Pakistan Education Task Force's positive step
PCE suggested stakeholders involvement in PETF
Islamabad, Dec 21: Terming the formation of Pakistan Education Task Force (PETF) a
positive step in the direction of quality and accessible education, the Pakistan
Coalition for Education (PCE) suggested that the government should involve all
stakeholders including general public in the process.
In a press release
issued on Sunday, the PCE noted that since the very task force is created to
lend support to ongoing initiatives cantered on public, it appears to have had
not taken into account the insight and opinions of the people. "The PCE is also
interested to know as to what propelled government to appoint Michael Barber as
the co-chair of the PETF."
The PCE is a coalition of civil society
partners and individuals joined together to raise voice on the issues
surrounding the education sector in Pakistan. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
has set up this task force on the recommendation of Education Ministry. The
purpose of the task force is to support the development of policy and strategy
that delivers better education outcomes, with an explicit focus on reform of the
public education system.
It will be jointly headed by Special Assistant
to Prime Minister on Social Sector Begum Shehnaz Wazir Ali and Michael Barber.
The statement mentioned that though the members and board members of the body
are valued and reputed in the field of social development, the question is still
worth asking as to what criterion was employed to select them.
emphasis on public-private partnership in the domain of education, laid at the
inaugural meeting, needs clarification, as we might construe it yet another bid
to strengthen the privatisation of education sector in Pakistan at the expense
of existing under resourced public educational institutions."
also expressed concern that the enactment of another body on top of existing
ones at various tiers, with review and monitoring mandate, might lead to
overlapping and role conflict. It demanded PCE that the proceedings of all the
following meetings of the task force to be made public so that civil society has
access to vital information regarding the functioning of the task force. It
called for increased civil society participation in the PETF through a genuinely
democratic process in order to make its mandate and functioning truly
representative of the will and the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.
"I have the following questions to PETF. If they answer these questions effectively they will know the solutions. 1. Out of 13 million children of age 5-9, why there are no schools for 6.4 million children? Is basic education not their human right and requirement of the constitution of Pakistan? 2. 95 % of students who do not enter higher education and 100 % of those out of school are a paracite on society. Why cant they be offered to learn one vocational skill before they reach the age of 15, i.e. while in secondary education or out side the school? In China all the school children work after school hours and consequently learn a vocation. I hear that vocational skills are taught in schools in China, Japan and Cuba. Vocation schools in Pakistan enrole only 0.314 million students while the need is for 12.67 million every year i.e. 40 times more. 3. Why the succesive governments of Pakistan have not followed the principle of equlaity and justice in providing quality basic eduction to all despite being an Islamic State? 4. Why the allocation of funds to education has dropped to less than 2 % of GDP and why every year only 20 % of allocated funds are used/misused? 5. Is not teaching a professional skill? And if it is so than what proportion of teachers in Pakistan are trained in this skill according to modern trends in Pedagogy? Please refer to my book www.qualityeducationpk.com Thank you. Dr.Sirajuddin Ahmed Retired Principal Khyber Meddical College, Peshawar"
Name: Dr.Sirajuddin Ahmed
City, Country: Peshawar Pakistan
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KU seats allocated to rural Sindh, Balochistan
Karachi: Admission forms for seats allocated to rural Sindh and
Balochistan in University of Karachi can be obtained from the varsity's campus
up until December 22, announced Director, Admission Committee, University of
Karachi, Prof. Dr Saleem Shahzad.
He added that the Karachi University has also
extended the fee submission date for admission in BS Honours (First Year) and BS
(Third Year) by this date as well.
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GNSTA alleged corruption
Karachi: The Government and Nationalised School Teachers' Association
(GNSTA) has demanded that Senior Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq and
Executive District Officer (EDO) Education Muhammad Ibrahim Kumber suspend
Assistant District Officer (ADO) Education Landhi Town, Chaman Lal, who has
allegedly been involved in forgery. They also asked the authorities concerned to
recover the lost amount from him.
GNSTA representatives alleged that Lal
had collected conveyance allowances for June and July from the accountant
general of Sindh (AG Sindh) through two cheques; however, not a single penny was
distributed among the principals of schools in Landhi Town.
