Students, parents as well as credible sources in education department told this correspondent that the process of leakage of papers is witnessed every year only because of poor system and inefficiency of the concerned authorities in Punjab Examination Commission. As a result of which thousands of students suffer badly each year when the papers are cancelled during examination.
Sadia Bashir, Sohail Usman, Mohamad Nasir, Alishbah besides sources said that they had prepared day and night for board examination of 8th class for securing high marks. Moreover, large number of students also availed the services of tutors for preparation of examination after school hours. However, the cancellation of Mathematics paper at the last moment has created tension for them. Parents of these students said that the cancellation of Maths paper all over Punjab would result in wastage of precious time of the students even this year as well. The students would again have to make preparations for this paper and the whole daily routine of their life will be affected.
The educational authorities make tall claims of improving the system of educational institutions and examination system. But in reality nothing is done on their part and practices of leakage of papers and process of cancellation of papers is witnessed every year.
They appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif to take strict notice about the cancellation of paper and bring to book the related high ups in educational department for showing negligence, inefficiency which has resulted in leakage of Mathematic paper even this year, they appealed.
When asked to comment over the matter, divisional president of Punjab SES Teachers Association, Shafiq Bulawalia hit hard the Punjab Examination Commission for its failure to conduct the examination in proper and efficient way even this year. "The future of students who are more than 91,000 only in Rawalpindi district besides others all over Punjab would certainly get affected due to indifference and negligence of the concerned authorities in the PEC, he claimed.
Shafiq Bulawalia demanded abolishment of Punjab Examination Commission with District Education Commission or District Education Board all over Punjab. However, official spokesman for the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Rawalpindi, Arslan Cheema while commenting clearly stated that the examination of 5th and 8th class is not dealt by the RBISE. "The examination is conducted under the Punjab Examination Commission and Executive District Officer is the best person to comment over it," he added.
Executive District Officer, Education, Qazi Zahoor agreed to the fact that the mathematics paper of 8th class had to be cancelled at the last moment due to leakage. He however, expressed his unawareness as how it got leaked and who was behind it. He told that the chief minister while taking immediate notice of the matter has formed an enquiry committee to probe the issue and submit its report to him within next three days. He also agreed to the point that the Punjab Examination Commission should be abolished and District Education Commission or local Board should be established top conduct these exams. "In this way, even if incident of leakage is occurred then the students of particular division would be affected instead of the whole province," he added. He said that the cancelled paper would be held within next three weeks time. The news
FDE head shown the door again
Islamabad: The Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) on Thursday removed Dr Shahnaz A. Riaz from the post of the director general Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).
Through a notification, Ms Riaz was directed to report to CADD for further posting within the division. The acting charge of the FDE was given to the director colleges, Mehmood Akhtar Malik, till the appointment of a permanent head. However, Ms Riaz termed the notification illegal and refused to step down.
An officer of CADD requesting not to be identified said that during the previous government an inquiry into eight charges against Ms Riaz had been handed over to Amjad Ali Khan, the secretary Privatisation Commission.
"On Thursday, CADD received the inquiry report from the Privatisation Commission according to which most of the charges had been proved against Ms Riaz.
In view of the report, Secretary CADD Fareedullah Khan ordered her removal from the post of the DG," he said. One of the charges against Ms Riaz was that she did not release funds for the development of two schools in the Prime Minister Colony.
She was also accused of using a government vehicle without authority, he said.
It may be mentioned that Ms Riaz had also been removed from the post a few years back but restored on the direction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Ms Riaz joined the department in 1984 in BPS-17 and according to the rules had to be promoted as the director general in 2001.
During the Musharraf regime, when an army officer was appointed as the director general, Ms Riaz approached the apex court saying she deserved to be promoted and posted as the DG. In 2003, the court ruled that she should be promoted in accordance with the rules and regulations. But a few days after giving her the charge of the FDE, Ms Riaz was transferred to the Academy of Education Planning.
After this, she again moved the court and continued the legal battle till May 31, 2012, when a three-member bench of the court headed by the then Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry restored her on the post of the FDE director general.
