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All Pakistan National Software Competition NasCon 2010

NasCon ends
Islamabad, Apr 19: The two-day All Pakistan National Software Competition NasCon 2010 concluded here Sunday with more than 300 teams from 50 universities participating in 12 categories.

Organised by FAST University, the event proved to be an extravaganza to recognise talent and promote creative and tech savvy culture besides enriching the awareness of students and professionals alike, providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas, an environment for the showcase of exceptional professional skill, and a platform for innovation.

The students competed in eight categories on the concluding day of the event the included competitions of software project, gaming, dynamic programming, hardware, game development, engineering problem solving, robo war and quiz.

The dynamic programming competition was participated by 40 teams that tested the participants' programming skills along with their writing speed, geniuses, effectiveness and the capacity to work their way to success in complex situations. The participating teams from various universities were given an intriguing platform to prove their talent in the programming world.

The software projects prepared by the 17 teams of students were placed before highly skilled and competent professionals. The purpose was to help students gain experience and exposure to the world of science and technology and its advancement. FAST-Karachi succeeded in getting first position and NUST-EME managed to get second position in the competition.

In the gaming competition, 90 teams had to gleam up their swords, reload their weapons, tune-up the engines and gear-up for an enduring impression of amusement. It was so exciting to witness the pleasure intermingled with terror, experience fused with patience and decisions blended with fury, as the students did all their best to knock down their rivals.

Robo War was an open source game in which 28 teams used onscreen icon-like robots to battle each other with animation and sound effects. The syntax of the language in which the robots were programmed was relatively simple and largely based on simply defined variables. The team from NUST grabbed the first position while FAST-Islamabad got second position in the competition.

In the marketing plan competition, nine teams were presented with a case placing them as the decision maker, as they read through the situation and identified the problems facing them. The next step was to perform the necessary analysis, examine the causes and consider alternative courses of actions to come to a set of recommendations. Preston University, Islamabad grabbed the first position while University of Gujarat secured second position in the competition.

The movie competition called 'Movie Fest' offered a number of competitions, which provided a platform to young talented artists, as movie making was a visual translation of emotions and imagination, which challenged the talent of resourceful and imaginative youth. In this competition, the team from SZABIST managed to get the first position and FAST-Islamabad secured the second place.

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Rootsians off to top world universities
Rawalpindi: Students of the 2010 graduating class at Roots School System (RSS), who have been awarded admissions in top universities of the world, were honoured in an impressive ceremony, held at the RSS, DHA Campus, here on Saturday evening.

Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, while speaking on the occasion as chief guest, termed the selected students as the pride of the nation and said only those nations rule other nations that have an edge over education, as those who take education seriously could make a difference since the real knowledge sets them apart from other nations.

The minister admitted the government's inability to achieve its educational targets due to the negligible education budget as compared to other developing countries. "We need to bridge the gap by setting our priorities right," he said adding that it has been made compulsory in the 18th Amendment for every child to get free education till matriculation.

Among the A Level students, who have been offered admissions in foreign universities on a scholarship of US $55,000 per annum for four years, include Isra Shabbir and Saad Shaheen, who have an offer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), S Zain-ul-Abideen Zaidi and Haseeb Khan (Stanford University), Natasha Ghalib (Cornell University), Wajahat Ali Kiani (Dartmouth College), Uzair Asad (University of Pennsylvania), Zara Farooq and Ahmed Saeed Khan (University of Oxford), Hamid Mansoor (Tufts University), Syed Ali Sheharyar (New York University), Saad Jawad Ansari (Bates College), Jawaria Hafeez (Syracuse University), Rabia Murad (DePauw University), Ramsha ur Rehman (Hobart & William Smith Colleges), and Maria Safdar (University of Miami).