As many as 58
principals out of a total of 64 were deprived of the allowance, they said. GNSTA
General Secretary Dr Farzand Ali Awan said that each principal was eligible for
a conveyance allowance of Rs1,840. Owing to the delay in delivery, they had
given Rs400 to Rs500 to Lal's assistant, hoping that this would ensure early
payment of their money; none of them, however, have received the allowance yet,
Dr Awan further claimed that Lal warned his assistant and told
him not to inform the teachers about the payment from the AG Sindh. Later, the
GNSTA conducted an inquiry and found that Lal had withdrawn the amount on
October 7, 2009, but did not let anyone knew about this.
then approached Lal and asked him why he had not handed over the amount to the
principals. The ADO promised to pay off the allowances in a couple of weeks.
However, he failed to deliver and gaves new dates to the teachers. "Lal gave
some cheques to the teachers, but all of them bounced," Dr Awan alleged, adding
that later, the ADO started threatening teachers and the association, and did
not give any money to the principals.
Lal was also involved in embezzling
funds which were meant for local teachers, and cheated teachers at various
occasions, the GNSTA alleged. 'We do not know if Lal has any 'backing', but one
thing is for sure: he is still on the job,' GNSTA officials said.
association demanded that the senior education minister and the EDO education
immediately order an enquiry against Chaman Lal.
The office of the EDO
education said that they had received a written complaint against
Chaman Lal, and that, EDO Kumber will look into the matter. The news
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Cultural library set up
Islamabad: The National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok
Virsa) has set up a unique library, with a collection of over 10,000 books and
"This is the only public library in the world addressing
Pakistan's traditional culture and serves national and international students,
scholars and researchers who intend to carryout research on any aspect of
Pakistani culture and folklore," said Lok Virsa Executive Director Khalid
The official said numerous manuscripts, original reports, field
surveys and research monographs on Pakistani culture were accessible to anyone.
The important topics on which research was encouraged at Lok Virsa
included folk literature, cultural history, art and craft, folk songs, folk
romances, folk tales, children games, legends, rhymes, animal folks and legends
attached to mountains, rivers, ruined castles, traditional festivals,
superstitions and beliefs, customs and rituals, celebrations at birth, weddings
and funerals, good and bad omens, ethno-technology, ethnomusicology, and history
and oral traditions.
Mr Javaid said Lok Virsa had published over 200
books on various facets of Pakistani folklore and cultural heritage covering all
regions of the country.
"Many of these books are national award winners
and some of them are prescribed at postgraduate level in universities," he said.
"It will be fair to call Lok Virsa the cultural storehouse of literature
pertaining to Pakistani traditions.
Original research works in regional
languages with Urdu recordings of the regional text are also published."
Lok Virsa had also established a number of public facilities, including
a sound archive with over 20,000 hours of recorded tapes of authentic cultural
materials conducted through village-to-village surveys and documented
scientifically as a storehouse of nation's heritage for posterity.
video archive with over 5,000 hours of video recording depicted cultural
traditions, rituals, rites and festivals; and a state-of-the-art media centre as
a full-fledged production facility with all required audio-visual equipment.
The latest addition which Lok Virsa made to its cultural facilities was
the first state museum of ethnology, popularly known as Heritage Museum at
Shakarparian, portraying living cultural traditions of the people of Pakistan.
Elaborating on the subject, Mr Javaid said: "It is a unique museum of
its kind, contributing significantly to the beauty and cultural landscape of the
The main displays of the museum included hall of
antiquity and continuity with special focus on living elements of ancient
civilisations such as Moenjodaro, Gandhara and Harrappa; ethnic tribes, thematic
exhibitions, artisans-at-work, hall of ballads and romances, hall of Sufis and
shrines, hall of musical heritage, hall of textile and embroidery, jewellery and
metal work, hall of architecture, wood work, etc.
