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Rawalpindi schools lack basic facilities

60% schools in Rawalpindi district lack basic facilities
Rawalpindi, Jan 13: Lack of basic facilities in over 60 per cent schools in Rawalpindi division is proof of the provincial government's negligence in providing education, which is a basic right and the only way poor can extricate them from poverty.

Majority of schools have no roofs forcing the students to study in open atmosphere in all four seasons. There are a lot of other public schools that lack infrastructure. Many schools have no furniture in classrooms, and lack teaching staff, toilets, clean drinking water and playgrounds.

Clean drinking water has always been a big issue for public schools. A number of schools in the district have no water tanks and some that have them, don't have drinkable water. A number of public school students get sick after drinking water from these tanks.

The Executive Director of Education Department, Rawalpindi, Qazi Zahoor-ul-Haq commenting over the report agreed to the fact that the condition of schools in Rawalpindi division is not good however, the percentage of affected schools is not more than 60, he added. Around 40 per cent schools are deprived of basic facilities, requiring revamping and reconstruction works, the EDO stated.

Qazi Zahoor-ul-Haq informed that the Punjab government has recently approved, allocated and released Rs18 million for the revamping and renovation of educational institutions in Rawalpindi. The funds for this purpose were announced in a recent meeting held under the chairmanship of Secretary Education, Punjab, the EDO said adding the work on improving the condition of remaining schools would be done in accordance with the release of funds.

About the shortage of teaching staff, the EDO informed that the Punjab government on January 3, 2011 approved the proposal of education directorate to recruit the teachers/instructors for the institutes where they are needed.

The process of filing up the vacant posts would kick off by the end of March this year. However, he expressed his reservation as to say how many vacant posts of teaching staff would be filled. The position would clear out after March 31 that how many posts would be filled. It depends upon the Punjab government, Qazi Zahoor remarked.

To yet another question, the EDO demanded allocation of 5 per cent funds for the Punjab Education department out of the total provincial budget. It would be greatly helpful in promoting the education in the province, he added.

The government must concentrate on the education sector and take revolutionary steps to improve it. The primary education sector needs to be standardised according to modern education systems. If the primary education syllabi and system is standardised according to modern needs, it could help the country develop.

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Education ministry's demand likely to be rejected
Islamabad: National Assembly Standing Committee on Education is likely to categorically reject the demand of the Education Ministry regarding relocation of Higher Education Commission (HEC) with it.

Higher Education Commission (HEC), which now enjoys the autonomous status, remained as a body of Education Ministry till 2002, as University Grants Commission (UGC). Ministry of Education in its recommendations sent to the NA Standing Committee on Education has demanded that HEC should be relocated with the Ministry of Education.

"The relocation of HEC with the Ministry of education would further destroy the education system in the country, it should enjoy the status of autonomous body for the larger interest of the country," said NA Standing Committee on Education Chairperson Abid Sher Ali while talking to this scribe.

He said: "We wholly support the role of federal government in Ministry of Education, however; HEC is performing better in its autonomous status. The recommendations from the education ministry would be discussed in the upcoming meeting of the standing committee to be held on January 17 after which we will formulate final recommendations to be sent to Implementation Commission Chairperson Raza Rabbani."

The recommendations that suggest the relocation of HEC says, "University Grants Commission (UGC) always remained, as a body of Ministry of Education till 2002, when it was re-designated as the Higher Education Commission (HEC). It needs to be relocated with the Ministry of Education," It has also been stated that Higher Education Commission (HEC), already kept at Federal level under Entry 12 in Part II of Federal Legislative List, needs to be relocated with the Ministry of Education.

It is for the third time that the attempt has been made to relocate HEC under Ministry of Education. First time when Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali became the chairperson of HEC, second time when the HEC had started verification of degrees on the directives of Supreme Court and now for the third time after the 18th amendment according to which all powers should be transferred to provincial governments.

