Govt to engage retired employees for matric exams
Lahore, Feb 22: The Punjab government has adopted a different and difficult option to conduct the upcoming matriculation examinations by getting the services of retired employees and teachers across the province in the wake of ongoing agitation by employees of eight boards.
It has been decided to involve retired employees of the boards of intermediate and secondary education (BISEs), school and college teachers and examination staff of different universities to ensure the smooth and transparent conduct of exams as existing employees of the boards have been observing strike against the government.
It has further been decided that the FIRs will be registered against the protesting employees if they try to disrupt the conduct of exams besides initiation of disciplinary action against those instigating the employees to go on strike.
The decisions were made in a meeting chaired by Higher Education Secretary Ahad Khan Cheema and attended by Additional Secretary Chaudhry Akram, chairmen of BISEs, DPI Colleges, Additional DPI Colleges, Additional Controller and Deputy Controller of Exams from the Punjab University and other officials here on Sunday.
The employees of all the eight boars of the province have been protesting against the government for almost two weeks now for not releasing grants to the boards. They claim that the chief minister's decision to waive off registration and examination fee of matric students of the government schools has created financial problems for the boards and if the government does not provide grants the boards may go bankrupt.
However, the officials of the department concerned believed that the employees were pressurizing the government as it had recently opposed 15 percent increase in medical allowance announced by the BISE, Lahore, and BISE, Faisalabad. They said the government had assured grants to boards besides a cabinet committee was also formed by the CM over the issue but the employees were reluctant to call off the strike.
According to the department officials, the boards' employees had been enjoying better salaries and allowances than other government servants, adding that their demand to increase allowances was unjustified.
According to the sources, the Sunday meeting decided that BPS-17 and above officers of all the BISEs who were not a part of the ongoing protests would take over the data and record while police action would be initiated against those who would try to interfere or offer resistance.
They said show-cause notices had already been issued to 33 employees of different boards for protesting and instigating others to become part of strikes, adding that dozens of others would be served with show-cause notices on Monday (today). The Matriculation Annual Examination 2010 will simultaneously start on March 13, 2010, under eight boards, namely Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Multan, DG Khan and Bahawalpur.
When contacted, Higher Education Secretary Ahad Khan Cheema said anyone who tried to change the record or interfere in the conduct of exams would be dealt with strictly. He said the employees were not ready to end strike despite the fact that the CM had formed a cabinet committee regarding the issue.
"They continued blackmailing which is not acceptable to the government," he said.
"These employees are already enjoying more allowances than other government servants," he said, adding: "It has become their habit to observe strike ahead of exams to pressurise the government, however, it will not happen this time."
To a question, Cheema said: "No more negotiations." "The exams will be held as per schedule. We have made alternative arrangements and anybody who tried to disrupt smooth and transparent conduct of exam would face strict action."
The Higher Education secretary further said that besides retired employees of boards, government teachers and examination staff of different universities would be involved for conduct of exams.
He further said a meeting to review the situation and arrangements in connection with the exams would be held on a daily basis from Monday (today). The news
Neglect undermining KEMU, Mayo's repute bit by bit
Lahore: A lack of standard operating procedures, unvarying negligence on the part of whichever government comes to power and doctors' slack attitude has been undermining the King Edward Medical University (KEMU) and its teaching hospital, health experts and senior professors told Daily Times.
KEMU – the country's oldest medical institution – was granted university status under the KEMU Act, 2005, by the previous Punjab government. Interestingly, KEMU's teaching hospital, the Mayo Hospital, was made autonomous with the medical superintendent (MS) being directly responsible to the health secretary instead of the university's vice chancellor (VC).
Various senior professors said that nowhere in the world did teaching hospitals work independent of the university and blamed the system for the many problems that the university and the hospital were facing.
Daily Times has learnt that in the current set up, the MS is responsible for various matters ranging from policy making, purchasing medicines, providing staff and equipment, maintaining hygiene, sanitation and toilets, providing bulbs and almost every conceivable thing required by a hospital.
The VC had been made the university's chief executive and exercises administrative control over all its officers, teachers and employees. However, department heads who served at the hospital had no authority or any say in addressing the issues facing their wards.
This, along with a number of other reasons, is said to be the cause of the problems facing the most prestigious medical institution and the biggest medical set up in Punjab.
KEMU permanent VC Lahore: The government has failed to appoint a permanent vice chancellor (VC) for the King Edward Medical University (KEMU) since it was granted university status four years ago, Daily Times has learnt.
In 2006 – when the college was granted university status – Dr Mumtaz Hassan was made the acting VC, followed by Professor Zafarullah Khan, who was again not given a permanent posting.
In November 2008, the Health Department had advertised the post in the press and invited "high class professionals" to apply for it. Interestingly, the search committee formed to scrutinise candidates has not conducted a single interview despite the lapse of such a significant period since the advertisement was first made.
Senior doctors and health experts believe that the practice keeps the VC in limbo, consequently affecting his performance. They said that a permanent VC did not live in fear of losing his job and hence took administrative decisions in the better interest of the institution.
Last year, the government had moved to revert KEMU's university status, but stopped after facing resistance from different quarters.
Sources in the administration said that the government's failure to revert its university status had resulted in it (government) now neglecting the country's most prestigious and oldest medical institution.
