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Teachers flay step-motherly attitude of govt

Billions of rupees have been misused in the province in the name of improvement of education
Karachi, Jan 28: All of the top positions lying vacant in the education department, including education minister and the secretary, should be filled with the educationists for the betterment of education in the province.

In the past, billions of rupees have been misused in the province in the name of improvement of education system but the concerned educational institutions from primary schools to colleges are still without basic facilities.

Central leaders of Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA), including Prof Athar Hussain Mirza, President Karachi Region Prof Muzaffar Rizvi and district general secretary Prof Iftikhar Azmi, expressed these views while giving an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

They claimed that SPLA was against the unjustified educational policies of the present government and said that it was responsible for chaos in education sector and exploitation of teachers' community in the province.

They added that teachers had already suffered physical torture at the hands of law-enforcers while protesting for their genuine demands in 1889 and 1994.

Talking about the grievances of the teachers and deteriorating condition of the education system in the province, Prof Athar Hussain Mirza said that teachers' society was facing severe financial deprivations in Sindh despite the fact that only 4,500 SNE teachers are engaged in academic activities in place of 7,500 in the province.

"Around 3,036 posts of teachers in Sindh are lying vacant in the province. Due to the poor performance of education department, our institutions have failed to meet international standards according to which, a class should comprise on 40 students.

Conversely, in Sindh a classroom, especially at college level, has more than 80 students and sometimes this figure exceeds 100. According to standards designed by our examination boards, there is requirement of 14,000 teachers to cater the need at colleges. Among the serving teachers in the province, only 4 per cent are in grade 20, around 15 per cent grade 19, 18-grade 34 per cent and 17-grade are 50 per cent. The education department in Balouchistan is working much better than that of the Sindh province, as teachers there are benefiting from positive policies", he deplored.

Sindh education department works only on one-point agenda of minting money. It has been completely occupied by corrupt officials, who have distorted billions of rupees in the name of education during the last few decades, he alleged.

Prof Muzaffar Rizvi said that during his 28-year long tenure, he got only one promotion and still performing academic duties in grade 18 while his 8-years ad-hoc job period, has not been included in his service. He said, "This is one example, while hundreds of other teachers have also been subjected to such unjust treatment in the province. Around 17 colleges are working without any SNE teacher".

He criticised Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah for neglecting the education department and demands of teachers' community, and said that as long as Pir Mazharul Haq occupied the education ministry, nothing better could be expected from the present government.

General Secretary SPLA Karachi Region, Prof Iftikhar Azmi, said that teachers in grades 17 and 18 were facing severe financial deprivation while education ministry and concerned officials were busy in accumulation wealth through massive corruption.

"Only five professors remained in the province, while 25 teachers of 19-grade are going to be retired from their jobs very soon. Around 29 colleges are working in Sindh without any SNE teacher.

The chief minister and education minister are engaged in a battle of superiority in the provincial government while educational institutions are facing acute shortage of basic equipments due to the lack funds", he added.

"Every college has a post of a doctor lying vacant owing to the negligence of education department. There is no difference between the anti-education policies of Arbab Ghulam Rahim and present chief minister", he said. The Nation

330,000 girls to be enrolled this year
Karachi: The Resource Support Unit in collaboration with the World Bank will spend Rs2.3 billion annually for the repair, renovation of school buildings as well as provision of furniture, besides making available the teaching staff in order to restore academic activities in schools.

This was stated by chief project manager of the Resource Support Unit while giving a briefing at a meeting chaired by Adviser to Chief Minister Sindh and Vice-Chairperson Steering Committee of the Resource Support Unit Sharmila Farooqi on Tuesday.

The resource support unit is part of the Sindh Education Reforms Project.

It was said that the amount had been equally distributed among all districts of the province.

The meeting was informed that more than 330,000 girls would be enrolled in schools and more than 13,000 teachers would be hired this year on a merit basis. Last year, over 294,000 girls were enrolled and 7,000 teachers were recruited on a merit basis.

Ms Farooqui highlighted the need for devising a system of monitoring to make utilization of the funds transparent. She said that there should be a clear database to ensure effective monitoring of the use of funds provided for the project.

The meeting was also attended by a representative of the World Bank, Shahid Kardar, and two-member delegation of the European Commission. The commission is providing technical assistance to the government for making the education reforms project successful. Dawn


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IVS Faculty Show / 4: Creative and chaotic
Karachi: What happens when you get the creation of artistic brains under one roof? Either sheer creativity or utter chaos!

This was the case at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture's (IVSAA) Faculty Show / 4, where there were more artists on the show than the number of good pieces. For starters, 96 pieces were on display, some which showed reasonable artistic maturity while others not more than half-baked ideas.

Shenaz Ismail's photos of 'Shigar Fort' capture the sunlit interiors of the much-renovated Shigar Fort in Baltistan. Fit for a tourism photo catalogue, the fort series is good architectural interior photography, although, not many present at the exhibit were aware of what Shigar Fort is or its cultural and historical importance.

One of the most talented graduates of IVSAA, Sohail Abdullah's two digital prints from his Open series were on display. A print of sequined silver Mary Janes titled 'Ruby Red' made an enticing print as Mahmood Ali Nanjiani, an elderly visitor to the exhibit, seemed struck by this experimentation and said, "The simple, no fuss prints are simply eye-catching, especially the Ruby Red shoes with silver sequins, this is my favourite piece."

'Winged Thoughts,' Abdul Jabbar Gul's metal and wood sculpture aptly symbolized how our lives are spent with thoughts on our minds as destiny shapes our future, while Mehr Afroze's 'Tilai (gold),' was a favourite with many. "It's a conceptual piece and original to the core," said Akhtar Hilal Zuberi.