However, it is pertinent to mention that despite several attempts by the influential politicians including Federal Minister for Education Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali Khan, the recommendation or demand to end the autonomous status of HEC have always been disapproved by the Federal Government.

Even the allegations against HEC regarding the high recurring budget in comparison with the minimal out put could not move the federal government to relocate it with the Education Ministry.

The other recommendations that have been sent to NA Standing Committee on Education include that the Ministry of Education must be kept intact, as per functions under Part I and Part II of Federal Legislative List, Core Curriculum up to Higher Secondary Level must be within Federal jurisdiction, Islamic Education needs to be with the federal level, Centres of Excellence (12), although included in Entry 38 of abolished Concurrent List are research entities and covered under Entry 16 of Part I of Federal Legislative List. They need to be retained at the Federal level.

Talking about other recommendations, Abid Sher Ali said that he supports all other recommendations of the Education Ministry and after a discussion with the other committee members in the upcoming meeting, they would send these recommendations to Chairman Implementation Commission Raza Rabbani. "The devolution of powers would further deteriorate the education system in the country where every province would formulate the curriculum of their own choice that would end the concept of nationalism in the country," he said. The news

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RMC students protest against occupation of hostel by NAB
Rawalpindi: Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) female students on Wednesday staged a protest demonstration on the college premises against the illegal occupation of their hostel building by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for the last 10 years.

The students chanted slogans against NAB for illegal occupation of the hostel that increased the accommodation problems of the students and forced many to stay in other hostels. The protesting students demanded that the government get their hostel building vacated at the earliest and resolve their residence issue.

The female students said they were facing multiple problems due to the lack of residence and the management of the college was unable to provide them accommodation due to paucity of hostels. They said they had to pay huge rent in other hostels besides travelling fare and the authorities should take action or provide NAB some other place to solve the issue. The students said NAB was violating the orders of Punjab Chief Minister and Rawalpindi Commissioner in which the Bureau was asked to vacate the hostel, but despite the orders the hostel was not vacated. The students came hard on the authorities for being negligent to their issue for the last 10 years that has increased their residential problems manifold. Daily times

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Madressah reforms making no headway
Islamabad: The project of madressah reforms is turning out to be an elusive dream for the present government too.

As per statistics available on the website of the federal education ministry, only 507 madressahs have been registered since former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf started madressah reforms in 2002.

Just after taking over, the PPP government had asked Interior Minister Rehman Malik to monitor progress of the project, but nothing concrete has been done except holding a few meetings of a special committee.

Qari Mohammad Haneef Jalandhari, who is a member of the committee, said: "The government has no time for the project because it is preoccupied with its survival. We hear political parties leaving the government and then joining it. Then there is the issue of an increase in the prices of petroleum products. Now there is a movement going on for protection of the blasphemy law."

Qari Haneef, who is also a spokesperson for the Ittihad-i-Tanzeemati Madaris Pakistan, said the ITMP had a similar experience with General Musharraf. "He kept us busy in negotiations for many years, but nothing happened."

In reply to a question, he said the PPP government had given the ITMP a working paper for discussion on how best madressahs could be reformed. "We will give our suggestions when the government has time."

Sources said that no significant development could be expected because the project was not on the list of government's priorities.

"You can see the level of preoccupation of the interior minister who, besides taking care of the interior division, is all the time busy in pacifying the government's coalition partners," said an official.

He said Mr Malik could be seen making statements only for public consumption in the media about the government's seriousness to bring madressahs at par with other educational institutions.

The sources said the government and ITMP, a representative body of five madressah boards which have over 20,000 seminaries, had yet to agree whether there should be a collective madressah regulatory authority and how could madressahs could be upgraded to the level of regular education system.

The official blamed both the government and ITMP for lack of seriousness. "The ITMP wants acceptance of its Wafaqs on the lines of public sector examination boards with no government interference at all. They are happy with the status quo."

