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Majority of govt schools without water

Majority of govt schools without water & toilets
Rawalpindi, May 17: The students in majority of government schools have been deprived of drinking water and proper toilets and have to suffer due to scorching heat.

Students in majority of government schools complained that they were facing worst kind of water shortage in hot and humid season. They bring water bottles from homes, but due to scorching heat they consume it within couple of hours and then are left to wonder where the next drop of water will come. The water tanks in schools remain empty and if there is any water it is unhygienic, they said. They also complained that they could not remain in schools till 2:00 p.m. without toilets. Some of the students also said that they had two to three toilets, but their condition was always awful.

All Pakistan Teachers Association President Raja Saghir Alam admitted all the facts and figures that majority of government schools don't have drinking water and toilets. He said that higher authorities are not considering the basic problems of innocent students as how could they stay in schools without drinking water till 2:00 p.m. in summer season.

He said that the students in majority of schools use open place to relieve themselves due to non-availability of proper toilets. He said that due to two holidays on Saturday and Sunday government has increased the time of schools till 2:00 p.m. and it is not possible for students to stay without water and proper toilets in schools.

He said that he along with other office-bearers had visited different schools in Rawalpindi Division, but was embarrassed because majority of schools had no water and proper toilet system. "Different school managements bought water bowsers through contributions, but this water was not consumable, whereas the water storage tanks in schools were also unhygienic and after consuming the water students suffer from different waterborne diseases," he said.

When contacted Executive District Officer (EDO) Education Muhammad Ashraf Malik said that department wants to provide all facilities to students. However, shortage of funds is the main problem behind non-provision of all facilities to the students. "But our monitoring teams are visiting schools one-by-one to resolve the problems of drinking water and toilets," he assured.

Students in different government schools have demanded of the concerned authorities to provide hygienic drinking water and proper toilet system at schools.

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Young doctors want 50% raise in salaries
Rawalpindi: The general council meeting of the Young Doctors Association (YDA), Punjab, was held on four-point agenda at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital on Sunday.

The agenda included at least 50 per cent increase in pay of all doctors in the forthcoming budget along with a demand for slashing working hours to less than 50 per week according to the International Labour Law and National Health Services.

The Medical Defence Foundation also participated in the meeting and Professor Nusratullah Choudhry offered the foundation's services to support the cause of YDA.

The meeting decided that the YDA would start a campaign in all hospitals of Punjab

from Monday to raise the issues and would launch a protest in hospitals across the province.

YDA President (Rawalpindi Chapter) Dr. Muhammad Haroon, Information Secretary Dr. Umar Saeed, General Secretary Dr. Ghulam Abbas and YDA DHQ Hospital President Dr. Nadeem along with other office-bearers of YDA, Rawalpindi Chapter, hosted the meeting.

YDA (Punjab) President Dr. Hamid Butt and General Council Chairman Dr. Saleem were the guests of honour in the meeting. Representatives of young doctors from hospitals all over Punjab participated in the meeting and showed solidarity for the cause of YDA.

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International Day celebrated at SZIA
Islamabad: Sheikh Zayed International Academy (SZIA) had many reasons to be proud of last week, as it paid tribute to an element of great strength to the academy - that of its glorious 'internationalism.'

There are an incredible 23 nations represented by members of the student body, many of whom are children of ambassadors currently residing in the capital city. These students, who range from Playgroup to Grade 12, made stage presentations in the 'International Day' Function, a three-hour event held on the academy's campus.

Fareed Ullah Khan officiated as the chief guest and Colonel Abdulla Mohammad Ali Al Kaabi, military attache of the UAE Embassy, was the guest of honour. The presentation portion of the programme, which took place on the stage of the Academy's ultra-modern auditorium, included songs, cultural dances, skits, poetry recitation, international costumes and music and a fashion show.

This was followed by a multimedia especially prepared to highlight the focus of the day - the 'internationalism' inherent in the student body. For the second and third portions of the event, the Academy's gymnasium was the venue of choice as the entire group of guests and attendees took a tour of the many fascinating display stalls which served to further acquaint the visitors with the traditions and customs unique to each of the countries being showcased.

