Business schools should become more agile and flexible

The second day of the Fifth Deans and Directors Annual Conference started off with a panel discussion, ‘Sustainable Business Schools in Challenging Times’, which addressed notions of how globalisation and market forces are impacting the business world.

The panel was moderated by Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Associate Dean Dr Huma Baqai and consisted of eminent speakers, such as IBA Dean and Director Dr Farrukh Iqbal, Karachi University Dean of Faculty of Management and Administrative Sciences Prof Dr Tahir Ali, Institute of Business Management (IoBM) President Talib Syed Karim, Iqra University Vice-Chancellor Dr Wasim Kazi, Greenwich University Vice-Chancellor Seema Mughal and IBA Sukkur Vice-Chancellor Dr Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui.

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Commenting on the changing market needs, Dr Iqbal said, “The rising costs and changing market needs imply that business schools should become more agile and flexible with respect to course content, teaching methods, faculty deployment and programme duration”. Dr Iqbal added that regulations pertaining to business schools must change to allow flexibility.

Workshops on the second day included capacity building relating to refining peer review skills and deans, along with seminars delivered by European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Director of Projects Dr Christophe Terrasse, Global Business School Networks, US Chief Executive Officer Stephen Sacca, EFMD International Projects Manager Jean-Baptiste Maillard and International Executive Service Corps, US Senior Adviser Javed Hamid.

The Fifth Deans and Directors Annual Conference, organised by the National Business Education Accreditation Council (NBEAC) of Higher Education Commission (HEC), commenced on February 5 in Karachi.

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The first day of the conference had plenary sessions and workshops that addressed many topics. Designed to increase the effectiveness of business education in Pakistan, the conference brought together more than 100 deans and directors of national and international business schools to engage in strategic level discussions.

The conference is aimed at actualising its anticipated outcomes that include developing policy and process recommendations for aligning business education with local and global needs, identifying actions to meet the emerging challenges in business education to make it more relevant for Pakistan and recommending policy framework and actions for quality improvements in different areas of business education.

The two-day conference was chaired by NBEAC Chairperson Dr Hasan Sohaib Murad, while Governor Mohammad Zubair was the chief guest.

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Concluding with the 19th NBEAC council meeting, the conference showcased well-structured plenary sessions, capacity development workshops and quality service seminars.

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More than 5000 schools in Sindh closed down since 2012

The number of students in government schools has decreased to more than one million in the past six years, while 23,000 schools have no electricity and 98% of them do not have labs. Though new institutions are being set up, incompetence on the part of the education department has resulted in the closure of more than 5,000 schools.
These statistics were revealed in an annual census report of the education and health departments and the education management information system.
The report said that there were 47,557 elementary, secondary and higher secondary schools in Sindh in 2012, which have been reduced to 42,383. According to the education department, this includes the closure of non-functional schools. However, after Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s education emergency, more than 2,000 schools were reopened.
Though there has been a decline in the number of students in government schools, an increase was witnessed in the number of teachers hired. The total number of teachers in 2012 was 1.4 million which increased to more than 1.5 million. Various technologies are being used to enhance the quality of education the world over, however, thousands of schools in Sindh do not have access to basic facilities.

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According to the report, there are more than 16,000 schools in Sindh without any boundary walls while another 15,000 schools do not have any washrooms and in more than 18,000 schools, students do not have access to clean drinking water. Besides this, there are more than 23,000 schools without electricity. Out of the total 42,383 government schools remaining in Sindh, more than 75% of the them do not have a playground while 98% schools do not have any laboratory facilities.
In addition to this, more than 41,000 schools do not have a library either. It was also disclosed that only about 14,000 schools had functional buildings while another 15,000 schools have buildings that require extensive repair work. More than 6,000 schools’ buildings have been termed dangerous while another 5,000 school buildings are without a roof.
Education experts said that the appointment of unqualified officers and political interference is the cause for decline of education in the province. An annual increase in the education budget was also witnessed and a major part of the budget is reserved for salaries.

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Over 1,000 prisoners sign up for Allama Iqbal Open University courses

Being behind bars does not mean on e stops academic learning. Around 1,000 prisoners in various jails of the country have signed up for the distance learning courses offered by AIOU.

