O Level students protest | PU vacation

Parents protest against CIE's 'callousness'
Karachi, June 05: The British Council's decision to make students retake two papers has not gone down too well with the parents of affected students.

About 50 irate parents of students of the Karachi Grammar School (KGS) held a protest outside the school on Tuesday against the British Council's announcement that students who sat for the O-level examinations in May had to retake four papers due to a "security breach".

One of the parents, Tariq Quraishi, furious over the decision, said the study for O-level exams required preparations spanning over two years and a lot of hard work. The Cambridge International Examination (CIE), without any regard for the students, has abruptly decided to reschedule the papers of Pakistan Studies and Islamiyat.

The four papers were spread out in May for the students to prepare thoroughly, but now, they have decided to take the exams on two consecutive days for the ease and comfort of the British Council staff, he said.

Expressing disappointment he said the CIE had kept them in the dark as to which date the exam was compromised. "It took them 27 days to point out a breach of security. How inefficient is that?"

"This a murder case without a body," Quraishi claimed, as the British Council doesn't know which paper was compromised, when it was leaked and whom to put the blame on. He regretted that the CIE did not even consult the students or parents before rescheduling the papers.

Hoping that the CIE would reverse its decision, he said that after his son's exam he had donated the textbooks to the Edhi Foundation. "I believe that a British Council official is responsible for the irregularity. A newspaper claimed a British Council official had said that the exams were compromised outside Pakistan. Then why do Pakistani students have to pay the price?"

Quraishi said that parents had written a letter to the KGS principal and were hoping the media would highlight the CIE's "callousness" due to which about 8,000 students would suffer.

"It is grossly unfair that they every student has to pay for the malpractice of a few," he said. "The CIE has conveniently said those unable to take the exams on June 13 and 14 could take them in November."

Quraishi termed the move "impractical" as these students would already have eight other subjects to study for. The tuition centres would be busy with their regular students and accommodating extra candidates would affect the study of everyone.

"Moreover, there is no guarantee that this would not happen again," he complained. "The credibility of the British Council has been seriously undermined." The news

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O Level students protest cancelled exams
Islamabad: A number of O Level students here on Tuesday protested the cancellation of their Islamiat and Pakistan Studies exams conducted from May 7 to May 15.

The students have been directed to reappear in the papers on June 13 and June 14 after reports of paper leak abroad.

It may be noted that on Monday, the students of O Level were informed by their institutions that the papers of Islamiat I and Pakistan Studies I would be held again on June 13 and Islamiat II and Pakistan Studies II on June 14. The decision was taken because the papers were leaked abroad and there were reports that some of them also reached Karachi.

On Tuesday, a group of students gathered at D-Chowk at about 4pm to protest against the decision. The students were of the view that if the leaked question papers had reached Karachi, students in Islamabad should not be forced to reappear in the exams.

One of the students said it would be very difficult for him to appear in the two exams on two consecutive days."But I have no choice because my father has deposited Rs32,000 exam fee and I know it was very difficult for him to arrange the amount," he said.

Another student said the British Council (BC) should make a foolproof system so that no one can breach it. "It is strange that the system has been breached and the students are suffering," he said.

Aurangzeb, the father of a student said that: "I have submitted a letter to the office of Joint Secretary Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) Rafique Tahir and requested him to take notice as CAD is responsible for educational institutions in the federal capital," he said.

When contacted, Mr Rafique Tahir confirmed that a letter had been submitted to his office by a citizen on Tuesday.

"Although this is a national issue and we do not deal with it, I have referred the letter to the regulatory authority for private schools with an instruction to look into the matter," he said.

When contacted, Uzma Yousuf, a spokesperson for the Cambridge International Exams (CIE) in Pakistan, said the British Council had concrete evidence that question papers were leaked abroad. There was a possibility that students in Pakistan might have taken advantage of it, so it has been decided to hold the exams again, she added.

"It is impossible to announce the results of the exams held in May just because of the protests by the students. BC has maintained educational standards and it is not possible to compromise on the quality of education," she said.

Those students who have gone abroad or have genuine reasons will be allowed to sit the exams in November 2013 without charging them any fee. But they have to provide the copies of their travel documents or medical certificates, she said.

In reply to a question, she said according to her estimate about 15,000 students in Pakistan had been affected because of the suspension of the exams. Dawm

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'KU will continue helping students in research'
Karachi: The University of Karachi (KU) is enlisted among the top universities of world as it was one of the premier institutions of higher learning and research, said KU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr Muhammad Qaiser, during the Erasmus Mundus Europe Asia Scholarships distribution Ceremony here on Tuesday.

