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Students, teaching staff safety

Educational institutions neglect security
Karachi, Jan 27: Despite the issuance of security guidelines for educational institutes by the government in view of the deteriorating law and order situation, most school administrations have completely ignored the Physical Security Plan (PSP).

Last month, educational institutes in the metropolis had received serious threats from anti-state elements who threatened the administrations of bomb blasts and other violent activities within the premises.

Due to these threats, all public and private educational centres announced unofficial holidays before the winter vacations. The government on the other hand calked out the PSP for the safety of students and teaching staff. However, this was never implemented as per the described guidelines, it has been learnt.

The government's directive for implementing the PSP includes clauses such as raising the boundary walls up to a height of eight feet, protection of personnel, restricted entry for unauthorised individuals, installation of surveillance cameras at strategic locations, fire extinguishers and training of teaching and administrative staff among other measures. Moreover, all students, teachers and non-teaching staff were asked to carry identity cards.

As per the extra security measures for the educational institutions, the officials had barred the parking of any private vehicles near the school premises and directed the employees of the institute to park their vehicles adjacent to the boundary wall. However, these parameters were never followed by the concerned authorities.

It has been learnt that there are a number of schools that are keen and desirous of implementing the directive on security measures issued by the Sindh government.

Unfortunately, their efforts have been hindered by the non-cooperative attitude of residents living in private houses bordering such schools. In this context, a mother of two girls studying in Dawood Public School (a girls-only institution with 1500 students) expressed her fear.

She stated that the school has been unable to close the gates constructed by the next door neighbours which open into the school's children park, giving the neighbours and their guests access to the girls' playing ground.

She was concerned that such entrances may lead to unwarranted entry of anti-social elements which could result in an untoward incident, jeopardising the safety and security of the school and students.

When contacted, the school's officials clarified that the case has been taken up with the concerned government department (Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) and final decision is awaited.

The Chief Secretary Sindh had issued several security measures to the private schools which are yet to be implemented.

The parents criticised that it seems the government would wake up only after another incident takes place involving the education institution and innocent students.

Some schools such as the Mama Parsi School, located at Main M.A. Jinnah Road, have increased the height of its boundary wall as well as most branches of the City School.

But many schools situated in Nazimabad and North Nazimabad, others located in the neighbourhood of Tahir Villa near Gulberg Roundabout (Gulberg Town), from Gulshan Roundabout to Zia-ul-Haq Colony (Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town), schools located in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Block-6 have not implemented the measures till filing of this report.

As per the Emergency Response Plan 2009, all private institutions are required to upgrade and augment security measures as stated in the plan. However, a survey to the above mentioned places revealed that very few schools had make arrangements in this regards.

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No support for schools
Karachi: The managements of many schools have said that they were not getting support from the parents and guardians of the students. Most of them claimed that parents have taken stance that schools were already taking huge amount in lieu of monthly tuition fees and other annual charges, so it is their job to invest some money to protect students.

Moreover, they added that parking issues could not be solved as due to the narrow roads and streets, the management of the schools could not install road barriers.

Most of the private schools are operating in non-commercial places and any obstacle installed for the safety of school children would become a hassle for other residents of the area.

The ignorance of the government over security issues has increased the concern of the parents. They have said that schools are not installing cameras and fire extinguishers as they are not interested in spending a huge sum on these precautionary measures. The authorities have not visited schools and no explanation letter has been issued so far.

The training of teaching and administrative staff in case of emergency, is also not applicable at many places, the school's management has not give it a priority.

The restrictions on the entry of unauthorised individuals near the premise of the schools were also not being followed by the school's management as well as the authorities concerned.

Till the filing of this report, pushcart vendors and other small business operators were seen operating near the schools.

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Medical universities to start BSc Nursing programme
Karachi: The Liaquat University of Health and Medical Sciences, the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University (former Chandka Medical College) and the Lyari University are likely to begin a BSc nursing programme to train qualified nurses, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said on Tuesday.

Chairing a meeting about the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Youth Development Programme at the CM House, Shah said that all institutions and departments should work together to make this programme successful.