This was disclosed by Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) VC Professor Dr Shahid Siddiqui while presiding over a meeting to review the varsity’s educational facilities being extended to disadvantaged groups.

The prisoners enrolled in the autumn of 2017 for upgrading their qualification so that when they complete their sentences and leave the jail, they can have an education certificate which allows them to lead respectable life in society. Dr Siddiqui said that the varsity had improved its existing facilities at jails throughout the country, providing free education to prisoners, as a part of its endeavour for taking care of marginalised sections of society.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2018.

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Free coaching classes for Buner students

BUNER: The Buner district government on Wednesday launched free coaching classes for position holding girls and boys to prepare them for the higher secondary school certificate examinations scheduled to be held in March.

The classes have been launched at the government centennial model high school, Daggar, where hostel, food and tuition facilities have been offered to the students.

Commissioner Malakand Division Syed Zaheerul Islam, Buner Deputy Commissioner Zareeful Maani, district nazim Dr Obaidullah, district naib nazim Yousaf Ali Khan, district education officers (males and females) Bakht Zada and Sadia Aliaslaunched the classes ata colourful function.

The students, their parents, teachers, social, political, religious figures, elected members and heads of government departments were also in attendance. The students also recited Hamd and Naat and presented national songs. National anthem was also played on the occasion.

The commissioner Malakand, who was the chief guest, said education played pivotal role in the society’s development. He said nations rose and fell due to their standard of education and urged the students to devote their time to studies.

He appreciated the steps taken by the district government for polishing the talent of the position holding students.

The other speakers pointed out that for free coaching classes last year the district government had provided Rs5 million, and this year Rs6 million had been earmarked for the purpose.

Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2018

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UVAS awards degrees to 1,256 students


The government is committed to ensuring quality education and raising standards as its top priority, said Punjab Minister for Livestock and Dairy Development and Pro Chancellor Asif Saeed Manais.

He was addressing at the Ninth Convocation of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) in Lahore on Wednesday.

About 1,256 students were awarded degrees and 67 position holders were given gold medals.
Out of the graduating students, 252 were DVMs, 282 BS (Hons), 83 Pharm-D, 50 Doctors of Nutrition and Dietetics (DND), 40 MBAs, 20 MBF, 36 BBA (Hons), 157 MSc, 311 MPhil and 25 PhDs.

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The minister urged students to play their due role in nation building. He lauded the progress achieved by UVAS which had positioned itself among the 2.5% top universities of Asia, the seven best universities of Pakistan in sports and top 10 universities of the country.

He listed various initiatives in livestock and education sectors for development. A Rs2 billion project has been launched for poverty alleviation. Meanwhile, the Punjab Chief Minister’s Dairy Development Programme, under the Kissan Package, will provide Rs10 billion worth of heifers, sheep and goats to poor women.

Vice Chancellor Dr Talat Naseer Pasha spoke about the academic, research, development, extension programmes and community services of the university. He said that with a history of 135 years of excellence, UVAS has now positioned itself among the top 2.5 percentile of Asian universities as per the QS World University Rankings 2018.

As per Higher Education Commission Sports Ranking 2017, UVAS clinched fourth position among public sector universities of Pakistan and seventh among all public and private universities of the country, the VC said. He added that UVAS was also among the top 10 universities of Pakistan, according to HEC’s overall ranking of higher education institutions over the last two years.

Dr Pasha said UVAS is swiftly achieving milestones of need-based multilevel education and establishing itself as a talent development institution by using its knowledge, resources and skills for the growth of human resources. He said that this year, UVAS also secured an affiliation with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

The VC informed the audience that UVAS scientists were executing 91 research projects worth of Rs1,051 through local and international funding agencies. He added the university was executing 10 development projects, worth Rs4.5 billion, being funded by the Punjab government.

