Punjab Technical Education funds

TEVTA surrenders Rs 500m over non-utilisation of funds
Lahore, Feb 23: The Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) has surrendered Rs 500 million over the non-utilisation of development funds in the first half of the financial year.

The authority is likely to surrender Rs 500 million more in the second phase during the first week of March, a senior official of Planning and Development (P&D) told Daily Times. The Punjab government had earmarked Rs 2.3 billion in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) 2009-10 for 101 development schemes under TEVTA.

Out of the total allocated funds, Rs 1.75 billion was for the execution of 59 on-going schemes whereas Rs 550 million was allocated to initiate 42 new development schemes by the authority, sources said. The Finance Department on the request of TEVTA released Rs 2.1 billion by the end of January to initiate and execute 101 development schemes in the province during 2009-10. These funds were at the disposal of TEVTA.

The authority utilised only Rs 53 million, 2.5 percent of the total released amount, until the end of the first half of the financial year. Whereas in a briefing in the first week of February to Shahbaz Sharif on the utilisation of development funds, the officials of TEVTA maintained that the authority had utilised Rs 178 millions out of the total released funds, which amounts to 9 percent.

After the briefing, the chief minister expressed 'his displeasure' over the non-utilisation of funds by the authority. As a result, the authority surrendered Rs 500 million to the national exchequer and talks are in progress to surrender more funds, the P&D told Daily Times.

TEVTA Chairman Saeed Alvi said talks were in progress to surrender Rs 450 million, however he denied that Shahbaz had showed his 'displeasure' over non-utilisation of the development funds. Daily times

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Action against education board employees
Lahore: The Punjab higher education department has served show-cause notices on around 85 employees of the eight education boards in the province, who are on strike demanding release of funds in compensation for the abolition of examination fee charged from matriculation students of public schools.

The board employees under the banner of Employees Federation Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education Punjab, are on strike for last 13 days demanding release of grant to the boards to meet the expenses of the forthcoming matriculation annual examination for 2010.

These employees held massive protest demonstrations, including on Lahore board premises.

Meanwhile, the higher education department has engaged staff including officials of different universities and schoolteachers, who had already worked as external tabulators, to conduct the examinations on time.

The protesters, however, claim that it was impossible to hold the matriculation examination as per schedule.

Punjab higher education secretary Ahad Khan Cheema said the universities and schools' staff had been sent to the boards, who would soon start dispatching roll number slips to the candidates. He claimed that examination centres were already identified and the staff was required to stamp serial numbers on answer-scripts. "Only packing and dispatch work is left in connection with the holding of the matriculation examination," he added.

Mr Cheema said the staff sent to boards would also hold training workshops for the superintendents and invigilators.

When contacted, BISE, Lahore, Employees Welfare Association president Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam Gujjar said the education department should realise that it was a misconception that staff from universities, colleges or schools could hold the matriculation examination, which he said was highly technical and sensitive job.

He said the board employees had expertise in checking candidates' eligibility, setting up examination centres, issue roll number slips, provide answer-sheets and above all printing of question-papers.

Gujjar said it was imperative to release grant to meet the forthcoming matriculation examination's expenses. He said some boards were so fund-starved that they would not be able to give salaries to their staff members. Dawn

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Inquiry tribunal confirms anomalies in KC admissions
Lahore: An inquiry tribunal formed by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has confirmed anomalies in admissions on self finance basis at Kinnaird College for Women and termed appointment of registrar wrong.

The tribunal was formed in January by the CM following strong protests by KC teachers and students after KC Principal Dr Bernadette L Dean sacked three faculty members and repatriated four others to the Punjab Higher Education Department.

The principal's action was seen as victimisation and KC teachers moved an application against what they called unjustified appointment of the college registrar. Teachers had also questioned admissions on self finance basis.

