Teaching job cuts in varsities
Universities across the UK are preparing to axe thousands of teaching jobs, close campuses and ditch courses to cope with government funding cuts, the Guardian has learned.
Other plans include using post-graduates rather than professors for teaching and the delay of major building projects. The proposals have already provoked ballots for industrial action at a number of universities in the past week raising fears of strike action which could severely disrupt lectures and examinations.
The Guardian spoke to vice-chancellors and other senior staff at 25 universities, some of whom condemned the funding squeeze as "painful" and "insidious". They warned that UK universities were being pushed towards becoming US-style, quasi-privatised institutions.
The cuts are being put in place to cope with the announcement last week by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) that £449m - equivalent to more than a five per cent reduction nationally - would be stripped out of university budgets.
The University and College Union (UCU) believes that more than 15,000 posts - the majority academic - could disappear in the next few years. Precise funding figures for each university will be released on March 18.
The chairman of the Russell Group of elite institutions, Professor Michael Arthur, vice-chancellor of Leeds University, warned that budgets would be further slashed by six per cent in each of the next three years. Last month he described the cuts as "devastating".
More than 200 jobs losses at King's College, London, around 150 at the University of Westminster and, unions claim, as many as 700 at Leeds, 340 at Sheffield Hallam and 300 at Hull.
- Entire campus closures at Cumbria and Wolverhampton universities, where buildings will be mothballed and students transferred to other sites.
- Teesside University scrapping £2m worth of scholarships and bursaries that would have helped poorer students. It will also share services with a further education college in Darlington.
- Postponing plans for a £25m creative arts building at Worcester and £12m science block at Hertfordshire.
- Under-subscribed arts and humanities courses are being dropped. The University of the West of England has already stopped offering French, German and Spanish; Surrey has dropped its BA in humanities.
- Student/lecturer ratios are expected to rise, with more institutions using postgraduates and short term staff filling in for professors made redundant.
Ballots for industrial action are due to be held or are pending at the University of Sussex Arts, University College London, the University of Gloucestershire and King's College London. Lecturers at Leeds voted by a large majority to strike this week. DawnYour Comments
SBTE not to take action against teachers
Karachi: The concerned authority at the Sindh Board of Technical Education (SBTE) will not be taking any action against teachers who were served a show cause notice by Controller of Sindh Board of Technical Education (SBTE), Professor Maqsood Hussain, it has been learnt.
Six teachers who were found responsible for not giving marks against each questions in the answer sheets, were issued letter No SBTE/Exam/CE/2009/1155-60 on January 02, 2010. They were given a duration of one week to give valid reasons for making the mistake. The examiners were charged that they awarded the marks only on the cover page of the copy and did not correctly follow the procedure which required them to put marks individually against each question.
Owing to the policy which keeps the staff of the technical board away from the media, the reasons of not taking any actions against the show cause notice remain unknown. As per the new policy implemented at the SBTE, the Chairman of the Board is the only person allowed to deal with the media. However, Professor Muhammad Saeed Siddiqui was not available to comment in this regard.
The sources at the board have revealed that this mistake was pointed out during a counter checking of the results of Diploma of Associate Engineering (DAE), Third Year. The answer scripts are collected from all over Sindh and then distributed among the polytechnic and monotechnic colleges across the province, they added.
The negligence of the examiners could affect the overall result of the candidates, they expressed. They also said that the result of DAE, Third Year, was due in December 2009, but it was announced on Saturday, February 06, 2010.
Most numbers of candidates appeared in DAE exams and minor mistakes at the end of the board might make a difference on their position or total percentage, they added. They suggested that examiners need training regarding checking the answer sheets.
SALU budget approved
Khairpur: The 19th senate meeting of the Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur on Monday approved a Rs 676.110 million budget for 2009-10.
The senate meeting was presided over by Vice Chancellor Dr Nilofer Shaikh. Nilofer said the university has 52 PhDs. She said Rs 50 million has been provided by the federal minister for Education, the Sindh government has released Rs 30 million as financial assistance and the Higher Education Commission has allocated Rs 248.377 million.