Finally, a grand buffet lunch that featured an incredible array of delectable dishes of international cuisine was enjoyed by the guests.

Speaking on the occasion, the principal, Wafaa Abdul Ghaffar, explained that the prime objective behind staging events like 'International Day' is "to inculcate a feeling of oneness with one another as we celebrate and pay tribute to the many different cultures that exist within our school community." The news

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Biodiversity celebrations from 17th
Islamabad: Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) has chalked out weeklong educational activities from May 17-24 to celebrate 2010 as International Year of Biodiversity to highlight the significance of biodiversity and to halt and reverse the accelerating loss of biological and genetic resources of the planet earth.

The planned activities, which are also coinciding with International Biodiversity Day falling on May 22 are aimed at providing an opportunity to all of us, especially the students, on whom future of the country depends, to join hands and talk about the existing and emerging problems caused by the biodiversity loss.

The activities include a 3-day workshop titled "Art Through Nature" for schoolchildren from May 17-19, daily from 9:00am to 1:00 pm at PMNH, Garden Avenue Shakarparian, a workshop "Understanding Nature" for media persons on May 18 at 9:30am at PMNH, a speech competition for schoolchildren on May 19 at PMNH at 9am, at PMNH, quiz competition for schoolchildren on May 20 from 8:30am to 12:30 noon, film shows from May 17-22 daily from 9am to 4pm at PMNH AV Centre and prize distribution ceremony of the celebration on May 24at 11am.

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Educational cooperation MoU inked
Islamabad: British Institute of Technology (BIT), London and Abasin University, (AU) Peshawar have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in promotion of science and technology (S&T).

On this occasion, AU Vice Chancellor Imranullah Khan said this agreement would help enable Pakistani students get higher education in British institutes.

Addressing a seminar, Khan said talks with BIT and E-commerce London, to launch a bilateral education programme was underway. He said after finalisation of this programme, AU students would study one-year master course in London. He said British universities would award degrees of BA and BA Honors to Pakistani students. He said educational standard of AU was recognised world over.

BIT Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr Abdul Waheed Khan elaborated the educational programme of the institute. He said BIT was an A-category institution. More than 2,000 students are studying in its various departments, he said. Daily times

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The Hindi-Urdu question
A language always has a place of birth, a nation to speak and no religion, but the Indian Subcontinent is perhaps the only exception where language has a religion too. Not only the language but its nomenclature, the script in which it is written has religious associations and connotations. Historically, the seeds of the Hindi-Urdu controversy were sown by our colonial masters to initiate the Hindu-Muslim divide, when the first Hindi prose book, Prem Sagar, by Lalu Lal Parshad was published under the patronage of John Borthwick Gilchrist (1759-1841) of Fort William Collage of Calcutta with the intent to promote Devanagari or Hindi script, in order to create, consciously or unconsciously, a divide amongst Hindus and Muslims. This partly helped the British to prolong their rule in the Indian Subcontinent for a century-and-a-half and ultimately culminated in its division.

But there is a positive potential latent in this so-called Hindi-Urdu controversy, which can be a helpful tool to bridge the "gap" between the people of the subcontinent, who are no less than one-fifth of humanity.

Call it Hindi or Urdu, undoubtedly it is one and the same language when spoken. Hindi or Urdu, in both of its forms and manifestations, is the lingua franca of India and Pakistan, respectively. The seed of contention-i.e., division of language on the basis of religion, which was sown by our colonial masters almost a century- and-a-half ago has grown into a big banyan tree, having many trunks, enough, offshoots, branches and leaves to accommodate quite a large number of living beings, and it is difficult to say whether it a one or more than one tree.

