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Spending on science in the developing world

Poor states increased spending on science
Islamabad, Oct 14: Spending on science in the developing world grew three times than the rate of richer countries between 2002 and 2007.

This was stated in figures of Unesco Institute for Statistics (UIS) released by the London-based Science and Development Network.

It is also interesting to note that the number of researchers in developing countries jumped from 1.8 million to 2.7 million in the same period.

The third UIS survey on statistics of science and technology indicated, on several counts, that the gap in investment rates in science between the developed and developing worlds is closing. While spending on research and development (R&D) by developed countries grew by about one third (32 per cent) during the period, developing countries more than doubled their spending (103%), from $135 to $274 billion.

The surge in researcher numbers means that the developing world employed 30 per cent of researchers in 2002 but 38 per cent by 2007. The survey, which is conducted every two years, focuses on human resources devoted to, and expenditure on, R&D.

The results showed that R&D investment also increased in developing countries. Total spending on R&D by developing countries accounted for one per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007, up from 0.8 per cent in 2002, said the data. This compares with 2.3 per cent for the developed world.

The figures, however, concealed big differences between the more advanced developing nations and the least developed countries. China, for example, increased its R&D spending to 1.5 per cent of GDP by 2007, and accounts for over half (53%) of researchers in developing countries. Only six countries other than China are spending one per cent or more of GDP on research.

While developing nations as a whole more than doubled their R&D expenditure, this figure fell to a less than three quarters increase (73 per cent) once China and India were removed from the calculation. But even in the 50 least developed countries (defined according to the standard UN classification), there was an average 20 per cent increase in researchers. There was also a slight increase - from 40 to 43 - in the number of researchers per million inhabitants. However, these countries still only have 0.5 per cent of the world's researchers.

In South Africa, the number of researchers grew by nearly a third (31 per cent) over the five-year period. This also represents an 18 per cent increase in the number of researchers per million inhabitants (from 51 to 60), a key figure used by economists as an indicator of a country's commitment to science. In the rest of Africa, there was an overall higher increase of 34 per cent in the number of researchers, from 32,000 to 43,000.

Peter Tindemans, former head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Global Science Forum, observed that it is unlikely that the United States will spend much more than its current figure of about 2.75 per cent of GDP [on R&D], but it is very likely that China will grow from its present 1.6 per cent or so to above two per cent.

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Govt yet to construct 427 destroyed Malakand schools
Peshawar: Militants have destroyed 427 educational institutions, most of them for girls, in three districts of the Malakand Division, but the government is yet to launch efforts to rebuild these schools to ensure better future for the students.

The education sector was worst hit by the militancy in the division during the last more than two years. Hundreds of schools were blown up or torched and the process of education halted several times. Most of the Malakand Division districts saw militancy, but campaign against the schools, particularly that of girls, was fierce in Swat and Dir districts.

Official data available with The News shows that 323 schools in Swat, 67 in Dir Lower and 37 in Dir Upper have been targeted. However, sources said only four schools were attacked in Dir Upper. The militants completely destroyed 117 girl schools and partially damaged 67 others. Out of the destroyed girl schools, three were higher secondary, 15 high, 35 middle and 79 primary schools. The data shows that 32, 409 students were enrolled in these schools.

As far as the boys schools are concerned, 49 were fully destroyed while 90 partially damaged. These included eight higher secondary, 34 high, 23 middle and 70 primary schools. A total of 104 schools were attacked in the two districts of Dir.

The militants, led by Fazlullah, used attacks on schools, particularly in Swat valley, as war tactic to bring the government to its knees. The militants also targeted health and communication infrastructures, but education suffered the most. Also, the militants following a particularly ideology wanted to replace "the infidel curriculum" with an Islamic one that could create "Mujahideen and honest people."

Majority of the educational institutions remained closed in the most volatile areas of the valley for a long time, affecting the students education. However, officials in Swat and Dir Upper districts said all the schools had been made operational and none of the destroyed institutions was closed at the moment. The thirst for education can be judged from this aspect, as the Taliban-terrorised people are willing to send their children to schools, enabling authorities to revive this sector.

Militants bombed a girls' middle school in Bibyawar town in Dir Upper in June 2008 and warned the students and teachers not to attend the school. However, locals said, the school hardly remained closed for a week or so. Showing great commitment to education, the students restarted education in the ruined school sending a strong message to the militants that they won't stop coming to schools.

"It was a defeat for the militants who, despite blowing the building up, could not deter students to abandon education," a resident, whishing anonymity, said. "The Pakistani flag is still fluttering and national anthem echoing in this school," he said of the continuing process of education.

However, United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has launched work on the reconstruction of schools in Dir Upper. District Coordinator of the Unicef, Mir Mazharuddin, told The News by phone they completed the reconstruction of the five-room school in Bibyawar with a cost of Rs1.1 million. He said the UN agency would be spending Rs5 million more on the revival of three other schools.

However, no work has been launched in Swat valley, where hundreds of schools are the scenes of rubble, to build the destroyed schools. However, the assistant district officer planning and development in education department of Swat, Fazal Ahad, said none of the schools was non-functional.

"We started education in the nearest buildings of the destroyed schools, taking second shifts in the schools that are still intact and established 58 tent schools. Even schools in Peochar are functional," Ahad claimed.

The government and Unicef, he added, were still to assess the losses caused to the schools. He said 11,000 teachers were working in 1,576 state-run schools. He confessed that quality education could not be provided to the students on account of persistent uncertainty and trauma.

The officer said he had no data of the dropout students, but said attendance was thin in certain areas due to uncertain security situation. The attendance, he said, had dropped by 25 percent in Charbagh and Manglawar areas.

