Admission test standard irks students
Islamabad, Jan 08: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has standardised admission requirements for M.Phil and PhD courses by declaring Graduate Assessment Test (GAT), as mandatory. Previously, each university had its own rules for admission and there was lack of uniformity.
But many students have complained that because GAT follows international standards, it makes it difficult for graduates of local universities to clear the test. Students fear that access to higher education in the country which is 0.2 per cent at the moment, could further decrease.
Students of PhD and M.Phil expressed their reservations at a press conference, on Monday, held at the National Press Club.
The introduction of GAT test policy (made mandatory since December 2012) has created a barrier and constraint for the students to get enrollment in PhD and M.Phil, said Aamina Sadaf, a PhD student.
The GAT test should not be the only compulsory requirement to secure admission, there must be some alternative options, demanded Sadaf.
Students said that National Testing Service (NTS) which holds tests had been charging Rs900 for GAT (General) which is mandatory for M.Phil and Rs1,500 for GAT (Subject), which is mandatory for PhD.
NTS was established in July 2002, in response to the express need for a testing service in National Education Policy (1998-2010) and IT Policy of Government of Pakistan.
"There are so many students who appeared in GAT, four to six times but could not pass. I have deposited Rs100,000 for PhD but now my university has instructed me to submit GAT certificate," a student said.
HEC pays club fees of its boss
Islamabad: Heavy weight bureaucrats get membership of the Islamabad Club easily but pay the heavy membership fee from own pocket.
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) paid the Rs1 million fee from its funds for the 'private membership' of its chairman, Dr Javaid R. Leghari.
That flowed from a decision taken by the HEC at its meeting on October 12, 2009 that its chairman needed "a safer place like Islamabad Club" because "in the prevailing law and order situation in the country private hotels are not risk-free" for conducting meetings with foreign delegations.
"Therefore, the HEC may arrange membership for its officers and bear the expenditure incurred on initial membership of Islamabad Club," the decision said identifying the officers as "chairperson, the executive director, member (O&P) and two nominated members of HEC".
Documents available with Dawn show that the club conveyed to the HEC that its chairman could be granted membership for a registration fee of Rs5,000 and membership fee of Rs600,000.
But in December 2009 the Islamabad Club informed the HEC that the membership "will be given to Dr Javaid R. Leghari as an individual and not to his designation of HEC chairman.
According to a member of the Islamabad Club membership awarding committee, though an officer's position counts, the membership is awarded only in his personal capacity.
"If the deputy commissioner of Islamabad is made a member of the club it is because of his office but the fee is to be paid by the individual and not by his department," he explained.
Official communications show that the Islamabad Club had made it clear to the HEC that Dr Leghari's membership will be for life time and that his successor in the office will have to seek the club's membership afresh.
An official in the know of things said that while Higher Education Commission took time to pursue the membership of Dr Leghari, the Islamabad Club informed it in March 2010 that it had increased its membership fee from Rs600,000 to Rs1 million.
"We at the HEC had to draw funds from consultative-based Research and Survey Project and the Contribution and Subscription Fund of the HEC to pay the fee and the accounts and audit officials approved it in accordance with the decision taken by the HEC at its 20th meeting in October 2009," disclosed other sources.
They said Dr Leghari is currently being paid Rs600,000 per month as salary by the federal government, and in addition Rs120,000 as house rent and Rs60,000 for utilities.
Asked about his usage of HEC funds, the former HEC chairman Dr Attaur Rehman said: "I never used any HEC funds from any head on my person. I already had Islamabad Club membership when I was made the chairman of HEC in 2002."
"Any money taken from state should be accounted for and properly audited," he said.
Despite many calls, and text messages, HEC chairman Dr Leghari did not respond to requests for his comments. Neither was the official spokesman for Higher Education Commission available for comments.
Dual nationals shortlisted for KEMU, UHS top slots A recommendation that may break with tradition
Lahore: The search committee, entrusted with the task to recommend candidates for the slot of vice chancellors for King Edward Medical University and University of Health Sciences on a regular basis, has included two dual nationality holders in the panels forwarded to the chief minister for approval, it is learnt.
