The Punjab government has allocated a total amount of Rs 383 billion for various projects, departments and institutions of education sector in the Punjab Annual Budget 2019-20.
In the budget announced on Friday, it was learnt that of the Rs 383 billion, Rs 32 billion have been allocated for School Education, Rs 7.3 billion for higher education, Rs 1 billion for special education, while Rs 35 billion have been allocated for tertiary education. Besides, a sum of Rs 1.5 billion have been allocated to TEVTA and Rs 400 million for Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC).
In the Rs 32 billion-allocation for school education, Rs 1.5 billion have been earmarked for Danish School, Rs 19.5 billion for Punjab Education Foundation (PEF), Rs 5 billion for Punjab Education Initiative Management Authority (PEIMA), Rs 195 million for teachers’ training, Rs 50 million for Children Library Complex, Rs 255 million for provision of missing facilities in schools across Punjab, while Rs 10 million have been reserved for TVET curricular integration program.
The PTI-led Punjab government also allocated an amount of Rs 273 billion separately for District Education Authorities.
For higher education, the Punjab government allocated Rs 7.3 billion, of which Rs 1.75 billion would go towards provision of missing facilities in colleges, Rs 300 million for Punjab Education Endowment Fund (PEEF) and Rs 100 million would go to Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC).
Besides the budget, the Punjab government also announced establishment of four new universities in in Punjab. These would be University of Chakwal, University of Mianwali, Kohsar University of Murree and Thal University at Bhakar.
The government also allocated Rs 1 billion for special education, of which Rs 582 million have been allocated for ongoing schemes, while Rs 417 million would go to new schemes. Another Rs 2.6 billion have been allocated for Literacy and Non Formal Basic Education, among which Rs 1.8 billion would be used to fund ongoing schemes and Rs 800 million would be used for new schemes.
Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri has dubbed higher education budget ‘peanuts’, as a meagre amount of Rs59 billion was allocated against a whopping demand of Rs103.5 billion by the government for the fiscal year 2019-20.
Talking at the press conference he said HEC received half of the amount it demanded for the fiscal year 2019-20. “The HEC had demanded Rs103.5 billion for the fiscal year 2019-20 but government approved on Rs59 billion, including around Rs28 billion for the development sector against the demand of Rs55 billion, it’s too little than what we asked for.” Banuri said HEC presented their budget allocation demand on every forum including the cabinet and Ministry of Finance, however, the government asked to cooperate as cuts were made in almost every department.
He said HEC was dedicated to mainstreaming quality education and relevance into the higher education sector and National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE) will act as a viable instrument to ensure greater transparency and efficiency in the education system. In order to carry forward the efforts to enable Pakistan’s higher education sector by making it more effective in academic excellence, management and problem-oriented research, HEC launched conference of the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE), earlier this week.
Just to add, out of the total budget allocated by the government to the higher education sector, Rs4159.782 million would be spent on new development schemes, while Rs24887.100 million would be used to for the completion of old schemes under National Development Programme 2019-20. Moreover, the government also curtailed the funds allocated to Education Affairs and Services by at least Rs20 million. In the fiscal year, 2019-20 government allocated Rs77,262 million to Education Affairs and Services, in comparison to Rs97,155 allocated in the year 2018-19. Out of the total funds Rs2,831 million were allocated Pre-Primary & Primary Education Affairs services, Rs77,262 million to Education Affairs, Rs6,718 million on Secondary Education Affairs & Services, Rs65,233 million on Tertiary Education Affairs and Services, Rs300 million to Subsidiary Services to Education etc.
Harvard Library is joining hands with Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP) — a consortium encompassing Columbia, Princeton, and the New York Public Library and the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation— a consortium among 13 prominent academic libraries that developed out of the BorrowDirect resource-sharing service initiated in 1999, in a bid to build one collection — and share it. Through the collaboration Harvard is aiming to make 90 million books available to its users— almost three times more than the collection of the Library of Congress which is largest library in the world.
“Each of the libraries can lean on the others for their specific strengths,” said Elizabeth Kirk, associate University librarian for scholarly resources at Harvard. “It’s an intentional way to have separate collections talk to one another, and it frees Harvard to acquire those primary-source gems that would be financially unattainable otherwise. Those are the kinds of materials that have always set Harvard apart.”
