Technical Education Authority privatisation

Strike observed against plan to privatise Tevta
Rawalpindi, Feb 09: Teachers in technical and vocational training institutes in Rawalpindi division on Monday observed strike against the planned privatisation of Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Tevta) by the Punjab government.

As a result, educational activities in technical institutes in Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum remained suspended.

The provincial government has decided to introduce the Tevta Bill 2010 in the assembly to privatize the organisation.

Separately, United Teachers Association in a press release said the teachers attended their colleges and institutions but boycotted classes and wore black armbands.

The association has decided to hold a protest demonstration on Murree Road on Tuesday against the proposed legislation as it would put the future of teachers and students at stake.

The association's Rawalpindi chapter president Imdadullah said that the government had directed all regular employees, both teaching and non-teaching, to go back to their parent departments or their services would be given under the private sector.

He said that in 1998 the Punjab government replaced the department of technical education with Tevta and handed over all educational institutions and other assets to the newly-established authority.

He said about 7,000 to 8,000 teaching staff were sent to Tevta.

Mr Imdadullah said there was no technical educational department and their future as regular employees would be at stake. He said if the employees opted to work with Tevta they would lose their past experience and future benefits.

The teachers also feared that after privatization of Tevta students of technical institutes would have to pay higher fees.

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NUML rector snatches cell phone from female teacher
Islamabad: The uproar over public beating of a professor in the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) got deeper on Monday when the rector of the university snatched the mobile phone from a female teacher, accusing her of making his video.

The reports that the rector was behind Thursday's public beating of a professor at the hands of Brig (retd) Obaidullah Ranjha, gained credence as he reconstituted the inquiry committee excluding a highly respected female civilian teacher, Dr Sohaila, and inducting two retired brigadiers into the committee. Moreover, he turned a deaf ear to the academic staff's demand of sacking Brig (retd) Ranjha or at least placing him under suspension.

Meanwhile, the academic staff, in defiance of the long-standing restrictions on their legitimate right to form an association, made history on Monday when they constituted the academic staff association to wage a joint and concerted campaign against the brigadier.

The battered professor was being forced into submission by senior government officials, with the Islamabad district administration spending the whole day to locate him and then escort him to a place for handshake with the Brig (retd) Obaidullah Ranjha under TV cameras blitz to mislead the people as if patch-up has been brokered.

The NUML witnessed another disturbing incident Monday when the rector, Brig (retd) Aziz Ahmad Khan, snatched the mobile phone from a lady teacher in the midst of a hurriedly called meeting in the university's director general office. "Do you want me to resign? Tell me precisely," the rector said as he was trying to calm down the academic staff without committing any action against Ranjha. The academic staff did not demand his resignation but action against Brig (retd) Ranjha. Brig (retd) Aziz then headed towards a young lady teacher playing game on her mobile. "You're making my video. I'll see you," he threatened as he snatched her mobile phone. The academic staff protested over this dictatorial style.

DG NUML, when contacted to confirm, said he heard something happened but he was out of his office at that time. Shaista, the lady teacher, had her mobile switched off. The rector when contacted refused to say anything on this incident.

No investigation has so far been carried out into Thursday's incident. Instead, the inquiry committee formed on Friday has been reconstituted. A highly respected professor, Dr. Sohaila, has been dropped from the committee. She has been replaced with two retired brigadiers serving in the NUML - Brig. (retd) Allah Bux and Brig (retd) Siraj Ahmad.

According to informed sources the rector, before reconstituting the inquiry committee, was insisting on transforming it into a fact-finding board. As the head of the committee, Kamran Jahangir who is also DG NUML, refused to preside over such a toothless board with no clear-cut mandate, the rector was forced to rename it as fact finding-inquiry board but he succeeded in including two retired brigadiers in the newly formed committee. The rector refused to comment and merely said: "I don't know."

The newly formed academic staff association vowed not only to bring the public beating of their colleague to logical conclusion but also to take up their issues of common interest in future. Although the university has been closed for one week, the association has decided that the academic staff will come daily to hold protests until the basher-brigadier is removed from his position.

The staff association noted with concern the involvement of interior minister Rehman Malik in the matter instead of the education ministry and the presidency. Rehman Malik has been vigorously pursuing the case, though the issue doesn't fall under his jurisdiction. The Islamabad administration remained busy all day to locate the professor and escort him to some place as desired by the interior minister.

Rehman Malik was not available for comments but deputy commissioner Islamabad said the district administration is bound to do as directed by the interior minister. Asked why the ministry and the city administration were meddling in the affairs that come under the purview of the education ministry, he said only the interior minister could explain this. The news

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AIOU Bhittai's poetry
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) on Monday released a 100 minutes compact disk (CD) on the life, poetry and philosophy of saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

The CD was released during a function organised by the AIOU Department of Pakistani Languages and Literature in collaboration with Institute of Educational Technology (IET) on the university's premises.

