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Closing Sindh government primary schools

Closing schools
Karachi, Nov 02: The news that the Sindh education department plans to shut down over 1,100 government primary schools across the province because they are "non-viable" is cause for concern. It needs to be ascertained what has made these schools "non-viable": is it that successive governments have neglected education, or are other factors responsible? The Sindh education minister claims advertisements were published in newspapers listing the schools and seeking the objections of stakeholders. But as report correctly pointed out, the ad says nothing about inviting objections; it is simply a massive, ambiguous list enumerating the details of the schools. The minister said the ad was published so that "non-viable" schools could be removed from the education department's record and their buildings used for "some better purpose". The government must make it clear what this "better purpose" is, which necessitates the closure of such a large number of schools.

It would be understandable if the government were holding an administrative exercise, for instance short-listing schools located in the same compound that have been merged but that still exist as separate entities on government rolls. But it would be inexcusable if the government has made plans to shut down the schools without having a coherent strategy in place to improve academic standards. Nationalisation - though perhaps well-intentioned - has proved an ill-judged move and the prime minister's recent comments appear to have restarted the debate on its effects on Pakistan's system of education. Yet that does not allow the government to abdicate its responsibility of providing quality education to the people. The state of education across the country is far from satisfactory. In Sindh's context, especially with the 18th Amendment making education a provincial subject, it must be asked whether the move to close down so many schools will improve the situation - or make it worse. In fact, the state needs to improve the quality of education offered in public-sector institutions and apply innovative techniques to do so. Some NGOs have done commendable work in bringing quality education to the underprivileged. Perhaps the state can combine forces with such organisations to help improve the public school system. Dawn

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FUUAST to hold international conference on 14th
Karachi: Laboratory of Dendrochronology and Plant Ecology, Department of Botany, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST), Karachi is organising the 2nd International Science Conference and workshop on Dendrochronology from Nov 14 to November 19, 2010.

Federal Minister of Science and Technology Dr Muhammad Azam Khan Swati has accepted to be the chief guest of this event. According to organisers, Professor Dr Moinuddin Ahmed, the main purpose of this event is to familiarise the students with this applied and rapidly growing branch in addition to the researchers, general public, policy makers and specially those organisations, NGO'S, Govt. Dept. and research organisation that are involved in environment, forestry and water planning.

The main focus during the event will be on the exploration of the past (300 to 500 years) flow of Indus River. In modern days, it is a scientific fact that no reliable water planning is possible without using Dendrochronological techniques. Developed countries, including India are rapidly adopting this methodology and providing scientific water planning. Dr Ahmed said that they had offered WAPDA to provide free transfer of technology if they assign at least two young associates. The news

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Nine PkSF activists booked for hurting 11 IJT men
Karachi: Nine Pakhtun Students Federation (PkSF) activists were booked for injuring 11 Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) activists in a clash at the Gulshan Degree College, the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police said on Monday. PkSF's Shahid, Imran, Abid, Nadeem, Rafiq, Muneer, Danish, Basheer and Shan were booked for resorting to aerial firing and injuring IJT's Abdul Moeed, Ramzan, Saqib, Ibrahim, Sarfaraz, Maaz, Akber, Zubair, Ismail, Aleem and Tahir. The IJT men were taken to the nearest hospital and first information report No 823/2010 was registered against the PkSF men. Tension between both groups has been mounting for the past week and they have been engaged in similar clashes in other educational institutions as well. Daily times

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Seminar on Pakistan's quest for political stability held at KU
Karachi: A seminar on Pakistan's quest for political stability was held at the Karachi University Campus on Monday.

The moot was organised by the institution's Department of International Relations at its premises. A former Chief Justice of Sindh High Court, Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, was the speaker on the occasion. He said that the people of Pakistan were the real custodians of the country and the surest means to political stability and strength.

He threw light upon the historical evolution of Muslim political consciousness in South Asia as Muslims were able to form a state of their own. It was a vindication of their devotion and sacrifices. Justice Ahmed opined that political stability had been an elusive thing for Pakistan because since the very establishment of Pakistan, the "seeds of instability had been sown."

He also gave an exhaustive overview of the political and constitutional history of Pakistan.

Justice Ahmed was of the view that some autocratic mindsets managed to get into the power corridors. The real needs and realities were disregarded. He pointed out that mutual toleration and accommodation are quintessential for any just and healthy society. Justice Ahmed gave the example of Great Britain, which has four provinces, that's how the British manage to grow through a culture of mutual recognition.

Had the Pakistani political elite been mature it would have avoided the debacle in 1971, he opined. Justice Ahmed was of the view that even democracy in Pakistan had a fragile history. True democracy, he added, needed a real environment of toleration. Dictatorship has obstructed a genuine growth of democracy in Pakistan and hence political stability.

Justice Ahmed outlined certain factors that, "If implemented, could revolutionise the Pakistani society: the movement for the civil rights of people should continue, compulsory primary education is a must, efforts should be made to lower corruption level, our exports should be more than our imports".

He said that the sense of insecurity was largely responsible for corruption. This insecurity could be diluted by providing the people certain constitutional guarantees.

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AKU award ceremony
Karachi: Aga Khan University (AKU) Examination Board is organising an award ceremony to recognise the academic efforts of its position holders in 2010 examination session, AKU spokesperson said.

The annual high achievers' Student Awards Ceremony would be held on November 03, 2010. Engr Abul Kalam, Vice Chancellor, NED University of Engineering and Technology will be attending the event as chief guest, she also said.

A total of 142 candidates will be awarded for their excellent Secondary School Certificate and Higher Secondary School Certificate results, she further said. The programme would be held at AKU Auditorium, Stadium Road campus at 5:00 to6:30 pm, she added. The news

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