One side advances enough religious and political reasons favouring Hindi as the national language of India. Hindi, written in Devanagri script has historic, cultural and religious proximity with Hindus and the Hindu religion, easily accommodates more Sansikrit words, and therefore it has nothing to do with the Muslims of India. It is a mark of national identity of "Hindus." Similarly, for equally religious and political reasons Urdu is said to be a hallmark of the identity of the Muslims of the subcontinent. It is written in Nastaliq script, and can accommodate more and more Arabic and Persian words. The script was "introduced" to write a pre-existent language by the Muslim rulers of the subcontinent and hence has nothing to do with the "Hindus" of the subcontinent.

It is simply incomprehensible to me why Hindi (which itself is a Persian word) is a Hindu language and Urdu (which is a Turkish word) is a Muslim language? How does the same sentence of "a language," written in Devanagri become "Hindu" and when written in Nastaliq becomes "Muslim"? Then, by the same token, if the same sentence is written in Roman script, as it is in sms messages, does it become a Christian language?

One would see these two languages as altogether different, rather rival, languages unless and until he sees them without the blindfolds of religion and regional politics. No sooner does one pull off these blindfolds one realises that this is one unique language of the world which is written in two different scripts and hence has the capacity to accommodate as many words and phrases from the East and the West as possible. Simultaneously, it has the ability to absorb the wisdom of Sanskrit, the etymological intricacies of Arabic and the sweetness of Persian. In other words, as soon as we start viewing only half of its side, "Hindi" or "Urdu," we deprive ourselves from thousands of words and phrases which have been assimilated by this great language over a long period of time from Sanskrit, Persian or Arabic.

If we exclusively consider its "Urdu" side we are deprived of a treasure trove of culturally rich and meaningful Sanskrit words and block our access to such a vast ocean of the words and meanings. Similarly, if we opt for its "Hindi" side we distant ourselves from the equally rich heritage of Arabic and Persian words.

Now one and-a-half-century since the first Hindi prose book Prem Sagar (1805) published by Daisy Rockwell & Co. for Fort William College, appeared in order to promote Devanagari or "Hindi" script, it has succeeded in opening a Pandora's box of controversies, hatred and divide amongst the masses. In this consciously or unconsciously created divide amongst Hindu and Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent I see a ray of hope of peace emanating from this controversy because this language is the strongest, closest and most unbreakable bond amongst the people of the subcontinent.

In this age of information and communication technologies this dream can come true-rather, it is just a click away. Since the phonology of Hindi and Urdu is cent per cent the same, both can be transliterated (not translated) perfectly from one to other. If we are able to develop a free open-source software which can convert by one click all or anything written in Hindi into Urdu, and visa versa, then this simple IT tool or software will magically enhance the words of wisdom and knowledge manifold on either side of the Wagah boarder.

Once the masses of these two great countries will start realising and acknowledging this reality, it will automatically bring them nearer to each others hearts and minds. Bi-scripted websites will become a usual phenomenon. Writers and journalist will equally have readership on either side of the divide, people-to- people contact will be enhanced, communication amongst intelligentsia will be increased, communication "noise" will be eliminated and peace will have a greater chance to prevail.

Once we start adopting, using and embracing this wonderful language in such a manner then it will not only pave the way for peace in the region but will find its place amongst the official languages of the United Nations as a language spoken by 1.3 billion people of the world.

The only thing required is that we shed down our blindfolds of religious, political and historical biases. -Dr Syed Mohammed Anwer (The writer is a lawyer. Email: syedmanwer@yahoo.com)

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Rootsians create magic with vibrant cultural diversity
Islamabad: 'Simply stunned' was the reaction of a large gathering at the Student Recognition Day & High Achievers Ceremony organised by the Roots School System, Junior Branch, DHA-I, Islamabad, after witnessing the creative performances by more than 300 students on the theme of 'We are the World' here on Saturday evening.

The performances were made by students of classes IV, V and VI at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) auditorium, which was jam-packed with parents and guests, who encouraged children with rounds of applause.

The chief guest on the occasion was International Islamic University (IIU) Vice President Parveen Qadir Agha, while Ambassador of Thailand Marut Jitpatima was also present on the occasion.