As the partnership develops, the partners will be able to access items in the shared collection just like their individual collections, allowing access to additional materials with the least amount of effort on the part of the library users. “Libraries work hard to make things easy for the people that use them,” Kirk added. “If it’s hard, people won’t use it.”
The success of BorrowDirect was a proof that collaborative efforts could produce laurels. This service enabled users to request for a book from any of the partner library’s collection, which encompasses around 90 million scholarly items. More than 270,000 items were shared annually across 13 institutions including Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania, with an average wait time of about a day and a half after the users made request for delivery at their respective library.
Harvard Library Former Vice president Thomas said “Libraries are dedicated to free and democratic access to information. It’s a renewable resource: One person can come in and read a book, and it’s still there for another person to read and bring their own knowledge and ideas to it.”
ECAT Test for Admissions in B.Sc. Engg. and B.Sc. Engg. Technology programmes will be held on July 14, at University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Lahore. Online registration for admissions in UET Lahore, its affiliated engineering colleges and other Engineering institutions around the province were now open for potential candidates.
According to the press release issued by UET spokesperson, entry test will be held on Sunday, July 14 July 2019 at 10:00 am. Entry Test tokens were available from designated HBL branches on payment of Rs700/- July 2, 2019. Detailed instructions about logging in to the UET admission portal using the token number were also given on the token.
The application process was automated (online) and admit card were downloadable, making the process easier for candidates who were not required to visit any test centre for registration. In order to get the receipt of admit card, the candidates have to fill the entry test application online by logging into the web link http://admission.uet.edu.pk with the help of the token serial number and token number. Applicants can then select any Test centre from the given list, however, for their own convenience applicants were advised to choose an alternative Test centre nearest to their residence/district of domicile.
Applicants were also advised to apply at their earliest because the seating capacity was limited in each centre. Reprint of admit cards was permitted until the day of the test. If required, the applicants can also use the computer and printer facility in the designated computer laboratories at test centres from June 10, 2019, to July 3, 2019, between 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM with a break of prayer, from Monday to Friday.
The last date for the purchase of tokens from designated branches is Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Last date for data entry and generation of admit card online is July 3, 2019, whereas the last date for receipt of admit cards is July 3, 2019.
For years, experts assumed that people who studied more and kept their brains active had a lower risk of dementia. However, per the latest study, there is no direct link between an individual’s level of education and Alzheimer’s-related cognitive risk.
Researchers in the recent past have argued that people who have higher levels of education had a lower risk of suffering at the hands of Alzheimer’s disease, which is a common type of dementia and leads to memory loss. Studies suggest that a higher level of education boosted an individual’s cognitive capabilities, which denotes the brain’s ability to maintain as well as preserve the cognitive function in spite of any impairment.
However, according to the findings of new research conducted by Dr Rebecca Gottesman, from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, MD and her fellow colleagues, no link was found between an individual’s cognitive ability in middle ages and a lower risk of developing the Alzheimer’s disease. However, the study confirmed that “individuals with higher levels of education may remain cognitively functional for longer, purely thanks to the fact that their “reserve” takes longer to become depleted.”
The study found that people with higher levels of education secured higher cognitive function scores in comparison to their peers who had lower levels of education, irrespective of the total amount of beta-amyloid in the brain. Also, people with higher education levels had longer cognitive functioning and had no direct link with the chances or risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Dr Gottesman, “Our study was designed to look for trends, not prove cause and effect. The major implication of our study is that exposure to education and better cognitive performance when you’re younger can help preserve cognitive function for a while, even if it’s unlikely to change the course of the disease.”
The research team accessed data collected by the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, which included almost 16,000 participants who were healthy at baseline and became a part of ARIC in midlife between 1987 and 1989. The team accessed the health progress of participants for almost two decades until they aged 76 on average. Among the total respondents, 57 percent were women while 43 percent belonged to African American ethnicity. Researchers also investigated the effects of antihypertensive drugs, which helps in decreasing the risk of dementia.
