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USAID programme for teachers | Youth seeking jobs abroad

$75m USAID programme for teachers launched
Islamabad, Mar 27: The Ministry of Education in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) launched "the Pre-Service Teacher Education Programme (Pre-STEP)" here on Thursday.

The programme is a $75 million venture spanning over five years, a statement said.

The USAID, HEC and the education ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Pre-STEP programme after which the venture was officially launched. US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson was also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Patterson said the US government was fully committed to support the Pakistani government in its initiatives aimed at strengthening social sectors such as education.

It's through education reforms that both the governments are working in partnership to create the foundation on which Pakistanis can build more prosperous lives, she added.

The envoy said the objective of the Pre-STEP programme was to improve the quality of basic education in Pakistan by strengthening teachers' education and skills.

"The programme will directly impact new and practicing teachers by helping them to gain revised and upgraded teacher qualifications."

The Pre-STEP will work in partnership with Pakistan's Higher Education Commission and the Ministry of Education to build on existing structures and programmes. It will support 15 universities and 75 teacher colleges as instruments for change of academic standards in teachers' education."This assistance from the American people to Pakistan is demonstration of our belief that improved educated Pakistan will lead to a stronger, more prosperous Pakistan. We are working with the Government of Pakistan and Pakistani people to accomplish our shared vision of better education in Pakistan," Ms Patterson said.

Since 2002, the US government has provided more than $3.4 billion to Pakistan for improvements in economic growth, education, health, governance, assistance in earthquake reconstruction, and lately for the construction and rehabilitation of health and education infrastructure. Dawn

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QAU welcomes spring
Islamabad: Spring Gala organised by the International Relations Society, Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) was held at the campus on Thursday, enthralling a large number of students but having little participation from girl students.

Song dedication, charisma contest, horse riding, balloon shooting, rang-e-basant, live singing and gift dedication were the main features of event. But food stalls were rarely seen which is regarded the main attraction in such festivals.

The fun and frolic reached at its peak when students started dancing Bhangra, Hojamalo and Athan on cultural songs. The students were more interested in visiting 'love jail' and handicraft stalls.

The event, which continued till the dusk, was attended by not only the QAU students but also by the teachers and students of the other universities. The students could be seen wearing their cultural dresses, be it Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi, Pukhtoon, or Saraikis.

Besides, Mr Campus and Miss Campus contests were also held. The contests were won by Jamil Hub of Biology Department and Saba Shah of International Relations Department respectively. IR Society president Ghulam Mustafa Mehar said: "Events like such are not only seasonal but cultural as well. The event was meant to promote various cultures and bring harmony among the various ethnic groups."

Though festival was celebrated to welcome the spring season and which is traditionally celebrated with kite flying but the students were rarely found interested in kite flying.

However, no incident of scuffle or disorganisation was witnessed but some female students had complaints about the behaviour of male students.

Varda Mirza, a student of IR department, said: "I enjoyed the gala but song dedication and cards sent by few unknown boys really made us irritate." Another student said: "It's wonderful observing all folk cultures at one time."

There was little participation from the girls, as mostly boys remained gathered around different stalls. Mostly the female students of IR department participated in the festival, as there was little attraction for girls. "The festival should have been arranged jointly by all the departments of the university so that every one could participate cordially and more stalls could be set up" opined a student.

Only students of International Relations had set up stalls and there was no participation from other departments.

"The event could be more successful if other departments had also been participated on the occasion like other universities," added a student. The Nation

FJWU new grading system interests audience
Rawalpindi: A two-day workshop on "Evaluation of Student's Performance: Revisiting the Grading Spread", jointly organised by Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC) of Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) and the University Examination Office, started on Thursday at the campus.

According to a press statement, a large number of faculty members and staffers attended the workshop. The implementation of new grading system, designed to evaluate the students, greatly interested the audience.

The workshop is aimed to introduce both theoretical understanding and hands-on-training to teachers for revisiting the existing spread of grading being practiced at the FJWU.

FJWU QEC Director, also Faculty of Law, Commerce and Management Sciences Dean, Prof Dr Naheed Zia Khan is resource person of the workshop. She elaborated significance of the new spread of existing grading system. She said the new spread would enable the teachers to mark the papers and evaluate the students' performance justly and appropriately.

She said the FJWU was following the semester system and the criterion adopted to evaluate student's performance was relative marking. Daily Times

Workshop at FJWU
Rawalpindi: The Quality Enhancement Cell at Fatima Jinnah Women University, (FJWU) in collaboration with the university's examination office organised a two-day workshop on 'Evaluation of Student's Performance, Revisiting the Grading Spread' here Thursday.

The workshop was aimed at providing both theoretical understanding and hands-on-training for revisiting the existing spread of grading practiced at FJWU.

Director FJWU Quality Enhancement Cell and Dean Faculty of Law, Commerce and Management Sciences, Professor Dr. Naheed Zia Khan was resource person of the workshop. Professor Dr. Naheed Zia Khan elaborated significance of the existing grading system. She said that it would enable the teachers to mark and evaluate students in appropriate manner.

She said that the future of any nation depends upon the sound and strong basis of its educational system. Fatima Jinnah Women University is committed to contribute its share through providing quality education to the females of the society, she said.

Students display diverse cultures
Islamabad: International Islamic University, Islamabad's (IIUI) 21st annual cultural week themed 'A World Beyond Achievement' started here Thursday at its Women Campus with various activities as part of the celebrations including competitions of sports, debates, Qirat, Naat, poster making, henna application, flower decoration and the Islamic world dress show.

