Pakistan technical education projects

Navtec board approves various training projects
Islamabad, Feb 26: National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (Navtec), under the President's 'Funni Maharat Programme' and Prime Minister's 'Hunarmand Programme' has succeeded to get over 100,000 youth trained in various useful trades.

This achievement has been made in record time in collaboration with leading training institutes in public and private sectors. This was stated by Adnan A. Khawaja, Chairman, Navtec, while presiding over 6th meeting of its Board of Directors here Thursday.

Navtec chairman further stated that there is an established linkage between economic growth and investment in human capital. The establishment of Navtec and a resultant coherent national policy for technical education and vocational training would be a key driver of Pakistan's economic growth, he added. Executive Director, Navtec, Aziz Ahmed Bilour, briefed the Board members about the details of the projects. On the directive of PM, a sub-office of Navtec, has been set up at Gwadar to focus remote areas of Baluchistan technical and vocational training.

In this regard, the board accorded approval to create 6 posts for the office to run its activities. Board was also informed that 12 skill competitions were successfully arranged at all provincial headquarters during 2009 with the objectives to encourage youth to excel in their respective trades; standardize level of skills in each province, promote exchange of ideas and experiences and enhance the image of TVET.

The board also approved the purchase of equipment for Centre of Excellence Programme at the cost of Rs15 million. These five centres, in different parts of the country, were twinned with UK's partners institutes.

Board also approved to commence short term skill development courses under PM's Hunarmand Pakistan Programme at different Technical Education Institutes at Mangla Cantonment, Kharian Cantonment with the cost of Rs24 million where training would be imparted to 540 male and 430 female in different trades.

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"i done my OAM course in 2009 from Navtec (metropolitan School Gulistan-e-jauhar) But we are still waiting for our certificate and scholarship its a request to you please inform them that they give us our certificate we dont want scholarship we want our certificate . thank you."
Name: Aroon
City, Country: karachi

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Reversal of permanent status for contract teachers assailed
Islamabad: The teachers working under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) protested here on Thursday against what they termed an unjust system, which on one hand reinstates employees fired during 1995 to 1998 due to government policy and on the other reverses the decision of making contract teachers permanent.

Hundreds of teachers of English, Computer Science, Information Technology (IT) and laboratory in-charges held a protest demonstration in front of the Geo Office, demanding the government to give them permanent status and pay salaries to those teachers who are performing their duties without any pay.

In January 2009, orders were issued to give permanent status to contract teachers. A few teachers were given three years for acquiring professional qualifications, including BEd and CT, but after two months on March 25, 2009, orders regarding the permanent status of teachers were taken back.

According to a statement of the English Teachers Association, teachers were again reverted to contract. A few male English teachers were given a contract till December 31, 2009, while others till May 31, 2010. "Contracts of a few teachers were cancelled in June 2009 without any prior notice and they are still teaching without salaries in their respective academic institutions," said an English teacher.

According to protesters, all teachers were given permanent status at provincial level but the teachers teaching in federal capital are deprived of their basic right. "Usually education in capital city is considered ideal but the condition of teachers here is pathetic," he said.

The issue of pending salaries was also raised on the occasion. According to a statement, the staff of Information Technology at various educational institutions has not received their salaries for eight months. The IT staff, which includes 125 teachers and 162 laboratory in-charges, expressed grave concern over the non-payment of salaries.

According to laboratory in-charges, they are being paid Rs4,000 per month, which is even less than the lowest recommended salary of Rs6,000. They said that an amount of Rs4,000 per month is not even enough for transport fares in the capital, what to talk of other expenses.

The protesters said that the teachers of BPS-17 are receiving the same salaries as in 2004-05 despite the fact that their students showed exceptional results and they were awarded best teacher awards.

The Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Annual Examination would start on March 25 and strike by teachers could have a negative impact on the future of students.

The charged crowd raised slogans against the 'unjust system' and urged President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take immediate notice of the issue.

Shaheen Khan, chairperson of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, who has also assumed the additional charge of the director general (education) of the FDE said that she has taken charge as chairperson just two days ago and she was not fully aware of the actual situation.

"I am not aware of the ground realities but I can assure that every possible measure will be taken to end the grievances of the affected teachers," she said.

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MPhil candidates resent postponement of interviews
Peshawar: The candidates who had applied for MPhil course in basic sciences at the Khyber Medical College Thursday resented the postponement of the interviews by the NWFP Health Department and termed it trespassing into the affairs of an autonomous institution.

