New phase of AusAID Pakistan scholarships programme
Islamabad, Feb 19: Australian High Commissioner Timothy George launched on Thursday a new phase of the AusAID Pakistan scholarships programme.
The programme has been redesigned in consultation with the Pakistani government to increasingly align its objectives with Pakistan's development priorities.
Future awards will focus on maternal, neonatal and child health; basis education; rural development and food security; and governance.
A revised selection process includes specific measures to ensure gender equality and that scholarships are accessible to people with disabilities. Candidates from Balochistan, the North West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas will be par- ticularly encouraged to apply.
Target candidates include policy-makers, practitioners and advocates in government and civil society organisations. At the completion of their studies, scholars will return to Pakistan to contribute to the development of the country.
Many previous scholarship holders have become leaders in government, the private sector and non-governmental organisations.
The new phase of the AusAID Pakistan scholarships programme will also see the establishment of an alumni network.
Last month, 51 Pakistan recipients of AusAID scholarships travelled to Australia to commence their studies at universities throughout the country.
In March, the next round of scholarships will be advertised throughout Pakistan, inviting applications for 45 master's level awards to study in Australian universities.
In September 2009, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Michael Rudd announced a further expansion of AusAID's scholarships programme in Pakistan, with 100 additional scholarships, specifically those focusing on agricultural studies, over next four years.
Later, a delegation of AusAID visited the secretariat of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and explored possible avenues of cooperation and support the programme.
AusAID is already in contact with BISP development partners like USAID and the World Bank.
BISP Chairperson Farzana Raja informed the delegation that the programme was making headway in introducing new initiatives for alleviation of poverty and making the poorest of the poor section of the society financially independent. DawnYour Comments
AIOU announces BEd exam results
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has announced the results of final examinations of Bachelors of Education (BEd) programme for the Semester Spring 2009, said AIOU Controller Examinations Hafeez-Ullah in a press release on Thursday.
He said result cards were being sent by post to the students at their given addresses.
The students could also download their result from the website www.aiou.edu.pk, he added.
AIOU daily wagers
Islamabad: Around 450 workers of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), most of them engaged for over a decade, are daily wagers. They are contracted for 89 days and after gape of one day their contracts are renewed.
AIOU Deputy Registrar M Ismail Fahmi said that an employee hired in scale two received Rs 253 daily, however if he didn't show up in the office for any reason he won't be paid.
He was reluctant to share the AIOU's policy about daily wagers. He said only the registrar, Ilyas Ahmed, could tell the rational behind this policy. The registrar was unavailable at office and on phone for comments.
Zahid Majeed, AIOU Academic Staff Association general secretary, said the administration did not advertise posts for daily wagers, so there was no criterion for their hiring. In any case, the fate of daily wagers rested on the mood of their immediate supervisors since they could be hired or fired even without a short notice.
"A lower division cleric has been working for the last seventeen years on daily basis but has not been regularized as yet. When AIOU is using his services for so many years, why don't they regularize him? Muhammad Shafiq, an LDC, has completed his 17 years of service and had he been a regular employee, he would have been entitled to pension after 25 years of service," he said.
Employees Welfare Association President Malik Saeed said lower division clerics (LDC) were the backbone of the institution.
"Daily wagers are paid on attendance basis so they are not entitled to get money on Sundays or even on national holydays. The international Labour Day is also a doom day for AIOU's daily wager since they do get a day off, but without money," he said.
A naib qasid said, "When I go home I am not sure if there will be a tomorrow for me in the office. Insecurity prevails."
"They don't raise their voice fearing that the administration might terminate them. It is inhuman not to regularize those who are working for years. Daily wagers' experience is not counted so they cannot get jobs on the behalf of the previous record of their service," Prof Rasheed Khalid of QAU lamented.
A female in IT department said that she had worked as a daily wager in AIOU for three years before getting a regular job. " Being a daily wager, I always felt insecure," she said.
There is another side of the story: when some are being exploited, others are intimidating.
Director Regional Services (DRC) Ali Asghar Hussnain was hired as a daily wager after his retirement for 89 days. It was an exception that this post was widely advertised, against which AIOU received more than 30 applications.
