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May 26, 2019

At last, second permanent SZABMU VC in sight


May 26, 2019

Islamabad: With President Dr Arif Alvi set to declare his pick from among three nominees, the long-awaited appointment of the second permanent vice-chancellor to the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University is in sight.

Unlike the first permanent VC, Lahore-based Professor Javed Akram, the contenders recommended by the search committee after interviewing five shortlisted aspirants are locals.

Safe Blood Transfusion Programme Project Director and SZABMU Professor of Pathology Dr Hasan Abbas Zaheer and Federal Medical and Dental College principal and Professor of Surgery Dr Tanwir Khaliq are from Islamabad, while Rawalpindi Medical University Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Gastroenterology Dr Muhammad Umar lives in Rawalpindi.

Though the top slot of the first and only public sector medical university in the capital fell vacant in January 2018 after Prof Javed quit on completing the four-year stint, lacunas in legislation delayed the formation of the VC search committee.

Since the university had no pro-VC, a deputy to the VC, the university saw ad hocism at the top with the president tasking one senior PIMS officer after another with temporarily holding the VC’s office.

The current acting head of the university, Dr Iqbal Memon, got the post in January this year around three months after the retirement of Dr Abid Farooqi, who had held the office on an ad hoc basis since Prof Javed left.

The national health services and coordination ministry set the ball rolling for the filling of the position on a permanent basis at the end of last year only after the legal issues about the SZABMU it oversees.

It advertised the post, received 32 applications and sent the academic degrees, professional certificates and other documents of applicants to the HEC for verification before calling six of them for interview by the search committee headed by human rights minister Dr Shireen Mazari and consisting of Quaid-i-Azam University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ali, Higher Education Commission executive director Dr Tariq Banuri, Benazir Income Support Programme chairperson Dr Sania Nishtar and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre Chief Executive Officer Dr Faisal Sultan.

The committee interviewed them all earlier this month and recommended Prof Dr Hasan Abbas Zaheer, Prof Dr Tanwir Khaliq and Prof Dr Muhammad Umar for the VC’s post.

There followed the dispatch of the three names by the Cabinet Division to the president, the university’s chancellor, to make a choice for the formal notification of the one filling Prof Javed’s shoes for a four years term in office.

However, the president has yet to name his pick.

Many at the SZABMU insist the university, which was established in March 2013, would formally get the second permanent VC by the end of this month or early next month.

They say though all three contenders are equally strong, Prof Dr Tanwir Khaliq and Prof Dr Hasan Zaheer are the front-runners for being associated with the university and attached Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences unlike Rawalpindi-based Prof Dr Muhammad Umar.

FDE: Under the directions of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), the public sector educational institutions of Islamabad held the parent-teacher meetings (PTM) on Saturday in an abrupt manner and that, too, at the weekend.

The teachers complained that the FDE's decision to hold PTMs was abrupt, upsetting them as the students' exam results were not available for discussion.

They told 'The News' that the FG schools followed the instructions of the FDE by holding PTM meetings but many model colleges didn’t do so.

The teachers said the main feature of the PTMs held at various institutions was that the class results were not ready for discussion with the parents and the decision for holding PTM on their weekly holiday was also irritating for the teachers.

"Many of the model colleges had conducted the first term examination a few days ago and results are being prepared by the teachers. In such a situation, PTMs should have been called when the exam results were ready," a teacher said.

She said that was the first meeting after the commencement of the new academic session and it was ridiculous that without completing the first term exam results, the parents were called for the meeting.

A man, whose daughter was studying at IMCG, I-8/4, said parent-teacher meetings were very important and it was called by the exam results preparation by the school management but unfortunately, this time around, it was held abruptly.

"No discussion was made on my child’s academic performance in the absence of exam results. I have been called on 29th May too for results discussion," he said.

He said the PTM would have been more meaningful had the result cards been there.

A teacher of IMCG, F-10/2 said effective parent-teacher meetings made a significant difference in students’ achievement but it could be more fruitful if it held at a time when the first term examination results were completed so that both the parents and the teacher in a position to discuss the academic aspects of the child too.

A parent told 'The News' that the first term exams had not been conducted by the Islamabad Model School, G-9, so he couldn't get a clear picture of the progress of his son.

"I was not in a position to discuss what will be the next course of action for my child's education. I don’t know what subjects my child is best at and what areas of weakness he has," he said.

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