According to latest statistics, Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arabia, which belongs to the Deobandi school of thought, has over 12,000 religious schools with an enrolment of around three million students.

Tanzeemul Madaris, which follows the Barelvi school of thought, has over 6,000 seminaries with over 130,000 students.Rabata-ul-Madaris Al-Islamia, which is run by the Jamaat-i-Islami, has about 700 madressahs and nearly 100,000 students.

Wafaqul Madaris Ashia, which belongs to the Shia community, has over 500 madressahs and around 10,000 students. Dawn

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Seminar on 'cervical cancer' held at FJWU
Rawalpindi: A seminar titled 'Awareness about Cervical Cancer' was held here on Wednesday at the Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU), which was organised by Department of Education.

Students were informed that cervical cancer is a deadly disease, which could only be prevented through screening. It is common in females of our country. Around 5,00,000 women have died due to cervical cancer worldwide.

The purpose of arranging the seminar was to create awareness among students and staff about cervical cancer.

The guest speaker, Lieutenant Colonel (r) Dr. Naila Bangash, briefed the audience on the significance of treatment of cervical cancer in females. She talked about major signs and symptoms, causes and its preventive measures. She emphasised on preventive measures like vaccination, smoking avoidance, nutritious food and screening tests.

Chairperson of the Department of Education Dr. Mussarrat Anwar Sheikh appreciated the speaker's presentation and efforts of students who organised the event with enthusiasm. A large number of faculty members and students of all departments attended the seminar.

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English declamation held at Fauji Foundation College
Rawalpindi: Enthusiastic students participated in the Annual English Declamation Contest, held at Fauji Foundation College for Girls here on Wednesday.

The contest, arranged by the college council, was the first preliminary round of the final competition to be held by Federal Board. The winners of this competition would represent Fauji Foundation Colleges in the final round. Three colleges participated in the competition, including Fauji Foundation College for Girls, Fauji Foundation Higher College for Boys and Fauji Foundation Higher Secondary School Jhelum.

Foundation University of Liberal Arts and Sciences (FUCLAS) Principal Maqsood Alam Bokhari was the chief guest on the occasion.

The topic of the Declamation Contest was 'Spring is not far.' Judges for the competition included Assistant Prof. Seema Hussain from FG College Kashmir Road, Rawalpindi, Gul-e-Rana from Fazaya College and Uzma Siddiqui from FG College Abid Majeed Road Rawalpindi.

First position went to Qurat-ul-Ain of Fauji Foundation Girls College, second to Ammara Shoaib of Fauji Foundation Girls College and third to Hadia Madin. Consolation prize was given to Ismail Ahmed Khan of Fauji Foundation Boys College.

The chief guest while speaking on the occasion said that we should not forget our moral values and strive hard for excellence in every field.

Awards were also given to the students, who had excelled in HSSC level examinations, by the chief guest and Fauji Foundation College for Girls Principal Amina Naeem Shafi. Sameen Shaukat, who stood first in Pre-Medical Group in Federal Board by obtaining 1,014 marks out of 1,100 was awarded with gold medal, Saba Zara, who stood 2nd in Pre-Medical Group by securing 1,011 was awarded silver medal, while bronze medal was given to Michelle Mary Gomez, who obtained 971 marks. Sameen also stood 3rd among all the groups.

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Urdu debate competition held at Margalla College
Islamabad: On the third day of the ongoing intercollegiate competitions, an interesting Urdu debate contest was held at the Federal Government Margalla College for Women, F-7/4, on Wednesday.

The topic of the debate was 'Media is torch-bearer of truth,' where students came up with hard-hitting arguments over the topic. The competition was aimed at giving the students an opportunity to tell how they view the current trends in Pakistani media in the coverage of current issues.

Girls who spoke in the favour of media were of the view that media was instrumental in making people more aware with regard to post 9/11 scenario, atrocities committed in Guantanamobay prison, inviting world attention to the disaster of earthquake and floods in Pakistan, and highlighting the importance of a free judiciary in the country.

