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Matric part II exams end
Lahore, March 21: Matriculation (Part-II) Annual Examination, 2011, under the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE), Lahore, concluded with the last paper of Pakistan Studies on Saturday. A total of 21 cases of unfair means were detected during the exam while the board authorities had also lodged FIRs against four candidates on charges of impersonation in the exam. Matriculation (Part-I) Annual Examination, 2011, will commence from March 21 for which the Lahore BISE has set up 913 examination centres while 249,534 candidates are likely to appear in the exam.

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100pc primary enrolment still a pipedream
Lahore: Primary schools are a basic unit of education and an important instrument for imparting literacy, however, over the years the required expansion at this level vis-á-vis increase in primary school enrolment has not been achieved by successive governments.

If the prevailing trend continued, it will be total defiance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) one of which pertains to achieving universal primary education and the relevant target i.e "ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015."

This was stated by Punjab University's Faculty of Education Dean Prof Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal. He said, "Education is a fundamental human right. In addition to the Islamic injunctions, verses from the Holy Quran and the sayings of our Prophet (PBUH), Pakistan was mandated under various international conventions to provide equal access to education to all of its citizens without discrimination."

Prof Iqbal was of the view that illiteracy not only hindered the development of full potential of the individuals and their participation in society, but also had repercussion throughout life. "Illiteracy affects personal and family life of the individuals, deprive them of the benefits of development and hinders the enjoyment of other human rights", he said.

Elaborating Pakistan's international commitments, the senior academician further said the country was a signatory of two important documents pertaining to the provision of education to its citizen; the World Declaration on Education for All, Jomtien 1990 and the Dakar Framework of Action 2000.

It is pertinent to mention here that Jomtien conference reaffirmed the right of every person to receive the education which satisfies his or her basic learning needs and this declaration announced six goals of education for all to be achieved by 2015.

These EFA goals are: expanding early childhood care and education, providing free and compulsory primary education for all, promoting learning and life skills for young people and adults, increasing adult literacy by 50 percent from the level of 1990, achieving gender parity by 2005 and gender equality 2015 and improving the quality of education."

Prof Iqbal further said ten year later, the Dakar Framework of Action (Senegal, 2000) was announced in which international community once more established illiteracy as a priority issue and also set a number of goals to be achieved by the year 2015.

He was of the view that by signing these two documents, the international community, including Pakistan, affirmed their commitment to eradicate illiteracy within a stipulated period of time.

One of the goals pertains to achievement of universal primary education required increase in net enrolment ratio in primary education and improvement of the completion rate of primary schooling, he said, adding that however the same seems to be ignored by those at the helm.

According to MDGs, Pakistan is expected to achieve 100 percent net primary enrolment rate by 2015, and 100 percent completion/survival rate to grade 5 by the same year. In terms of literacy, Pakistan is expected to achieve overall 88 percent literacy rate for people aged 10+ years. Prof Iqbal, who has 52 research articles to his credit of which a good number are published in foreign journals, said that in order to achieve steady progress in connection with MDGs, Pakistan announced two education policies in 1992 and 1998-2010 and a number of development plan, including National Plan of Action 2001-2015 and Education Sector Reforms.

These plans set different dates to achieve Millennium Development Targets, he said, adding that however the analysis of available data reveals that progress of Pakistan is not only unsatisfactory; "rather we are away from achieving these goals by 2015."

He was of the view that the literacy rate in Pakistan increased over the years, but because of high population growth rate, the absolute number of illiterate also increased.

"At present, the literacy rate of 10+ age population as well as the net enrolment rate at primary level is 57 percent, with higher gender disparity in literacy rate than in primary enrolment rate. Overall literacy rate is higher in Punjab and Sindh, and the lowest (45 percent) in Balochistan. Achievement of MDGs requires an expansion of primary education opportunities for all children and reducing the dropout rate", he added.

Prof Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal said after 9/11, Pakistan received a lot of aid for various sectors, including education. There was a huge campaign for increasing educational opportunities for different age population. The slogan of 'Parah Likha Punjab' (Literate Punjab) was raised very vigorously. However, the available statistics regarding primary schools in Pakistan reveals a negative trend, he adds. Elaborating the data, he said that during the Musharaf government, instead of expanding primary education in public sector, the number of primary schools rather decreased, from 159,330 in 1998-99 to 156,400 in 2009-10.