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Seven of them are ongoing and three new ones were approved during the current financial year. Ongoing projects include 1) Establishment of Cholistan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at Bahawalpur, 2) Establishment of Training Centre for Biologics at UVAS, Ravi Campus Pattoki, 3) Development of Ostrich Farming in Punjab, 4) Propagation of Ducks Rearing in Punjab, 5) Development of Camel Milk Value Chain by adopting modern supply chain mechanism for enhancing farmers profitability in Punjab, 6) Establishment of Para-Veterinary School at Narowal and Provision of urgently needed academic block, student hostels and faculty apartments at UVAS City Campus Lahore. While the new development projects were 1) Establishment of Export Facilitation Center for livestock and poultry industry at UVAS, Lahore, 2) Inservice training facility of advance veterinary education and professional development for veterinary professionals and 3) Acquisition of land for up-gradation of Para-Veterinary School, Narowal to College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Narowal.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2017.

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IT skills: KPITB trains over 3,000 students to programme

In a bid to enhance the skills of youngsters, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB) has trained 3,000 students of different government schools.

The training was imparted under the first phase of information technology training programme called ‘early age programming and IT essentials initiative’.

The KPITB had launched the programme in collaboration with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Department in April 2017, with the aim of preparing the next generation of the province to succeed in the global technology market.

According to KP E&SED documents, the project had launched as a pilot at 60 government schools in 14 districts across the province with the help of around 20 trainers.

The main focus of this initiative was to provide an opportunity to students to learn to programme in a fun and immersive manner.

The documents further state that with the programming skills the students were taught and their own imagination, the students managed to create hundreds of games, applications, and animations.

K-P Elementary and Secondary Education Media Advisor Ziaur Rehman told The Express Tribune that the first phase of this initiative had been completed in which 3,000 students — including 285 from just six government schools of Peshawar, from grades six through nine, were trained.

In the second phase of this programme, over 300 school students would be provided training across the province.

Rehman said that the KPITB also provided training to teachers in the IT sector.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2017.

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Sindh govt making arrangements to install solar panels at 4,000 schools

KARACHI: In order to solve the issues of load-shedding and absence of power supply at many schools, which has adversely affected the performance of teachers and students, the education department has finalised arrangements to install solar panels at around 4,000 government schools in the province.

In this regard, the provincial government will be awarding tenders soon. Officials of the education department said that around Rs15 million has been allocated for each district in the province and private companies will be hired to install the solar panels at schools. “In total, Rs390 million has been allocated for the project, while the cost of supplying solar power to one room of a school is around Rs16,000 to Rs18,000,” sources claimed.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Education Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar said the task of installing solar panels at the government schools was earlier given to the district administrations but local officials posed hurdles in the project.

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“Now, the project will run under our supervision. The officials have conducted a survey of the schools and we are now verifying the facts and figures to avoid loopholes in the project,” the education minister said, adding that he will submit a report to the chief minister about the project before awarding tenders.

Dahar said the scheme was initiated because there is no electricity in many government schools and students have to study in scorching weather. “The government has cleared the dues of power utility companies but eight-to-10-hour-long load-shedding is a routine,” he said.

Replying to a query about the quality of education in the government schools, the education minister said, “The quality has improved and I can share the data of private schools’ children who have not got admissions to the government schools”. Dahar added that the government has appointed the teachers and headmasters purely on merit through tests conducted by the National Testing Service and Institute of Business Administration.

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Solar panels at hospitals

In the meantime, Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro announced on Monday that the government is contemplating installing solar panels at government hospitals.
“We will start with the district hospital in Badin where a foreign company has been asked to submit an assessment report of the project,” Dr Mandhro said, adding that it was essential for hospitals for have electricity round-the-clock.
“If the project is proved successful in Badin, we will replicate it in all the public hospitals in Sindh,” the health minister said. He criticised the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company and other power companies in Sindh for their failure to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

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AIOU to launch new academic programmes

ISLAMABAD: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will launch some new academic programmes from Tuesday, August 1 with start of Autumn 2017 session, it was announced on Sunday.

These include PhD elementary teachers’ education, PhD, MS public nutrition and BS accounting and finance. All told 23 new academic programmes have been introduced in a short span of time to cover a wide-range of disciplines relating to country’s socio-economic development.

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This is in line with recent initiatives undertaken by AIOU Vice Chancellor Dr Shahid Siddiqui expanding the scope of education, as per the need of society. The university is already running over 100 academic programmes from Matric to PhD-level. Besides these, there are diploma and short-courses as well. It has four faculties relating to sciences, social sciences, education and Islamic studies and each one was coming up with new programmes of public interest.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2017.