The debaters paid tributes to brave media men, who lost their lives in the line of duty while covering violent incidents. On the other hand, students with opposing views contended that media is spreading more and more sensationalism by blowing up political issues in their opinion leads to cause restlessness in the society. Opposing panel said that Pakistani media was not effective in highlighting real issues confronting common man whose sole need for survival, bread, shelter and cloth is not being met.

They maintained that media is also not bold enough to condemn drone attacks and expose devastation caused by these strikes.

Director News of a private television channel Moeed Pirzada, who was the chief guest on the occasion acknowledged that media has been playing both positive and negative roles on different occasion and in different eras. But stressed that media being a torchbearer of truth should always maintain a balanced and neutral approach.

At the end of the competition, the first prize was awarded to Mariam Zeb of Bahria College, second prize went to Hifza Rafiq of F G Post Graduate College Rawalpindi and third prize went to Anila Abbassi of FG College I-8/3, and the consolation prize to Ayesha Rehman of the Army Medical College, Rawalpindi.

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Expo on biodiversity from tomorrow
Islamabad: Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) is holding 'French Travelling Expo on Biodiversity' in collaboration with French Embassy in Pakistan from January 14 to 31 March 2011 in five major cities including Islamabad.

The Expo on Biodiversity is also a milestone towards commemoration of International Year of Biodiversity-2010 and beginning of World Biodiversity Decade (2011-2020). It is hoped that this will be an excellent opportunity for the students to get first hand knowledge on the theme of "Biodiversity" and related issues.

Talking to APP, spokesperson of PSF said "We are continuously striving for developing science culture in the society through its various science popularisation programmes". Among the programmes, holding S&T Fairs and Expos is an important activity.

So far, PSF has organised four (4) National S&T Fairs and three mega Expos namely; S&T Expo 2007 'Shaping the Future' [March- April 2007, Islamabad], International Math Expo 'Engineering Mathematics' [April-May 2008, Islamabad, Lahore & Peshawar] and Expo on Environment 'The Earth's Future in our Hands' [Oct-Dec 2009, Islamabad, Sukkur & Multan].

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MUNiC held at City School
Islamabad: The City School organised its Annual Model United Nations (MUNiC) at the capital campus recently.

The event spread over four days provided a platform to the students to have a wider perspective to debate on global and local issues in the mornings and enjoy social events in the evenings.

MUNiC was first organised at The City School, Capital Campus, in the year 2008 initiated by a then student Ahmed Safwan with 24 teams participating from within the campus. The following year MUNiC went intra-school with the participation of 36 teams from various branches of TCS Network. This year MUNiC became an inter-school event with 49 teams participating in various UN committees and otherwise. In the coming year MUNiC plans to go international with participation of teams from across the world.

The event kicked off with Global Village where participants display the prevalent cultural diversity through setting up stalls of various countries and show the prevalent cultural diversity on the ramp walk.

On the occasion were present various dignitaries, namely Mr. Baudara from the High Commission of Sri Lanka; Mr. Terje Barstad, Minister Counsellor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy; Mr. Hazeu-el-Shorbagy, the Cultural Attache of the Egyptian Embassy; Ms. Lazum Hkawn Nau, Deputy Chief of Mission, Myanmar Embassy; Mr. Asif Iftikhar, Director UN Foreign Office, Pakistan.

They termed the event a success and appreciated the efforts of the students in extending a hand of unity to nations of their countries. As part of the event, the delegates were also enthralled by a live concert of a very popular band CALL. Sports Gala another of the features of MUNiC was also a mega success with the students where they learned to exercise their competitive selves in various sports in a healthy manner.

What is most commendable about the entire event was that it was organized and managed entirely by A- Level students. Secretary General Yashfeen Malik and Director General Sanan Amir along with the delegate members of their host teams pulled off an excellent MUNiC with events to be remembered in the years to come. The news

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