There are also several
link passages in the museum which depict cultural affinities and influences of
Pakistan with other Muslim and friendly countries such as Iran, China and the
Central Asian States. Dawn
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Painting with a difference
Karachi: With seven solo and over 100 group exhibitions to his credit,
52-year-old Ghalib Baqar happens to be one of the finest water colour artists of
Pakistan. His first solo exhibition was held in 1983 at the B.M Gallery and was
inaugurated by noted scientist, intellectual and painter, Dr Salimuzaman
In 1991, he had another solo exhibition at the Indus Art
Gallery managed by Pakistan's leading artist Ali Imam. Baqar has also over 20
years of teaching experience at the Balochistan Art Council, Karachi Grammar
School and the Visual Studies Department of the University of Karachi. He had
bagged first prize at Biennial International Competition of SAARC countries in
Born in Karachi on April 14, 1956, Baqar is the youngest son of
eminent Urdu critic and former head of the University of Balochistan Urdu
Department, Prof. Mujtaba Husain. He earned his diploma in fine arts in 1975
from the Karachi School of Art and was the institute's youngest diploma holder
at the time. His father, Prof. Husain, migrated to Quetta in the early 1970s,
when Balochistan University was established with eminent scholar and
educationist, Prof. Karrar Hussain as its first vice chancellor.
also shifted to the provincial capital of Balochistan and joined the Balochistan
Art Council as a teacher in 1978. However, he returned to Karachi in 1981. He
has a passion to paint and usually paints during the night.
"I was always
fascinated by water colour and painted thousands of seascapes and landscapes at
Karachi Harbour, Manora, Keamari, Malir, Ziarat, Kalam, Kaghan, Murree, Swat and
other places," he said.
He was taught the art of painting by
Mansoor Ahmed Rahi and Abdul Hafeez Khan and amongst masters; he was inspired by
Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Picasso, Salvador Dali and J.M. W.
"Turner's paintings in particular inspired me a lot, especially
his drawing," he said. "Herb Olsen, a great water colour artist also inspired me
a lot and I improved a lot after going through his works."
Orientalists, I was inspired by great artists Sadequain and Chugtai, but my
paintings have not been influenced by them," he said. During 1991-2001 Baqar
taught fine arts at Karachi Grammar School and later joined the Visual Studies
Department of the University of Karachi. He also taught at the Central School of
Arts and Crafts at Karachi Art Council.
"Today there are about 60 art
galleries in Karachi and quality of art has also improved but we are not
creating great masters like Sadequain and Chugtai. The new breeds of artists
don't concentrate on their work. They don't have the flame," he
Baqar said that people in Karachi today are buying lots of
paintings, including paintings by young artists and it's a positive sign.
"Chowkundi, run by its curator Zohra Husain has made a significant contribution
in promotion of art in Karachi," he said. "Bashir Mirza's BM Gallery and Indus
Art Gallery also played a vital role in promotion of art in the city," he said.
"No doubt Bashir Mirza and Ali Imam were the pioneers," he said.
showed satisfaction at the pace of art in the city. "Thousands of students are
enrolling themselves in art schools.
In yesteryear there was only
Karachi School of Art and Central Institute of Arts and Crafts where art was
being taught. Today we have Indus Valley of Art and Architecture and the Visual
Studies Department of the University of Karachi where one can acquire education
in art and even students from elite classes are taking keen interest in art," he
However, he regretted that the era of military dictator Gen. Ziaul
Haq was a bad omen for art and culture in the country, including Karachi. "It
generated fear, anxiety and violence and promoted drug and jihadi culture and
terrorism, previously unknown in the city. Art was also affected by regression
of that period," he said.
"During the despotic rule of Gen. Zia art was
ignored and only calligraphy was promoted," he said. "And we as citizens are
still suffering from the follies of promoting jihadi culture by the rulers," he
said. "We don't know till what time we will continue to suffer," he
"As far as my contribution to water colour is concerned, I can say
with a sense of pride that I introduced subjects such as rain, mist, fog and
night in my paintings in Pakistan," he said. "I have also painted verses of
great Urdu poets such as Mir, Ghalib, Yagana, Anis, Dabeer and Josh," he
said. The news
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