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Students shine in matric exams 2017

LAHORE: As many as 73.75% of 226,619 entrants passed the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Lahore matriculation annual exams 2017.

Students from private schools took most of the top positions, while the Divisional Public School (DPS) of Model Town in Lahore, which has topped every exam for years, failed to get even a single position. BISE Lahore announced the detailed results during a ceremony at the Alhamra Arts Council on Tuesday. The position holders were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals along with cash prizes of Rs20,000, Rs15,000 and Rs10,000.

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The first position holder in the humanities group, Usama Ikram, served as an inspiration for his peers. He is an orphan and works as a street hawker. Sharing his struggle, he said that after the death of his father, his elder brother left his studies to support the family. Usama himself worked while continuing with his studies.

The overall first position holder, Umer Tariq, belongs to a low-income family. His father is a Grade-11 government employee. Umer told The Express Tribune that he studied on scholarship at a trust school called the Teach a Child High School for Boys in Johar Town, while his family was struggling financially. He said that he could only continue his studies because of the scholarship.

School Education Minister Rana Mashhood, who attended the ceremony, said these bright students were the future of Pakistan. He said the Punjab government had been spending a huge budget on education, which was strengthening the future of the country. “For the first time in the history of our country, Punjab Chief Minister has issued instructions to give a guard of honour to the position holders. Previously, it was only presented to bureaucrats, army generals and presidents”.

The minister said the position holders would be given their guard of honour at the Chief Minister House in Murree and later taken on a tour of foreign universities.

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Addressing the ceremony, BISE Lahore Chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Ismail said that the board decided to mark the ceremony with simplicity to honour the victims of the Ferozepur Road blast. He said that this year, the board managed to announce the result on time and create a transparent examination system. “This is evident from the fact that one position is shared by six students.”

A total of 229,027 candidates applied for the examination and 226,619 appeared, out of which 167,131 candidates passed. In the science group, a total of 143,037 candidates appeared and 116,240 passed the exam, making the success rate 81.27%. In the humanities group, a total of 83,582 candidates appeared and 50,891 passed.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2017.

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AJK Govt To Appoint 14,000 Teachers

The AJK government is going to appoint fourteen thousand teachers across the state to overcome shortage of teaching staff in schools.

AJK Minister for Education Barrister Iftikhar Gilani told Radio Pakistan Muzaffarabad correspondent that these vacancies will be filled through NTS to ensure merit.

He said nine hundred lecturers will also be recruited for colleges through Public Service Commission.

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Turkey new school curriculum – without Darwin

ANKARA: Turkey announced a new school curriculum on Tuesday that excluded Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, feeding opposition fears President Tayyip Erdogan is subverting the republic’s secular foundations.

Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz said the main elements of evolution already underpinned the science curriculum, but there would be no mention of Darwin’s landmark theory until university.

“Because it is above the students’ level and not directly related, the theory of evolution is not part” of the school curriculum, Yilmaz told a news conference.

Opposition Republican People’s Party lawmaker Mustafa Balbay said any suggestion the theory was beyond their understanding was an insult to high school students.

“You go and give an 18-year old student the right to elect and be elected, but don’t give him the right to learn about the theory of evolution…This is being close minded and ignorant.”

The theory of evolution is rejected by both Christian and Muslim creationists, who believe God created the world as described in the Bible and the Koran, making the universe and all living things in six days.

Erdogan, accused by critics of crushing democratic freedoms with tens of thousands of arrests and a clampdown on media since a failed coup last July, has in the past spoken of raising a “pious generation”.

The curriculum, effective from the start of the 2017-2018 school year, also obliges Turkey’s growing number of “Imam Hatip” religious schools to teach the concept of jihad as patriotic in spirit.

“It is also our duty to fix what has been perceived as wrong. This is why the Islamic law class and basic fundamental religion lectures will include (lessons on) jihad,” Yilmaz told reporters. “The real meaning of jihad is loving your nation.”

Jihad is often translated as “holy war” in the context of fighters waging war against enemies of Islam; but Muslim scholars stress that it also refers to a personal, spiritual struggle against sin.

Mehhmet Balik, chairman of the Union of Education and Science Workers (Egitim-Is), condemned the new curriculum.