For the current study, the researchers focused on just 331 participants without dementia at baseline. Out of these, 144 completed their high school or attained General Education Development (GED) diploma, 54 did not have high school education and 133 had attended some type of college or earned some type of continued formal education. MRI and PET scans for the participants were conducted to find out the levels of beta-amyloid in the brain.
The findings of the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and investigated the associations present between education and Alzheimer’s disease, rather than the cause and effect associations.
The Punjab University Academic Staff Association (PU ASA) has unanimously expressed strong resentment over massive cut in the funding of higher education in the federal budget. In a press statement, PUASA President Prof Dr Mumtaz Anwar Chaudhry has called upon Prime Minister Imran Khan to immediately take notice of the drastic budget cut as it would fall hard on his vision of youth development.
He said that the budget proposal mentioning 44 percent cut in the higher education budget in comparison to the previous fiscal year has caused grave concerns to the academic fraternity in particular, and other segments of the society at large. He said the HEC budget cuts in the recent years were tantamount to stifling the research and academic activities of higher education, particularly at public sector universities.
Chaudhry said the government intends to provide only 43 billion rupees against HEC’s demand of Rs103 which will definitely have an adverse impact on various aspects of university working e.g. TTS program, research incentives etc.
He said public universities serve to all demographics of the society and tend to be the only option available to the students from the lowest income groups to attain higher education. He said public sector universities were funded worldwide by their governments. Pakistan’s population pyramid was bottom heavy and a large portion of the populace fall in the school or college / university age bracket. The number of students vying for admissions and education in public sector universities were increasing as well, he added. Chaudhry said this had put immense stress on public sector universities, since this population demographic structure implies increasing number of students to be handled by these universities respectively.
Prof Dr Mumtaz Anwar Chaudhry said that a cut on expenditure today was something that could not be compensated by a matching increase in the future, strangling the ongoing research processes at the universities. He said that this loss to the society will be unrecoverable, so this policy of budget cuts would have a negative impact on the future of higher education in the country. Chaudhry said governments over the year’s made conscious efforts to accumulate minimum critical mass of high quality researchers by providing scholarships leading to higher education. He said these professionals were hired in large numbers by universities and such cuts will take away the incentives for these professionals to stay in Pakistan, which may result in brain drain towards greener pastures.
He emphasised that the priority should be education in general, and higher education in particular as per the promise of PTI’s election manifesto.
A delegate from the community colleges of the United States visited Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) on Wednesday and met with the senior management of PHEC and principals from five existing community colleges of Punjab.
The visit was facilitated by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS) / Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and included representatives from Montgomery College Maryland, California Lutheran University, Sauk Valley Community College, Mesa Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, Spokane Community College, Gadsden State Community College, and Seattle Central College Washington. The delegate was welcomed by PHEC Director General (QA & Accreditation) Zia Batool. A detail orientation on Community College project was given by PHEC Director Zainib Siraj.
At this occasion, Zia Batool briefed the delegate that PHEC in collaboration with the Higher Education Department (HED), Government of Punjab launched the Community Colleges project following the successful model employed at the United States of America. The program offers 2-year associate degrees in practical and employable fields of studies to prepare students to enter the job market and produce a skilled workforce. “The model offers high-quality education with technical expertise at a low cost. The education is being imparted in the market-oriented disciplines, with a core focus on the job-ready skills of the students in order to meet the growing needs of the industry as well as bridging the industry-academia gap” Batool added.
She said as per the vision of the Government of Punjab, PHEC was ardently working to enhance access and affordability to high-quality education for the students through these community colleges. “Currently we have established five community colleges in five districts – Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur- in Punjab. Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raja Yassir Humayun Sarfraz has showed keen interest in the project and pledged the fullest support of the provincial government in expanding this project to all nine divisions of Punjab” informed Batool. She further said the Associate Degree programme of Community college was the best alternative as the two-year conventional BA was phasing out.
Zia Batool further added that the sharing of experience and expertise in the field of curriculum development, faculty development, introducing new subject streams, and credit hour management will benefit the community colleges project in Punjab.
The delegates also shared their experiences and pledged support to PHEC to successfully run the project. Later, the delegate visited Community College established at Government Township College Lahore and interacted with faculty and students there.