Joint Secretary CADD Rafique Tahir confirmed that Ms Riaz had been removed and the current charge given to the director colleges.
When contacted, Ms Riaz said she was the head of an attached department in BPS-20 and had been appointed by the prime minister.
"I can only be removed on the direction of the prime minister. So I am not going to accept any notification and will not leave the charge. In fact, some elements have been trying to remove me because I started inquiries against them. If PM removes me I will follow the orders and am ready to work in any department," she said. Dawn
Air University observes 'Faiz Day'
Islamabad: The Faculty of Social Sciences at Air University has paid tribute to the legendary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz by observing 'Faiz Day' here at the campus, says a press release.
The chief guest on the occasion, Fauzia Aziz Minallah, the founder and director of Funkor Child Art Centre, appreciated the students' efforts in social activities beside the routine studies. In her address, she expressed that we should maintain our cultural legacy and follow the thoughts of national literary icons like Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
The function started with a documentary produced by students on the life span of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
Later on, the function was charmed with 'Bait Bazi', 'Qawwali', speeches and songs.
Air University Director Student Affairs AVM (r) Tariq Mateen gave away the souvenir to the chief guest and also thanked to Mrs. Ahmareen Farah, in-charge of Cultural Society along with Adnan Rana, Malik Waleed, and Mashall for organising a cheerful day.
QAU without VC for seven days
Islamabad: The Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) is leaderless for seven days as the relevant authority has yet to sign the name of an acting vice-chancellor.
The tenure of the outgoing QAU Vice Chancellor Dr. Masoom Yasinzai ended on February 8 after completing his 4-year term. Saturday being a closed day, Friday was the last working day for the ex-VC. There was a tradition that senior-dean used to take the charge of VC when the incumbent VC was out of the city or on holidays. But if the vacation or visits of the VC were more than two weeks, the chancellor who is president of Pakistan used to nominate a person as acting VC out of a list of three, usually the deans and senior-most professor recommended by outgoing VC. The same procedure was adopted when the tenure of an incumbent VC is to expire and a regular VC is not appointed by the chancellor on the recommendation of a search committee.
The person such approved by the president used to work as acting VC till the arrival of a regular VC recommended by a search committee formed by Higher Education Commission (HEC). There were also examples in the past that a dark horse not recommended by the search committee was appointed VC of a university.
The committee should start its work much before so that the process of nominating a regular VC is completed before the expiry term of the incumbent VC. In most the cases, there is a delay because education is not a priority in the echelons of power. So much so that even HEC is without a chairperson for the past many months and is being run by an acting chairperson. It is the Supreme Court that has forced the federal government to appoint a regular VC for the commission at the most by February 12, 2014, though the date passed without any notification.
The senior Dean at QAU did not take the charge on February 10, as he is waiting for a letter from presidency. The Quaid-i-Azam University is rife with rumours and from morning to evening. So many aspirants are made acting, even permanent, VCs by the rumour mills though the search committee has not yet conducted a single interview of the VC candidates for QAU.
The situation in QAU is worse as the Semester started on February 3 and within 4 days, Dr Masoom's term expired. The students, especially fresh ones, have to apply for instalments of their fees, for scholarships and there are many urgencies and emergencies in the start of a semester where the final decision lies with the VC, acting or regular. With the absence of anybody occupying the highest slot, students, faculty and departments are facing problems. And they will continue to suffer perhaps till Monday when the president returns from his Lahore and Karachi sojourns.
This reflects a lot on the apathy of authorities towards education. The universities are always at receiving end. The 20 per cent raise in salaries announced by the previous government was paid in the universities only after the intervention of superior judiciary. The monetisation of transport allowance is allowed to HEC, PIDE University and PIMS officials, even to teachers working under Federal Directorate of Education, but not to the university faculty. Same is the case with MPhil and PhD allowance which the government servants in other departments are getting at the rate of Rs5,000 and 1,000 per month respectively but only Rs7,500 and 3,750 respectively to the QAU teachers who award these degrees and should have been the first recipient of such allowance instead of 'baboos.'