He also set up a committee to furnish suggestions for running the youth development programme on a permanent basis because it was being replicated in other provinces and countries as well.

Sindh Technical Training minister Abdul Salam Thaheem; CM's advisor for planning and development, Dr Kaiser Bengali; the additional chief secretary (development) and the SITE managing director will be members of the committee.

Participants of the meeting were informed that around 75,000 young people would be trained this year under this programme because Rs2.5 billion have been earmarked for the year 2009-10.

The provincial coordinator of the programme, Karim Bux Siddiqi, said that under-training youths were getting Rs5,000 to Rs7,000 per month.

He said that around 51,404 young people were supposed to be trained in the first phase of the programme; out of this, around 34,425 young people have already been trained at a cost of over Rs1,857 million (Rs47,754 per trainee).

The provincial coordinator of the programme said that around 56,960 young people were being trained in the second phase of the programme, for which over Rs2,244 million have been earmarked; Rs228 million plus have already been released, bringing the expense per trainee to Rs39,404.

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Ban on teachers postings
Karachi: District Officer Education, Female, Elementary, Farnaz has violated the recommendation of Chief Secretary and sent a female teacher on detailment to another school, it has been learnt.

Despite the ban on detailment and postings, Farnaz acknowledged the request of Assistant District Officer (ADOE), Education, Elementary, Zahida Bughio and released an office order in favour of a teacher.

Detailment is a system through which several people are either promoted or transferred to other departments and this process denies the deserving candidates their due promotion.

According to the notification order, No.DOE/Elem/F/CDGK/(155-58)/ 01, Tasneem Qadri, a primary school teacher of Government Girls Primary School, Block-6, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, is allowed to work as 'In Charge Headmistress' in Government Girls Primary School, Block-1, Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

The headmistress of the said school, Munawer Sultana has been directed to report to the office of the ADOE Elementary (F) Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town for further duty. No action against the irregularity has been taken till the filling of this report.

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Ghalib poetry in English
Karachi: I want to inform the new generation, which is born and bred in Canada and other western countries, about Ghalib, his poetry and his genius. I want to tell them about the Urdu Language and its rich poetry traditions and that is the reason for me translating Ghalib in English, said Ziauddin Ahmed earnestly.

Ahmed is a writer who has been living in Canada for more than 20 years but, as he says, "I am embedded in family roots and literary traditions and that has allowed me to retain my love for Urdu besides trying my hand in English writing. In this translation of Ghalib, my attempt has been to cover two aspects, translate verse into verse and portray the essence and theme of Ghalib's thoughts, of course as I understand them," he explained.

He agrees that he might have drifted a little to capture the essence of poetry while translating the verses but reminded that "this makes the narration more palatable and attractive. A translation can never equal the original, yet making it attractive, perhaps motivates the reader to prod along to the end".

Ahmed spoke about the Urdu-speaking Diaspora in Canada and said that there are families who try their best to acquaint their children of their language and tradition. "The parents, most of them, want to teach Urdu to their children but living in a community with different languages and a completely different environment, it becomes very difficult.

So it is my idea and endeavour to acquaint the younger generation with Ghalib and the background in which he (Ghalib) composed his poetry. I also intend to elaborate the hidden and concealed meaning of some of the verses. It would reveal the extent of depth and emotional experience Ghalib was capable of fathoming, expression and narration," he said.

Ahmed acquired a literary taste and linguistic excellence, among others, from his aunt, the acclaimed Urdu novelist A.R. Khatoon and his uncle Professor Ahmed Ali, a diplomat and scholar. "I am indebted to both of them. It was not possible to be with them and not to be 'intoxicated' by the beauty of Urdu literature," he remarked.

Another fact about Ahmed is also surprising. Other than having a Masters in Physics, he has also written a collection of essays titled 'Thought Provoking Essays: For the Rational and Curious Minds' and compiled 'Celestial Marriage', a new age commentary on Islamic thought. He has also translated various Urdu poems, based on Sufism and Philosophy, in English. The news

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