Chief Minister's Task Force on Health Chairman Dr Saeed Elahi told Daily Times that a search committee consisting of "prominent persons" had been made and it would soon start interviewing candidates for the post.
Overcrowded lecture theatres
Lahore: Around 300 students enrol in the King Edward Medical University (KEMU) each year, even though the university does not have lecture theatres to accommodate the number, KEMU Vice Chancellor Professor Zafarullah Khan told Daily Times.
He said 270 students were enrolled to the university each year, but the lecture theatres had not been designed to accommodate more than 200 students.
"Due to this, many students have to sit on stairs, on the isles and tables during lectures, discomforting teachers and students alike," he added. Talking to Daily Times, Khansa Ahmad, a 4th year student said only the newly-built forensic lecture theatre had sufficient space to accommodate the whole class, while students have to adjust during other classes.
"Students are always on their heels to get a seat in the lecture theatre and many prefer to miss the class if they know that they would not make the class in time to get a proper seat," she added.
Chief Minister's Task Force on Health Chairman Dr Saeed Elahi said the issue had been "blown out of proportions", as students attended classes in batches, with each batch not exceeding 50 students during the first two years and from the third year on, they spent more than 60 percent of their time in the hospital.
"In the 80s there used to be 300 students in one class and even then things were fine...the Harvard School of Medicine has less space than the KEMU, but they have maintained their standard," Elahi said. However, KEMU Registrar Dr Mehmood Shaukat said every institution had its own procedure of working, adding that making comparisons with Harvard was inappropriate.
He said the classes were overcrowded and the need for more spacious lecture theatres was "real". Daily times
Education Expo 2010
Lahore: Two-day Education Expo 10, organised by the HR Consultants (Pvt) Ltd with media partnership of Jang Group, kicked off at the Pearl Continental Hotel here on Sunday.
A large number of people belonging to different walks of life, particularly students, thronged the stalls of the expo where representatives from dozens of top universities of the UK and Australia gave them free admission-related information.
The prospective students took keen interest in the event and expressed satisfaction with presence of professionals in the field of foreign education. They had discussions with the experts regarding their prospects of studying abroad and were briefed about admissions to top universities of the UK and Australia while matters related with visa were also discussed.
The foreign universities have been offering a vast range of courses in subjects, including business, engineering, computer engineering, public health, health services, dentistry and medicine. A number of universities also received on the spot admission applications from students.
Talking to The News, a number of visitors appreciated the organisers of the expo, saying the event was of great help for those planning to study abroad.
"It's certainly a good opportunity for students, seeking admissions in UK or Australian universities," commented a visiting student, Ahmed, saying: "The event will help students explore different prospects of securing admissions to foreign institutions of higher learning."
Another visitor, Shahzad, said the expo provided the students with an opportunity of comprehensive and detailed discussions with highly skilled and professional people. "Such events should be organised on a regular basis," he said.
Director HR Consultants (Pvt) Ltd Hamid Rauf said representatives from top universities of the UK and Australia were available to give professional advices to the students in the expo. He said free of charge guidance and information was being provided to students, adding that visa assistance was also being offered to them. He said it was a matter of pride for the HR Consultants that almost all the students whose cases were processed through his organisation for September and January intake had got visas.
Mr Rauf said education in the UK was cost-effective as compared to many other English speaking countries, adding that besides the merit, scholarships were also offered to students.
Regional Manager, Queen Mary, University of London, Nabeel Vehra said students were taking great interest in the Education Expo 10, saying that students seeking admissions to foreign universities should approach professionals only. He said the general impression that there were problems in getting UK student visas was wrong.
"The system has improved and is more efficient now," he said, adding that the last year certainly left a wrong impression when students had to face delay in getting visas.
Country Manager of Navitas, Ali Rehman, said good turnout of students was observed in the expo where professionals of the field were available to guide and assist them about future possibilities of studying abroad.
The major participants of Education Expo 10 include the Birmingham City University, University of Bradford, Queen Mary University of London, Middlesex University, Brunel University, University of Leicester, London South Bank University, University of Hertfordshire, Bradford College, South Thames College, London, London School of Business & Finance, CRIC (Cambridge Ruskin International College an associate college of Anglia Ruskin University), HIBT (Hertfordshire International College of Business & Technology an associate college of the University of Hertfordshire), ICP (International College Portsmouth, an associate college of the University of Portsmouth), ICWS (International College Wales Swansea, an associate college of the Swansea University), LIBT (London International College of Business & Technology in association with the Brunel University) and PDIC (Plymouth Devon International College as associate college of University of Plymouth). Monday (today) will be last day of the expo.
House jobs demanded
Lahore: The Pakistan Young Doctors Association (YDA) has said that the number of seats for House Officers (HOs) in the corresponding hospitals should be equal to the number of graduates passing out of the institutions.
According to a press statement issued on Sunday, the office-bearers of YDA, Dr Rana Sohail, Dr Salman Kazmi and Dr Aslam Rao, stated that every doctor had to do a one year house job before they were registered with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Corporation (PMDC) but there were not enough posts for HOs at the hospitals.
The YDA said that there was a need for at least 50 seats at Jinnah Hospital, 40 at Services Hospital, 110 at Bahawalpur Victor Hospital and 80 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
The office-bearers of the YDA demanded that the required seats be created to ensure paid house jobs for the graduates and to meet the PMDC criterion of at least one HO for ten beds at any hospital. The news
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