Fulbright Scholarships | HEC draft bill

Applications for Fulbright Scholarships
Islamabad, Feb 08: The Fulbright Programme in Pakistan has started accepting applications for 2014 under which about 200 Pakistani talented, hard work and shinning students will be provided fully funded scholarships for their higher studies at different educational institutions of the Untied States.

The US government's flagship scholarship programme awards deserving Pakistani students full scholarships covering tuition, textbooks, airfare, a stipend, and health insurance to complete their Master's or Ph.D under this Fulbright Scholarships programme.

Addressing a press conference here at the office of USEFP, US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Kathryn Schalow said, "We are proud that Pakistan has the largest Fulbright programme in the world, and also one of the oldest."

She said, "Our agreement initiating the programme was signed on September 23, 1950 - and the first Pakistanis and Americans travelled each way in the same year and it was one of the very first agreements of its kind and has since been extended to 155 countries around the world."

Executive Director US Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) Rita Akhtar said USEFP administered the Fulbright Programme.

Rita Akhtar echoed Ms. Schalow's sentiments and encouraged students from all over Pakistan to take advantage of the Fulbright Program in 2014.

She said in addition to the approximately 200 who will depart in the fall of 2013, there are 391 students currently study in the United States on Fulbright awards.

Rita Akhtar said this is one example of the US government's long-term commitment to the education of Pakistanis, and to increasing mutual understanding between both countries.

She said since USEFP's inception more than 61 years ago, nearly 4,000 Pakistanis and more than 800 Americans have participated in USEFP-administered exchange programs.

The Fulbright Programme is one of many US-government funded educational, professional, and cultural exchange programs that build people-to-people ties among Americans and Pakistanis, she added.

She said the scholars are being selected through an independent, transparent merit system and women, minorities, people with disabilities, and students from FATA, Balochistan, and all of Pakistan's provinces are strongly encouraged to apply.

Rita said all disciplines are eligible, with the exception of the field of clinical medicine.

She said applicants studying energy, water, and agricultural disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply.

More information about this programme, as well as standardized testing and free educational advising services can be found on the USEFP website at www.usefpakistan.org.

Some of the students who had recently completed their studies under this Fulbright Scholarship Programme including Dr. Jehanzeb Khan, Dr. Hasan Mohsin, Sareeda Saman Naz, and Ahmed Khalid Aziz also spokes on the occasion and shared their experiences during their study in USA.

Replying to a question Rita Akhtar said there is no age limit to apply for the Fulbright Scholarship Programme and every one, from any where of Pakistan especially the students of various colleges can apply as the decided would be purely on merit.

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Roots holds environment expo
Rawalpindi: Roots School System DHA1 Flagship campus Islamabad along with Roots School System Harley Street region, Civil Lines region and Roots Ivy International Schools organised Roots Environment Expo 2013 here, says a press release.

The event showcased display of 3-D environment based projects based on topics like Recycling, Deforestation, Sea Pollution, Ozone Layer Depletion, Global Warming and Energy conservation. It included a fabulous panorama of 3-D projects to support the environment. Students had creatively designed projects under the supervision of their teachers and decorated their stalls with intricate arts and crafts portraying environmental issues and highlighting them with motivating captions like: "Reuse-Reduce- Recycle, Ocean dilemma: save sea life, Think globally but act locally, Trees are terrific, Sun is our future, Go Green, Energy: a necessity." The entire event was a mass awareness campaign about preserving and protecting the environment, an initiative by the bright students of Roots School System DHA-1 campus, Islamabad.

Lieutenant General Javed Iqbal, Chairman. Adjutant General, Pakistan Army and Senator -ur-Rehman were the chief guests at the ceremony.

Lt Gen Javed Iqbal congratulated Roots School for nurturing brilliance among the youth and introducing such great and noble programs that enhance students' capabilities and talents enabling them to thrive in the global world.

The winners of the 3-D environment stalls were O-A levels category: 1st position: Roots DHA1 campus IG1 B/D, 2nd position Roots Ivy Int. Schools GT Road campus, 3rd position: Roots 71- Harley Street and 34-Civil Lines Rawalpindi. The winners of the class 1-6 category went to Greens Montessori School from Swabi along with 2nd and 3rd positions to Roots School System 34-Civil Lines and Roots Ivy Int. Schools PWD campus.