One does not know when the followers of the book whose first word is "iqra" (read) will learn to recognise the importance and develop respect of education.
Ministry, PMDC fight it out as thousands wait
Islamabad: Future of thousands of medical student across the country looks bleak as the tussle between the Ministry of National Health Services and Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC) has further intensified.
A petition has been filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) by the latter claiming that the regulatory body is not under the Ministry after the 18th Amendment. The ministry on the other hand is contemplating to bring an Ordinance to overthrow the current PM&DC administration and conduct new elections for the council, sources informed. The efforts for reconciliation between the two parties have so far failed.
Sources said that the IHC had admitted the PM&DC petition and issued notices to the respondents including the Secretary Ministry of National Health Services and two MNAs of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who own medical colleges that are being barred from functioning by the regulatory body. The petition filed by the PM&DC in IHC states that after 18th Amendment, the medical professional and regulatory authority falls in Part-II of the Federal Legislative List and comes under control of Council of Common Interest.
The petition also accuses the ministry of intervention and obstruction, resulting into harassment and forceful imposition of self-vested and self-motivated arbitrary decisions onto the PM&DC functioning. The regulatory body has prayed to the court to stop the ministry's interference in its day-to-day affairs.
The petition came after PTI MNA Nasir Khattak lodged an FIR against PM&DC top officials and former Advisor for Petroleum Dr Asim (whose group is now at the helm of PM&DC) for forging an official document and presenting it before the parliamentary committee. Former PM&DC President Dr Asim said the ministry was trying to illegally takeover the regulatory body in connivance with the Young Doctors Association (YDA) through an Ordinance.
He said the petition was filed in IHC after the repeated interference of the ministry in PM&DC affairs. "It is our point of view that ministry does not have authority to intervene in the affairs of the Council after the 18th Amendment."
He denied that a gazette notification was forged by his colleagues in PM&DC claiming that the document was issued by the Printing Corporation of Pakistan (PCP) as a computer copy.
When contacted, a top official of the ministry said under the Constitution, Rules of Business and PM&DC Ordinance 1962, the PM&DC has to work under the supervision of the Ministry of National Health Services.
He said that the PM&DC had violated the orders of the court by announcing election results and holding meetings of its executive body. The official said the ministry is simply following the law but the regulatory body is violating the law and court orders.
No HEC chairman named yet, despite court orders
Islamabad: Despite tall claims of prioritizing higher education, federal government has once again failed to meet the deadline set by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to appoint a permanent chairperson of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) by February 12, a move that also violates the HEC Ordinance 2002.
According to section 8 (3) of the HEC Ordinance 2002, the government is bound to appoint a regular chief of the commission after the expiry of 90-days term of acting chairperson. The term of Acting HEC Chairman Imtiaz Hussain Gilani also expired on Feb 12.
When contacted, head of search committee for HEC Chairman and Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal denied that government is violating IHC order and HEC Ordinance 2002.
"The committee has already completed the process for the appointment of HEC chairman as a summary containing three names for the post has already been sent to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Feb 11. The prime minister is currently on a foreign tour and as soon as he returns, he is expected to notify the new chairman," Ahsan said.
But the government could have easily avoided violation of the law and court order, had the interviews been conducted earlier. The committee took 18 days to shortlist candidates for interviews after receiving applications on January 22, 2014.
And surprisingly, despite the pre-election promises of transparency and openness the committee is tight-lipped on the names of those three persons who have been shortlisted for the job after interviews.
In fact, according to Ahsan Iqbal all three members of the committee took an oath to protect the secrecy of the names. "Yes we did take an oath as we had been directed by the prime minister to select three persons for the post so we don't want the PM to learn about the names through the media," he said.
The process of short-listing also came under criticism as some candidates made it to the final list despite not fulfilling the laid down eligibility criteria.
In its detailed judgment, IHC had directed the federal government to appoint permanent/regular chairman of the commission in accordance with law and prescribed process by February 12.
