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Teaching standard in Karachi government school

School peon takes to teaching ignored students
Karachi, Oct 13: Sitting in a dark and dingy classroom, 14 children anxiously wait for their teacher - the school's peon. Even if they don't like it, they are dependent on him for their academic future, and the formation of their scholastic foundations.

"We want a teacher who tells us about a lot of things, reads books to us, showers attention on us, gives us a lot of work, and remains with us all the time," one of the students, seven-year-old Omer, pleads innocently.

While students in other schools are relishing the opportunity of being engrossed in the vibrant and magical world of alphabets, colours and numbers, children of grades one and two at the City District Government Local Bodies (wing) Elementary Boys School, J.T 13, situated in Baloch Colony, union council (UC)-5, Jamshed Town, are compelled to remain within the four walls of their very limited imagination.

They are able to very efficiently pen down every word from their textbooks to their notebooks, but they cannot read what they have written. They have memorized by heart the chapters in their books but cannot understand what is being said. They are left unattended most of the time, because the peon who is also their teacher, has other chores to attend to. The children are cooped up in this hot and dusty place for a good three hours.

One of the students, Yasir, who lives in Baloch Colony, studies in this classroom along with his three brothers. While he gently uses pencils to draw on his tattered notebooks, he chews betelnuts, and claims that it is good for health. The others also pass their time by either colouring, copying sentences from their books, or loitering around the room.

The lack of teachers in this school has led the peon, Masood Taqi, to take charge of academic duties. Taqi, who is a Matriculate and has been working here for the past five years, enjoys teaching the children, and says he does everything in his limited capacity to ensure that the children are not ignored entirely.

This afternoon-shift school has just two teachers for 300 students. While Samreen teaches grades three and four together, Alfrida is the class teacher of grade 5. The younger ones, of a combined class of grade one and two, are left to Taqi.

During a visit to the school, the building was also in an appalling condition. Desks, floors and the walls of classrooms are smeared with black stains, making it look like the children are studying in a coal factory. Broken furniture occupies the small piece of land which the children use as their playground. Stinking rubbish in the alley behind the school forces the children to breathe in foul air. Moreover, plaster is peeling off of the façade, the walls are cracked, and the ceilings are crumbling. One can forget about libraries and computer labs when the students at this school are even deprived of satisfactory lavatory facilities.

"We have submitted numerous applications to the authorities concerned, and to the education department, regarding the problems of the school. We desperately need more staff. We don't even have a sweeper or a gatekeeper. The children are forced to clean the premises themselves. The electrical appliances are all worn out. Our school is mired in problems," Ramzana Yousuf, the headmistress of the school, lamented.

Without an adequate staff, Yousuf and the teachers admitted that the students are not getting proper education. "Since we are teaching them all the subjects ourselves, we cannot pay attention to each and every child," Samreen said.

Classes, however, are held regularly even when the attendance is low, she said, adding that language is one barrier which creates problems because most children at the school come from lower-income families from Baloch Colony and Umer Colony and cannot converse in Urdu.

Within the premises of this school is the elementary section. This building was inaugurated in 2005 by the City District Government Karachi, and is in a much better condition than the other structure. Inside this new building, however, the academic situation remains grim too, because there are only two teachers for grades six to eight. Shaikh Muhammad Rafiq teaches Grade 6, and the other teacher handles a combined class of grades 7 and 8. "There is a great need of teachers here. There was a staff of 10 teachers in the past, but all of them got transferred. Now in this school, we have only four teachers in all for grade 1 to 8," Rafiq said sadly.

Town Nazim Javed Ahmed could not be reached for comment, he said that he was "busy in meetings" every time he was called.

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Private universities play vital role in education sector
Karachi: Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan Jawaid Leghari has said that private universities were playing a significant role in education sector.

He was speaking at a programme organised in his honor by the Association of Private Universities and Institutes of Pakistan (APUI) here on Monday. The programme was attended by chancellors and vice chancellors of private universities from across the country, said a statement issued by the APUI.

Prof Leghari also assured the APUI office-bearers that their demands would be considered. President APUI Khalid Ameen called for the provision of gas to private universities as soon as possible with the permission of utilizing it as an alternative to electricity.

He said that the current electricity disruptions have disrupted the education system and added that the institutions faced losses if they opted for diesel. He also called for tax-free provisions of electricity, gas and other utility services to the universities. General Secretary APUI, Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi, said that the government should adopt a policy to provide low-interest easy loans to the students of lower middle class.

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College principal, four teachers found absent
Karachi: The principal, four teachers and a lab attendant of the Aisha Bawany Government College were found absent from duty when a surprise check was carried out at the institution on the directive of Sindh Education Minister, Pir Mazhar ul Haq.

A statement here on Monday said that the principal, four teachers and a lab attendant were found absent during the college hour without any intimation. It said that the attendance of students in the classes and lab was quite less.

The senior teacher of the college, Prof. Ather Yousuf Khan, who was present on the occasion, was asked to ensure the attendance of teachers in the college. The lack of cleanliness at the science lab of the college was noticed and it was directed that the premises and equipment be kept neat and clean.

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Students' Week at KU
Karachi: The University of Karachi (KU) has initiated the Students' Week from Monday to Saturday. Various departments have been allowed to hold their programmes after obtaining permission from Students Advisor Dr Tanweer Khalid.

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Teachers' Toolkit launched
Karachi: The book launching ceremony of a blue book prepared by DHA Education Directorate titled 'Teachers' Toolkit' was held at Defence Authority Degree College for Women Phase VIII. The toolkit comprises a number of research based articles and different case studies on modern day education psychology. On the occasion, Brig (Retd) Iftikhar Arshad said that `Teachers Toolkit' was an inspiring book produced as a result of pains taking efforts and reiterated that the book provided handy solutions to teachers for tackling any difficult class room situation effectively.

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PMDC team visited dental college
Karachi: A team of Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC) formally inspected on Monday the innovative infrastructure of the newly-established Ziauddin Dental College at the Ziauddin University's Clifton Campus.

The team, led by Prof. Dr Nazia Yazdanie visited various sections, class rooms, labs, faculty library and inspected the facilities available for the Dental College. The college will be launched soon after a formal approval is received from the PMDC.

Meanwhile a welcome day was organized for the 15th batch of medical students by the Ziauddin Medical College on Saturday at the University's Clifton Campus. It was attended by students and their parents. The function was presided over by the Chancellor Dr. Asim Hussain while Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Arif Ali Zaidi, Dean Prof. Dr. Kamran Hameed, Registrar Mr. Mohammad Yousuf and faculty were also present on the occasion. The news

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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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