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Karachi elite schools say no to national anthem

City's elite schools say no to national anthem
Karachi, May 03: The restive Balochistan province is not the only place where the national anthem remains barred from many of its educational institutions. Several leading elite schools of Karachi have also stopped following the tradition in their morning assemblies, calling it a "waste of time and energy."

To the utter dismay of many parents and students, several schools, including Bayview High School, the CAS and Rhodene Academy, have either abolished the singing of the national anthem altogether, or have been doing it only once a week for the past many years.

As the regulatory authorities concerned looked the other way mainly because of the influence and connections of owners of these private schools, a tradition that ruled every school of Karachi for decades has been erased.

The schools, which abandoned the tradition of the national anthem, mostly follow the Cambridge International Examination system, catering mostly to the elite, upper-middle class and middle class families.

Nadeem Islam, vice principal of Bayview High School, said that assemblies occur in his school every day, but the national anthem is sung only once a week. "It takes too long, and wastes time that can be used in the class constructively."

He argues that celebrating the Independence Day and teaching history are enough for the students.

The answer of the principal and owner of another private school, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was more baffling. "I do not ask students to sing the national anthem: firstly, because it is in Urdu; secondly, I do not believe in national cohesion. What purpose does the national anthem serve? Students should be engaged in more meaningful activities."

The principal's obvious disdain for the national language and anthem underlines the fundamental crisis of Pakistan's education system which remains divided not just on the class basis, but also on the ideological grounds.

Many students of these so-called modern liberal schools remain stranger to their own country, people, language and history, senior educationists say. Anwar Ahmed Zai, chairman Board of Intermediate Education, says that singing the national anthem has been a tradition at all the educational institutions since 1952, when Hafeez Jalandhri's verses were finally selected from among many hundred entries.

"Not singing it (the national anthem) should definitely be discouraged," he says. "The national anthem serves three main purposes: ownership of the country, unity and identity. These values can only be inculcated at a tender age, not when the children are old and have grown up thinking it as unnecessary.

"Forget schools, there was a time when movies in cinemas played after a collective national anthem was sung. If entertainment was followed by it, then educational activities should surely follow suit."

Dr Muhammad Memon, director Institute of Education Development-Aga Khan University, believes that the national anthem should be "mandatory."

"When we gather in the morning to sing the national anthem it is a commitment to serve the country. There is no second choice. We must do it every day."

Professor Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed of the Pakistan Study Centre at Karachi University says that singing the national anthem is a general practice worldwide.

"It is a beautiful composition, and a tool we desperately need in these times to maintain national identity. Those who are against the practice should reconsider their position."

Salman Asif Siddiqui, director Education Research and Development Centre, says: "School is the only place where a child can learn the national anthem. He might not comprehend it at that age, but the tune will stick to his head, exactly like a nursery rhyme. At a later age, he can draw context from his memory."

"It takes three minutes to sing the national anthem. Why should it be a waste of time?" says Yasmeen Qazi, the mother of a student at one such school.

Ibrahim Muzaffar, the father of another schoolchild, is also concerned. "There are certain norms that make up collective citizenship. How else will one expect students to consider themselves patriotic Pakistanis?" he asks.

"School age is the period when students can memorise the national anthem. One cannot discard everything by calling it unnecessary," says Fariha Sanaullah, a mother of two school-going students.

"Why destroy the beautiful tradition which we have cherished as a nation for decades?"

"If a child grows up thinking the national anthem is unnecessary, he will have the same attitude towards other things, like patriotism or building one's country," says Farah Khan, a young mother of a three-year-old.

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Students asking for second answer sheet slapped
Karachi: During the ongoing matriculation exams, two unusual but similar cases of misdemeanour were reported, where an invigilator slapped two students for asking for a second answer sheet.

On April 25, during the chemistry paper of the Board of Secondary Education, a student from Al-Ilm Academy, who wishes to remain anonymous, was told not to waste paper by asking for more sheets.

"I was given one when I insisted, but only after I was slapped hard across the face."

Another student of the same school shared a similar experience. "After being denied for the first time, I was handed over the second copy with a slap."

Both the students said that they were distressed after the episode. They missed out parts of their paper and were not able to study for the next exam. They also said that the same invigilator was seen helping out another student with the multiple choice questions.

Meanwhile, the authorities at the Whitehouse Grammar School denied the charges. "A second copy is every child's right, and we are not short of stationery," said Saadia Ambreen, the institute's vice principal.

"I received a complaint from the parents this morning. I sat with the two boys, listened to their story, and believe me, nothing of this sort has happened."

Many cases of the use of unfair means have been detected during raids on the school by officials of the Board of Secondary Education Karachi. The news

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Democratic panel wins teachers' election at FUUAST
Karachi: Democratic panel won the annual election 2012 of Teachers Association of Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST). According to result, Political Science Department Chairman Prof Dr Ismaeel Moosi has been elected as president, Business Department Prof Najamul Arfeen secretary general, International Relations Department's Prof Syeda Dawood vice president and Sindhi Department's Prof Seema Abro joint secretary. The election committee comprises Prof Shehnaz Asif, Prof Dr Shahid Iqbal and Prof Hashim. Teachers' representative in Senate of FUUAST Prof Nasir Abbas has congratulated the winning party. Daily times

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International labour conference begins at KU
Karachi: A two-day international conference "Labour in the Age of Globalisation" started at the Arts Auditorium of the University of Karachi (KU) on Wednesday.

