Sunday, July 26, 2015

AIOU introduces tracking system to facilitate students to check degrees’ status

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Islamabad, has introduced a new computerized tracking system to facilitate the students to check status of their academic degrees and certificates.

For this purpose, a new website ( has been launched to enable the students to know position of their application for issuance of degree or certificate. 

Under the university’s policy, each student is required to formally apply for the degree or certificate of the qualified courses, with required documents. 

“The new arrangements are aimed at streaming and expediting the whole process of issuing degrees and certificates to the students. We are focusing on promoting students’ friendly environment in the University, providing them best possible services to the students in the educational pursuits,” Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, AIOU, informed.

The students’ applications to this respect were being handled on the fast-track basis. It is pertinent to note that the university’s Controller of Examination issued 44, 899 degrees during the last five months. These are the record figures as compared to corresponding period during the last four years. Similarly, the process of issuing provincial certificates (PCs) has also been expedited. 

During the last five months, 2,26,435 certificates were dispatched to the students and the same were uploaded at the university’s website. For PCs, the students are not required to apply, except in the cases where they are some objections. 

The entire process is done through computerized system to facilitate the students. However, the issuing process of PCs is done manually where thesis is involved at the higher education level or in case of objections. 

According to Controller Examination, Sohail Rana, all backlog till the second last semester in case of issuance of degree to students has been cleared. Only those applications are pending where there some objections and the scheme of study was not followed. 

Dr Shahid Siddiqui remarked that the AIOU was actively working to bring about qualitative improvement in the university’s overall system. 

“Now there is considerable reduction in the students’ complaints in regard to the admissions and examination as well as delivery of books. Meanwhile, the students’ support system has also been strengthened with setting up online complaint management centre,” he added.

AIOU’s Complaint Management Centre activated

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

An Online-Complaint Management Centre of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), set up at its main campus in Islamabad, has got fully activated to attend students’ queries and complaints on fast-track bases. Queries are handled in real time, while the complaints or suggestions received through the Centre are given urgent attention by the relevant department. An average of 8,000 calls is received per month. 

The staff of the university’s Helpline and the Call Centre has been advised by Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui, to provide effective support to the students in addressing their queries and complaints, The queries are mostly related to admission, examination or the mailing books. 

Their prompt handling is being ensured so that students while sitting at their home and work places could pursue their study, without any inconvenience, he added. The students can feel free to call at its help-line (051-11112468) for any query or assistance. 

A software has been installed to record their complaints, whether received directly or through emails, letters or telephone. On receiving complaints, these are immediately referred to the relevant departments. As soon as complaint is received, an online ticket is generated through which a student can track the status of respective complaint. 

Meanwhile, an action plan has been prepared to strengthen students’ support system, providing them best possible facilities in their educational pursuits. 

“The AIOU being the mega university in public sector wanted to cater the educational needs of its around 1.4 million students through a well-managed system. He reiterated that the support system will remain the top priority in his on-going efforts of bringing about qualitative improvement in the University’s overall administrative system,” the Vice Chancellor revealed 

“A technology-based strong tracking-system has already been introduced to facilitate the students for having necessary information relating to their admissions, degrees or books mailing’s status,” he added. 

“The SMS service is also being utilized to communicate with the students that help them to check the status of their books or about their application for degree. A plan has also been prepared to revise the content and layout of textbooks, updating them according to recent developments and students’ needs,” Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui further disclosed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SSUET hold Eid Milan party

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Chancellor of the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, Engr Mohammad Adil Usman, hosted a grand Eid Milan get-together at the campus on July 22, the first working day after Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.

Highlighting the importance of celebrating Eid in the spirit of brotherhood, the Chancellor observed that the month-long fasting ends with the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr that symbolizes a reward for their fasting. 

“Eid-ul-Fitr is observed with great enthusiasm and the celebration perks up the spirit inherent in all the festivity,” he added. 

“The celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr not only has religious essence but also carries a social connotation. It is a day of forgiveness and charity and the day is also meant to bring peace and conciliation,” Engr Adil Usman emphasized. 

The Eid Milan party was largely attended, among others, by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dr Jawaid H Rizvi, Registrar, Engr Syed Abrar Ali, Associate Dean Engineering, Najeeb Siddiqui, chairpersons of various engineering departments besides faculty members. 

Conspicuous with their presence were a large number of prominent members of the Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys’ Association (AMUOBA).

Sunday, July 5, 2015

US think-tank develops report on Pakistan economy

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Heritage Foundation, a US think tank, has developed a detailed document on the economical conditions of Pakistan and what actions the government of Pakistan must immediately take to revive the economy.

The document has been authored by Huma Sattar, a visiting Pakistani scholar, and James Roberts, senior analyst at the Heritage Foundation, with the title of the special report being ‘Pakistan’s economic disarray and how to fix it’ whose launching event was held on July 1 at the Lehrman Auditorium in Washington DC. 

Huma Sattar remarked on the ocassion that corruption, poor rule of law, regulatory inefficiencies among the myriad of problems that ail the Pakistani economy today have hindered sustainable growth and will continue to do so until the government implements structural reforms to overhaul the tax system and deregulate sectors such as the power sector. 

A large number of experts academia media people and others attended the event and talked about the report. 

Marc Schleifer, Director of Eurasia and South Asia, Center for International Private Enterprise Michael Kugelman, Senior Program Associate for South and Southeast Asia, Woodrow Wilson Center Mark Karns Multi-Sector, Advisor to the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs of USAID, were other experts to have shared views in the panel discussion. Lisa Curtis conducted the programme.

ABAD appeals for withdrawal of new taxes

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The top functionaries of the Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) have expressed their grave concern over the Finance Bill 2015-2016 and imposition of 0.6% withholding tax on all banking transactions including withdrawal of Rupees fifty thousand cash in a day from bank accounts.

Junaid Ashraf Taloo, Chairman, Mohammad Hanif Memon, Vice Chairman, and Mohammad Hassan Bakshi, Chairman, Southern Region, in a joint statement, said that the levy of this tax was unjustified and could prove to be a disaster to all businesses including the housing sector. 

The ABAD chairman added that it was the policy of the of government to increase the tax net but in reality it depicted the sheer failure of Federal Board of Revenue which had made tall claims of increasing tax payers during the last many years. 

It is pertinent to mention that each and every member of ABAD is a taxpayer but even then their names do not appear on the list of active tax payers. Whereas their names do appear in the FBR portal thereby tax amount of 0.6% is being deducted on all transactions. 

Hanif Memon, Vice Chairman, ABAD, stated that the imposition of withholding tax on banking services will create parallel system of direct cash dealings which will affect the banking sector as non-banking channels will flourish. 

Hassan Bakshi, Chairman, Southern Region, ABAD, remarked that account holders have already started withdrawing cash from their accounts to keep it in their lockers and it seems that we are moving in the old times when gold coins were used to make transactions. 

Furthermore the ABAD chairman felt that with great difficulty the business climate was improving, the politicians should not indulge in any adventure which derailed the economy. 

“The memories of freezing foreign currency bank accounts is still fresh in minds of the business community,” Junaid Taloo recalled. 

He appealed to the Federal Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, to abolish the imposed tax as it was creating confusion and unrest as businesses are being subjected to double taxation. “This abolishment will also help builders and developers, businessmen and industrialists to engage themselves in business without the fear of double taxation,” the ABAD Chairman concluded.