According to the inquiry report submitted by the Inquiry Tribunal to the CM, meetings were held to finalise the report and a number of faculty members, the principal and the registrar also appeared before the tribunal. The tribunal also called for the record related to admissions on self finance and minorities' seats besides record of appointment of registrar.

As many as seven faculty members had appeared before the tribunal who had complained that the principal was rude to the faculty, particularly those from the Education Department. They alleged there were financial irregularities in admissions under self-finance seats in Pre-Medical and Pre-Engineering. They also complained that the principal had employed a foreign citizen Lisa M Donald who did not have a work permit.

The report said the principal was asked to send ten senior most heads of the department for interview by the tribunal. The report adds: "While some faculty members made complaints similar to those brought to the notice of the tribunal in the first meeting, others stated that they had no complaint against the principal and were satisfied with her performance."

"Some senior members of the faculty were critical of the appointment of the registrar and the manner in which she was selected." The report adds: "It was also stressed that the principal was not well oriented to the Kinnaird College culture which may be different from the academic environment in Aga Khan University from where she had come."

As per the inquiry report, the record provided by the principal regarding admissions on self finance was computer generated and lacked some requisite inputs for proper examination of the case therefore two of the tribunal's members themselves visited the college and furnished their report on financial administration and admission process. In its observations on admissions on self finance basis, the tribunal observed that as per the report there were many anomalies in the number of students admitted to the college under the self finance scheme.

"The factual position which had emerged is that the Board of Governors allowed admissions under this scheme up to 10 percent of the general seats totalling 30. In 2004, the BoG increased this number to 40. The present principal admitted 67 students in FSc Pre Medical and Pre-Engineering and 16 at the Bachelors level," the inquiry report reads.

"Better discretion and prudence demanded that the principal should have sought clarification/ approval of the BoG in this matter. Further, notification of the merit lists was done in a shoddy and erratic manner. However, the total amount collected was duly deposited in the account of Bank of Punjab which had been verified from the bank. The allegation that in certain cases amounts exceeding Rs 100,000 per candidate was received off the record was not established."

The findings of the report on financial administration revealed the college was keeping 34 accounts with four banks for which no explanation was offered. "Bank accounts are indicative of different heads but it was not clear as to which expenditure was being charged to which account. The budget of the college for year 2009-2010 was not in candid form."

About the appointment of Dr Naima Khurshid as the KC registrar, the tribunal observed that her appointment as registrar upset the faculty. It also observed that the advertisement in the press laid down four-year experience as a registrar in a university and a PhD degree but Dr Naima did not have that experience.

"A registrar's position is of considerable importance in an educational institution and gross indiscretion has been shown in this appointment," the inquiry report reads. The KC Principal had claimed that the college's BoG had ratified the appointment of Dr Naima Khurshid as registrar.

However, according to the tribunal's inquiry report, the higher education secretary being a member of KC BoG did not support the appointment while Dr Naima's appointment as registrar was approved by a majority vote in which the BoG chairman chose not to vote.

About the foreign citizen, the tribunal observed: "Lisa M Donald also worked in some undefined capacity in the college. A document produced before the tribunal shows that she demanded Rs 40,000 as remuneration for her work in admissions. Her employment was not in order as apparently she did not have a work permit or permission from the competent authority."

Interestingly in its recommendations the tribunal states: "Admissions under the self-finance scheme should be placed before the BoG for approval. Any other intervention at this stage will be counterproductive and will not only cause unnecessary hardship to students already admitted but also lead to unnecessary litigation."

Other recommendations include: "The Board of Governor may be advised to re-advertise the post of the registrar and select a suitable person with requisite qualification and experience. The BoG should involve itself more effectively in affairs of the college. The principal should involve senior faculty in policy matters and day to day administration and create team spirit."

"The tribunal is of the considered view that the CM may like to constitute another broad-based committee to examine rather complicated issue pertaining to the viability of existing administrative and institutional arrangement in the Kinnaird College and other such institutions, as it has very intricate administrative, academic, financial and legal aspects. The proposed Committee may include besides others eminent educationists, P&D Board Chairman, the higher education secretary, the finance secretary and the law secretary."

