Election holidays in schools, colleges | PU teacher under threat

Islamabad school, colleges to remain closed on 9th, 10th
Islamabad, May 07: The educational institutions functioning under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) will remain closed on May 9 (Thursday) and May 10 (Friday) due to preparations for the general elections falling on May 11 (Saturday).

An announcement from Ministry of the Capital Administration and Development (CAD) Joint Secretary Rafique Tahir said all the colleges and schools which come under the administrative control of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) will not open on May 9 and May 10.

However, the majority of staff of these institutions including heads, deputy heads, teachers and non-teaching staff would not be able to leave Islamabad to visit their native towns as they have been assigned duties at polling stations in Islamabad's urban and rural and adjoining areas.

Most of the polling stations have been established in FDE's schools and colleges. According to the polling scheme, there are 285 polling stations in NA-48 and 261 polling stations in NA-49.

The sources that the District Returning Officer is accepting no excuse from the staff who are deputed as polling stations to get exemption from the duty. They have deputed as presiding officers, assistant presiding officers, polling officers and other responsibilities at polling station.

"The training of most of the staff has been completed and now the presiding officers along with police personnel given at their disposal, will come at office of the District Returning Officer (DRO) to fetch ballot papers, ballot boxes and other polling material," the sources said.

The presiding officers would be given powers equivalent to those of Magistrate Class one. The news

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Lahore schools to remain shut from 8th to 13th
Lahore: The Punjab school education department has notified that all public and private sector schools in the province will remain closed from May 8 to 13 for the general election.

The notification says the teaching and non-teaching staff detailed by the Election Commission of Pakistan will perform their duties at designated polling stations and those who have been placed under the category of the reserved staff will remain available at their place of posting for the polling duty.

The remaining staff, if any, not detailed for the election duty or as reserve, will also remain present at their educational institute/workplace for alternate arrangements in case of shortfall of staff.

The Punjab University will also remain closed from May 8 to 13 for the conduct of election.

However, all administration staff, including the faculty, will remain on duty during these holidays.

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Private schools split over poll holidays
Karachi: Private schools in the city are divided over the issue of closure from May 8 to May 11 in view of the upcoming elections.

Keeping in view the security situation in the city, All Private Schools Management Association (APSMA) chairman Syed Khalid Shah appealed to the education department to announce school holiday up to the elections.

"We are in constant touch with the administration of our schools and are well-aware of the problems faced by the children and their parents during city disturbances," said on Monday.

"We have to make the education department understand this. It makes sense to close all schools when there is so much violence and bomb blasts taking place all over the city. It may get even worse as the day of election comes nearer," he said.

"Thankfully, the education department has listened to our point of view. I have heard that schools in Punjab, too, will remain closed from May 8 to May 11. The notification has been issued there and is expected here by tomorrow," he said.

However, Private Schools Management Association (PSMA) senior vice chairman Sharaf uz Zaman opposed the idea saying that the demand for closing of schools was unnecessary so many days ahead of the polling day. "We have decided to keep our schools open till May 9 to close only on May 10 and 11," he added.

"The students' education has already been affected by strikes and uncertain situations developing in the city. So only those schools that have been chosen as polling stations may be closed while the rest should carry on as usual," he said.

"It was on the insistence of one of our friends who heads his own school association that the directorate wrote to the secretary of education to consider closing of schools from May 8 like they are doing in Punjab. But there are no bomb blasts, killings or strikes taking place in Punjab.

Karachi is a separate case. The schools here are closed every other day due to one thing or the other. How will the children study this way? How will our teachers get their salaries when the schools are closed for most part of the year? I have just got some text messages from private school owners in Peshawar, and they, too, will only close on May 10 and 11," the gentleman added.

"Holiday notification or no holiday notification, we will remain open. In case there is any disturbance, we will deal with it when it happens. But right now we cannot afford to close schools without any reason," he added.

Meanwhile, another association, the Peak Private Schools Management, which was earlier against any extra holidays agreed to remain open for one more day, Tuesday, and go on leave from Wednesday, May 8, to Saturday, May 11.

Sunday (May 12) being the weekend holiday means five days off.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the education department denied that the Sindh government had declared holidays in all educational institutions in connection with elections, adds APP.

He said that the government would officially announce the election holidays in due course of time. Dawn

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PU teacher under 'threat for exposing irregularities'
Lahore: An Assistant Professor at Economics Department of the Punjab University (PU) has been under threat over exposing embezzlement of funds and irregularities allegedly by the Economics Department chairman of the university.

"In reaction to my complaint, Dr Hafeez ur Rehman and his allies have turned against me," Dr Hafiz Khalil Ahmad wrote in the application sent to PU VC on April 11, 2013. "They are conspiring against me," he alleged.

