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Punjab Universal Primary Education Campaign

Primary education drive a 'Kaghzi Karwai'
Lahore, May 17: The Universal Primary Education Campaign launched by the Punjab school education department aiming at enrolment of all out of school children in 5-9 year age group is unable to meet targets due to host of problems, including lack of facilities in schools and absence of teachers.

The education department had directed the primary school heads across the province to identify the out-of-school children and motivate their parents to get them enroll between March 23 and May 31.

As the campaign period is still on, most schoolteachers have gone to the intermediate examination duties, while matriculation examinations had concluded recently.

Almost all the schoolteachers this reporter talked to had the same thing to say about the campaign: "It is just a 'kaghzi karwai' (paper work) and nothing else."

In order to make this campaign a success, the teachers are required to go in schools' adjacent areas and identify targeted children and enroll them. Still, one can find data or projected data on a large number of out-of-school children who have been "brought to schools".

The real test of the school education department will be to retain the new as well as previously enrolled children with the public sector primary schools lacking in infrastructure, teachers and other facilities like cold potable water and toilets. In many cases, the parents' financial constraints will be a hindrance to the campaign objectives.

Though newly enrolled students will get free textbooks, their parents will immediately be required to spend on their uniforms, bags, and stationery, compelling many to withdraw their wards from schools and put them to child labour so that they could become their earning hands.

Another factor that affects student retention ratio is schools' academic environment.

Most students are not lucky enough to get the furniture though the Punjab government claims to have spent billions of rupees on providing "missing facilities" in schools. In many a primary school, especially rural one, most students bring their own mats to sit on the ground. Even high schools lack such 'facilities'.

The Government Central Model School, Rattigan Road is one out of many examples where students sit in the open even in this sweltering heat.

"Many parents withdraw their children from school as soon as they see them sitting in the open," a schoolteacher said. He said the situation further deteriorated when the school was made an examination centre.

Currently, more classes were sitting in the open as the school was being used as an intermediate examination centre, he added.

At present, teachers say, almost 30 per cent of their colleagues are performing examination duties, while the students are just wasting their time in schools and loosing interest in education.

Educationists say the maximum drop-out ratio was witnessed in early classes where students are seldom motivated to seek education.

They also observe that even teachers are not motivated at the bingers' level because either they are not properly trained to handle young students or are not appreciated for their previous performance, if any.

Lahore Executive District Officer (Education) Dr Arshad admits the public sector schools are not child-friendly and needed massive overhauling.

As a pilot project, he says, some 110 schools out of 1,306 schools in Lahore district are being upgraded as model schools, which will have "state-of-the-art" play areas.

He also admits as teachers are not involved in pro-active teaching, there is no learning opportunities for the students who consequently drop out.

He says that he has held meetings with head-teachers and decided to remove teachers' chairs from classrooms where they keep on sitting idle.

Dr Arshad says the big task ahead is to ensure that teachers should get involved in pro-active learning. Still, he says, a bigger dilemma is that the teachers recruited in 1980s with matric or PTC qualifications do not know how to teach.

"We are launching English medium education while most of public sector teachers are even unable to speak Urdu correctly. This is a big dilemma," he observed. The news

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IUB violence: Expulsion of 12 students converted into fines
Bahawalpur: The Islamia University Bahawalpur's appellate committee has converted the punishment of expulsion into fine ranging between Rs6,000 and Rs31,000 awarded to 12 of its engineering college students found guilty of violence on campus.

A press release issued here on Sunday said the students would remain under probation for one to two years. Six students -- Saad Naseer Lodhi, Shiraz Aslam, Yaseen Umar Minhas, Mudassar Yousaf, Waseem Abbas and Zainul Aabedin -- have been fined Rs31,000 each and will remain under probation for two years from May 10.

Habibur Rehman, Usman Ali Iftikhar, Ishaque Ahmad, Abdul Samad, Naukhez Tariq Khan and Rana Irfan Ali will have to pay Rs24,000 fine each with a probation period of one year.

The decision about Muhammad Hasnain Altaf and Qadeer Hussain of the department of economics, who had failed to appear before the Committee for Indiscipline and Misconduct (CIM), remained unchanged. They will face expulsion for two years from March 27 and pay a fine of Rs6,000 each. The administration has banned their entry into the university.

A notification said the engineering college committee would periodically inform the VC in writing before the term examinations during the probation period about the students' attendance, examinations and overall character reports.

Each of the penalised students would be eligible for re-admission to the classes and appear in the examinations after paying their respective fines.

It was learned that the IUB administration is considering to re-open the engineering college which had been closed with intervals after the Feb 19 incident. Dawn

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PGMI launches website
Lahore: The Post Graduate Medical Institute (PGMI), Lahore, has launched its website to facilitate doctors in the process of admission to the institute. According to a press release here on Sunday, the PGMI administration said that the doctors desiring to do specialisation could download admission forms from the website www.pgmipnjab.edu.pk while sitting at homes instead of visiting the institute. The email address of the PGMI is admission@pgmipunjab.edu.pk.

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Four-year graduation in all colleges: CM
Lahore: The Punjab government has decided to start four-year graduation programmes in all boys and girls colleges of every district of the province whereas facility for post-graduation will be provided in colleges of all district headquarters.

The decision was taken during a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif here on Saturday. The meeting also took a number of important decisions for improvement of the higher education sector. It decided that facilities of computer and science labs as well as technical education in community colleges would be ensured. A comprehensive policy will be evolved for setting up councils in the colleges, training of teachers and speedy completion of the process of their recruitment.

The meeting, which lasted for more than four hours, also took important decisions for promotion of meaningful education at the college level and reforms in examination system, examination results, ratio of students and teachers and enrolment in the colleges of the province.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said quality education was vital to the development of the country and the Punjab government had made education its top priority.

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PEF to spend Rs95.5m on South Punjab schools
Lahore: The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) will provide free education to 440,000 students of Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Khanewal, Multan and Rajanpur during the next five years under the New School Programme. PEF Chairman Raja Anwar said this while addressing a meeting with the owners of schools registered under the New School Programme with the Punjab Education Foundation on Sunday. He further said the PEF would spend a sum of Rs 95.5 million on the extension of New School Programme during the next five years, and free education would be imparted to poor students by affiliating 1765 schools. The news

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3 teachers booked for Rs10m fraud
Lahore: Anti-Corruption Establishment has registered a case against three PTC teachers for embezzlement of about Rs 10 million from government development funds.

Police sources told APP here Sunday complainant Amjad Ali is education coordinator for NA-125, Lahore.

Muhammad Ishaq Kamyana, Qari Ghulam Murtaza and Abdurazzaq Salam allegedly embezzled Rs 9.6 million in the name of an Education Citizens Community Board for installation of obsolete firefighting intru-ments in CDGL schools without demand and permission of education authorities.

The accused are PTC teachers in government schools. An inquiry has already been ordered by the education department.

Meanwhile, Mian Muhammad Fazil Ahmad, president All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA), Education Department, Lahore, appreciated complainant Amjad Ali for his commitment to eli-minate corruption from the department. app

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