The inquiry tribunal was headed by AZK Sherdil while Rab Nawaz, Ms Fauzia Salman, the Lahore assistant postmaster general, Cassian Rozario, the senior vice-president Bank of Punjab, Dr Liaquat Masih Qaiser and Dr Arifa Syeda were tribunal members.

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Punjab varsity projects
Lahore: The Punjab University (PU) vice chancellor, Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran, inspected a number of ongoing developmental projects to assess their current status in order to chalk out a financial strategy to make them operational as early as possible.

According to a press statement, the PU VC was accompanied by IT College Principal Dr Mansoor Sarwar, P&D Director Tariq Majeed Qureshi, Additional Treasurer Rao Muhammad Sharif, Chief Engineer Ch Muhammad Yasin and Head of Statistics Department Prof Dr Shahid Kamal. Dr Mujahid Kamran inspected the under-construction multi-purpose gymnasium, cricket stadium, textile processing centre, geographical information system and IT centre and operation research centre of the varsity.

He directed that in order to make the gymnasium operational, the work on provision of external services like roads, water supply and sewerage should be completed within the next two months, in addition to increasing the number of existing four bathrooms to seven there.

The VC said a feasibility report to let the gymnasium on commercial basis might also be prepared for generating revenue for the varsity. During his visit to the under-construction centre for textile processing, he stressed for accelerating efforts to make the centre operational by utilising minimum possible additional funds.

He also directed that a meeting might be convened sometime during the current week to review the funding requirements of all the ongoing projects. The news

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Special allowance demanded
Lahore: Officials of the Punjab Agriculture Research Scientists Association (PARSA) have demanded grant of special allowance to them equivalent to that provided to the provincial government officials holding PhD, MPhil and LLM degrees, sources said.

In a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the scientists holding a degree in MSc (hons) requested for a monthly special allowance 50 percent of the basic pay already granted to other government officials in civil and teaching departments in the province. They pointed out that the Punjab government awarded special allowances to PhD and LLM degree holders working in the judiciary, law and prosecution wing in the province since March 1991.

The scientists said such allowance was awarded every month to generalist officers of All Pakistan Unified Group, Provincial Civil Services and Provincial Secretariat Services working in the province since September 1991. The government also awarded the allowance to the officials of the higher education department holding PhD and MPhil degrees.

They maintained that the government had fixed minimum qualification of BSc (hons) in Agriculture for recruitments to BPS-17 for agriculture scientists in Punjab. PARSA officials said a degree in MSc (hons) in Agricultural Sciences had been declared academically equivalent to an MPhil degree by the Higher Education Commission in January 1986, hence their demand for the special allowance.

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English-medium govt schools
Lahore: The Punjab government has given a go-ahead to make all public sector schools English-medium in accordance with the federal government's education policy, provincial Education Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said on Monday.

Addressing a function to mark World Thinking Day for girl guides, Mujtaba said subjects such as Mathematics, Science and Social Studies would also be taught in English.

He said the Punjab School Education Department had ordered the implementation of this decision, which would be carried out in phases.

He said only a few primary, middle and high schools had been selected to teach the aforementioned subjects in English in the first phase, adding the number of schools would be increased in the next academic year.

However, he said, all schools would be made English medium from April 1, 2011. Daily times

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BISE employees rally
Gujarnwala: Employees of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Gujranwala, took out a rally and staged a sit-in at Gondlanwala Chowk on GT Road on Monday to press the government for the acceptance of their demands.

Board Employees Welfare Association Chairman Chaudhry Bashir Ahmad Cheema led the rally which marched through GT Road.

Carrying banners and placards, they chanted slogans against the government and also set fire to an effigy of a senior officer of the education department. Dawn

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