The students who got offers from various universities are Mohammad Mohsin, Hunain Hamid, Trad Israr Yousuf, Haris Ahmed, Ammad Anjum, Mohammad Fauzan Raza, Intisar Ahmed Nasir, Zaeem Khalid, Abdullah Rehman, Moiz Butt, Sayyed Abu Zar, Meryam Javed Kiyani, Rubbia Shahbaz, Sadaf Basharat, Amina Zahid, Saman Mamoon, Azzam Siddique, Umer Naseem Khan, Sheryar Asif Usmani, Usra Batool, Rehan Rasool, Affifa Tariq, Sara Mashadi, Mham Inam, Neha Omair (the youngest student ambassador from the world), Fatima Ahmed, Usman Shabbir, Mohammad Umair, Haider Ali, Minahil Saeed Khan, Shirmeen Mehrukh Khan, Sannan Abdullah, Reda Zainab Khalid, Rana Jawad Jaffer, Palwasha Zahid, Rameel Haroon Sethi, M Usama Waheed, Mustafa Aamir Chaudhry, Mahnoor Tariq, Zainab Hassan, Muneeb Aizaz, Mohammad Farhan Qadir, Ahmed Muizz, Malik Ahmed Nadir, Fatima Najeeb, Dure Aziz Amna, Mohammad Yahya Bajwa, Mohsin Zamir Dar, Mohsin Ali, Ujala Liaquat, Sarmad Javaid and Azlaan Mansoor Khan.

The students of BSc/LLB who got offers from international universities are Anum Abbasi, Ashar Naeem, Salman Khan, Anum Malik, Shahrose Bin Mazhar, Anum Zeb Minhas, Zara Tirmizi, Umme Kulsoom Naqvi, Syed Hasnain Raza, Irum Sarwar, Hassan Majeed and Anam Hyat.

The high achievers of 2009 that were awarded during the ceremony included Rameel Haroon Sethi - world topper in Mathematics and Additional Mathematics, Mahnum Shahzad - world topper in Additional Mathematics, Hassan Kiani - world topper in Physics, Waleed Chaudhry - regional topper in Pakistan Studies, Ibrahim Ahmed, Ali Semab, Saad Shaheen, Mohib Khurram, Mohammad Babar Khan, Majida Atta Malik, Abdullah Mahmood, Sunnia Malik, Syed Ammar Qadir, Abdur Rehman Rashid, Reda Zainab Khalid, Rabad Ahmed Kamal, Razeen Hussain, Uzair Hassan Khan, Mahila Hassan, Hamna Babar, and Raabid Hussain. The BSc high achievers included Maryam Irfan - world topper in Programming, and Someen Khan - Pakistan topper in Banking and Finance.

Energetic students display best of team spirit
Islamabad: Inspired by the enthusiasm of the headmistress, Sabina Zakir, energetic contestants of Roots Junior School braved the scorching summer heat for a fine display of sportsmanship and team spirit at their Annual Sports Day Extravaganza held at Jinnah Stadium here on Saturday afternoon.

Deviating from the tradition of inviting a high-profile chief guest, the institution requested three parents from amongst the audience to enter the stadium at the sound of the bugle and to declare the sports event open. They were Dr. Bangash, the founder and chief executive officer of Quaid-i-Azam International Hospital; Asif Ali Bhatti, senior correspondent of Geo TV; and Shahina Maqbool, senior correspondent of 'The News.' The chief guests were joined on the podium by Roots School System Director Chaudhry Faisal Mushtaq and Regional Headmistress Safia Farooqi.

Sarah Mehboob Khan, Pakistan's number 1 tennis player, started the day's event with a torch-bearing ceremony. Sarah, who is a BSc student of the University of London's External Programme being offered at Roots College International, is studying on a full sporting scholarship. Winner of 45 national women's singles titles, she proved to be a real source of inspiration for the participating students of classes 1 to 5.

The students of class II then hoisted the flags of Pakistan, Roots School, and peace, which was the theme for the sports day. The need for restoration of peace in Pakistan is a concern that has affected the young and old alike. Students, in particular, have faced the brunt of terrorism in the shape of complete disruption of outdoor activities and sporting events. The excitement experienced by students on account of being out of the formal school environment was shared by teachers and parents alike.

The flag-hoisting ceremony was followed by release of a flock of pigeons into the air, and administration of oath in which the participating students pledged to uphold and respect the rules of the game. With the Islamabad police band playing the tunes of patriotic songs, and the backstage management in control of sound and music, Rootsians of classes 1 to 5 presented an aerobic display, followed by a Martial Art demonstration by students of classes 3 to 5. Sir Aamir - a world-ranking specialist and Taekwondo instructor at Roots - did a good job of coordinating this particular segment of the event.

A 16-member national level Taekwondo contingent led by Captain Ashraf, a 3,000 metre race champion in the Pakistan Army, and Mohammad Asif, a silver medallist in the SAF Games, then presented a world-class Martial Art display amid the 'oohs' and 'aahs' of thrilled students watching the show in awe.