The multiethnic, multicultural groups of students hailing not only from different areas of Pakistan, but also from China, Middle East and Africa presented a colourful mix of cultures and identities.

Girls in their colourful dresses seemed overjoyed at the long awaited cultural week that each year provides them with an opportunity to express their creativity and potential in different events, besides offering a time out from the tough educational engagements.

The most colourful and lively feature of the day was the depiction of local and international cultures by the IIUI students, who recreated their respective cultures presenting foods, dresses, lifestyles, environment and music of their particular area. Each stall in its cultural depiction of either different countries or Pakistani provinces was beautifully adorned with ornaments, supporting the theme of the stalls where each item was on display along with its name for the visitors' convenience.

Besides delicious meals offered at the stalls, contemporary and traditional dresses, accessories and footwear were also staged to give an ambience of gala to the visitors. In order to highlight the individuality of their cultures, the female students had put in maximum capabilities, especially by disguising themselves as men and behaving like them to complete the setting.

The stall of NWFP in this regard was praiseworthy where the female students created an ambience of true Pashtoon culture and captivated the visitors by their wonderful performance on Pashto wedding songs. On the other hand, the Chinese stall among all the international stalls displayed there stood distinctive due to its unique cultural presentation with students clad in traditional Chinese dresses and their sumptuous cuisine adding to its charm.

The hot and spicy barbeque on the occasion grasped the attention of a large number of students who could not resist from its finger licking flavour besides the spicy 'Dahi Bhallay' and 'Chana Chaat'.

On the occasion, MNA Khush Bakht Shujaat stressed the students to play their effective and constructive role in the stability of the country. "You are among those fortunate girls, who are blessed with a chance to study in a prestigious educational institution of the country," she said.

She said times have changed now, as women are as important in nation building as men. "Girls must utilise their potential by making fully exploiting this platform in order to contribute in the country's progress," she said.

The event was open for IIUI students as well as outsiders that added to the atmosphere of festivity of the event. The cultural week is a much celebrated event at IIUI, which includes the participation of a large body of national and international students, faculty members, diplomats and prominent social figures.

On the other hand, another event was also held at the university campus to mark Pakistan Day in which President IIUI Professor Fateh Mohammad Malik delivered a lecture emphasising the role of youth in the Pakistan Movement. He said there is a need for the youth to play the same role in the stability of the country as was played by the then youth during the Pakistan Movement. The News

PMAS-AAUR holds na'at competition
Rawalpindi: Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) on Thursday organised a Na'at competition at its auditorium with an aim to provide students' with ample opportunities for extracurricular activities.

Students from different university departments participated in the competition with great reverence and enthusiasm to pay tributes to Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Participants of the competition appreciated stylish decoration of the auditorium.

Speaking on the occasion, PMAS-AAUR Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Khalid Mehmood Khan said Islam was based on Holy Quran and teachings of Holy Prophet (PBUH). Love for Holy Prophet (PBUH) should surpass everything, he said.

In the competition, Saba Iqbal of MSc Statistic, Saba Haider of BSc Honours Agriculture and Fasiha Alvi of MSc Biology bagged first, second and third position respectively among 12 students.

On the occasion, PMAS-AAUR Student Affairs Director Dr Azhar Naeem said Na'at competition would be conducted at the university annually. Daily Times

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Youth forced to seek jobs abroad
Rawalpindi: More and more youth are applying for jobs abroad, especially in the Gulf countries, through the recruitment agencies as the rate of unemployment is increasing in the country.

Hundreds of the applicants visit recruitment agencies situated in the various part of the city. Majority of these applicants are youth with diplomas in technical education. The frustrated youth have no other option but to arrange huge amounts to seek employment abroad.

Faisal Mehmood, an applicant from Sargodha said, "I have done diploma in electrical engineering but for the last three years I am failed to get the job adding now I have decided to go to Dubai through the recruitment agency."

Sajjad Ahmed, another applicant said, "Without reference and giving bribe it is not possible to get a job in the country." It's better to go abroad by spending an amount of Rs60,000 instead of giving bribe for any government sector job, he added.

The downsizing in private sector is another reason to push these people to go abroad for their livelihood. Sultan Mehmood, who came from Jhelum to appear in this test for the electrician job in Dubai said, "I was working with a cellular company but they terminated a lot of their employees. I was also victim of the downsizing and now I am trying to go aboard," he added.

The worst law and order situation of the country is another major factor that leads towards the mass scale unemployment. Muhammed Awais said, "The worsening law and order as well as political situation discourage foreign investors.

The recruitment agencies are a well-earned business nowadays. The owners of these recruitment agencies have strong political and financial background, he added.

Ikram Hussain, the owner of a recruitment agency at Chandi Chowk, said, "We are providing jobs in the Gulf countries and also giving training to these applicants." After the training period of one month the delegation comes from the specific country and selects their desired candidates.

Ikram said, "Our visa charges depend on the country to country and salary basis. Nowadays the rate for the Gulf countries ranges between Rs55,000 to Rs60,000 and every week more than 150 people are going to the Gulf countries. The News

Indian student approaches SC over beard ban by school
Islamabad: A tenth grade Muslim student in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh moved the Supreme Court questioning his Christian school's rules against wearing beards, saying it impinges on his faith. According to details, Muhammad Salem sought scrapping of the rules against wearing beards in the Nirmala Convent Higher Secondary School. A bench of Justice RV Raveendran asked the student's counsel to find out whether the school was aided by the government. The apex court in a ruling on the rights of unaided minority institutions, known as PA Inamdar case, had already barred the state from interfering with school policy on various matters, including admission quota. Salem approached the apex court after the Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissed his plea. App


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