He said Musharaf government implemented a devolution plan on the pretext that the decentralization process would enable the district governments to effectively manage the education system. However, the devolution policy resulted in decreasing the enrolment rate especially in public school and closure of about 3,000 schools during the last decade, he said.

Against about 29 percent increase in the primary school enrolment, about two percent decrease in the number of primary schools was observed during the same period, said Prof Iqbal, warning if the same trend continued, this would be in total defiance of the Millennium Development Goals.

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Class II books based on old curriculum
Lahore: The textbooks of Class-II for the upcoming academic session (2011-12), starting from April, will be based on old curriculum, says a Punjab Textbook Board (PTB) press release issued here on Saturday.

The board could not ensure publication of Class-2 textbooks under Textbook & Learning Material Policy and Plan of Action 2007, as the NOCs from the Federal Ministry of Education in this regard were received quite late this year, the PR adds.

It says the PTB publishes around 80 million textbooks a year for which a period of around four months is required. The last NOC from the Federal Ministry of Education for textbooks of Class-2 was received by Punjab Textbook Board on February 26 Ů making it impossible to publish the books in time.

'Therefore textbooks for Class-2 are being published under the old curriculum and will be available for students from new academic session starting from the 1st of AprilÓ, the statement concludes. The news

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111th GCU annual sports gala concludes
Lahore: The tug of war remained the most enthralling event at the closing ceremony of the 111th annual sports of the Government College University (GCU) on its Oval ground on Sunday.

Most of the contestants on each side of the rope were grey-hair and Old Ravians dragged GCU sports board members over the central line.

Old Ravians team consisted of Colonel Rafi Naseem (retired), Barrister Zafarullah, Cdr Akbar Naqi

(retired), Muhammad Ahmad Chahchar, Humayoun Rehman, Azhar Khwaja, S. Sayed, B.

Zahrullah, Sufi Dilawar, Dr Asghar Javed, Mazhar Saeed, Naqi Mohsin, Shahid Mirza, Naeem Zafar, Najam Latif, Asif Saeed, Humayoun, Hamza Sufi, Mazhar Saeed and Mazhar Sahi while staff members' squad consisted of Dr Khalid Manzoor Butt, Dr Nouman Sarwar, Prof Khadim Ali Khan, Dr Saqif Nafees, Dr Shafique Ajmi, Amir Sanaullah, Dr Aminul Haq Khan, Nadeem Sheikh, Dr Hassan Ameer Shah, Dr Iqbal Saqib, Asif Saeed, Yousaf Bashir, Ehtesham Jan Butt, Dr Khurram Shabbir, Shakeel Mehmmod and Ali Iqtadar Mirza.

The Oval resounded with whistles, shriekes and shouts during the gymnastics display, and staff members' race which was won by Persian department chairperson Dr Iqbal Saqib.

The political science department lifted the general trophy while students of

biotechnology department stood first among girls.

Khursheed Ahmed of the political science department was declared best athlete with three gold medals while Muhammad Zeeshan of geography department was declared second best athlete with two gold medals. Intermediate students topped the four-legged race; Chatti Race was won by history department's Sadaf Aslam, obstacle race by Zeeshan Akram of geography department, handicap race by Old Ravian Humayuon Rasheed and musical chairs event by Khusboo Khalid Butt of computer sciences department.

According to other results announced by sports director Khadim Ali Khan, the Urdu department got second position among boys with 1,232 points while economics remained third among 26 departments taking part in the annual gala.

Punjab education minister Main Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, who is also an Old Ravian, was the chief guest at the ceremony.

Speaking at the occasion, he urged the students to participate in sports activities. "Sports give new dimensions to the human mind and open new avenues and horizons to think," said the minister.