The chief guest, International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) Rector Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik, said Bhittai's poetry and music was not meant to bring him in the limelight but to convey his philosophy to people.

He said Bhittai was born into a well-respected family but turned away from the comforts of life. He said Bhittai always carried with him a poetic collection of Maulana Rumi and the Holy Quran.

Malik said the CD was a must watch for people interested in knowing about Bhittai.

Chairman of National Language Authority Iftikhar Arif said teachings of Abdul Latif Bhittai were in line with the will of Almighty Allah. He said people liked reading work of foreign writers and poets but avoid studying writings of local poets and authors. He said Bhittai made folktales a subject of his poetry and gave Sufi touch to his work.

AIOU Vice Chancellor Dr Mehmudul Hassan Butt said Bhittai was a devout Muslim saint, but Muslims and Hindus had a high opinion of his spirituality. He said Bhittai was a great poet and saint.

Butt said the Pakistani Languages and Literature Department had completed research on Sufi poets, classical poetry and classical documentary in 18 languages of Pakistan and thus, opening ways for the country's other educational institutions in the field of research.

Dean of the AIOU Social Sciences Department Dr Abdul Hafeez and Chairman of the Pakistani Languages Department Dr Inaamul Haq Javed also spoke on the occasion.

They said the department earlier released documentary on the works of Waris Shah. Daily times

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Deaf girl's achievements
Islamabad: Physical disability can be sidelined provided one has the will and determination. A brilliant example of this is the life and academic achievements of a deaf girl from Lahore who is doing PhD in special education from Johns Hopkins, a prestigious university in the USA.

In her message from USA, she said that she was thankful to God and everyone in her family, friends, professors and those who have been in her life for support and made things easier to her to excel in her studies. According to the data provided to this correspondent from her near and dear ones, Zara Hussain, a deaf but outstanding student, daughter of Iftikhar Hussain and Salma was born in Lahore in 1981.

When she was about a year old, her parents had discovered that she was deaf. It was not easy for them to accept this bitter reality, especially when Zara was their first child. They consulted many physicians to get her cured but to no avail. She was admitted to a school for primary education where she was only deaf child in her class and it was difficult for the teachers to treat her normally as they used to do so with other child students.

Zara did her high schooling from W.T. Woodson School (USA) where her father was posted in the Pakistani mission. She passed her high school with high grades and won 'Role Model Award for American Deaf Children.' She also learned CUED Speech, a system of communication used with and among deaf or hard of hearing people. She was also editor of the children magazine in her school at Virginia. She also wrote a guide for the deaf children studying at the American schools that was highly appreciated by the teachers and is now being used as a 'Handbook for Deaf Children.'

When her family moved back to Pakistan, she got admission in Kinnaird College, Lahore, where she graduated with her major subjects including English Literature, Journalism and Psychology. After completing her bachelors, she got admission in the Punjab University and chose special education as her subject for masters. She topped all the four semesters and in recognition of her achievements former Punjab chief Minister Ch. Pervaiz Elahi awarded her a gold medal and cash prize worth Rs100,000.

Zara also represented Pakistan in 'Annual Disability Conference 2004' held in Washington DC. Despite resistance from the organizers, she displayed a stall through personal efforts, using only the 'Punjab University, Pakistan' as a label.

Though her mother wanted her to go for Information Technology or Computer Sciences but she got an HEC scholarship and went to the United States for doing her PhD in special education.

Her hobbies include socializing, especially with those people who work for the cause of special persons. Much of her time is utilized sitting on the computer and browsing the Internet and writing proposals for well-being of the deaf community.

She has a plan to set up an institute for the deaf community after completion of her PhD, initially in Islamabad and Lahore and then to spread its branches across the country with the aim to provide level playing field to help them shine in their areas of study and contribute effectively in the national development.

The academic achievements of this brave and talented young student needs attention of the government that must acknowledge and encourage such youths that can become a role model for many others in the society. The news

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PEC board status
Taxila: Chairman Punjab Task Force for Elementary Education, Raja Mohammad Anwar, has said Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) will soon get the status of a board and also conduct examination of seminaries' students.

Talking to mediapersons during his surprise visit to various examination centers of the primary and middle standard examinations in Hassanabdal on Monday, he said the examinations under the board would help improve standard of the students.

Mr Anwar said the computerised procedure would help eliminate cheating in examinations. He said more than 2.7 million students from across the province will appear in examination under the PEC. Dawn

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