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Curriculum of hatred | Punjab Summer holidays

State-run schools foster religious extremism
May 20: An article in The Guardian focuses on a matter that our academics have been trying to highlight for at least a decade. It has been observed that the texts used in state-run schools foster religious extremism in a less blatant but more ubiquitous way than the infamous madressahs. By propagating concepts such as jihad, the inferiority of non-Muslims, India's ingrained enmity with Pakistan, etc., the textbook board publications used by all government schools promote a mindset that is bigoted and obscurantist. Since there are more children studying in these schools than in madressahs the damage done is greater. A lot of research has been conducted on the contents of textbooks by teachers and sociologists who have compiled voluminous reports to persuade the education authorities to take corrective measures. Thanks to their efforts the dangerous implications of having such books in the school curricula are now being recognised.

But the process of change is not easy to initiate and implement when obscurantist forces are so firmly entrenched in every walk of life, especially in the education sector. In 2004 when an attempt was made to slightly modify a biology textbook that contained a Quranic verse on jihad, it backfired leading to the resignation of the education minister Zubeida Jalal. Once again, the government has announced that all textbooks are being revised to purge them of inflammatory material. When the changes will be made is anyone's guess. The education policy, which should normally set the guidelines on curricula development and textbook policy, has been put on the back burner.

The fact is that the minds of generations of schoolchildren are being perverted by our public school system. It is not just the textbooks that are preaching hatred, violence and intolerance. The teachers who are the products of this system can teach no better. With a few noble exceptions, they make their students swallow hook, line and sinker what the books say without even attempting to moderate the ideas conveyed. Being disinterested in their work, most teachers do not inspire their students with knowledge acquired from other sources. That makes the textbooks all-important especially when the pedagogy in our schools does not seek to inculcate creativity and curiosity in the child or to encourage him to ask questions and do some research in the quest of knowledge. One can only hope that the exercise to revise textbooks is expedited and private textbook publishers are allowed to enter the field if they can deliver. Dawn

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Punjab summer holidays from June 4
Lahore: The educational institutions in Punjab will be closed for summer vacation from June 4 this year. According to a Higher Education Department notification, all the public and private sector schools, colleges and universities will remain closed from June 4 to August 14. These institutions will re-open from August 15. App

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70 schools to get high security
Lahore: In the wake of security concerns the City police department has issued a new security plan for around 70 girls schools and English medium institutions of the City especially those having co-education status.

The police sources said in the new plan, the police department has suggested some extraordinary security measures around the schools that it has been taking for the protection of the sensitive installations and important government buildings and offices in the provincial capital.

Most of the schools are situated in posh areas of the City and alongside the main roads. The police department, however, refused to give names and sites of the 70 schools due to security concerns and to avoid creating panic among the children, their parents and other people.

The initiative has been taken in the wake of terrorists' threats to these institutions earmarked by the police on the basis of intelligence reports. It is worth mentioning here that the City police had received intelligence reports in the first week of the April that the terrorists may hit girls schools and English medium institutions in the City, especially those having co-education system.

On the basis of the intelligent reports, the City police conducted survey of all the English medium schools through the SHOs of the police stations concerned and complied a report to take high security measures to prevent any untoward incident.

The City police department has distributed all the English medium schools in categories A, B and C in the new security plan. Out of the total number, 70 schools have been identified for tougher security measures on the basis of the police reports. These schools fall in the category A.

The new plan also includes installation of drums filled with sands alongside the boundary walls of the schools, huge cemented blocks (barriers) near buildings, deployment of policemen in plain clothes and installation of CCTV cameras inside and outside the school buildings. The school staff would be bound to show their identity while entering or leaving the education institutions. The patrolling of mobile police squad has also been intensified around the school buildings.

According to the new security plan, cemented barriers have been installed outside the schools to slow down speed of all kinds of vehicles. The schools vans, buses and other private vehicles carrying school children are not allowed to reach the main gates of the schools. The children are picked or dropped at the cemented barriers installed at a distance of the school buildings or check posts designed for this purpose.

Some policemen have been deployed at the barriers to ensure new security strategy at every cost. The ASPs, DSPs and SHOs have been strictly directed to personally make rounds of the schools in plain clothes to check security measures twice a week at least. While the SPs have also been instructed to supervise the new plan and report back to the SSP or CCPO Lahore.

"Earlier all the process to pick and drop the school children was being done at the main entrances of the schools buildings. Now this has been shifted at a distance from the buildings in the larger interest of school children and other staff", CCPO Lahore Pervez Rathore said when contacted.

He said that a comprehensive data about the number of English medium schools with their locations was complied on the basis of reports by the local police. The reports also include information about the staff members, number of school children studying there and the level of security taken by the school administrations. We have also established a sort of hotline between the schools and police department for immediate communication in case any untoward incident takes place.

Pervez Rathore further said that the City police officials are constantly in touch with the school administrations to see whether or not all the security measures advised are being followed.

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4,000 madaris students get technical education
Lahore: The Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) has successfully imparted technical skills to about 4,000 students of 28 selected 'deeni madaris' across the Punjab. About 50 per cent of these trained students have now become financially independent while doing their own business and self-employment. This effort by TEVTA to train youth of madaris has started bringing tangible results as a number of madaris has demanded to establish such training centers at their premises.

Chairman TEVTA Mohsin Syed informed this while addressing in a meeting of the madaris heads and TEVTA officers here at its Secretariat. He said keeping in view the demand by deeni madaris, for imparting technical training to their students at their premises, TEVTA has planned to set up further new 30 technical training centers at madaris. A new lot of 10,000 students of madaris would be given technical training while offering four trades in addition to their religious education.

Chairman TEVTA said the purpose to offer four technical courses at deeni madaris is to empower the youth engaged in religious education with employable skills. Technical training would enable them to have more options for sustainable livelihood and to meet with the demand of skilled workers in the society as well. While addressing the gathering, TEVTA chief disclosed that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were in dire need of trained manpower in the field of construction sector.

Authority has directed the TEVTA management to prepare the feasibility to offer construction related courses at the deeni madaris. In order to enhance the capabilities of the instructors engaged at deeni madaris, special training programs would be started to train them in latest teaching techniques.

On the demand of deeni madaris, one to three years technical training courses would also be offered in phases, Chairman concluded. The meeting was attended by heads of Rahimia Welfare Society Sahiwal, Al-Madina Islamic University Gujranwala, Jamia Islamia Trust GT Road Kamoki, Jamia Qasmia Lajput Nagar, Shahdara, Taj Dar-e-Madina Shahabpura, Sialkot, Jamia Ashrafia Ferozepure Road, Lahore, Darul Uloom Muhammadia Loco Workshop, Lahore, Jamia Siraj-ul-Huda, Mandi Baha-ud-Din, Jamia Nizamia Rizvia Sheikhpura, Jamia Ashaat Aloom,
Chistian, Khair ul Madaris, Multan and TEVTA officers. The Nation

UVAS introduces new degree programmes
Lahore: University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr. Muhammad Nawaz has urged the univeristy teachers to further enhance the quality of their teaching and research as there is always room for improvement. Addressing all the faculty members in the university confercnce hall on Tuesday, the VC asked them to give top-most priority to the teaching, training and character-building of the students. University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr. Muhammad Nawaz said that the university has introduced new degree programmes keeping in view the market needs and enhanced its enrollment and now the teachers have to do more work to improve upon the quality of teaching and overall education and research on the campus. He asked the faculty members to use student-centred teaching methods and encourage two-way communication in classes. App

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