The green walk on the ramp showcased amazing outfits prepared from recycled materials. Prizes were given away to the best dressed students using recycled material and other environment friendly objects. The news

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VCs reject HEC draft bill
Islamabad: Vice Chancellors of public sector universities here on Thursday rejected the proposed amendment to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Act.

Speaking at a press conference, they demanded that without the recommendations of the task force, established by the prime minister's high powered committee, the HEC Act should not be amended.

The draft of Higher Education Commission Amendment Bill 2012 proposes withdrawal of federal minister status from the chairman of the HEC.

It also proposes to put the commission under the ministry of education and training.

The VCs were of the view that all the stakeholders should be taken on board regarding any legislative change to the HEC Act.

The stakeholders include chancellors, provincial governments, vice chancellors, faculty and student associations and planning commission.

They also demanded that the notification of the task force should be issued without any further delay so that a consultation process can be started.

Before the press conference, the vice chancellors met Federal Minister for Education and Training Sheikh Waqas Akram.

According to the VCs, the minister assured them that he would help in the issuance of the notification for the task force besides arranging their meeting with the prime minister.

The VCs who spoke at the press conference included Prof Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin, Dr Nasir Jamal and Engineer Ahmed Farooq Bazai. Dawn

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VCs' point of view will be included in proposed legislation, says minister
Islamabad: In a positive development on Thursday, Federal Minister for Education and Training Sheikh Waqas Akram held a meeting with vice chancellors of public and private universities and agreed to include their point of view in the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Amendment Bill 2012.

The news was shared with the vice chancellors in a press conference organised in HEC headquarters. The VCs termed meeting a first step towards consultative process they were demanding for the said amendment and reiterated their demand to have comprehensive consultation of all stakeholders before any legislation is tabled.

They said the federal minister also assured notification of task force and promised them that he would also try to arrange meeting of VCs with the prime minister. The vice chancellors unanimously rejected the proposed HEC Amendment Bill 2012 in its present shape and said that without the recommendations of the task force, established by the Prime Ministers High Powered Committee, HEC Act must not be amended, as it involves the future of Pakistani youth.

They were of the view that all the relevant stakeholders should be taken on board regarding any legislative change in HEC Act including chancellors, provincial governments, vice chancellors, faculty and student associations and Planning Commission etc.

They said the federal minister was all praises of the achievements of HEC in past decade, but was determined to table the bill within the tenure of present government. The vice chancellors who interacted with the media included Vice-Chancellor University of Gujrat Professor Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin, Kohat University of Science and Technology (KUST) Kohat Dr. Nasir Jamal Khattak, Vice Chancellor Balochistan University of Information Technology Engineering and Management Sciences Quetta, Ahmed Farooq Bazai, Vice Chancellor Karakoram International University Gilgit Prof. Dr. Najma Najam, Vice-Chancellor University of Agriculture (UAF) Faisalabad Prof. Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice Chancellor Air University Islamabad Air Cdre (R)Dr. Ijaz Ahmad Malik and Vice-Chancellor, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad. Chairman HEC Dr. Javaid R. Laghari and Executive Director HEC Professor Dr Mukhtar Ahmed Pakistan were also present on the occasion.

Earlier in a special meeting of Executive Committee of Vice Chancellors and during the 12th Vice Chancellors' Committee meeting recently held at Islamabad, the rectors and vice chancellors representing 137 public and private sector universities attended the meeting rejected the proposed bill and showed strong concern and expressed their apprehension that any legislation that takes away the dynamism and autonomy of HEC is going to be damaging to the higher education sector in the country.

While improvements in any system are always possible, they were of the unanimous view that HEC is one institution, which has functioned extremely well and has delivered during the last decade. The VCs noted that the universities have shown tremendous progress in the last decade and the other countries are following the HEC reforms, as role model. The main factors for the excellent contribution by this organisation are its autonomy and its management, which comprises capable and highly qualified educationists and professionals and there is dire need to further strengthen this organisation. The proposed bill would have detrimental effect on the higher education sector and would revert back all the achievements gained during last decade.

On the occasion of 12th Vice Chancellors Committee meeting, Sheikh Rohale Asghar Chairman National Assembly Standing Committee on Education & Training along with other committee members including Ms. Surraiya Jatoi (PPPP), Ms. Tasneem Siddiqui (PML N), Ms. Qudsia Arshad (PML N), Dr. Donya Aziz (PML Q), Mrs. Rukhsana Jameshed Buttar (PML Q), Shaikh Salahuddin (MQM) and Mr. Sufyan Yousaf (MQM) attended the meeting and listened and exchanged views with the VCS relating to their reservations and concerns over the amendment bill.

