Pakistani students for UK study drop

Student applications from Pakistan in UK drop
London, Jan 10: There has been a significant drop in the number of genuine applications for studying in the UK universities from Pakistani students since the introduction of harsh immigration policies and vilification of immigrants under the new Conservative-LibDem coalition government.

Chief Executive of Universities UK, Nicola Dandridge, said that universities are reporting a significant drop in the number of students applying from overseas, particularly from India, Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia but Pakistani students are not only discouraged by the UK's immigration crackdown but they also face disproportionate treatment from the immigration officers who process their applications in Dubai and during face-to-face interviews conducted in Pakistan.

She said that crackdown on bogus foreign students have driven large numbers of genuine overseas applicants to competitor countries, damaging not only universities but also the UK economy.

She said the senior ministers calling for a crackdown on "bogus students" had given the impression that overseas students were no longer welcome and was driving them towards competitor countries such as the US, Canada and Australia.

Home Secretary Theresa May last month announced the introduction of face-to-face interviews for 100,000 applicants for student visas a year.

This means that most Pakistani applicants will have to face interviews in British High Commission in Islamabad. After 9/11 attacks on the United States by al-Qaeda, the number of students from Islamic countries, particularly Pakistanis, shot up as American officials started picking on Pakistani students and Britain was seen as a benign country but that is not the case anymore as Pakistani students, including visitor visa applicants, are also a suspect in the UK now and their applications are rejected on mass scale.

Overseas students are estimated to be worth GBP8bn a year to the British economy, a figure projected to rise to GBP16.8bn by 2025, according to a study by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Office for National Statistics' figures released in November showed a 26% fall in the number of visas issued for the purposes of study in the year to September 2012 but Dandridge said "anecdotal evidence suggested the downward trend was set to accelerate."

Pakistan was amongst the top ten nationalities issued entry clearance visas for the purpose of study in 2011. Of the total 261,405 student visas issued, 35,660 students visas were issued to Pakistani applicants. In 2010, the number of Pakistani students issued visas was 26,490.

But Pakistan is not included in the top ten nationalities for the year 2011 when a total of 61, 381 student visitors were issued with a visa for a maximum six-month duration. Nearly 70,000 people were issued student visitor visas in 2012 but Pakistan was not added in the top ten countries.

A home office spokesperson refused to share the reasons why Pakistanis were not amongst the top ten countries' category but referred to a statement by Mark Harper, the immigration minister. It says: "The UK's education system is one of the best in the world but to maintain this reputation it is vital that we tackle the abuse of the student route, while making sure Britain remains open for business."

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PU awards PhDs
Lahore: The Punjab University has awarded 6 PhDs in various fields here on Wednesday.

According to a press statement, PU has awarded degrees to six scholars including Khawar Sultana d/o Abdul Saeed Khan in the subject of Islamic Studies after approval of her thesis, "Seerat-e-Rasool (SAW) Rawayat-e-Shabiat-(RA) Takhreej-o-Tahqiq", Rana Navid Ahmed s/o Bashir Ahmad in the subject of Education after approval of his thesis, "Madrassah Education in Pakistan: Issues, Challenges and Reforms", Masha Maqbool d/o Maqbool Ahmed in the subject of Clinical Psychology after approval of her thesis entitled "Efficacy of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression and Self-Esteem Among College Girls of Lahore".

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CM selects KEMU, UHS VCs with 'magic wand'
Lahore: Punjab government has finalised the names of two candidates for appointment to the posts of Vice Chancellors of University of Health Sciences and King Edward Medical University while overlooking separate panels recommended by the Vice Chancellors Search Committee for Medical Universities.

Interestingly, sources informed, both candidates have been selected from the panel of three candidates recommended for post of Vice Chancellor of the UHS after the Competent Authority exercised his powers to pick the most suitable candidates from amongst the six candidates, rather than the two panels, recommended for the two universities.

However, the Competent Authority, after thorough discussion on the credentials of each of the six candidates within the Search Committee, approved the names of Prof Dr Faisal Masood, Principal of Services Institute of Medical Sciences/Services Hospital, and Prof Dr Javed Akram, Technical Advisor for Medical Education and former Principal of Allama Iqbal Medical College/Jinnah Hospital, to be appointed as Vice Chancellors of the two universities.

Sources informed that, though appointment on VC's posts in the two universities may swing in anyone's favour, but Prof Faisal Masood was likely to be appointed Vice Chancellor of University of Health Sciences, while Prof Javed Akram was expected to be appointed as Vice Chancellor of the King Edward Medical University.