The single bench led by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddique remarked that since the post of chairman HEC is extremely important and carries great significance with regard to higher education, therefore, it is directed that before expiry of term of acting chairman HEC, the regular appointment of chairman may be made till 12.02.2014 in accordance with law and prescribed process.
Renowned educationist, Founder Chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr Atta-ur-Rahman had filed a writ petition on December 30, 2013 in Islamabad High Court for the appointment of permanent and regular chairperson of HEC as per HEC Act without any further delay through a transparent and merit based mechanism.
As per HEC Act clause 8 (3): "In the case of vacancy occurring of the office of the chairperson, the controlling authority may nominate any member of the commission to act as chairperson for a maximum period of three months during which period, the controlling authority shall fill in the vacancy by appointing regular chairperson."
Non-appointment of permanent chairman, HEC is hampering important policy decisions pertaining to the higher education sector, comprising of over 150 universities, 258 campuses and 1.2 million students.
Atta to move SC against formation of Sindh HEC
Islamabad: Founder Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) and President Pakistan Academy of Sciences Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman plans to move the Supreme Court against the establishment of Sindh HEC.
He termed the formation of Sindh HEC a clear contempt of Supreme Court decision. "I will definitely file a petition against this decision and request the Supreme Court to announce this decision as null and void," he said.
The Sindh government has recently established its own Higher Education Commission (HEC) and appointed former petroleum minister, a PPP senator and owner of a private university Dr. Asim Hussain as its chairman. His post will be equivalent to a provincial minister.
After this development, Sindh has now become the first province with its separate Higher Education Commission. The decision was announced at a time when the selection of HEC chairperson is in the process. Some sources believed that absence of a permanent HEC chairperson for many months has led to sense of deprivation and lack of direction among the provinces.
The HEC faced various challenges related to its autonomy during the tenure of previous government. Approval of law to make provincial HEC in February 2013 by the Sindh Assembly was one such development that raised many questions with regard to higher education sector's autonomy. The law provides all powers, including the authority to verify degrees, to the provincial commission.
In response, Professor Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman and Marvi Memon moved a petition in the Sindh High Court under Article 199 of the Constitution and requested the court to declare the Sindh Higher Education Commission Act 2013 unlawful and unconstitutional.
The petition also demands the court to declare any Higher Education Commission formed or liable to be formed under the Sindh Higher Education Commission Act 2013 illegal, void and all orders, notifications, commands, directions or any function thus exercised void as well.
There was no development in this regard since then. The Sindh High Court did not conduct any hearing of the petition.
"All these illegal moves are linked with the issue of degree verification and hiring on important posts. The provincial government wants to take decisions of hiring of the vice chancellors and other important people and also the degree verification in its hands," said the HEC founder chairman.
Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman said that the Supreme Court of Pakistan in its judgment on his petition of April 12, 2011 had clearly declared the attempted devolution of HEC to the provinces by the federal government illegal, and had ordered that the Higher Education Commission should be fully protected under the Constitution under the Federal Legislative Lists.
"These include research, professional or technical training, planning and coordination of scientific and technological research, legal, medical and other professions, and standards in institutions for higher education and research, scientific and technical institutions as well as inter-provincial matters and coordination."
In his opinion, these provisions of the Constitution are directly applicable to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and they cannot be tampered with by formulating a new provincial law that supersedes a previously existing federal law.
"This de facto devolution of the higher education sector to a province is clear contempt of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Indeed the 18th Amendment through the 4th Schedule (Article 70(4) Federal Legislative Lists Part-I and Part-II) fully supports the current powers and functions of the HEC, and includes higher education and research as federal subjects."
He said that these functions are those of the Higher Education Commission and cannot be taken over by any province as one cannot have a provincial law approved in the presence of a Federal law and in violation of the Supreme Court decision.
Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman said that the Constitutional Reform Committee formed in connection with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution had decided that the primary and education issues could be dealt with by the provinces, but since issues relating to higher education are concerned with national integration, cohesion and national development, they must be dealt with at the federal level. "Indeed higher education and research is a federal subject all over the world, including India, Korea, Turkey, China, UK and other countries for this reason." The news