AIOU admissions | Education is not just about degrees

AIOU opens admissions
Islamabad, June 03: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will open its admissions for MS, M.Phil and PhD programmes for the Autumn Semester 2013 today (Monday) across the country simultaneously.

This was announced by AIOU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Nazir Ahmed Sangi while inaugurating the placing of admission forms and prospectuses for the Autumn Semester 2013 on the website of the university here on Friday. Prospectus and admission form can be downloaded from the university website ( for which Rs500 will be charged as processing fee.

Board of Advance Studies and Research (BASR) Director and Controller of Examinations Dr. Hamid Khan Niazi, In-charge Computer Section Shabnum N Shahid and other senior officers were present on the occasion.

In his presentation, Dr. Hamid Khan Niazi said that the admissions of PhD programmes (on MS, M.Phil basis) will be offered in Islamic Studies (General), Islamic Studies (Quran and Tasfeer), Chemistry (offered in Islamabad only), Iqbal Studies, Pakistani Languages & Literature (with specialisation in Pushto, Balochi, Brahul, Sindhi, Seraiki, Punjabi) and Urdu. The admissions of M.Phil programmes will be offered in Islamic Studies (General), Islamic Studies (Quran and Tafseer), Arabic, Chemistry (offered in Islamabad only), Iqbal Studies and Mass Communication. The admissions in MS will be offered in Community Health and Nutrition.

He said candidates having M.Phil 1st Division-3 GPA in the relevant subject and NTS GAT (Subject) test with at least 60% marks are eligibility for PhD admissions. The candidates having MSc with 2nd Division and NTS GAT (General) test with 50% marks are eligibility for admissions in MS and M.Phil programmes, he added.

The NTS GAT (General-Subject) results, Dr. Niazi said, are valid for 2 years. Students who have passed the said test within this period and did not get admission can also apply, he asserted. He further said that NTS will conduct a special test on June 23 for those who have not yet passed the test. The last date for registration is June 10. For more details, the candidates may visit the NTS website (

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AIOU to set up HR development centre
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will establish Human Resource Development Centre to provide job-oriented skills and job training facilities to its students.

It will work as a separate directorate with main focus on the development of country's intellectual capital. The centre will offer varied duration skills development programmes through face-to-face, distance learning, blended and e-learning, it was decided in a meeting of AIOU's senior officers.

Sangi said that the centre will help the government improve and develop the human resource capital of Pakistan.

Initially three to five courses of human resource development will be undertaken as a pilot project by the end of July next. It will be implemented in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the AIOU vice-chancellor added.

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'Education is not just about degrees; it's the character-building that matters'
Karachi: In an interview, Prof Dr Fouzia Naeem Khan, the dean of Sindh Madressatul Islam University's Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, spoke about issues related to education, child psychology at different stages of growth, heritage and the importance of imparting education to girls. Essentially a psychologist and women rights' activist, Prof Khan was also associated with Szabist.

TN: What is your perception of education? Don't you agree that in developing countries such as Pakistan, the focus should be on good schools and good teachers rather than producing PhDs?

Fouzia Naeem Khan: Now education is merely about the attainment of a degree. The focus is on securing the future instead of character-building. In an insecure society such as ours where millions are unemployed or underemployed, it should not be surprising that parents are worried about their children's future. Hence, they send their children to expensive, private schools and universities instead of public-sector universities. Violence, insufficient funding, and several other factors have deteriorated the standard of education in public schools, colleges and universities. This needs to be rectified urgently.

TN: What is the solution to this problem? How can a healthy change be brought in our educational system?

FNK: First of all, we should focus on primary and secondary education because if the foundation is good, a student can very easily build a structure on it. The curricula need to be developed and revised on a regular basis. Then the teaching methodology plays a vital role. The focus should be on inter-active teaching instead of traditional methods of teaching. The most important factor, I believe, is to bring uniformity in our educational system. We should get rid of several boards. Drastic investment in education is also the need of the hour and it must be done urgently. Teachers should be trained and should get ample opportunities for refresher courses. Their promotions must be linked to these courses.

TN: You are a psychologist. Don't you agree that our children should also be imparted sex education?

FNK: Definitely! And it should be age-appropriate. There are certain age-related sexual conflicts and if they are not resolved at an appropriate age, it leads to psychological disorders. According to the psychoanalytical school of thought, there are certain stages of psycho-social development. If the conflict is not resolved at different psycho-social stages, the child will be fixated at a certain stage of her/his growth that will lead to psychological disorders.

TN: Do you agree that the aggressive behaviour in our society is essentially because our youth has been deprived and their essential drives have been curbed? I mean isn't it true that sex is as important drive as hunger?

FNK: Definitely! Sex is a basic drive and a psychological need. I believe it is as important drive as hunger, thirst and belonging. Sex is energy and if not channelized properly it leads to aggression and frustration.

TN: You have been teaching for a long time and currently a dean at the Sindh Madressatul Islam University. What needs to be done to restore the institution's past glory?