The excitement reached its peak with the 50 to 200 metre races in which virtually every student got a chance to participate. There was the potato race, the hurdle race, the balloon race, the sack race, the three-legged race, and the relay race. Even though several students sustained injuries in the races, they immediately stood up and resumed their struggle to reach the finish line.

Addressing the gathering, Faisal Mushtaq said, "Roots is about opportunity, excitement, excellence, and achievement."

He then moved on to highlight how the institution has grown into a full-fledged national education system with over 40 campuses across Pakistan. Faisal defined education as being synonymous to social and community change and re-engineering. "It is for this very reason that we try to fulfil, not just the academic, but also the physical, social, emotional and developmental needs of students in today's highly challenging socio-political environment," he remarked.

Faisal shared how the institution inspires confidence and opportunity in its students, thereby enabling them to appreciate the thrill of winning, the thrill of competition, and the thrill of participation. He paid special tributes to the extraordinary dedication of Sabina Zakir and Safia Farooqi, who has completed her 20 years with Roots School, and pledged to promote a culture dominated by the 3 E's, i.e., Exposure; Exploring the potential of students; and Expanding their knowledge.

In the end, students pleaded for a holiday on Monday, but while their appeal was firmly set aside by the school administration, the enthusiasm and excitement that the event brought, stayed with them long after they left the stadium. The news

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SZABIST wins inter-university competitions
Islamabad: Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) won both the single and double table tennis tournament finals held here under the auspices of Preston University, Islamabad.

Amir Kundi, Abid Rasool and Amir, students of SZABIST Islamabad won the single and double men's finals respectively in the table tennis tournament organised by Preston University during its Spring Splash 2010.

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Literati can counter extremism, says study
Islamabad: A study carried out by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) has found out that a majority of Pakistani litterateurs, poets and intellectuals is not only well-aware of the phenomenal increase in extremist trends and its various manifestations, they also hold better solutions and comprehensive recommendations for the culmination of extremism.

Findings of the study were shared with the leading intellectuals in a dialogue organised by PIPS on Saturday night.

The participants observed that a significant number of litterateurs have also been supporting and promoting radical and extremist ideologies on the behest of Pakistani establishment.

Amir Rana, PIPS director, said though Pakistani intellectuals realised the scale of extremism's threat, their overall response has been inadequate.

The participants observed that social disparity and political oppression were the major factors behind extremism in Pakistan. It was also noticed that Pakistani intellectuals were capable to cultivate an alternative narrative that would be helpful to counter extremism trends and ideologies. But it is only possible if this thought process is tuned into an organised and well-structured trend.

Tariq Rehman, a leading expert on the issues of extremism in Pakistan chaired the session. Leading poets, intellectuals and writers including Zahid Masood, Qasim Yaqoob, Zahid Amroz and Ali Akbar Natiq attended the dialogue. Daily times

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Preston University honours top students
Islamabad: A roll of honour ceremony was held here Saturday at Preston University as part of its weeklong festivity 'Spring Splash 2010'.

Cultural Attache of Embassy of Saudi Arabia Dr Abdul Hamid Abdullah was the chief guest on the occasion.

In his address on the occasion, Chancellor Preston University Dr Abdul Basit said 60,000 students have so far graduated from this university and out of them, 15,000 are working abroad in prestigious institutions.

He said a four-year BS Programme in Nano Science Technology would be started in coming September that would be the first of its kind in the country. "Two institutions set up by Preston University including the Disaster Research Institute and Human Resource Development Division have already been working for the last several years," he said.

Dr Basit said the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has accredited the foreign campuses of Preston University, set up in Dubai and Beijing.

Later, chief guest Dr Abdul Hamid Abdullah distributed certificates among the students. The names and departments of the students who were awarded certificates are the following:

Executive MBA (2nd Quarter): Marketing - Tahir Hafeez (1st), Daud George (2nd) and Khurshid Ahmad Raja (3rd); Human Resource Management - Hamayun Achakzai and Izhar Hussain Kazmi (3rd); General Management - Carol Rangel Braganza (1st) and Imran Ahmad Khan (2nd); Project Management - Muhammad Salim (1st), Rabia Pervaiz (2nd) and Assad Rafique (3rd); Finance & Accounting - Danial Asif (1st), Fareeduddin (2nd) and Muhammad Shakeel Raza (3rd).