“The new policies that ban the teaching of evolution and requiring all schools to have a prayer room, these actions destroy the principle of secularism and the scientific principles of education,” he said.
Slideshow (4 Images)

Under the AKP, which came to power in 2002, the number of “Imam Hatip” religious schools has grown exponentially. Erdogan, who has roots in political Islam, attended one such school.

He has spent his career fighting to bring religion back into public life in constitutionally secular Turkey and has cast himself as the liberator of millions of pious Turks whose rights and welfare were neglected by a secular elite.

Liberal Turks see Erdogan as attempting to roll back the work of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Western-facing founder of modern Turkey who believed education should be free of religious teachings.

Some government critics have said the new curriculum – which was presented for public feedback earlier this year – increased the emphasis on Islamic values at the expense of Ataturk’s role.

But Yilmaz said on Tuesday nothing about Ataturk or his accomplishments had been removed. Changes only emphasized core values such as justice, friendship, honesty, love and patriotism.

He said discussion of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Islamic State and the network of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for last year’s attempted coup, would also be added.

Balik, the head of the union, said the changes were being made in an attempt to stamp out dissenting ideas.

“The bottom line is: generations who ask questions, that’s what the government fears,” he said. – AFP

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Sindh association holds 33rd convention in Los Angeles

LOS ANGLES: The Sindh Association of North America (SANA) held its 33rd convention in Los Angeles. Invitees and guests from Pakistan, India, Europe, America and Canada participated in the conference.

This year, the topic was: ‘GIRLS EDUCATION AND IT’S IMPORTANCE’

Abdul Jabbar Memon , Consul General of Pakistan also attended the convention and said that he was very pleased to see Sindhis from all over the world. He said that it was his desire to talk about all current issues facing the Sindhi community.

He said that it was becoming a cultural practice to put blame on others for our failures. He said that Sindhis themselves are to blame for being part of the problems of Sind and for failure to come up with solutions.

The fact is that the political leaders and the bureaucrats are responsible for shaping policies of the Government. If you want to destroy a nation, destroy their education system.

He said the status of education in Sindh is pathetic. “You have to work hard with honesty and sincerity to bring about a positive change. You do not expect miracles to happen.”

Mr. Abdul Jabbar Memon said he himself was from the same system, but he worked hard and rose in rank. He said being part of the same system if he could do it, everyone can do it.

The President of SANA, Muhammad Ali Mahar also addressed the Convention.

The convention lasted for three days. Culture, Education, Health and Literature were some of the topics discussed.

Various topics and projects were earmarked for the coming year.

In the education session, intellectuals , scholars and writers from Karachi and Los Angeles took part in a video conference. Dr. Mehtab Akbar Rashdi , renowned scholar and member of the Provincial Assembly of Sind and others took part.

Singer Humera Channa and Arshad Mehmood took part in Mehfil e Mausiqi to amuse the audience.

In all, 14 resolutions were passed unanimously in the convention.

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Classes of M.Sc. Statistics 1st Semester (Spring-2017)

All those AIOU candidates of M.Sc. Statistics who received offering letter for admission to M.Sc. Statistics and have deposited the fee of first semester (Spring-2017) are hereby informed that their 10 days workshop will be conducted on 15th July 2017 (Saturday) to 24th July 2017 (Monday). Timings will be 3:00pm to 9:pm. Workshop venue is Academic Complex, AIOU, Islamabad. Weekend classes will be start from 29th July and will remain continue by the end of October. The attendance in workshop and classes is compulsory. The detailed schedule has been sent through post. For query please contact 051-9057266

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AIOU Workshop/Classes of Bridging Semester of M.Sc. Statistics (Spring-2017)

All those AIOU candidates of Bridging semester for M.Sc. Statistics who have deposited the fee of Spring-2017 semester are hereby informed that their 10 days workshop will be conducted on 7th July 2017 (Firdiay) to 16th July 2017 (Sunday). Timings will be 3:00pm to 9:pm. Workshop venue is Academic Complex, AIOU, Islamabad. Weekend classes will be start from 22nd July and will remain continue till 18th September. The attendence in workshop and classes is compulsory. The detailed schedule has been sent through post. For query please contact 051-9057266

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