FNK: The Sindh Madressatul Islam School was founded essentially to impart good and affordable education to Muslim children. It was established keeping in mind the Aligarh Muslim University. There is no doubt that it has played a vital role in imparting good education to our children and after being upgraded as a university it is delivering education that is at par with good private universities at a comparatively lower cost.

TN: And how do you evaluate its heritage value? Are there any steps being taken to preserve it?

FNK: Yes. Steps are being taken to preserve the heritage value of the SMI University. A committee comprising architects, engineers, and other experts has been formed and conservation work is in progress.

TN: In our country, the beneficiary of education is mainly the urban population despite the fact that the vast majority of our population lives in rural areas. Don't you agree that the focus should be shifted to the rural population?

FNK: Imparting education to our rural population is equally important. If we bring uniformity in our educational system, we will have well-educated children in our rural areas as well. Unlike urban centres, children in our rural areas undergo practical training in different spheres. The kids there have to fetch water, work in the fields to support their families, and lend a helping hand in looking after livestock besides attending schools. If we evolve a uniform educational system, I believe we will get wonderful results in our rural areas.

TN: Don't you agree that more needs to be done to educate our girls because educated mothers can bring a revolutionary change in a dying culture?

FNK: Of course! Unfortunately, there is a mindset in our rural areas that even if a girl acquires education, she is not allowed to work. I believe education among our female population can be used as a weapon. If, at a later stage of life, she faces a problem, education gives her an opportunity to protect herself in a society where feudal and tribal norms rule the roost. She can be an asset to her husband and family and for some reason if she is single, she can overcome financial constraints. Education is liberating!

TN: Can you tell us more about yourself?

FNK: I hail from a small village called Zaida in Swabi district. Interestingly, the literacy rate in our district is about 90 percent. I was born in Karachi, but I frequently visit my village which is very green and fertile. We are 'Zamindars'. Tobacco, sugarcane and corn are our main crops. Then there is an abundance of orchards. Peach, plum, watermelon and apple are some of the fruits grown in my village and district. My husband works for the United Nations Development Programme and heads a project on women's empowerment. The news

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QAU associations demand allowance
Islamabad: The clash between varsity administration and staff has increased miseries of Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) students as the administration announced closure of classes till June 10.

As per details, Academic Staff Association (ASA), Officers Welfare Association (OWA) and Employees Welfare Association (EWA) joined hands to build pressure on the QAU administration.

QAU sources said the university has announced vacations last week until June 10 due to threat of strike by the ASA, OWA and EWA office bearers, while the admin denied this, saying that the classes were closed due to worst kind of load shedding.

Following the general body meeting of the ASA held last week, the body decided to hold a demonstration in front of the admin block of the varsity on June 5.

ASA President Dr Waheed Iqbal Chaudhry said there is no difference in charter of the QAU and other federal government universities like Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Federal Urdu University and International Islamic University for instance.

He said the grant of a special allowance as 20 percent of running basic pay is being distributed to the employees of above-mentioned institutions including employees of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) itself, which is an ethics body for the QAU.

"We are not demanding additional money but implementation of the rules under which other institutions are getting the allowance," Dr Chaudhry added.

Meanwhile, president ASA alleged that the varsity administration has not implementing rules in the syndicate pertaining to the medical facilities and promotion of lecturers. He added that the university has minimized the list of panel of hospitals and repeatedly forcing the beneficiaries to receive treatment only from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and Poly Clinic hospital.

He informed that Syndicate has approved a long list of hospitals on panel of the QAU but the administration has rejected medical bills of several employees because they have treated except from PIMS and Poly Clinic hospital.

He added that amendment of the rules as approved by the syndicate is not the jurisdiction of the Vice Chancellor. "The VC should not exceed its powers and he should not break the rules as he is custodian of the rules," said Dr Chaudhry.

Similarly, Dr Chaudhry said that work load of the lecturers was increased from 6 credit hours to 9 credit hours by the university administration by passing the syndicate decision in this matter.

He added that amendment of syndicate approved rules not possible without approaching the syndicate itself.

"The administration of the QAU used to amend the rules of syndicate day by day as per its own consent," Dr Chaudhry stated.

Moreover, President of OWA Saeed Jaddon said on query that the varsity administration has not yet notified any response of the HEC regarding issuance of 20 percent allowance to the QAU.

He added that if the HEC denied our demand of 20 percent salary increase with respect to rule of law then the varsity administration should bring that notification before us.

When contacted Registrar of the QAU Dr Shaffequr Rehman stated that the university had written to the HEC for the funds to meet the demand of the teaching and non-teaching staff.

He added that the demand for the funds was rejected by the HEC with reference of the ministry of finance's notification, which clearly stated that the special allowance of 20 percent of the running basic pay would be given to all the officers and staff working in the federal ministries and divisions only.

"The university has always endorsed and implemented the policy of HEC," said Dr Rehman. Meanwhile, he denied the allegation of the ASA president saying that no medical bills have been rejected by the administration. online

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