In March, Dr Hafiz Khalid Ahmad, had written an application to the VC that Chairman PU Economics Department, Prof Dr Hafeez ur Rehman, was allegedly involved in embezzlement of funds and administrative irregularities in the Department. But even after passage of over two months' time, the PU administration has failed to take any action against the chairman so far, he said.

In a three-page application, available with The News, Hafiz Khalil had alleged that Hafeez ur Rehman was involved in embezzlement of funds and administrative irregularities, including more than 30 admissions of holders of Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Economics (PGDAE) which were made against only nine sanctioned seats without seeking approval from the competent authority. "Severe violation of rules in 2012 admission of MSc Economics (Replica) programme has been done", Hafiz wrote.

According to the application, laptops in the first batch were given to students having less than the required marks. Besides this, employees were also given laptops violating the rules of the scheme, Hafiz said, adding that Zaheer Abbas (Jr. KPO) and Muhammad Sarwar (Assistant Controller) were involved in the corruption, in connivance with Dr Hafeez ur Rehman.

"Purchase of office equipment is assigned to Zaheer Abbas who takes bribe and misappropriates the official funds. Zaheer Abbas gets bribe from students for improving their grades and to pass the failing students", Hafiz explained.

According to Hafiz, MSc Economics Morning class was bifurcated into sections A and B to benefit favorite part time and contractual teachers but this act of the chairman was causing a loss of two million rupees to the public exchequer annually.

Hafiz further wrote that Dr Tahir Mahmood, who was declared ineligible by the University for the Post of Associate Professor at Economics Department in 2011, had been appointed as Associate Prof on deputation at the said Department with the blessings of Hafeez ur Rehman. According to him, Mushtaq Hassan, son of Muhammad Sarwar (Assistant Controller), holding an MBA degree, was not eligible for the post of lecturer in Economics due to irrelevant degrees.

He had prayed to the VC to suspend all persons involved in misappropriations at the department for conducting independent special audit of accounts and independent inquiry.

When the PU VC kept mum over the issue for more than two months Hafiz Khalil wrote another application to the VC on April 11, 2013, titled "Request for protection of soul and self respect", to remind him about the issue that no action has been taken against accused persons so far.

Hafiz wrote in the application that, through his reliable sources, he had learnt that Dr Hafeez and others were preparing a girl to entangle him in a sexual scandal to make him doubtful and unreliable person to influence the conduct of fair and impartial inquiry against their corruption.

When contacted, Economics Depart chairman Hafeez ur Rehman declined to comment on the issue, saying the matter was under examination by the VC, who he termed the right person comment. "The VC will say anything on the issue," he maintained.

Director Public Relations (DPR) Punjab University Israr Rana, when contacted, claimed that Dean Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences Prof Dr Muhammad Ehsan Malik and the VC had held a meeting on the issue and they had reached a consensus that a fact-finding committee should be formed. Action would be taken against the persons responsible after the submission of the report, he added. Rana failed to mention when the committee would be formed and who would head it.

When this scribe contacted Dr Hafiz Khalil, he said he would not say anything on the issue as it was the internal matter of the PU.

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PhD awarded
Lahore: Government College University, Lahore, Monday awarded a PhD to a scholar in Urdu.

GCU scholar Mian Humayun completed his research under the supervision of Prof Dr Sadaat Saeed. The news

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4,000 teachers assigned election duty in Swabi
Swabi: A total of 4,000 teachers have been assigned election duty at 1,464 male and female polling stations in the district. The names of the teachers and their designations were provided to the district election commission office by the heads of colleges, higher, high, middle and primary schools and the same were sent to the returning officers to assign them election duty.The ROs have finalised the staff names and also informed them about their designated polling stations, the sources said.

"The deputed staff in each polling station would work under the presiding officer," said an officer.

Of the total, 2,400 are male teachers and the remaining 1,600 are female teachers, said the sources, adding there was no need to depute staff from the other departments of the public sector. They would perform their duty in 850 male and 614 female polling stations in the two national and six provincial assembly seats in the district.

Each presiding officer has been informed about his staff and the institution/school where they have to make up arrangements for voting on May 10, a day ahead of the election.

The educational institutions would remain closed on May 10 and on the same day the deputed staff has to perform their duty in their designated polling stations, finalising necessary arrangements for the Election Day. "We would ensure all necessary material at polling booths on May 10," said a presiding officer.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the election training of the teachers was expected to be completed today (Tuesday). The government high school Swabi has been chosen as the training centre because it could easily be approached by the deputed staff from all areas of the district, said the teachers, adding the returning officers visited the training centre and met with the deputed staff. Dawn

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