Sources said the applicants were PHD degree holders but none of them was called for interview other than Hussnain. "Now he is working on this post for one and a half years as his contract is renewed on every 90th day after a gap of one day," a representative of AIOU Academic Staff Association said.
He said the contract was renewed after 89 days with a gap of one day because upon completion of 90 days of service, the university was bound to give the employee some benefits.
Dr Saqib Riaz, of the AIOU, said advertisement, short listing and interviews were mandatory for regular appointments. "But daily wagers usually come from backdoors. They are put in offices by some influential people." Daily times
Protest against proposal to privatise Tevta
Rawalpindi: Teachers and students of Government Commerce College held a protest rally against the proposed privatisation of Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Tevta), urging the Punjab government to take the proposal back.
The rally started from the college premises and ended at Haideri Chowk on Saidpur Road where the protesters raised slogans against the proposal of handing over Tevta to private sector, said a college lecturer.
Participants of the rally led by Imdadullah, president United Teachers Association Punjab Rawalpindi chapter, blocked the road for sometime and later dispersed peacefully.
He said future of thousands of students and teachers would be at stake if Tevta was handed over to private sector. Dawn
Student loan programme
Islamabad: Financially disadvantaged youths' access to higher education in Pakistan is alarmingly low, Higher Education Commission (HEC) observed on Thursday during a national videoconference for developing new student loan programme.
HEC organised the conference under the USAID funded programme, which aims at providing technical assistance to HEC and USAID-partner universities across Pakistan in financial aid and fundraising. Representatives from Ministry of Finance, International Finance Corporation, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and public and private sector universities took part in deliberations.
While chairing the meeting, HEC Member Operations and Planning Dr Mukhtar Ahmed observed that the current situation of access to higher education in Pakistan was alarmingly low. He declared the financial constraints as one of the major reasons. The participants said due to the high cost of higher education most of financially disadvantaged youths remained deprived of higher education.
The meeting focused on different student loan models, policy issues, the feasibility and practicality of such initiatives, risks and mitigation strategies, the role of universities, HEC and the SBP.
A high-level working group has been established to analyse strategies and options for creating a national student loan programme.
Online learning plan
Islamabad: The City School has launched online learning in its branches throughout the country.
By launching this state-of-the-art instructional approach, the school is on the creative end to exhibit and implement the potential of e-technology.
The school envisions transforming the traditional educational experience into something more interactive, rich and meaningful for students.
This new implementation will create a culture of leadership, authenticity and accountability in education by providing teachers, administrators, students, parents and support staff with the best tools available for aligning resources with evidence based outcomes.
Pashto stories in English
Peshawar: The English version of 'Fifty Million,' a collection of a dozen short stories, is set to hit the stalls after being published in the United States.
Authored in Pashto by Abdul Wakil Sulamal Shinwari, an Afghan literatus, the book was first translated into Urdu and now into English. Committed to promoting Pashto culture and literature, an Islamabad-based young journalist Rashid Khattak, has translated the book into English.
Published by a US publisher - Dorrance Publishing Co Inc, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - the 63-page book carries short stories almost all about the situation in Afghanistan, particularly during the Taliban rule.
The author has selected some very interesting topics and tried his pen on them. Having a taste of reality, each and every story attracts the attention of the reader, who gets so much involved in it after reading a single line that he wants to finish up the entire book in one reading.
The Pashto and Urdu versions of the book were worth reading, so is the English one. The translator, who works with an English-language daily and himself is a poet and writer, has done justice with the book in translating it into English. The translation has not affected the literary taste and fluency of the contents of the book.
It is a difficult job to convert specific expressions into an alien language but the translator has managed to find out the right words and phrases for each and every expression to maintain the flavour of the original writing.
The title of the book - 'Fifty Million' - has been derived from the main story of the book that chronicles the impact of the US announcement fixing head money for capturing - dead or alive - the most wanted Osama bin Laden.
The author narrates the story of a former 'holy warrior' as how much he thinks, discusses, plans and struggles for getting the head money amounting to $50 million. And finally he manages to get a small amount of money, by killing his own brother.
The writer has put his thoughts and what he knew in black and white at a time when the people he has written about were all powerful on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border. The news
Post your comments