The conference is being jointly organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) and KU's Pakistan Study Centre. It is a part of the series of events/interactive sessions being organised through the year to mark thirty years of PILER, a research, education and advocacy institute focusing on labour rights.

The conference has participation from national, regional and international academics, experts on social and workers' issues along with trade union bodies and labour rights advocates. The purpose of the conference is to put into perspective contemporary challenges being faced by the labourer and the links and influences of regional and international developments in shaping the direction of the workers struggle.

Key speakers during the two days of the conference include Prof Dr Jan Breman; Prof Emeritus, University of Amsterdam; Dr Amrita Chachhi, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague; Dr Kaiser Bengali, Senior Economist; Dr Rubina Sehgal, Independent Researcher and Dr Asad Saeed, Senior Researcher Collective of Social Science Research. KU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mohammed Qaiser was the chief guest at the inaugural session of the conference.

In his keynote address at the inauguration, Prof Dr Jan Breman said deprivation of the poor is being overlooked even at the state level. Nobody has any concern to see how the labourers live and under what circumstances. "The state has lost its legitimacy because of its dismal failure to provide care to the labouring poor," he added.

Prof Dr Breman said inequalities are growing in Pakistan. He said in larger parts of the world including Pakistan, people are pushed out of agriculture, the primary sector of production. They were already landless, land fragmentation has triggered off large-scale land flight, he added.

"People are not only driven out of agriculture, in which they had remained rooted from generation to generation, but are also forced to leave their rural habitat in search of a better livelihood elsewhere," he remarked.

He said he was on a visit to the state of India for a research study where he found the growing number of paupers, those who have grown old and lost the power to work. Even though it was difficult to find the labour for youth, it is even very difficult to find job in old age.

Dr Breman said, according to a news report, a person committed suicide by self immolation in Sindh because of he did not find job. These issues themselves are enough to understand the situation in which rural people live without basic facilities, as compared to other citizens enjoying better life style.

Similarly, Jan said, Pakistan's industrial hub of Karachi has become a theatre of the horrendous violence, a nightmare, fuelled by a mix of political rivalry, ethnic strife and religious intolerance with the laboring poor in variably on the receiving end. It is happening because the state in Pakistan has lost its legitimacy, its dismal failure to provide care for the laboring poor.

KU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mohammed Qaiser said globalisation is not a new phenomenon and can be traced back to the emergence of trade capital in the 17th and 18th centuries. The current phase of globalisation has been so domineering and powerful that it has totally transformed the world at the macro level and the lives of the individuals, at the micro level.

He announced on the occasion that he would take up the matter with KU Syndicate to establish a separate chair on Labour Rights in the university. Three books printed by Pakistan Study Centre were also launched on the occasion.

Karamat Ali, Director in his welcome address briefed the participants about the aims and objectives of the conference and said the government has put the labour to face inequality.

Later during the first session of the conference veteran town planner and architect Arif Hasan gave an overview about urban development bias towards poor. He said it seems the poor in the new development paradigm do not have any value. Development schemes in poor localities are more substandard than the development schemes in posh localities. Poor are getting substandard water, inadequate sanitation, insufficient health and education facilities for which they are entitled as a citizen."

Though there is enough state land lying in Karachi city, it is not provided for the social development purpose. He underlined the need to change biased mindset so we it can make possible to bring the poor in mainstream development.

The speakers of the other sessions included Faisal Siddiqui, Farid Awan, Manzoor Razi, Lateef Mughal Akeela Naz and others. Daily times

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SU to provide loan to faculty members for laptops
Hyderabad: The University of Sindh (SU) will provide interest-free loans to faculty members and officers to† purchase† their own laptop computers, while computer laboratories of the departments of the social sciences†would be fully equipped to facilitate students and teachers.

The decision in this regard was taken in a meeting of the Dean and Heads of the Department of the Faculty of Social Science under the chairmanship of Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Perveen Shah here on Wednesday.

The meeting was convened to discuss the problems being faced by various departments of the faculty of social sciences and seek guidance for improvement. It was attended by the chairpersons of all teaching departments of the faculty of social sciences, director finance, acting dean research, controller of examinations (semester/annual) , project director engineering wing, purchase and store officers and other concerned officials.

Dr Shah welcomed the participants and said it aims at discussing problems and resolving them immediately.She observed that the law and order at the Campus had improved significantly. She said the purpose of the meeting was to seek cooperation from heads of the departments. She also highlighted the efforts made for improvement in the academic activities.

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IBA organises marketing conference
Karachi: IBA has taken yet another leap forward by organizing the first ever marketing conference to be held in Karachi. The curtains of this prestigious conference, the International Conference on Marketing 2012 (IBA ICM 2012), will rise at the IBA Main Campus from May 5-6, 2012.

Being hosted for the first time by any business school in Pakistan, the Conference will seek to explore all aspects of this year's theme: 'Contemporary Market Trends'. This idea is core to the marketing landscape in Pakistan primarily because the strongest demographic sub-section of Pakistan is being lead by 114 million young Pakistanis under the age of 30. To capitalize on this important revelation, marketers are to understand how to reach this young population through emerging digital technologies and media. The Conference aims to identify the contemporary trends from strategic marketing to the more recent E-marketing, and evaluate the potential of these trends for Pakistani businesses.

Including a multitude of globally renowned speakers and professionals from across several European countries and USA, the Conference will comprise of a number of intellectually stimulating sessions aimed at exploring the paradigm of marketing. For a chance to network with marketing gurus from around the globe, IBA welcomes scholars, students and professionals in Pakistan to attend the International Marketing Conference 2012 at its Main Campus premises. The new

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