GCU vice-chancellor Prof Dr Ikramul Haq said sports help promote tolerance and encourage spirit of healthy competitiveness. "Sportsmanship is more important than winning an event," said Dr Haq. Dawn

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APTECH launches two centres in Lahore
Lahore: APTECH Computer Education launched two centres in Lahore on Sunday. University of Central Punjab Vice Chancellor Syed Tahir Hijazi inaugurated the campuses. On the occasion, APTECH Pakistan Country Head Iqbal Yousaf, said that the future of the country's economy depends on the growth of information technology, and APTECH had been contributing in building the future of the nation by producing locally trained skilled human resource in IT. He elaborated that APTECH imparts IT education across the world and has a network of more than 2,500 training centres in five continents. Daily times

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Cheating in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa SSC exams Boards to face music
Peshawar: Following complaints, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to establish an inquiry committee for probing cheating on the part of Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education in the ongoing Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations, sources said.

The complaints against boards pertain to the change by them of superintendents and deputy superintendents of examination, who are now deputed by the Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) department to ensure transparency in the examinations.

Under the new rules, the boards are not allowed to change the superintendents of examination halls, who are selected by the E&SE department through a computerized draw.

The decision to conduct an investigation was taken after the secretariat of the E&SE department got reports that the administrations of BISEs had replaced the recommended superintendents for examination halls in some places. Prior to this policy, it was the domain of the boards to depute the superintendents of examination.

When asked why rest of the invigilation staff was not recruited through the computerided draw, officials in the education department said that the department lacked capacity to select the entire staff for the examinations through draw.

It was a clear instruction of the education department for the administration of the boards that "these selected superintendents and deputy superintendents will be mandatory, non-transformable and unchangeable except for some cogent reasons," officials said.

They said that only female staff could be changed in case of their maternity leave and male staff when their relatives were taking examination in the same hall.

The education department has also directed the administrations of the boards to explain the reasons for substitution of the superintendents and deputy superintendents. The boards' administrations in their reply have said that they made substitutions when some superintendents deputed through computerised draw refused to perform exam duty for one or the other reason.

"Now the inquiry committee will investigate the officials concerned and those superintendents who have refused to perform duty to ascertain why the boards violated the E&SE department's instructions," the sources said.

The inquiry committee would also recheck the superintending staff at the examination halls with the list of officials deputed through computerised draw to locate those substituted for the deputed staff. The sources said that the provincial government was very serious about the matter and the administration officials of boards and the staff, which refused performing duty as superintendents in the SSC examinations, would face strict punishment if proved guilty. Even such officials could be terminated from service under the NWFP Removal from Service Ordinance (special power) 2000, as amended in 2001.

When asked why the power of deputing superintendents was withdrawn from the boards, the sources said that there were plenty of complaints against the boards concerning taking bribes from the staff for deputing them in examinations halls of their choice. There are also reports that the boards depute invigilators in private schools according to the wishes of the owners of the schools so they could show 'excellent results', the officials said.

There are eight Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, BISE Peshawar, Bannu, Abbottabad, Kohat, Malakand, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat and Mardan. These boards have established 1,901 centres in the province for the SSC examinations. Dawn

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Invigilators transferred for not allowing cheating
Charsadda: Invigilators performing duties at a girls' school were reportedly transferred for not allowing the students to use unfair means, a teacher confided on Saturday.

Pleading anonymity, the teachers said they were performing duties as invigilators at the Government Girls High School in Mandani area of Charsadda district where students of Grade IX and X were taking their annual examination. They said that students of some private schools were also taking examination at the hall of the government school and the management of a private school exerted pressure on them to allow their students use unfair means.

The teachers said they did not allow the staff members of the school to enter the examination hall and dissuaded the students from cheating. The management of the school, they said, got them replaced with "cooperative staff", who reportedly allowed students to cheat in the examination.

When contacted, Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Peshawar Controller of Examinations Islamuddin said a deputy secretary had issued the orders pertaining to the transfer of the invigilators. He said officials at the BISE did not have any complaint about the transferred invigilators. On being contacted, the superintendent of the examination hall refused to comment on the issue.

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Appointments made on merit: KUST admin
Kohat: The administration of the Kohat University of Science and Technology (KUST) has clarified that appointments in the university had been made as per rules. A statement said that proper procedure as laid down in the KUST Ordinance 2001 and KUST statues 2006 and approved by the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who is Chancellor of all public universities in the province including KUST, was observed in making the appointments. It added that the appointments were made in accordance with the set selection criteria and procedure and with the approval of the syndicate, which is the governing body in case of Kohat University of Science and Technology. The news

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