The education officer said army would construct six schools while the Faisal Bank would build one. In Dir Lower, reconstruction of the blown-up schools has not been started yet. The people have been demanding the revival of these educational institutions so that the studies of their children may not be affected. The news

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Protest against Text Book Board chairman held
Peshawar: The activists of Frontier Publishers Association NWFP staged protest demonstration against the members and chairman of Text Book Board and strongly condemned the misbehaviour of the officials. In front of Peshawar Press Club here on Tuesday, the workers of Frontier Publishers Association NWFP protested against the said officials. The protest rally led by the association president Iqtidar Ali Akhunzada.

The protesters were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the chairman and members of the Text Book Board. They were also chanted full-throated slogans against the said that official while condemning their misbehaviour. They were of the view that the said chairman allocated members in the board on nepotism and favouritism.

Addressing the protesters, the president of Frontier Publishers Association NWFP Iqtidar Ali Akhunzada alleged that the allocation committee consisting of text book board chairman and members destroyed the terms and condition of the board as they had done allocation on nepotism basis.

He was of the view that the steps taken by the allocation committee was highly condemnable and demanded of the board to resolve the issue on table-talk. He said that the board administration continuously refusal of the table-talks seems that the administration wanted to disguise the real situation.

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FATA IT teachers demanded regularization
Peshawar: All FATA IT Teachers and Lab Incharge Union president Anwar Hayat on Tuesday demanded of the Governor NWFP to regularize all contract IT teachers and laboratory incharges and provide them all facilities and allowances.

Speaking during a news conference at Peshawar Press Club here, he said that the federal government kicked of IT Management Project in 2004 with the collaboration of provincial government, adding that it was fixed that all the contract employees of the project would be made regularized after three years, but still the employees are deprived of their regularization rights.

He said that all the contract IT teachers and lab incharges had to be regularized in 2007, but they are yet to be regularized, demanding that to regularize the teachers and IT incharges was due right of the project employees. He said that the administration was also informed in this regard but no response had given to them yet.

All FATA IT Teachers and Lab Incharge Union president further said that likewise ICT and FATA employees of the same project in the other areas, the teachers and lab incharges posts should be regularize and also given the grade of 16 and 17, adding that the if the government had not regularize the same officials, it would be great injustice with the people of FATA.

He warned that if the government failed to fulfill their demands, the imployees would move the court against the government in this reconnection. PPI

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Outstanding UMS students awarded
Peshawar: The students of senior section of University Model School for Girls were awarded prizes for their outstanding performance at the 54th annual prize distribution ceremony on Tuesday.

The principal of the school presented the annual report of the institution and the success stories of students on various forums. She said this year out of 137 students of science group, 64 secured AI grade, 65 A Grade, 7 b grade with an overall 100 percent success ratio. She added the school was a beacon of knowledge and wisdom and that was so because of a team effort of the staff members.

Students presented various tableau and national songs among which 'Watan Kahani' was a standout performance. University of Peshawar Registrar Sherinzada Khattak was the chief guest on the occasion and distributed prizes to the students.

Sidra Jan of the Humanities group won the gold medal by securing 3rd position in the group in the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Peshawar, Iman Tauqeer and Shandana Kifayat won silver medal for taking 7th position in the BISE while Afad Gul, Anum Rehman and Spoogmai Naeem were awarded silver medal for their distinctions in Peshawar board as well. The overall the best student of the year award was given to Uzma Ikhtiar. The news

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Tribute paid to Baloch scholar
Islamabad: Speakers at a literary seminar here on Monday showered tributes on the memory of the indomitable Baloch progressive nationalist poet, historian, politician and journalist Mir Gul Khan Naseer (1914-1983), who worked tirelessly for the rights of the people of Balochistan.

Prominent among those who shed light on the life and contribution of the polyglot poet, included Senator Ismail Buledi, Senator Dr Abdul Malik and Nawabzada Mir Lashkari Raisani, Chairman, Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power, writers such as Wahid Buksh Buzdar, Raheem Buhksh Mehr, Ziaur Rahman Baloch, Advocate Muhammad Usman and historian Dr Arshed Hameed.

They saw the conference as an attempt to bring the neglected resource-rich restive province to the national mainstream.

Senator Nawabzada Raisani, who is also president of Balochistan chapter of PPP, described Gul Khan Naseer as the leading intellectual and poet of his age, who wrote patriotic poetry in the Baloch language as well as in English, Urdu and Persian.

"He not only raised his voice against exploitation but also revolted against a constricted political order. From the prison during the Ayub regime he gave a wake up call to the Baloch nationalists and provided political guidance to the people. Senator Ismail Buledi stressed the need for practical steps to end the sense of deprivation of Baloch people, and to solve their problems which have been kept on the back burner during the last 60 years. "Balochistan must be put on the road to progress," said Senator Buledi.

Senator Abdul Malik appreciated the sentiment adding that the late poet worked for the unity and self-respect of Baloch people in spite of many hardships.

In his presidential remark, Prof Wahid Bakhsh Buzdar referred to the central point in the poetical works of Mir Gul Khan Naseer, which was filled with protest and revolution brining new voice to modern Baloch poetry.

"He composed resistant poetry all his life and opposed class conflicts and political oppression, not as slogan but from personal observation of the national scene."

"He lives in the hearts of his people," Prof Buzdar observed.

Gul Khan Naseer was at the forefront of the Baloch nationalist movement and was most active between 1935 and 1980. He wrote poems in English, Urdu, Balochi, Brahvi and Persian. He was a good friend of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Mir Gul Khan's poetry is filled with revolutionary and anti-imperialist themes and reflects his progressive and socialist ideals. Mir Gul Khan wrote many books on history and poetry and translated several works from other languages into Balochi and Urdu. Dawn

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