In continuation of its efforts to enable the country’s higher education sector to become more effective in academic excellence, management and problem-oriented research, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan held the launch conference of the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE) on Wednesday.
President Dr Arif Alvi, graced the occasion as chief guest, while Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood was the guest of honour. The event was attended by HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri, Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfaraz, World Bank Country Director South Asian Region Patchamuthu Illangovan, and a large number of Vice Chancellors and notable figures from academia.
Addressing the launch ceremony, Dr Alvi emphasised upon the need for evolving into an education system that caters to the requirements of current and future challenges. He remarked that the dream of a golden tomorrow will not come true without development in the education sector. He observed that the future challenges were tremendous, so NAHE will have to be very smart in playing its part and providing dynamic means to meet academic challenges. “HEC will have to look at the needs of tomorrow and plan accordingly,” he added.
The president said human factor plays a key role in development of a country, as nations were built by people. He maintained that quality of teaching and learning must be given due importance, as teaching embodies all the skills required to dissemination of knowledge and effective communication
Federal Minister Shafqat Mahmood pointed out that lack of proper training for academic leadership was one of the major shortcomings of the country’s education system. NAHE will prove to be of great weight and substance in coping up with this shortcoming, as it will build capacity in the field of university management, he hoped. He emphasised that the education system must be in consonance with job market needs and affirmed that Pakistan’s future hinges upon quality human resource
Reiterating the Government’s commitment to education, he said the Government will extend all-out support to HEC in its efforts promote access, quality and relevance.
HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri said HEC was committed to mainstreaming quality and relevance into the higher education system, adding that NAHE was one of the instruments to ensure greater efficiency and transparency in the education system. He added that the initial approach towards quality was quantitative, asserting that establishment of NAHE was a testimony to HEC’s focus on quality. He elaborated that NAHE will set norms for building of communities of excellence to determine quality standards. It will, he continued, build capacity of faculty, university leadership, and university staff, analyse areas and identify gaps required to be addressed, and set up a monitoring and evaluation system for higher education institutions.
The Chairman said HEC facilitates the higher education sector to analyse data and identify solutions to future academic challenges. He said the range of actions to be undertaken by NAHE were not new, as HEC had long supported capacity building for university faculty and leadership. The new development, he explained, was a renewed commitment to quality, mobilisation of a community of excellence, embarking upon a continuous process of reflection, analysis and reform, and integrating capacity building centrally into university operations
He thanked the president and the minister for their support to the higher education sector, while quoting Maulana Rumi as saying, “The best of leaders are those who are always at the doors of scholars.” At the end, he extended gratitude to HEC’s development partners in establishment of NAHE, including the World Bank, British Council, and Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).
Addressing the preliminary session of the launch ceremony, Illangovan underlined that the World Bank was looking forward to achievement of goals through NAHE. He observed that the Government of Pakistan accords great importance to human capital. The youth bulge will turn into demographic dividend, he hoped.
LUMS Vice Chancellor Dr Arshad Ahmad noted that establishment of NAHE reaffirms the commitment to enhanced quality learning in Pakistan. Advance Higher Education UK Chief Executive Alison Johns shed light on Advance Higher Education’s work in Pakistan. She said the presence of President of Pakistan and notable academicians in the ceremony manifests significance of the launch of NAHE. She assured of support from Advance Higher Education in smooth operations of the Academy. The session was also addressed by Sarfaraz and Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering at Oakland University, Michigan.
The main objective of NAHE was to meet HEC’s mission of improving the quality of teaching, learning and research in HEIs of Pakistan in addition to capacity building and promotion of academic and leadership competencies. It will offer generic as well as need-based capacity building services to enhance quality of teaching, research, and management in higher education institutions.
Moreover, the academy will also cater to the prevailing need for quality across different spheres and realms of academics and HEIs through different interventions and series of programmes. To this end, the quality standards for the respective interventions including capacity building, training modules and delivery mechanism will be neatly woven and piloted to ensure better impact.
Being an apex learning body, NAHE will institute and lead a broader national discourse around the purpose, perspective and policy in higher education and will help develop high quality human capital to achieve excellence in academic milieu. In order to develop desirable high quality human capital, it will work as a centre of excellence for capacity building, skill development, and promotion of academic and leadership competencies through setting standards, cultivating academic quality, and advancing relevant research in collaboration with HEIs, industry and social sector.
