NWFP, Kashmir school reconstruction project
£1.64 million school reconstruction project launched
Islamabad, Feb 12: A school reconstruction project worth 1.64 million pounds has
been launched by Save the Children, providing access to 2,200 students in the
districts of Azad Jammu & Kashmir and NWFP, affected by the 2005 earthquake.
Funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DfID), the
project will facilitate 600 boys and 900 girls to primary education, followed by
250 girls to middle and 450 girls to secondary schools. Under this project, 18
schools will be reconstructed in one and a half years, says a press release.
An important activity of this project is raising awareness and
preparedness on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). As AJK, NWFP and the adjoining
areas are prone to natural catastrophes like earthquakes, it is vital to prepare
children and communities to safely evacuate and provide first aid in the wake of
any unseen tragedy. This will be achieved through training and mock drills by
experts in the field of DRR.
Additionally, the project will be focusing
on improving the quality of education provided in these schools through sports
and extra-curricular activities. "Our aim is to make education an enjoyable
experience for all children," said Mohammad Qazilbash, Country Director Save the
"The education sector was hit hardest by the devastating
earthquake on October 8, 2005. The grim statistics of more than 18,000 children
and 850 teachers lost, and over 6,165 educational facilities destroyed
illustrate this fact very clearly," he added.
He said the earthquake was
a major catastrophe, but it presented a unique opportunity to improve children's
access to quality education in the affected areas. Through various interventions
in the education sector, Save the Children was able to bring more than 65,000
children back in schools in Mansehra, Muzaffarabad and Bagh districts. Six high
schools and nine primary and middle schools were constructed in Muzaffarabad,
while 88 transitional schools were constructed in Manshera to redress the
educational needs of the vulnerable children.
"Our efforts to rejuvenate
the education system in the affected areas have provided training opportunities
to teachers on child-friendly teaching methods. Through this project, we aim to
enhance the teaching skills of 74 teachers and improve the overall quality of
education in the rebuilt schools," Qazilbash continued.
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Regulatory authorities for private schools
Peshawar: To check the standard of private educational institutions, the NWFP
government has decided to withdraw the authority of registration and monitoring
of the private schools from the boards of intermediate and secondary education
and formulate regulatory authorities for the purpose both at provincial and
A proposal has already been made to this effect and the
regulatory bodies will be formed very soon, said an official at the Elementary
and Secondary Education Department.
He said the aim was to streamline the
private schools and improve the standard of education there.
strict action would be taken against the schools if the rules pertaining to
admission and registration of the institutions were violated. He said the
committee would pay surprise visits to the schools to know about their
functioning and see if they were promoting education or just running commercial
Another official at the Education Department told this
correspondent that the bodies would help improve educational system in the
private sector. He said the private educational institutions were no doubt
playing an important role in promotion of education in the province. But he
argued that the mushrooming of the private institutions and commercial thinking
of a number of school owners was having adverse effect on educational system in
He said the process for registration of the schools was
proper and tough. But it was not being followed by the schoolowners and certain
government officials, resulting in serious problems. It merits a mention here
that successive governments have made experiments to have a proper check on the
private educational institutions, but all such efforts failed to bear effective
Earlier, the executive district officers were responsible for
the registration and monitoring of the private schools in the NWFP. The previous
government comprising MMA-linked Islamic parties assigned the duty to the boards
of intermediate and secondary education while the present ANP-PPP coalition
government is forming separate authorities for the purpose. The news
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Students bear the brunt of curriculum changes
Peshawar: The students of government-run schools in NWFP are bearing
brunt of the government's decision to introduced major changes in their courses
as the teachers feel difficulties in teaching the new courses, sources say.
The government introduced major changes in courses meant for students of
grade VI to grade X about three years ago, however, teachers' concept was not
clear about different topics, a teacher said.
He said that education
department didn't arrange refreshers for teachers to update them about the new
courses. "Refresh courses for teachers are very important to educate them about
the newly introduced subjects and build up their capacity," a teacher, wishing
not to be named said.
He posed a question as to how students could
understand a topic when the concept of teachers was not clear about many topics
and chapters introduced in the revised courses. "If teachers don't understand a
chapter, how they will teach it to students?" he added.
example of the misconception of his colleagues, another teacher said that the
topic of "Pollution" was introduced in the course of grade IX but most of the
teachers even didn't know the definition of the word. "The students are
taught that pollution means dust and garbage," he added.
He said that
government could not achieve its objectives linked with the introduction of
changes in courses without arranging refreshers for teachers. "If teachers are
interested in refresh courses then it should be imposed on them," he suggested.