The school celebrated its 22nd anniversary by staging unique and most extraordinary themes to enliven the spirit of the 'Pakistan of our Dreams'. Students explored global cultural diversity and displayed their creative abilities through superb performances, which depicted cultural heritage, folklores, 'sufi' poets, national heroes, sports icons, humanitarians and Pakistani singers & legends.

The young performers aged 8-12 years kept storming the stage one after the other in finely designed costumes and headgears in front of a magnificent backdrop, representing national monuments of various countries. They performed their roles with such confidence, professionalism and picture perfection of an automated show that in the three-and-a-half hours show, there was not a single pause or an act faltering.

The programme hosted by Neha Omair and Mohammad Usman Younis formally began with the recitation of the Holy Qur'aan, followed by a 'Naat' recited by Shajiya Naveed. The show contained some amazing dance performances of different genres. The students of class 6 performed the famous Thai dance, complete with exquisite costumes, followed by stunning performances of Scottish dance and Spanish Flamenco dance. The Arabian dance was presented complete with Arabian dresses and the tantalising tambourine.

The dances were followed by some personifying acts, such as Anarkali-Saleem and Heer-Ranjha. The Pakistan parade presented under the 'Provincial Troupe' had students showcasing the culture of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Kashmir through songs and dances.

Then followed the creative tributes to the national heroes of the past and present. Young children in perfect uniforms of the three armed forces marched onto the stage alongside a young student holding a candle, attired like the 'melody queen' Noor Jehan singing 'Mere Naghme Tumhare Liye Hain'. Homage was paid to freedom-fighters as well, including Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah and Allama Iqbal.

Others who were also honoured on the occasion included Pakistani sportsmen and showbiz personalities such as legendary 'Chocolate Hero' of yesteryears Waheed Murad by a performance on 'Ko Ko Koreena', along with Nazia and Zohaib, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Allan Faqir and Mohammad Ali Shehki. A potpourri of classical songs by Nayyara Noor, Nazia Hasan and Tina Sani was amicably presented by live classical singing by class 6 girls.

A unique tribute was also paid to all mothers, with children holding 600 hearts on sticks inscribed with 'I Love You Mama' and huge hearts with the expression of thanks, singing along a multimedia presentation. A well-conceived and executed act was also presented, informing students about various tactics used by strangers to trap children.

The students then took the audience on a bandwagon of talent on the Global Cultural Show that depicted cultures, costumes, rhythms and music of different countries. Students presented a dance 'Ek Alif' depicting Baba Bulleh Shah that was much appreciated by the audience. The students also lighted candles, pledging for a better tomorrow of peace, love and harmony.

The chief guest, Parveen Qadir Agha, highly appreciated the presentations of the children and congratulated the teachers for bringing up such a marvellous event.

On the occasion, Roots School System Founder Director Riffat Mushtaq said: "Sitting there and watching the children perform with so much confidence ensures that our future is in better hands. We are sowing the seeds of tolerance, love and humanity in our children to inculcate a respect for diversity in them." She said: "The children have given a wakeup call to us and now we need to give them a beautiful environment to blossom it with their talent. Every child has a hidden talent and it is the teacher's responsibility to explore that talent and encourage the child."

The high-achievers of academic session 2008-09 were later awarded by the chief guest and Mrs Riffat Mushtaq. Teachers and non-teaching staff were also awarded at the end of the ceremony.

Earlier, a virtual tour of the school was screened, showing the last two years' events at the school's DHA campus that included Global Learning, Nature Carnival, Earth Hour Celebration, drama 'Heer Ranjha', 'Mehfil-e-Milad' and participation in a peace initiative 'Aman ki Asha' with Delhi Public School.

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Imperial School holds annual day
Islamabad: The Imperial International Junior School held its annual day before the academic yearend. It was an array of organised and well-performed presentations by schoolchildren from Grade 1 to 6, says a press release issued here on Sunday. The school choir added radiance to the programme, as the students sang inspiring and patriotic songs. The school focuses on cultivating talent present in young students. The variety programmes are essential for developing a refined and aesthetic mind, and Imperial International is ensuring an overall progress of its students. The news

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