COMSATS University responsibility | US scholarships

A varsity sans social responsibility
Islamabad, May 10: For a university with campus across the country, there should not be a question of social responsibility and civic education. And if there is one, something terrible must have infected its administration.Though located on the main Park Road, the COMSATS University has rather chosen a backdoor entry for its fleet of buses, other transport for faculty and students.

The unusual and illegal parking spot, is located behind the residential complex of ISI officers and adjacent to PakTurk International School & Collegecatering from playgroup students to intermediate level.The sprawling campus in Chak Shahzad offers degrees from undergraduates up to doctoral candidates, totaling to 7,000 students enrolled in over a dozen disciplines. The photograph is only a minor reflection of the nuisance the students' and private transporters erratic parking habits have caused for the entire locality.Around 300 to 600 motorcycles and over 100 vehicles, parked along either sides of the road outside the backdoor entry, spare a meager 11 feet space out of some 100 feet wide road for the school transportation to pass.

Not only uncivilized parking habits of private transporters ferrying youth to the university and those of its impolite students are making the younger school students more vulnerable to accidents, but hawkers like ice cream sellers or mobile snack vendor also aggravate the situation further.For those commuting daily to drop off children to the school, scenes of scuffles and bad mouthing are usual occurrences followed by near-misses or actual collusions. Two security guards man the gate only to facilitate smooth passage of the university fleet and its faculty members.Even if a guard tries to instruct a private van driver or a pack of students blocking the traffic at peak hours, he only gets snubbed.

The neighbors has not only learnt to live with the rowdy traffic and parking sense but Grafton College, an affiliate of NUML is following the ugly suit.Despite repeated calls, an SMS providing details for the version on cell numbers of Pro-Rector Dr Haroon Rashid and another senior official in the rector's office Colonel (retd) Shahid Ansari failed to impress them to reply back with the institution's version.An inspector of traffic police, requesting not to be named as he was not authorized to speak media, said the situation is alarming but there won't be any remedy until an accident occurs and media turns its attention to the area.While the university should accommodate its ever-increasing parking needs of its students on vast empty spaces inside the campus, it must show social responsibility by mobilizing its youth to become a role model.

The worst fear, however, is not a fatal accident occurring due to nasty parking practice of the university students or staff but exploitation of the opportunity by terrorists by planting a bomb in any random motorbike or car. Besides the COMSATS' 7,000 students and hundreds of staff members themselves, 2,000 souls in PakTurk International School and College and hundreds of families in the adjacent residential complex of ISI can be likely victims if parking of random vehicles there is not moved inside the campus where it belongs.

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US awards scholarship to 26 IIUI students
Islamabad: The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded scholarships to 26 students enrolled in undergraduate degree programmes at the International Islamic University (IIU) as part of the $165 million Pakistan Reading Project.The scholarships would pay for tuition and supplies, as well as provide a stipend to the recipients.

The US government would provide more than 4,500 scholarships to the aspiring teachers. While addressing the students, USAID Mission Director Gregory Gottlieb said, "No matter how many schools or libraries we build or facilities we provide, none of it would matter until we invest in improving the quality of teachers. Keeping this in mind, I am pleased to note that the USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project is working to do just that. The project is another significant initiative of the US government, in collaboration with the government of Pakistan to improve the standard of basic education."This is the first group of the IIU students to receive scholarships from the Pakistan Reading Project that would improve the reading skills of at least 2.5 million children to ensure that they are reading at or above grade level by 2019.

The project works closely with 28 Pakistani universities, and 116 elementary teacher training colleges, like IIU to improve the quality of teaching skills and curriculum. The US partnership with the government of Pakistan supports the rehabilitation and construction of over 1,350 schools in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).The US is also establishing centres for advanced education studies at four Pakistani universities, and expanding English skills for more than 5,000 low-income students. The US has awarded more than 4,800 scholarships to the students to pursue higher education through the Pakistan-USAID Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Programme.Daily times

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AIOU to start LLM programme
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has decided to introduce Master of Law (LLM) programme from next semester, mainly to facilitate practicing lawyers who intend to improve their academic qualification.

Initially, the facility will be extended for undertaking master's degree programme in Commercial Law and Islamic Studies. Designing and the course content work for the LLM has almost been completed, said AIOU Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Ali Asghar Chishti in an exclusive interview.

He said the legal community, including members of bar councils, will be involved in running the programme in an efficient manner. He said academic workshops will be arranged on weekly holidays (Saturdays and Sundays) to facilitate working lawyers. The university, he added, intend to introduce LLB at a later stage, after getting the consent of bar councils.

Dr. Chishti, who had done his LLB in 1980 from S.M. Law College, Karachi, hoped that the legal fraternity will take benefit of the AIOU programmes which also meet the HEC criteria.

The university is also working on a comprehensive plan to further strengthen its academic programmes, overcoming its shortcomings in teaching system. "We are considering a proposal to convert tutorial meetings into workshops for enhancing students-teachers face-to-face interaction. Workshops will be arranged on weekly holidays to facilitate on-job students.

The AIOU, he said, has also decided to decentralise its examination system to facilitate students. The evaluation of examination papers will be done at its regional offices.

The system has already been introduced at Karachi from this academic year and gradually it would be introduced at Lahore and other regional offices. Marking of papers of around three million students at one place was causing some difficulties. The news

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AIOU to conduct PGD/MA and MSc exams from 19th
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) would conduct its final exams of post-graduate diploma (PHD), MA, and MSc programmes for the Autumn semester, 2013 from May 19. This was announced by AIOU Controller of Exams Hamid Khan Niazi.The roll number slips, he said, are being dispatched to all the eligible/enrolled students at their given addresses by postal mail service.

Those students who do not receive their roll number slips till May 10 are advised to contact the nearest regional office of the university or the AIOU exams section in its main campus at Sector H8 for the issuance of duplicate slips. For duplicate roll number slips, the students are required to bring two passport size photographs duly attested by the gazetted officer.The roll number slips, along with the date sheet have been placed on the AIOU website for the convenience of the students.The exams starting from May 19 include PGD(CS/HRM), MBA/M.Com, MBA/MPA(COL), PGD (Youth Development), Diploma/MA (TEFL), MA(Arabic), MA (Islamiat), MLIS, MA(Urdu), MA(History), MA/MEd (Education), MA(EPM), MSc (Economics), MSc (Pak Studies), PGD/MSc (Gender and Women Studies), MSc (Sociology), PGD/M.Sc (Mass Communication), PGD/MSc (Environmental Design), MSc (Physics), MSc (Chemistry), MSc (Math), MSc (Stat), and MSc (Agricultural Sciences). Daily times

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