I was glad I was able to look after my father, who had supported me all along. Had it not been for the support of my parents and my husband, who looked after my two children while I was busy, I may not have been able to dedicate as much time to my profession as I did." - aroosa.khan@thenews.com.pk (The News)

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DMC & SMC convocation. DUHS gets Rs10m grant
Karachi: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan has announced a financial grant of Rs10 million to the Dow University of Health and Sciences.

He made this announcement while presiding over the convocation of the Dow Medical College and the Sindh Medical College here on Saturday.

Some 1,600 graduates belonging to different disciplines were awarded degrees and shields in the convocation.

The governor also awarded gold medals and merit certificates to position holders and distinction holders.

Addressing the audience, the governor said that the Dow university was providing quality healthcare and education through its academic and research activities and its qualified faculty members were also providing training facilities for all categories of health workers.

He congratulated the graduates and advised them to keep themselves up-to-date. He advised them to utilise their knowledge and skills through ethical practice for the service of humanity and to fulfil the trust bestowed on them by their country.

Dr Ibad congratulated DUHS Vice Chancellor Prof Masood Hameed Khan and his team for the development of the university and setting up of new institutes and departments.

The VC briefly spoke about the development of DUHS since its inception. Vice Chancellor of Karachi University Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui hoped that DUHS would continue to coordinate with the Karachi University in further elevating the standard of medical education.

Later, the governor lighted up the Olympic torch to commemorate Dow Olympics 2009 and a Celebration Week to commemorate five years of DUHS.

SPLA demands recruitment of 3,000 teachers
Karachi: Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) office-bearers Professor Umat-ul-Sami, Professor Liaquat Aziz, Professor Mazhar Ali Rizvi and others have demanded efforts to alleviate the acute shortage of teachers in Sindh colleges.

In a joint statement on Sunday, the SPLA members expressed deep concern over the anti-education and anti-teacher policies of the present government. They demanded Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq to ensure the recruitment of 3,000 teachers for Sindh colleges on a priority basis

"The education department is deliberately creating these situations to pave the way for privatisation of educational institutions," they claimed. They alleged that the Sindh Education Department is receiving massive donations in the name of education but these funds are being pocketed. The leaders added that the SPLA is launching a protest campaign from February 3 and teachers from all over Sindh will participate in the march from Degree College, Naudero to the Garhi Khuda Bux graveyard. Ppi

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Madrassa students denied equivalence certificates
Karachi: The Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC), a federally administered committee, has stopped issuing equivalence certificates to students of madrassas, it was learnt on Saturday.

The matter was discussed in the last meeting of the committee which was held in Islamabad this week. It was decided that the committee will follow the federal government's instructions on the issue, officials of the committee said under the condition of anonymity.

Over tens of thousands of students receive an equivalence certificate of matriculation and intermediate from the committee every year. On the basis of these certificates, students are eligible to apply for graduate and postgraduate degrees from the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

According to the officials, the measure was taken so that all madrassas working in the country are convinced to accept the status of the Madaris Education Board, instituted by the government to supervise religious education.

If the Ittehad Tenzeemat Madaris Deenia Pakistan (ITMDP), a countrywide body of madrassas, accepts the board, then in the future, all certificates to the students will be issued by the board, they added.

The officials noted that the ITMDP had been asked to contact the Ministry of Religious Affairs to get equivalence certificates. On the other hand, the ministry refused to do so till the matter was not resolved.

When contacted, IBCC Assistant Secretary based in Karachi Muhammad Ejaz Ahsan confirmed that the issuance of equivalence certificates had been stopped on the direction of higher authorities. However, he refused to give any further details.

Similarly, ITMDP leaders have contacted the high-ups of both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Religious Affairs. "Both these ministries have not come up with any satisfactory answer to resolve the issue of equivalence certificates," ITMDP leaders said.

Commenting on the Inter board committee's refusal to issue equivalence certificate, Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman said that they were in contact with the officials concerned. "However, the matter has not been finalised yet," he maintained and hoped that it would be resolved soon.

The IBCC is a state organisation responsible for deciding and granting equivalencies to Deeni Madaris students. The equivalence certificates include Secondary School Certificate (SSC) (Matriculation), Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) (Intermediate levels) and technical education and local certificates. Daily Times

'Madressah reforms imperative'
Karachi: Reforms in the Madressah education system at the basic level will not only modernise Madressah at the mainstream intellectual parameters, but will also lead to multi-dimensional development, Dr Saleem Ali, Associate Professor of Environmental Planning at the University of Vermont, USA, said on Saturday.

He was speaking at a seminar on "Islam and Education: Conflict and Conformity in Madressahs" at the Department of International Relations, University of Karachi.

"The compartmentalisation of different educational structures must be bridged through collaboration and constructive dialogue. It can be promoted through various ways - by providing apprenticeship to Madressah students, incorporating sciences and modern languages, and exchange programmes between institutions of higher learning, both national and foreign," he said.

KU Department of International Relations Chairman (and Programme Director) Dr Moonis Ahmer said that the primary gulf between the East and the West was of knowledge. Muslims have largely lagged behind others as far as the acquisition and the promotion of modern knowledge is concerned, "but it is not impossible to equip ourselves with modern education. For this, there had to be a change in the priorities of the State and society," Dr Ahmer said. The programme was followed by an interactive question and answer session. The News

Sindh Univresity doubles district quota for LLB
Hyderabad: The University of Sindh has decided to double the district quota for admissions to five-year LLB programme and commence classes of the new batch from Feb 23.

The decision was taken at a meeting, which was presided over by the university's vice-chancellor, Mazharul Haq Siddiqui.

The meeting reviewed repair work of Metharam Hostel Hyderabad to start five-year LLB programme there. The meeting decided that inaugural ceremony of the newly-upgraded department of law and five-year LLB programme would be organised on Feb 20.

The meeting also increased the district quota seats in the LLB programme.

The University of Sindh has announced that last date for admissions to postgraduate diploma in computer science and public administration is Feb 5. Dawn

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