Requesting anonymity, they said that in December 2008 the college announced launch of MPhil courses in different subjects of basic medical sciences including Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Forensic Medicine, Community Medicine, Microbiology, Histopathology, Hematology and Chemical Pathology.

They said the test for MPhil admissions was conducted on September 21, 2009. The result was announced the same day and approved by the academic council of the college. The interviews for selection of the candidates in four subjects of Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Forensic Medicine were taken on February 22 and 24, 2010, respectively. "When we came for interview on Thursday we were told that the process had been postponed on the order of the college principal," said one of the candidates.

"When we approached the postgraduate medical studies director he said the decision was taken by the college principal and he didn't know anything about it," said one of the candidates.

The aspirants alleged that the decision was taken to force the college administration to accommodate a failed candidate, stated to be a relative of a senior official in provincial health department who had already been denied admission by the graduate committee.

The sources privy to a meeting of Academic Council of the college said that the college administration expressed concern over the meddling by the provincial health department in the affairs of an autonomous body.

"The Peshawar High Court in its July 2009 decision mentioned that autonomous health institutions are independent bodies and the NWFP health department has nothing to do with its affairs," said a professor of the college.

When contacted, KMC Principal Dr Professor Nargis Parveen said that the delay was due to the complaints received by the administration from the candidates and the government about the process.

"We have postponed the interview process and will conduct an inquiry," she stressed and added that the decision was taken after consulting the provincial health department. Rejecting the allegation that the process was stopped to accommodate any specific person, she said the some elements wanted to tarnish the image of the college. The news

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QAU religious groups
Islamabad: Ethnic divide between students is simmering in Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) as there are different councils namely up to support Punjabis, Sindhis, Seraikis, Balochis and Pukhtoon.

"Students do not have means, nor do they have permission from home to indulge in negative activities. However, some ethnic and religious groups operating outside motivate adventurous students to maintain the balance of power on campus," a student of International Relation (IR) said the other day.

Another student, Mansoor Ahmad, said these councils helped newcomers when they faced various administrative problems ranging from faculty behaviour to room allotment in the hostels.

"No, councils are useless, rather destructive. They obliged newcomers in the name of ethnicity; consequently they see them as their saviours. A council only helps those who belong to its ethnicity.

They help once and intervene in every issue as a matter of routine. It is the sole responsibility of the university administration to facilitate newcomers," disagreed Tahir Habib of IT.

"If I have a problem, why should I seek the solution on the basis of my ethnicity," he said. A faculty member said after clashes between two ethnic groups over rooms allotment in 2009, the administration preferred allotting rooms to divers ethnic groups.

He said hostels were hub of competition between different ethnic councils, each wanting full control over the hostel so as to accommodate students of a specific ethnicity.

It is also said that the student politics is not based on ideology or principles but ethnicity.

Dr Gulraiz, the Academic Staff Association secretary, said there was a ban on political activities, but Muslim Student Federation, Peoples Student federation, Islami Jamiat Tulaba did exist in the university.

He suggested that political parties should take a step to de-associate themselves from student organizations for the better future of the nation. If students deal with real issues of their own that would be the best training for constructive, he said. "Political and religious parties should be discouraged to involve students in the national politics," he demanded.

Interestingly, all those who contacted were very concerned to the issue of ethnicity but reluctant to talk. "There is no need of any student organization as this is the time to concentrate on the studies," said a faculty member of Mathematics Department.

A member of ASA said that there was no harm in forming student organizations but only if they restrict themselves to their academic issues.

The faculty member said student bodies were needed for accountability of faculty. "Sometimes, students face arbitrary practices from the faculty for one reason or the other. Essential facilities are missing, there is power cut after every two hours which affects the students experimenting in labs as they have to start it again," he said.

"We come here as Pakistani but transform into different ethnic groups when leave," a student in his final semester said.

Another student said around 92 percent of students come here to build their future but were threatened by some troublemakers who have all sort of financial and political support from outside. Daily times

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AIOU Vice chancellor's slot
Islamabad: The alleged bias of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the process of hiring the vice chancellor (VC) for Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has perturbed one of the applicants.

According to Dr. Nowshad Khan, chairman of the Department of Agriculture Sciences & Rural Development at AIOU, he is the most senior professor of the university in terms of experience and qualification, but has not received even an interview call from the HEC for the slot of vice chancellor.

