SZABIST launches astronomy society

SZABIST International Year of Astronomy 2009 project
Karachi, Feb 11: The Szabist Night Hawk Society launched their first project by the name of 'International Year of Astronomy 2009' here on Tuesday at the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute for Science and Technology (SZABIST) Clifton campus.

Founder of the Szabist Night Hawk Society, Air Commodore (retd) Khalid Marwat, recalled the history of astronomy and discussed its importance. He also elaborated that the year 2009 has been named as the year of Astronomy by the United Nations (UN) and there is a drastic increase in activities related to astronomy the world over. "The Night Hawk society at SZABIST would be the first student society which will facilitate students interested in astronomy to broaden their horizons about the solar system", said Marwat.

The second part of the presentation was an exercise of sighting different stars, planets and the moon. Mr. Marwat and Abu Bakar Sheikhani, the co-founder of the society, explained the mechanics using an advanced 'Schemidt Cassegranian' telescope. The students sighted Venus, which appeared like a crescent, and stars namely, Sirius and Ligules. It was interesting to find out that the names of some characters from the famous Harry Potter series are inspired from the name of these stars.

Mr Sheikhani further informed for the audience that Karachiites can see Venus while standing at 'Do Talwar' near Clifton or at Keamari Port from sunset till 10pm, in the shape of a bright star.

Dr Najmi Haider, the faculty supervisor of SZABIST Night Hawk said: "Once the society is established and we have passionate youngsters working for this society, we plan to expand to other schools and institutes."

British Council team meets HEC chairperson
Karachi: A five-member delegation of the British Council (BC) met with Adviser to Prime Minister and Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairperson Shehnaz Wazir Ali and HEC Executive Director Prof. Sohail H. Naqvi regarding the issues of higher education in Pakistan.

Begum Shehnaz Wazir Ali after welcoming the delegation appreciated the steps taken by the British Council regarding development of education sector in Pakistan. She said that the collaboration of the British Council regarding the quality of research at our universities could be initiated by the HEC by developing a comprehensive linkage programme for PhD supervisors.

The HEC, which has initiated a number of programmes in this regard, should not be discontinued due to financial constraints. They are determined to overcome this core issue. They have to provide more and more access to the higher education without compromising on quality, she said.

For the purpose they are looking for innovative ways and means to enhance our education standard. In this regard the collaboration of the British Council is highly needed, she added.

Dr Naqvi briefed the delegation about the ongoing efforts being done by the HEC to promote higher education culture in Pakistan. He highlighted different projects of the HEC which are on the way not only to produce better leadership in higher education sector but also to develop quality assurance in the existing universities of Pakistan. He said that the most important factor of research which was missing in our universities was now on a better side.

Research of international standards has begun to be conducted by our university faculty and this is due to continuous joint efforts of the HEC, our universities and international organisations. He hoped that the British Council is very much capable of helping us in the sector of quality assurance.

The members of the delegation assured their assistance and cooperation concerning issues discussed and offered their full support to the HEC.

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IIU students protest against termination of faculty members
Islamabad: Students of the International Islamic University (IIU) held a protest demonstration here on Tuesday against termination of two senior faculty members.

The protesters, carrying placards, chanted slogans against the university administration and demanded restoration of the sacked professors at the earliest.

Various student leaders addressed the gathering and blamed the university administration for taking discriminatory measures against senior faculty members. They said the university administration has terminated Professor Dr. Ijaz Mansoor Qureshi and Professor Dr. Ejaz Muhammad without any genuine reason, as evident from the text of their termination letters.

Dr. Qureshi has served as an acting dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology for one-and-a-half years before his termination. While Dr. Ejaz Muhammad is among those professors who have joined the Faculty of Engineering and Technology and started research and development in the working environment coined by Dr. Ijaz Mansoor Qureshi.

The protesters alleged that research activities at the FET have stopped and students of FET, especially MS and PhD scholars, were bearing a big loss. They appealed to President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also chancellor of the IIU, to restore the prominent professors at their respective positions.

NNI adds: A spokesman of the International Islamic University has said that only one dean who was working on temporary basis and whose contract was about to end in June 2009 was dismissed due to his maladministration. The spokesman added that the university has over 17,000 male and female students studying in eight faculties and 27 departments peacefully. The News

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