Executive MBA (3rd Quarter): Marketing - Salman Shahid (1st), Imran Saleem (2nd) and Arif Zeeshan Butt (3rd); Human Resource Development - Muhammad Ashraf Javed (1st), Muhammad Javed Iqbal (2nd) and Khawar Saleem Abbasi (3rd); General Management - Uzma Riaz (3rd); Project Management - Syed Wajid Ali (1st), Faria Salman Arif (2nd) and Sabeeka Badar (3rd); Finance & Accounting - Farzana Ashiq (1st), Muhammad Shahid (2nd) and Ahmad Badar Ikhlaq (3rd).

Batch 109 (Fall '09) EMBA (4th quarter): MKT - Imran Zia Sethi and Tahir Yar Khan (1st), Nayab Bashir (2nd) and Muhammad Naeem Iqbal Siddique (3rd); P.Mgt G.Mgt, H&T Mgt, H.Mgt - Muhammad Kalimullah (1st), Ifranul Haq (2nd) and Imranullah Khan (3rd)

Second Quarter: HRM - Muhammad Waqas (1st), Ghous-ur-Rehman (2nd) and Muhammad Iqbal Arshad and Syed Mohammad Ashraf Shah (3rd); D.Std, IT, MIS, FIN & Acc - Sairah Barket Chohan, Aesha Hameed and Tahir Mukhtar (1st), Muhammad Ijaz (2nd) and Mennah Anwer (3rd).

Batch 409 (Fall '09) EMBA (1st Quarter): All Spec - Mahmood Khan Afghan (1st), Muhammad Salman Khan (2nd) and Nosheen Javed (3rd); Fin & Acc, Banking & Fin - Atif Saeed (1st), Nasiruddin Humayun Alvi (2nd) and Shaukat Mehmood (3rd); All Spec - Ehsanullah Chaudhry (1st), Hammad Ali (2nd) and Atia Ehsan (3rd).

MBA-Evening (2nd Quarter): All Spec - Muhammad Atif (1st), Muhammad Imran Shabb (2nd) and Tayyab Mushtaq (3rd); (3rd Quarter): All Spec - Ahmed Saeed Jan (1st), Ayesha Aftab (2nd) and Shabana Firdous (3rd); (4th Quarter): All Spec - Syed Zaheer Hasrat Shah (1st), Sibghatullah and Syeda Asma Bukhari (2nd) and Zunaira Sharif (3rd); (5th Quarter): All Spec - Mohammad Ali Farrukh ((1st), Abdul Majeed Tariq (2nd) and Anjum Zahra and Syrus Khan Wazir (3rd); (6th Quarter): All Spec - Mohammad Ali Haider (1st), Saba Masood (2nd) and Nazma Iqbal (3rd).

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Award ceremony held at READ Foundation School
Islamabad: Education is vital to success in life as it polishes skills to groom and ensure a bright future, said Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Syed Kaleem Imam here.

He was speaking as chief guest at the annual prize distribution ceremony of READ Foundation's School Bahara Kahu Shahpur Campus. The IGP said that only way to steer the country out of present crisis and challenges is education and hard work.

The efforts of young generation can ensure the prosperity of the nation, he maintained. He also invited the students of READ Foundation School System to participate in internship programme and observe the functioning of various wings of Islamabad Police.

The IGP asked the students to join the police force as this profession needs talented people to cope with challenges and deal with criminal elements.

He also appreciated the students for their extraordinary academic performance adding the hard work of their teaches made it possible for the students to win great applaud from the audience.

He urged the parents to observe the activities of their children and pay special attention to their education.

He said that youth is our real asset and their hard work and commitment can guarantee the prosperity and bright future of the nation.

Later, the IGP distributed prizes among the students and prayed for their bright future.

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Annual day function held at The City School
Rawalpindi: The students of The City School, Satellite Town Campus, presented a potpourri of performing arts and flaunted their creativity at the school's annual day function here at the auditorium of Rawalpindi Arts Council.

MNA PML (N) Mohammad Hanif Abbasi was the chief guest whereas first female cartoonist of Pakistan and CEO Gogi Studios Nigar Nazar was the guest of honour on the occasion.

Despite the fact that the auditorium's air conditioning was not working well and

the loadshedding intermittently disrupted the proceedings of the show, the performers not only pulled through a good performance, but also managed to receive abundance of accolades by the parents and guests.