According to him, he fulfils the required criteria of the HEC for the post of VC but became a victim of bias and favouritism of the concerned authorities.

"I applied for the post of VC through proper channel but felt really deprived when discriminatory attitude was meted out to me for not being called for the selection interview, though I was fully eligible for the post," he claimed.

Dr. Nowshad Khan has an academic and administrative experience of 29 years at the university and is senior most in service at AIOU besides holding an excellent service record within the country and abroad. "I am working very hard for AIOU's academic and administrative affairs to bring it at par with other universities of the country and abroad in the field of hi-tech research and inculcating leadership qualities in students," he claimed. The professor claimed to have developed international linkages between AIOU and universities abroad for student and staff exchange, and research collaboration like DFID, UK, while similar efforts are under progress with JICA (Japan), Australia and Nepal.

Since 1973, the previous VCs of AIOU were from Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab, while no VC had ever been appointed so far from NWFP. "On the basis of equal opportunity, this time the university VC should be selected from NWFP, which is genuine and according to merit," he said.

According to the information, three applicants were short-listed - Professor Dr Mehmood ul Hassan Butt (former VC AIOU), Dr Sangi and Dr Mukhtar Ahmed - and their names were sent to the prime minister for approval, but the PM didn't approve their names and asked for another list.

HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail Naqvi said that the HEC has a fair system for the appointment of VCs and only those who truly fulfil the criteria are called for interviews. "It is a serious matter where the selection committee scrutinises each and every application and those who fulfil the criteria are called for the interview," he said.

Talking particularly about Dr. Nowshad, he said everyone has a right to present his opinion, but the decision of VC would be taken purely on merit. Furthermore, he denied allegations of bias and favouritism.

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Youth talent utilisation
Peshawar: Speakers at a conference here Thursday underlined the need for utilising the talents and energies of the educated youth for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic society.

The 'Youth Conference' was organised by Baacha Khan Trust Educational Foundation in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation at the Archives Hall.Besides others, the conference was addressed by the NWFP Minister for Higher Education Qazi Asad, Mrs Nargis Sultana of HSF, Dr Amjad Hussain of BKTEF, Tariq Khattak, Wajahat Mahsud, Tanvir Hussain and students and youth from different educational institutions of the province.

The function was held in connection with the one-year Youth Leadership Training Programme conducted by the Baacha Khan Trust in seven districts of the province.

The organisers said that the educated youth of Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda, Mardan, Karak, Swabi and Malakand Agency were imparted training of peace and development; human rights; political concepts and leadership and management skills. A total of 239 males and 61 females got the training under the programme, which began in February last year.

Qazi Asad said that under the new education policy more focus would be given to higher education and the education budget would be enhanced to 7 per cent till 2013. The minister said only three per cent of the youth (between 17 to 23 years old) were obtaining higher education while this ratio was 10 per cent in India and 68 per cent in South Korea.

He said there was a need to bring about drastic changes in our examination system as well as learning process at public and private-run educational institutions. "Our educational institutions are not producing good citizens but only degree-holders and job-oriented youth," he added.

BKTEF Project Director Dr Amjad Hussain said there was an urgent need to exploit the potential of educated youth for positive purposes, saying the illiteracy and unawareness were the biggest enemies of our society.

"The illiterate youth are the main recruitment constituency of terrorist organisations in the Frontier province and tribal areas," he said, adding that peace and development could be achieved through educated, politically and socially aware youth.

He said the BKTEF had set up 12 schools in the province and one in Khyber Agency with the aim of imparting quality education to the students.

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Religious education promotion
Islamabad: United Nations Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan Jean-Maurice Rapit has assured full financial support for the modernisation and promotion of religious education in the country.

He said that the UN would pursue the Friends of Pakistan to mobilise their resources for setting up educational institutions in Pakistan to provide vocational training free of cost to children and equip them with modern education along with religious education. He observed that this would help in creating attractiveness in seeking knowledge to enable them to get better opportunities for employment.

Rapit appreciated the proposal of the minister and asked for preparation of feasibility report of the pilot project of the vocational centres for submission to the envoy during his visit to Pakistan next month.

He assured the minister that the UN would assist Pakistan and international community in responding to the present humanitarian recovery and reconstruction needs relating to the country's displacement crises. In this connection, the special envoy, resident coordinator and the humanitarian coordinator will work closely, he added.

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