Whenever, some NGOs arranged training courses for teachers, the
executive district officers (Education) used to select their blue-eyed boys just
to award them honoraria, he alleged.
Elementary and Secondary Education
Additional Secretary Qaiser Alam Khan, when contacted, said that government had
established a separate wing Regional Institutes for Teacher Education (RITE) for
the teachers' training. Prior to the establishment of the RITE, he said, there
were some flaws regarding selection of teachers for training, but now they had
been removed. "Now we have computerised data of teachers and select each teacher
for the refresh courses of their relevant subject. There is no chance to select
a teacher twice for the same course," he claimed.
Each year, he said,
education department arranged refresh courses for about 3,000 teachers. Secondly
refresh courses had been made mandatory for teachers and those avoiding such
courses would be punished and their promotion would also be stopped, he added. Dawn
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Regular classes at NUML
Islamabad: Regular classes at National University of Modern Languages (NUML) will commence from
February 15 (Monday) following the settlement of a dispute between two senior
The matter involving thrashing of a senior teacher by the registrar
was resolved after the resignation of the registrar as per demands of students
and academic staff.
Talking to this agency, NUML Director General Dr. Kamran
said the university management has settled the issue to restore dignity of the
teacher and no one will dare to humiliate teachers in future.
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Dynamics of Higher Education
Islamabad: It is highly unfortunate that education and health are the most
neglected sectors in Pakistan. The policymakers should rethink and prioritise
their policies, and instead of building castles and palaces, must focus on
building quality academic institutions.
Higher Education Commission
(HEC) Member Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said this while speaking at a seminar on
'Research-based Funding Opportunities at HEC and New Dynamics of Higher
Education Sector' at the International Islamic University (IIU) here on
"The developed countries spend over 10 per cent of their GDP
on education whereas Pakistan has never ever spent more than one per cent of its
GDP on this sector, which resulted in just 4,000 PhDs in the whole country," Dr
Mukhtar said and added that the overall budget of all educational institutions
in Pakistan is less than that of the National University of Singapore.
He said that the HEC, which was earlier called University Grants
Commission, was reshaped and renamed as the Higher Education Commission in 2002,
which realised the core problem and focused on imparting quality education. "The
HEC chalked out a 15-year vision to boost higher education in all spheres of
life. Being well aware of its responsibilities, it opened its doors for such
activities not only in the country but abroad as well," he said and added that
the HEC also focused on human resource development and allocated 55 per cent of
its resources for this very vital area.
Dr. Mukhtar said that the HEC
has connected the whole university system in the country with the latest
equipped internet system but unfortunately, the faculty members lag behind the
desired goals. He urged the faculty members to come forward with their
community-oriented research proposals to solve the issues being faced by the
IIU President Dr. Anwar Hussain Siddiqui in his speech thanked
the HEC for its continuous support to the university. He advised the faculty
members to benefit from the HEC's reshaped policies to excel in their research
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RMC 8th convocation
Rawalpindi: Rawalpindi Medical College would hold its 8th
convocation for the medical graduates of 2007-08 here on March 2. The graduates
would be presented degrees and awards.The convocation committee held a meeting
here Wednesday to review the arrangements being made for the occasion.
of Physicians and Surgeons President Professor Zafar Ullah Chaudhry would be the
chief guest on the occasion. The review meeting was presided by Professor Dr.
Faisal G Bhopal.
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FJWU Fine arts show
Rawalpindi: The bachelors and masters students of the Fatima Jinnah Women
University's (FJWU) Fine Arts Department arranged an exquisite display of their
thesis works here on Thursday.
The students explored unique themes in
various fields. The show featured art objects in the fields of oil painting,
miniature, calligraphy, textile, drafting, sculpture, graphic designing,
conceptual art, printmaking, ceramics and photography.
In the discipline
of graphic design, the students displayed an advertising campaign of a famous
tea brand, which was one of its kind. The students worked on dynamic art pieces,
coloured with Islamic influences of art in calligraphy, using digital imaging
and other mediums.
In textile designing, a student beautifully applied
the soul of Japanese art, motifs and designs in her work, making it worth
The artworks exhibited in the show were supervised by FJWU Fine
Arts Department Chairperson Dr. Tabassum Shaheen, Haleem Dad, Rashida Faridi,
Rasheed Butt, Raheela Mushtaq, Memoona Akram, Kamran Babrak, Lubna Khatoon,
Tahira and Aqeel Solangi.
While inaugurating the exhibition, FJWU Vice
Chancellor Professor Dr. Saeeda Asadullah Khan appreciated the works put on
display by students and asked them to work harder and explore the inventiveness
within them. She added that the fine arts course also provides them an
opportunity to meet professionals in the field. The news
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