Science exhibition monetary fraud

Fraud allegations mar science exhibit
Karachi, Feb 20: Allegations of monetary fraud have marred the recently concluded science exhibition held by the District Office Education, Secondary and Higher Secondary (Male) City District Government Karachi. The event had already raised eyebrows due to the involvement of Junior School Teachers (JST) and retired non-teaching personnel in the exhibition as event organisers.

The science exhibition was held on February 17 and 18 at Sir Adamjee Institute of Science and Technology Karachi. It has been learnt that Sir Adamjee Institute offered the place without any cost and also provided a generator.

However, sources said that the schools which participated in the exhibition paid Rs5000 and other secondary schools contributed Rs1000 to Rs3000 to the exhibition, adding that the amount collected for the exhibition went into the pockets of the programme organisers and coordinators. This fraud was not noticed by the senior officials of the Education Department at all, sources claimed.

The official organisers included Saeed-ul-Haq, a retired Physical Training Instructor along with Muhammad Nasir and Asim Iqbal, both non-teaching personnel. Shehla Moid, Rahila Masroor, Asma Afzal and Shagufta were JST and had participated as programme coordinators.

Government schools such as Major Ziauddin School, Nazimabad, Government Comprehensive Higher Secondary located in Korangi, North Nazimabad and Azizabad have huge spaces available to organise such events but the programme organisers and coordinators preferred a private institute to hold the exhibit, sources said.

Despite this knowledge, Senior Education Minister, Pir Mazhar Ul Haq and Executive District Officer (EDO), Education, Muhammad Ibrahim Kumbhar appeared on the last day of the exhibition but did not question the choice of the venue.

The Newsmen contacted District Officer Education, Shabbir Ahmed Jokhio for his comments but he was not available. The Newsmen also approached several teachers' associations but they refused to share any information in this regard and said that if they discuss the matter, there is a chance that they would face difficulties in future.

However, unofficially, teachers did share their views over the matter and said that Rs100 per table were collected for the stalls and head masters of the schools paid an undisclosed amount on the behalf of their schools.

Meanwhile, District Officer Education, Shabbir Ahmed Jokhio was suspended by the education minister on Friday in some other matter.

Your Comments
"AOA Im a biology lecturer at a private college taching there for 6-years i want to know can i join ur Bio Club? If yes then kindly tell me the procedure to join your Bio club that would be an hounor for me. Thanks with regards Annie"
Name: Annie
City, Country: Karachi, Pakistan

"All the offical including Saeed Malik are corrupt and it will be waste of public money. The school should handed over to mission society of church"
Name: Khalid Jan
City, Country: Canada

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KU to establish Pakistan's first Bio Bank
Karachi: Researchers at the Panjwani Centre of Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi (KU) are in the process of establishing Pakistan's first Bio Bank that would provide biological materials to other researchers throughout the country.

The Bio Bank, which has a state-of-art storage facility at PCMD, is the brainchild of Dr Iqbal Chaudhary, Director PCMD and is supervised by Dr Kaneez Fatima Shad, a Professor of Neurology and assisted by Dr Sonia Siddiqui, who is a neuroscientist and holds a PhD degree from Bochum, Germany.

The Bio Bank will produce primary and continuous cell lines that posses the similar properties of the body organ they are extracted from. One of the examples is that of B1O3 cell line that possesses the property of important brain region called Substantia Nigra, which is responsible for the synthesis of serotonin.

Dr Shad has requested surgeons, especially neurosurgeons from all over Pakistan, to help them in expanding the Bio Bank facility by providing them a piece of each discarded tissue while performing surgery. "We are requesting the surgeons to inform us about the surgery in advance to enable us to send a person to collect the freshly discarded tissue. The size of the tissue could be one mm and will be enough to generate the cell line. We will immediately dissociate the cells and incubate them in the special media for propagation (growth). Once the cells are propagated and grow properly, they will be differentiated and classified according to their properties," Dr Shad said while giving details.

Dr Sonia Siddiqui added, "The main purpose of the Bio Bank is to store the tissues at the required temperatures and other suitable conditions and then supply them to the scientists and researchers throughout the country. Currently we have preserved the tissues at -180 degrees Celsius in a Nitrogen Container."