Sources within the government circles informed that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had used epithet of a "magician" for Prof Faisal Masood with reference to his capabilities as top medical expert especially due to his unmatched contribution as Chairman of Dengue Experts Advisory Group (DEAG) during the combat against unprecedented attack of dengue epidemic in Lahore in 2011 and then in the identification and fixing of the issue of fake drug scandal of Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) early last year. Sources further claimed that Prof Javed Akram got the favour due to his professional and administrative skills as well as his strong connections with the political and judicial circles and that he was also preferred for KEMU VC's slot for being an old Kemcolian.

Earlier, it is worth-mentioning, the Search Committee headed by Sartaj Aziz, former federal minister and Vice Chancellor of Beaconhouse National University (BNU), and comprising Syed Babar Ali, Pro-Chancellor of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Capt (r) Arif Nadeem, Secretary Health, Prof SAR Gardezi, former Principal of Allama Iqbal Medical College, Pervez Masood, former Chief Secretary, and Khwaja Salman Rafique, Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Health, Punjab, after conducting interviews of 40 candidates on 2nd & 3rd of January 2013, had recommended two separate panels of three candidates each for the two universities.

As per initial recommendations, first panel comprised of Prof Dr Faisal Masood, Prof Dr Javed Akram and Maj-Gen (r) Prof Muhammad Aslam, Dean, Shifa College of Medicine, Islamabad, for the post of VC of University of Health Sciences, while the second panel comprised of Prof Jawad Sajid Khan, former Chief Executive of Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Prof Abdul Majeed Chaudhry, former Principal of Fatima Jinnah Medical College/Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, and Prof Sarwat Hussain, an eminent radiologist from United States, for the post of VC of King Edward Medical University.

The summary had been sent to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who was supposed to select most suitable candidate each for the appointment of Vice Chancellors of two medical universities. However, sources informed that the members of Search Committee discussed threadbare the credentials of each of the six candidates and, this time, put their weight behind the two candidates. These sources further confirmed that two candidates were dropped for being retired from government service and having interests in private sector, while one was ignored for being a military man and another lost the favour for being a dual/foreign national. "The selection of final two candidates has been done purely on merit on the recommendation of the Search Committee," the sources asserted.

Punjab Chief Minister will send the advice to the Punjab Governor/Chancellor after his approval of one candidate each for the appointment of Vice Chancellors of two medical universities, which will be notified by him as per advice of the chief minister, which is now binding under the law.

When contacted, Secretary Health Capt (r) Arif Nadeem didn't attend his mobile phone. However, Special Secretary Health Babar Hayat Tarar expressed his ignorance about the development. The news

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UVAS students get laptops
Lahore: The forthcoming general election are a ray of hope for the nation and the youth will vote for those who are fighting against corruption and consider national resources as a trust of the nation.This was stated by MNA Hamza Shahbaz while speaking at a laptop distribution ceremony at University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences on Wednesday.

He said the PML-N would win the war against terrorism, unemployment, loadshedding and corruption with the support of the youth. He said Pakistan could not stand on its own feet without eliminating corruption from politics. He said corruption was rampant in the country and steel mills, PIA and other institutions had been ruined.

He said the Punjab government had set up a worth-emulating example of national dignity by renouncing aid from foreign masters. Despite this bold decision, he said, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had completed a number of development projects in Punjab and the Metro Bus Project, which was going to be completed by the end of this month in Lahore, was a clear proof of it.

Hamza said the Punjab government had taken a number of steps for the destitute, including setting up of Endowment Fund with an amount of Rs10 billion, soft loan up to Rs50,000, provision of 75,000 acres of land to agriculture graduates, sending position holder students on foreign tour without any discrimination.

He said cash prizes had proved that if the rulers were sincere, a real change could be brought about.

UVAS Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha said the university was imparting professional education to produce trained manpower to serve and develop the livestock sector and national economy. He said the contribution of livestock sector in agriculture GDP had increased from 39 per cent to over 55 per cent in the last one decade. He said the UVAS had shared its knowledge, resources and skills with the allied industry, professionals, farming communities and society to provide high biological protein to the general public.

Prof Pasha said the university had enhanced the number of need-based scholarships from Rs2.2 million to Rs14.5 million with the support of the industry. He thanked the Punjab government for releasing a grant of Rs500 million for endowment fund. He said the UVAS had also launched 24/7 extension services last year to provide emergency and routine veterinary patient care for all species of small and large animals on the doorsteps of farmers. Hamza Shahbaz distributed laptops among deserving male and female students and congratulated their parents and teachers. As many as 851 laptops were distributed among university students. A smart contingent of Punjab police presented a guard of honour to the students.

Members of national and provincial assemblies, faculty members and a large number of male and female students were present on the occasion. Dawn

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