Dr Qaiser said those who have attained the scholarship would act as ambassadors of Pakistan at their respective foreign universities, and were a testament to the fact that the University's education standards were at par with the academic quality of international institutions. The Vice Chancellor added that he believed the university would continue helping students in this regard in the future as well.

Prof. Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi, the Coordinator of -Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Programme informed that the EMEA Scholarship was fully funded by European Union. She added that the students, teachers, researchers and University staff (academic or administrative positions) were also selected in the project. Daily times

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PU vacation
Lahore: Punjab University's teaching departments, institutes and constituent colleges will remain closed for summer vacation from July 8 to September 20. However in view of the examinations schedule, minor adjustment in the starting date, up-to one week, can be made by heads of departments. The news

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ICS graduates lament degrees' non-recognition
Lahore: Hundreds of graduates of Punjab University Institute of Communication Studies are running from pillar to post for recognition of their degrees being issued to them since 2004.

The PU was issuing MS Communication Studies degrees to its graduates which are not being recognised by various government bodies, including the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

In a recent case, ICS 2008-2010 academic session graduate Arslan Fida approached the HEC for attestation of his MS Communication Studies degree as he was planning to proceed abroad for higher studies. The commission informed the candidate it could not attest any MS degree obtained on the basis of two-year programme following two-year bachelors degree programme.

Upon candidate's request, the HEC wrote a letter to the PU Examination Controller on May 24, stating the MS degree was equivalent to MPhil (18 years of education) and the varsity should issue a revised degree to the candidates naming it MSc Communication Studies.

As the candidate discussed the matter with his class fellows on social media, it transpired that a large number of ICS graduates were facing similar problem.

A number of 2008-10 session graduates have written a letter to the ICS in charge director Dr Noshina Saleem stating that future of their session fellows was on stake because of non-recognition of their degrees. They demanded that the in charge director should take notice of the situation and rectify the anomaly.

Many graduates complained that besides government top bodies, various recruitment agencies in the public sector were also not recognising their degrees and the issue was also raised at the Punjab Public Service Commission a couple of years ago. They said many graduates had applied for jobs and were facing queries with regard to the nomenclature of the PU ICS degree.

A graduate seeking anonymity said the degrees were duly issued after PU's statutory bodies approved the nomenclature. He said it was matter of garve concern that these degrees were not being recognised by the government bodies, above all the HEC.

Dr Noshina Saleem said telephonically a few days ago the case would be discussed in the Board of Studies. She said that she was abroad.

PU Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Prof Dr Zakaria Zakar said the former ICS dean and director were responsible for deciding master's degree nomenclature.

Following several complaints, Dr Zakar wrote a letter to the vice-chancellor, urging the degree's nomenclature should be changed to MSc Communication Studies. He said that he had received a number of complaints about HEC not recognising the degree. As per HEC rules, he stated, MS degree was awarded after 18 years of education and it was equivalent to M.Phil, whereas MS degrees were awarded to the ICS students after 16 years of education.

Dr Zakar stated the HEC had stated in its May 24 letter that the PU should issue degrees with the MSc Communication Studies title, instead of MS Communication Studies, so that it could be recognised.

The faculty dean has sought VC's permission to issue provisional transcripts with new title with effect from 2004, so that degrees could be awarded accordingly and "the issue of recognition of our degree by the HEC may be resolved". Dawn

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LHC restrains PU physics dept head
Lahore: A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench on Tuesday restrained Dr Shaukat Ali, former chairman of Punjab University's physics department, from working as member of the university syndicate and other committees.

The bench passed this order on a petition accusing the syndicate member of tampering with his secondary school certificate to become five-year younger in the official record.

Petitioner Munir Ahmad submitted that there were allegations of fraud against Dr Ali and the court had earlier restrained him from working as chairman of the physics department. He said an inquiry conducted by the Lahore Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education found Dr Ali guilty of tampering with the certificate.

The petitioner said the court restrained the respondent from acting as chairman of the physics department, but he was elected to syndicate by the faculty. He said any faculty member facing allegations of fraud could not become syndicate member.

The petitioner asked the court to stop Dr Ali from acting as member of the syndicate and other committees of the varsity.

The bench restrained Dr Ali from working as member of the syndicate and other committees and sought explanation from the PU registrar to justify as to how the respondent was given such posts even after serious allegations against him. The bench adjourned the hearing for two weeks. The news

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