Interestingly, the committee named one dual nationality holder each in the two panels for the posts of vice-chancellor which sent a wave of shock among those contenders who had served the government for a long period but were dropped from the race, a source close to the development said.
He said the committee had recommended two panels, each carried three names for the top slots of KEMU and UHS.
The committee had initially shortlisted names of nine contenders out of total 40 medics interviewed on Jan 2 and 3 at Ali Institute on Ferozepur Road for the two slots.
Later on, a final meeting of the committee was scheduled for Saturday last (Jan 5) to further review the list of nine aspirants.
However, the source said, the committee finalised names of six applicants on Friday night, a day before the scheduled meeting which triggered unrest among three other contenders dropped from the list. "I believe the matter of shortlisting the candidates at the eleventh hour (on Friday) was not in the knowledge of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif," one of the 'aggrieved' applicants said seeking anonymity.
He termed it a violation of standard operating procedure (SoP) for the selection and an injustice to the three senior medics who, according to him, were also 'hot contenders' for the key slots of the two leading universities of Punjab.
The dropped applicant has sought prompt intervention of the chief minister in the matter, saying that the CM should first analyse internal and external merit lists of candidates prepared by the health department and the search committee respectively which would help him know the actual situation.
He has also hinted at legal fight for the slot if the matter was not probed by the competent authority.
According to the source, the committee had finalised names of Professor of Surgery Dr Abdul Majeed Chaudhry, ex-chief executive of Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Lahore, Prof Dr Jawad Sajid Khan and a UK-based Pakistani national senior radiologist Prof Dr Sarwat Husain for the KEMU slot.
Those recommended for the post of the UHS vice-chancellor included Services Institute of Medical Sciences Principal Prof Dr Faisal Masood, former principal of Allama Iqbal Medical College Prof Dr Javed Akram and former dean of Postgraduate Medical Institute Maj-Gen (retired) Prof Dr Muhammad Aslam.
Another issue that irked the senior faculty members was the recommendation of all the three candidates for the KEMU VC slot from other than Kemcolians. In the past, they said, all the heads of the century-old institution were Kemcolians who had enjoyed a better comfortable level with its other faulty members, they claimed.
"As many as 10 Kemcolians had applied for the KEMU top slot and nobody from them was considered for the panel of three candidates recommended to the CM for final consideration," another disappointed applicant said.
The source said a close competition was being expected between Prof Majeed Chaudhry and Prof Jawad Sajid for the KEMU slot while Prof Javed Akram and Prof Faisal Masood were the strong candidates for the UHS VC slot.
Headed by former federal minister Sartaj Aziz, the search committee consists of Health Secretary Arif Nadeem, Lahore University of Management Sciences Pro-Chancellor Syed Babar Ali, former Allama Iqbal Medical College principal Prof S.A.R Gardezi, former chief secretary Pervez Masood and Special Assistant to Chief Minister Khwaja Salman Rafique.
Arif Nadeem did not attend his cell phone despite repeated attempts. Dawn
BISE forms schedule
Lahore: Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE), Lahore while publicising schedule for admission forms has announced that Intermediate Annual Examination 2013 will commence from May 4, 2013.
According to a BISE spokesperson, admission forms with single fee will be received from January 21, 2013 to February 4, 2013, with double fee from Feb 5 to Feb 11, with triple fee from Feb 12 to Feb 18 and with triple fee and Rs 500 per day fine from Feb 19 to Feb 25, 2013.
The spokesperson said only the online admission forms for the examination would be accepted which could be downloaded from the board's website (www.biselahore.com). He said the form would bear an automatic unique number while it was downloaded, adding that owing to this unique number, photocopy of the admission form would not be acceptable.
Lahore: Government College University (GCU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Khaleeq-ur-Rahman in collaboration with the Academic Staff Association (ASA) has organised a one-day recreational trip for the university's faculty members to Changa Manga.
According to a press release issued on Monday, the vice-chancellor also participated in games and other healthy recreational activities to encourage the faculty members. Research Director Prof Dr Muhammad Zakria Butt, ASA President Prof Dr Hassan A Shah and Political Science Department Chairperson Prof Dr Khalid Manzoor Butt also accompanied the vice chancellor. The news