The academy will design programmes, i.e., certifications, workshops, seminars, conferences, and webinars for academic professionals, institutional leaders, university management and other academic leaders.
NAHE will inculcate leadership competencies and skills required in implementation of higher education policies. It will work on capacity building in the areas of R&D and entrepreneurship and will design framework for embedding employability through quality teaching, creating partnerships among community, universities and industry at national as well as international level. Furthermore, it will develop international collaboration with foreign higher education entities. It will also offer training packages for institutes other than higher education as per their demand.
The launch ceremony was followed by press conference of Dr Banuri wherein he briefed the media about the objectives and functions of NAHE.
The orientation ceremony of IBA- Ihsan Trust National Talent Hunt Program (IBA-IT NTHP) was held at the Gani Tayub auditorium, IBA main campus. Attendees included faculty and administration members as well as representatives from Ihsan Trust.
IBA-IT NTHP is a fully funded two-month orientation training program, jointly financed by Ihsan Trust and IBA Karachi. The program initiated in 2004 and aims to eradicate the educational inequality in Pakistan by providing educational opportunities to underprivileged students from Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & FATA, Gilgit Baltistan, Punjab, Sindh and Azad Kashmir, in order to prepare them for the Institute’s admission processes of BBA and BS degree programs.
The orientation aimed to inculcate both soft skills as well as academic knowledge in students to ensure that they were groomed for their future careers. THP Program Director Dr Zeenat Ismail welcomed the guests and announced the batch of 2019, which included 176 students out of which 123 were boys and 53 were girls. These students belonged to 69 different districts in Sindh, Baluchistan, KPK, Gilgit Baltistan and Sindh.
Addressing the students, IBA General Manager Administration Amir Shabbir emphasized on the discipline of IBA and its core values. Prominent NTHP alumni including Rabia Basri, Nadeem Hussain and Ramsha Yaseen also shared their success stories and praised the program for transforming their lives for the better.
Ihsan Trust SEVP Ahmed Ali Siddiqui highlighted the importance of making use of this excellent opportunity provided by NTHP. Siddiqui said that “Being selected here is the first step, there are numerous steps ahead and you should prepare yourself for them”.
IBA Executive Director Dr Farrukh Iqbal highlighted the three main challenges that educational progress faced in Pakistan; awareness, preparation and finances – all of which the IBA was striving to address through the NTHP Program. He also emphasized on the importance of such programs, to bridge the economic inequality in Pakistan.
Other keynote speakers included University of Karachi Acting Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid M. Iraqi, Akhuwat Advisor Syed Hussain Hyder and Ihsan Trust GM Fayyaz Ur Rehman. Furthermore, faculty members leading the program were also introduced and the session culminated with a campus tour for all the students. Dr Iqbal presented the keynote speakers with tokens of appreciation.
Chinese students in the US were issued a warning by the Chinese education ministry to be watchful, as the Trump administration had plans to impose restrictions on academic visas amid escalating tensions between
“For some time, some of the visas for Chinese students studying in the United States have been restricted, with the review period extended, the period of validity shortened and the refusal rate increased,” the education ministry said in an official statement published by the Xinhua News Agency.
“The Ministry of Education reminds students and scholars to strengthen risk assessments before studying abroad, enhance their awareness of prevention and make appropriate preparations,” it added.
The US expressed its apprehensions over the alleged technology and intellectual property theft by China which led to escalations between both the sides. President Donald Trump’s administration also increased the scrutiny processes employed for international students and researchers.
State broadcaster China Central Television while citing the education ministry spokeswoman Xu Mei said that American universities will remain open to Chinese students despite the current trade tensions between both the countries, adding that the number of Chinese students was stable in the US.
Yale University President Peter Salovey vowed support for international students in an open letter last month, reiterating the varsities commitment to its overseas talent. Salovey’s statement came days after Emory University dismissed two Chinese-American professors of human genetics, Li Xiao-Jiang and his wife Li Shihua, due to alleged discrepancy in their research funding documents, along with charges of working for different Chinese universities while receiving federal grants.