Since the focus of the presentations were performing arts, the students presented varied art forms including music, theatre, songs, poetry, drama, aerobics, 'kathak' dance, etc.

Students of junior section presented aerobics and a drama 'Marry Poppins' with great confidence and fluency. Though the drama dragged a bit because of certain dances and lengthy dialogues, but the students pulled through well with their captivating performance.

A student, Ameer Ali, presented a wonderfully witty and hilarious poem 'Basta mere school ka bori se kam nahi'. The parents and teachers loved its humour and clapped on each verse.

William Shakespeare's 'Merchant of Venice' was presented by the senior section in which the boys acted extremely well and kept the audience engrossed in its twists. Nigar Nazar on the occasion said the boys acted well and she couldn't recognise them, as they were wearing wigs

and personified ladies. "Hats off to the performers, as this shows their creativity as well as confidence to perform in front of such a big audience," she said.

Gogi Studios also intends to start a cartoon series on electronic media, showcasing our own Pakistani culture. "Its high time that our children see cartoons that carry messages of social values. They should know about our own culture and that too with a 'desi' touch," she said.

MNA PML (N) Mohammad Hanif Abbasi said the performance of this stature requires hard work of the teachers and the cooperation of parents. "We have high hopes from our future generations and education is the key factor through which we can sail through various obstacles and move on towards progress," he said and added that the private schools in this

regard are wholeheartedly contributing to the cause of education, while in the public sector also, Chief Minister

Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif has recently initiated an educational mega project worth millions of rupees all over the province.

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Fazaia Schools & Colleges awards
Islamabad: The 19th Annual CAS Award Ceremony of Fazaia Schools & Colleges was held here at Aftab Auditorium of Fazaia Inter College, says a press release. Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Air Staff Pakistan Air Force, was the chief guest on the occasion. He awarded merit certificates, cash prizes, medals and trophies to students, headmistresses and principals in recognition of their outstanding performance. Addressing the audience, the chief guest appreciated the high standards and congenial environment of Fazaia institutions and lauded the efforts made by the Fazaia faculty. He said teaching is a prophetic profession and teachers are the spiritual parents of their students. He advised the students to excel in their studies to become dynamic, knowledgeable and devoted citizens of Pakistan.

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Iqbal Day at AIOU
Islamabad: Iqbal Day will be held here today (Monday) at Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU). Renowned scholar Justice (r) Dr Javed Iqbal will present special papers on 'Comparison of Pakistan as Islamic State and Secular State in Iqbal's Glance' at the function. Prof Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi, Vice Chancellor AIOU, will preside over the function while Dean Faculty of Social Sciences Prof Dr Abdul Hafiz would also address on the occasion.

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Govt must own public, not private schools
Ending educational 'apartheid' is a big challenge and the goal can never be achieved if the spirit of ownership of public schools is missing. Things today would have been different if any government had given priority to education and focused on it.

It is the result of this neglect and disowning attitude that today we see various types of education systems in the country and uniformity seems only a pipe dream. Academics believe that things should be streamlined before it is too late. Much has been said about bringing religious seminaries into the mainstream and regulating the working of private school but less has been done. The unbridled working of private schools is going on unchecked whereas government schools are still locked in debate over issues such as medium of instruction. Also no concrete government effort is seen on the madrassa front. The frequent demand of inclusive education by various organisations of people with disabilities is yet to see any positive and practical response.

It is generally said that educational apartheid is "a recipe for social conflicts" which is true to some extant as different types of education produces and promotes classes divisions in society. The have-nots, mostly, have to bank on public sector schooling, if circumstances allow them, while the haves get opportunities to pursue education at home or abroad.

In NWFP (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) where government teachers were recently directed to enrol their children in government schools invited strong criticism from different quarters. The decision had to be reverted when teachers retaliated and demanded politicians and rulers follow suit. The move called for such a reaction! At the same time, the whole episode also exposes the apathy of society. Now teachers in Punjab have called for mandatory schooling of children of legislators and government employees at public schools. One wonders what will be the reaction this time. Teachers are of the view that public schools and teachers are being ignored as children of the elite as well as those in power do not study at government schools. It is a bitter fact that like majority of well off people such as MPAs, MNAs and officials and even those serving in the Education Department do not send their children to government schools because of low quality of education being imparted there. Teachers of public schools complain about step-motherly treatment being meted out to them and their institutions. -By Khalid Khattak ( The news

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