Talking about the exhibit, Manizhe Ali, a faculty member of IVSAA, said that one of her favorite pieces at the exhibit was Asma Hashmi's 'Open Ended,' a mix media creation in pale, grubby shades. "It was subtle and poetic with very fluid lines," said Ali, as she went on to say, "Simply put, it's an evocative piece."

Asma Hashmi, on the other hand, said her favourite piece at the exhibit was Sadia Saleem's untitled glazed ceramic conical vase. The blue glazed stationary cone was deceptively diabolical. "It's a delicate piece that looks stable but the minute you touch it slightly, it spins around and you see this movement," said Hashmi, who bought the piece.

Refined kitsch is how one would describe Wardah Saleem's truck art inspired coat. In shocking pink with block printing embroidered floral motifs, unlike designer Maheen Khan's tongue in cheek Gulaboo collection, Saleem's work is restrained yet beautiful.

Rabeya Jalil's 'The Teaser' and 'Whole,' two acrylic panels were a commentary on crass commercialism and senseless materialism and its effects on our lives. "In 'The Teaser,' I have show how a woman's body is used to sell products be it a razor blade or a motorbike," said Jalil.

Taking inspiration from the ecstatic verses of Jalaluddin Rumi, Hiba Shahbaz Lotia came up with two fantasy miniatures. Titled 'Fana o Baqa,' the 'gad rang on wasli' miniatures showed delicate looking winged women apparently contemplating life and death.

With the hype surrounding the faculty exhibit, the show has its fair share of visitors. Though the range on display impressed many, some of the serious buyers and people with a much deeper aesthetic sense felt that the show could have been better. As in the words of a regular visitor on the art scene, "Faculty Show / 4 showcases the diversity of the artists, however, it could have been much better had the focus been on quality rather than quantity." Daily Times


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Karachi University girls' hostel residents demand removal of provost
Karachi: Students living in the crowded and poorly-managed girls' hostel at the University of Karachi (KU) have demanded the removal of their Provost and Warden because instead of helping them, both hostel officials have made their lives miserable.

The students who had come to the Vice-Chancellor's (VC) office on Tuesday and were sitting on the ground while their representatives sought an audience with VC Prof. Pirzada Qasim, narrated their tales of woe.

"Our Provost Dr Nasreen Aslam Shah, who is also the Director for the Centre of Excellence for Women Studies, uses filthy and threatening language if the students request her for some amenities," said the spokesperson of the students. She is working towards her PhD.

The girls' hostel has 104 rooms, including a sports room and four guest rooms, and can hardly accommodate 250 students adequately. "The sports room has been converted into a 12-bed room for as many girls. Four guest rooms are hosting 16 girls with scant amenities and furniture," they said.

Another student, fearing reprisals from the Provost, said that the latter came at 9 pm and threatened students while making rounds of the hostel. "Once she said that we should not mess with her.

She warned us that she will make a call and 50 men will appear on the hostel gate. Last year, on August 14, a large number of male students rambled and danced at the gates making cat calls and hurling obscenities at the residents. We called her to inform her of the bedlam. Dr Shah laughed sarcastically and hung up. This is awful. We are thousands of miles away from our hearths and homes and this behaviour is disappointing," she said gloomily.

The VC has asked the Provost to allot single rooms to the M.Phil and Ph.D students and to "try to manage the situation" until other arrangements are made to accommodate the increasing number of students. It has been decided that a hall that was used for functions in better days will be used to house the students. It means 20 students are destined to turn up in that hall.

Dr Shah had earlier written to the VC to allow her to 'force' old Somali students to allow their new counterparts to share their rooms through the KU 'Security Force'. The idea was not accepted as it seemed too authoritarian and harsh in tone. Foreign Students Advisor Prof Kaleem Raza Khan wrote a note saying that instead of 'forcing' the students to share the crammed rooms, they should be allowed to seek accommodation in the city.

A senior professor at the Arts Faculty, preferring to remain anonymous, agreed that the hostel was in a shambles but added some of the Pakistani students wanted to increase the 'Curfew Period' the time they were supposed to return to the hostel. "Yes, the hostel was built more than three decades ago. The number of students coming from abroad and other cities of Pakistan has increased considerably but there is no expansion in the hostel space.

A new building that was to be built by now has been confined to the cold storage. KU has no money for a new hostel," the professor said.

Dr Shah, however, denied the use of unbecoming language with the students. "The problem is space. Foreign student turn up from the airport demanding rooms and their Pakistani counterparts do the same. What do we do?

They have a problem with sharing," she claimed. She also said that when she became a provost at the time when Dr Zafar Saieed Saify was the VC, she observed that girls would return at midnight. "I discontinued that practice and that was the reason why evening classes were shortened to terminate at 9 pm. We have 40 foreign students. The rest are from other parts Pakistan. Girls from northern areas account for 70 percent of the occupancy," she said.

Dr Shah said that students pay only Rs200 per month for electricity, water and gas and Rs1,800 for lunch and dinner. "It is quite cheap considering the current inflation," she maintained. The News

WAF takes signature campaign to SALU
Khairpur: The Women Action Forum conducted a signature campaign against torture on women and jirga system at the Shah Abdul Latif University on Monday.

SALU Vice-Chancellor Dr Nilofar Shaikh participated in the campaign and signed the draft. Students of various departments of the SALU signed the document.

Speaking on the occasion, representatives of Women Action Forum, Hyderabad chapter, Amar Sindhu, Irfana Mallah and Rozina Junejo said that the social structure in Sindh was being destroyed due to jirga system.They added that the decisions of feudal elements violated basic rights of women. They said that soon a bill would be presented in the National Assembly against torture on women and jirga system. Dawn


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