On the behalf of the committee, Sheikh Rohale Asghar categorically stated that the legislation should be based upon careful review of past progress and consultation with the relevant stakeholders so that this model organisation may be further strengthened to continue its positive role. He remarked that the committee would not undertake any step undermining the autonomy and future of higher education in Pakistan. "We will not table any bill, which is damaging the performance and will curtail the autonomy of HEC. We need to strengthen the institutions", he emphasised.

Meanwhile, the HEC wrote letter to the Federal Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Training in which it assured that the ministry's comments regarding the proposed bill will be forwarded to all the vice-chancellors and as soon as HEC receives input from VCs, it will revert back to the ministry.

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Medical groups vow to oppose evening education
Karachi: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) have announced that they would oppose evening classes at public medical colleges in the country.

They said the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC) was once again trying to start evening classes at medical institutions.

Addressing a joint news conference at the PMA House, PMA Secretary General Dr Mirza Ali Azhar and PIMA President Dr Misbah-ul-Aziz termed the start of evening medical colleges a commercial venture and the death of medical education in the country.

They said that it was learnt through an advertisement that the PMDC had allowed evening medical classes at the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical University Larkana, which would be strongly opposed.

They also said the PMDC was trying to start evening medical education at medical colleges for quite some time, but due to opposition from medical associations, the council had retracted its decision.

However, the PMDC has once again decided to allow evening classes at medical institutes, they added.

Leaders of both the medical associations appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice on the efforts for starting medical colleges, saying that these efforts were tantamount to destroying medical education in the country.

Medical colleges and hospitals are being established in two- or three-room buildings where medical degrees are being sold, which is a shameful act, said the PMA and PIMA office-bearers.

They claimed that even some senior doctors were part of this business and were involved in selling medical degrees in the name of medical education.

They said there were around 126 medical colleges in the country, but the faculty at most of these institutions was not complete and some even lacked professors of basic sciences.

Some professors were taking classes at three to four educational institutions, which is an evidence of the lack of faculty at the already established medical institutions in the country, they added.

Criticising the PMDC, they said that in its recent meeting, the council had approved establishing 19 medical colleges and termed it a destructive decision taken by the statutory body.

They also criticised Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum & Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain and his associates, claiming that he was making money at the cost of medical education. They vowed to oppose all such moves with the unity of medical professionals.

Office-bearers of both the associations, including Drs Qaiser Sajjad, Idrees Adhi, Ahmed Salman Ghauri and Atif Hafeez, and others were also present on the occasion.

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UK study fair opens new vistas for students
Karachi: The UK Study Fair 2013 brought with it the much-longed for career counseling students opting for higher education abroad needed.

Over 30 universities from the United Kingdom (UK), offering subjects as varied as law, business, medicine and social sciences participated in the daylong event organised by the Global Education Fairs and Conferences Britain (GEFC) on Thursday.

Anxious students, parents and teachers thronged the event in groups of threes and fours in search for the ideal university offering their specialist programme with a decent scholarship.

The universities had stalls, where counselors would guide youngsters about any particular area of study, and also help them discover new options.

"I want to study sociology. I'm confused between the University of Warwick and the Cardiff University. Let's see what happens," said Saadia Magsi, a student who had just passed her A Levels.

"I want to apply for a business programme. It was good to find all the options I needed," said Kashif Ali, a BBA graduate from a private university.

Some had come just to have a look around. "I'm just looking around for a good scholarship," said Irfan Ahmed, a fresh graduate. Visitors believed that study fairs like this were helpful as "all universities are placed under one roof" and it was easy to obtain details about the best universities in the UK.

"I asked my students to visit the fair to get ideas about their professional studies. I wish the duration could have been longer. One day is too less," said Amna Ali, an A Level teacher.

Meanwhile, counselors maintained that foreign students felt very much at home in the UK, as it was a country marked with cultural diversity. "It is a mélange of various cultures, religions and nationalities. It's a fun place to be," said a counselor.

Students from Pakistan no longer receive work permits in the UK. However, the British Council is trying to introduce fresh graduates from the UK universities to Pakistani firms.

Currently there are 30, 000 Pakistani students enrolled in UK universities.

The British High Commissioner in Karachi, Charles Campbell, said that the education delegation's visit would give them a positive impression of Pakistan. "They will take home the message that Pakistan is open for business." The next such study fair will be held in November.

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