She informed the members that the Sindh governor who is also the chancellor of the Sindh universities had approved establishment of a campus of the university in Shikarpur. Nilofer told the meeting that the university had launched Shaheed Zulfikar Ali School of Law and D-Pharmacy. She said a quality enhancement cell has been established in the university.
Sources said the vice chancellor had requested the Sindh governor to preside over the senate meeting but he refused, citing the poor law and order situation in the university.
The sources said the governor and chairman Higher Education Commission have taken serious notice of the incident. The news
Tevta bill rejected
Multan: The Punjab Association of Instructors has rejected an under-consideration Punjab Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Tevta) Bill, 2010, that purposes massive powers to the authority.
Association President Nazar Abbas Khokhar said that the Industries Department and the Provincial Law Department have completed work on the bill which will make to the assembly to be referred to the relevant standing committee for deliberation.
Khokhar said the bill which could be tabled in the Punjab Assembly during the ongoing session empowered Tevta with acquiring all moveable and immoveable property of 411 technical institutes in the province, fixing tuition fee and deciding about the fate of 7,000 Tevta officials already being monitored and supervised under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act, 2006.
The bill offers the workers either to go back to their parent department or become part of Tevta but Khokhar sees either option unacceptable.
"If we go back to our parent departments we will be considered surplus there. If we stay with Tevta, we will be deprived of perks like pension, gratuity, general provident fund, benevolent fund and general insurance," Khokhar said.
A good number of the Tevta staff comes from the Punjab Small Industries Corporation, manpower and training, technical education.
Article 3 of the proposed bill states: The authority shall be a body corporate having perpetual succession and common seal with power to enter into agreement, acquire, hold, manage, and dispose of property, and to sue and be sued in its name while the immoveable property acquired by the authority shall not be sold by it without prior approval of the government.
Khokhar said there was no justification for empowering Tevta with acquiring and disposing of immoveable properties. He said the commercial use of technical institutions would affect their educational activities.
Khokhar said that allowing Tevta to determine fees and other charges would increase financial burden on students. He said once the authority started charging students hefty fees, the provincial government would stop providing funds to it.
The proposed bill also allows the authority to devise its own rules to monitor and supervise civil servants working under the umbrella of Tevta. Khokhar said the provision was contradictory to the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act, 2006.
He said the bill provided no provision for an appeal against the orders of Tevta which was essentials for redress of grievances.
Punjab Assembly's Standing Committee for Industries Chairman Muhammad Khan Khichi said the bill had yet to be presented before the standing committee. Whenever it is presented, the committee would make sure that it did not go against the national interest, he said.
Mr Khokhar said his association would mobilise all workers to oppose the bill. He said they would launch a movement to convince the public representatives to oppose any such bill detrimental to the quality of technical education and workers' rights. Dawn
Students tecnical skills
Lahore: Students must focus on technical communication skills, integrity, interpersonal skills, loyalty and motivation along with the companies' requirements at the time of job interviews.
This was stated by Faculty of Veterinary Science Dean Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad on the first day of a five-day orientation workshop on internship programme, 2010, held in the seminar room of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), Lahore, on Monday. The workshop will continue till February 12.
Prof Dr Nasim urged the students to fully prepare themselves for the interviews of any job related to their fields. A participant and general manager of a company, Dr Mustaf Kamal, delivered a lecture on 'role of veterinarians in the development of poultry industry' and told the students about different phases of the poultry industry through which it passed and faced different problems in form of diseases and other financial and commercial problems.
He threw light on needs of modern era for the rapid development of poultry sector and discussed the topics like poultry production chain, genetic potential, processing. He said that misconceptions about the feed of chicks had been removed through the knowledge and use of laboratories.
He said today in Lahore about one million broilers were being consumed and from the years 2000 to 2010, the poultry industry also faced slump in the name of bird flu and other viruses harmful to both chicks and humans.
He said that veterinarians always played their important role in development of poultry industry. He said in this era the veterinarians were rendering their services which they must continue to stop communicable diseases in the poultry industry and cope with the emergence of the diseases.
Another guest, Altaf Muhammad Chaudhray, threw light on the importance and use of artificial insemination. He also discussed the topics relating to the semen and insemination in detail to aware the students of the benefits of the artificial insemination. Estrus synchronization, embryo transfer, gender selection and genetic engineering were also discussed. The news
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