The cell tissues, once established would be used for testing the natural compounds extracted in HEJ Institute of Chemistry, KU. The results would be compared with commercially available drugs to analyse their potential for therapeutic action. "The isolated tissues obtained from the hospitals will be further tested for genetic information to generate data bank of DNA mutations present in the Pakistani population," Dr Shad explained.

According to Dr Shad most of the drugs are tested on people in Western Europe who have a different genetic make up but are used by the people in our part of the world. There is a possibility that therapeutic effects could either be none or negligible. This is an alarming situation because it would mean that our people, while spending money on the medicines, would possibly be not getting any healing effect on them.

It is worth mentioning here that some students in Dr Shad's group are working on the genetic profile of the Pakistani population for diseases such as schizophrenia and depression. This information may help in future to identify the potential therapeutic targets for these diseases. The news

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Restoration work of CMS
Karachi: Taking notice of the highly dilapidated and bad condition of the Church Mission School (CMS) where Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had studied, Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq directed the provincial works department on Friday to immediately start the restoration work of the three ruined blocks of the school, besides removing all the encroachments from its premises.

The minister also directed the provincial secretary of education to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the school's General Register which contained the record of all its students, including Mr Jinnah's.

The minister gave these directives while he along with senior officials of the education department and a group of journalists paid a surprise visit to the school on Friday.

The school prior to its nationalisation in 1971 was one of the best educational institutions of the city where many students passed their matric examinations with flying colours. It had also produced a number of cricketers of international repute such as Mushtaq Mohammad, Sadiq Mohammad, Intekhab Alam and Haroon Rasheed.

Currently four schools - CMS Primary, CMS Secondary, Cutchhi Memon Association (CMA) Primary and CMA Girls Secondary - are being run in the recently built blocks while the original three blocks of the CMS are lying completely abandoned.

The minister suspended the district officer of secondary and high schools (Male), Shabbir Jokhio, because he failed to turn up at the school during the minister's visit.

The minister visited the school's classrooms, the principal's office and the compound and was shocked by the filthy and unclean environment of the school.

He expressed his displeasure at the bad condition of the historical building and immediately ordered the officials concerned to ensure that the restoration work of the three blocks of the school and the school's restoration work were carried out simultaneously so that the people of the country could feel proud of the historical institution where the Father of the Nation had studied before taking admission to the Sindh Madressah-tul-Islam.

The minister also took notice of some shelters built just on the left side of the school's main block which also carried the school's foundation stone which read that the CMS was founded by the first collector of Karachi, Colonel Henry W. Preedy, in 1846.

Ban on ceremonies

Taking notice that marriage ceremonies were being held on the school premises, the minister ordered the education officer concerned to immediately bring to an end all such practices as President Asif Ali Zardari had already issued a clear directive banning all sorts of ceremonies in schools, parks and playgrounds.

The minister was told that the affairs of the school were being managed by a mission society of Christ Church which was situated across the road but its condition and quality of education started deteriorating after the school was taken over by the government in the wake of its nationalisation policy of 1971.

Additional secretary (planning), director planning Mehdi Baloch, education (works) department's chief engineer Saeed Malik and deputy director of private schools Ms Rafia Mallah accompanied the minister during the visit.

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Uniform admission policy
Hyderabad: Activists of the Geamist Ideological Committee went on a 72-hour hunger strike here on Friday to press their demand for a uniform admission policy in Sindh's universities.

They said they were raising the demand because of denial of admission to students from the interior of Sindh in educational institutions of Karachi.

Those on hunger strike include Akhtar Shaikh, Mehran Bhutto, Ashiq Jatoi, Mohammad Ali Chandio, Tanveer Zaunr and Hanif Chang.

Speaking on the occasion, Azad Joyo Raja Dahir Hakro and Mashooq Ali Qambrani said that an admission quota of each district should be fixed for all universities, including those in Karachi.They said they were struggling for the rights of the future generations of Sindhi youths and called upon student organisations, civil society and nationalist parties to support their struggle. Dawn

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