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Monday, March 19, 2018

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HEC bans 13 universities' MPhil, PhD distance learning programmes

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has suspended admissions for MPhil and PhD distance learning programmes administered by 13 universities over the latter's failure to meet various quality standards set by the commission.
The HEC's decision will impact nearly 4,000 students.
"Further admissions in any of the distance education programmes being offered by universities are stopped immediately till finalisation of recommendation[s] by the committee," read a missive sent to the varsities by HEC Quality Assurance Division Consultant Muhammad Ismail.
After conducting physical visits and reviewing documents, a committee of HEC experts concluded that the 13 universities lacked adequate faculty to run the MPhil and PhD programmes, the statement read.

"In some cases, [the] universities have not even got [sic] approval of their own statutory bodies," read the statement. It also accused some varsities of violating rules and taking advantage of "weak HEC policies about distance learning".
One of the other complaints was that the universities had failed to integrate information and communications technology (ICT) in their coursework; another, that a lack of transparency was evident from the marking of attendance of students.
The commission has directed the universities to shift the students already enrolled in the affected programmes to other disciplines in order to prevent any losses to their studies.
The institutions whose distance learning programmes have been suspended are:
  • International Islamic University, Islamabad
  • Virtual Campus of Comsats Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad
  • University of Peshawar, Peshawar
  • Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan
  • Government College University, Faisalabad
  • University of Agriculture, Faisalabad
  • University of Faisalabad
  • Islamia University, Bahawalpur
  • Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan
  • Sukkur IBA University
  • Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur
  • University of Sindh, Jamshoro
  • University of Balochistan, Quetta


Pakistan all set to seek $2 bn from friendly country

Pakistan all set to seek $2 bn from friendly country
ISLAMABAD: With the general elections looming and the federal budget on the anvil, the government is all set to knock at the doors of friendly countries to rattle up two to three billion US dollars to meet international obligations, The News learnt.
Sources said that initially two friendly countries have been contacted and the response was optimistic. This will almost be the same arrangement as was managed during the early days of Musharraf government, The News learnt.
As per the arrangement being negotiated with a friendly country, a trusted friend of Pakistan has assured of depositing about $2 billion in its account as safe deposit as was done in 2000. It means that this amount will reflect in Pakistan’s account to keep its image positive but Pakistan will not be able to use this amount, sources confided.
Negotiations with the brotherly Muslim country having a generous attitude towards Pakistan in the past are also under way and there is expectation that a relief of about $1.5 billion will be provided to Pakistan. A source without giving details of this arrangement stated this was also done in past, when after nuclear tests, the US had slapped sanctions on Pakistan and there was a serious threat of default. At that time, a desperate Nawaz Sharif government had frozen the foreign currency accounts. This practice was also exercised during the Nawaz Sharif government in 1999. At that time, the brotherly country had requested not to make this arrangement public but Pakistan’s then secretary finance had immediately informed the US about this arrangement, sources confided.
Sources in the government told this correspondent that the government is worried about the situation and negotiation at senior level officers were initiated a couple of weeks ago. Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Miftah Ismail, along with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan, visited the Muslim country. Later on, officials of Finance Ministry also visited this country where negotiations went ahead smoothly. Before these tours, the COAS Qamar Bajwa had also visited this country. And luckily these negotiations are going positively, have rather successfully concluded. Now final arrangements will be finalised by political leadership in the next couple of weeks, sources shared with The News. When questioned about political level, who will finalise the arrangement, sources added this is up to governments to decide at which level the agreement will be done. But initially all dialogues are going positive and after assurance of success of these negotiations, Pakistan has decided not to float bonds in the international market, sources confided.
When The News contacted Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Miftah Ismail, he refused to comment.