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Schools closure in view of the terrorist threat

Punjab schools shut down in wake of security crisis
Lahore, Oct 20: Due to threats of a terrorist attacks a large number of schools in the city remained closed on Monday.

A large number of schools announced they would be closed for two days, while many announced a seven-day vacation. The parents remained confused because of the eleventh hour announcement by the institutions.

In many areas, when parents came to drop their children, they were informed that the schools had been closed for seven days. "I came to drop my daughter but a notice has been displayed that says the school is closed," said Muhammad Mubeen, who went to drop his daughter at a school in liberty, said.

The schools that were not closed increased the security measures by deputing security guards at the main gates and checking every vehicle and stranger. The private schools demanded the government to provide security, failing which they would remain closed.

The school administrations, following the suit of the federal government institutions closed the schools. "The federal government is closing the schools due to the operation against the terrorists. So, we cannot take any risks and put the lives of students in danger," an official of a private school situated in a posh locality said. He said though the security in the school was high, the administration was not ready to take any risk. "If the government provides us security, we are ready to open the schools," he added.

Proper notices: All Pakistan Private School Owners Association and Joint Action Committee for Private Schools Central President Mirza Kashif Ali said some of the schools had taken the decision on their own and the association did not support it. He said if the city district government wants the schools to be closed, it should issue proper notices. "There have been attacks on The Mall where schools came under threat but they remained opened," he said, adding that the city administration should not spread fear and panic among the parents and students.

A number of colleges and universities remained open with extraordinary security arrangements. The Punjab University banned the entry of strangers and only people with proper identification were allowed to go inside. PU Public Relations Officer Shabbir Sarwer said the security was increased to safeguard the lives of students. "The students, teachers and administration are issued stickers while the strangers have to prove thir identity for entry," he added. Daily times

EDO said All schools to remain open
Lahore: All government and private schools in the city will remain open. This was decided in a meeting of City District Government Lahore officials. According to a handout issued on Monday, the meeting also reviewed the security arrangements at educational institutions.

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Schools closure and responsibility of law-enforcement agencies
Lahore: I want to raise the issue of schools' closure in view of the terrorist threat with the question of the responsibility of law-enforcement agencies and their priorities vis--vis protection of ordinary citizens. While they bend over backwards to erect barriers, barricades and provide armed escorts to senior government officials and diplomats the need for protecting ordinary citizens is simply ignored. Such tactics comes at the expense of millions of taxpayers and end up benefiting only a handful of people.

What about the millions of others who need protection? Who is responsible for their and their children's protection? It's easy to live in denial and assume nothing will happen and even if it happens it won't happen to us. I'm not taking anything away from those brave soldiers and policemen who have lost their lives fighting militancy. But gradually each one of us has lost family and friends, or at least know of family and friends who have lost precious and innocent loved ones to terrorist attacks.

Coming back to the point, we are now left to fend for ourselves as those that were supposed to protect us cannot even protect themselves or, to say the least, are too busy protecting themselves. It's tragic to see the state of affairs come down to this but sadly that is the truth. We must accept now that we live in a war-torn Pakistan and our children must grow up with this fear that any day their lives can become hell. Imagine the damage this would be causing to their impressionable minds. One fears for their future and the mindset that they will grow up with.

Anyhow, we are now shackled with these realities and have to protect ourselves in the best means possible. If that means arming our houses then so be it, we will arm. If we have to protect our schools and if the state is ineffective in protecting them, so be it, we will have to do it ourselves. I can't sit here and lament on how the state should do this or that, I think we're all fooling ourselves and the time has come to open our eyes to the reality around us. The state has failed, after repeated changes in government of one form or another, it has failed.

Easier said than done, but we must start with a basic grouping of numbers. We must learn to stand up for what we want in our lives. Why should our children go in fear to school while others move around in armoured cars or with armed escorts? What one would like to see is the government taking responsibility and protecting schools. -Agha Murtaza Ali Khan (The news)

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Masters classes at GCU, Islamia College suspended
Lahore: The study of Urdu language & literature in a number of colleges and universities has been suspended due to lack of enrolment and students' interest in the discipline. With the rising inclination of students in science subjects and job-oriented disciplines of the commerce and IT, languages, arts and literature received little or no importance. The arts and literature in general and Urdu literature in particular is facing lukewarm response by the students at Masters level.

Master classes in Urdu at Islamia College Civil Lines, Government Science College Wahdat Road, old FC College in Township and even Government College University have been closed down due to poor or no enrolment. The Master classes in Punjab University Oriental College, once famous for oriental literature studies, are also receiving scant response and its enrolment is negligible. The Master classes in oriental languages like Persian have also been closed down even at graduate level. There are also no teaching facilities of Persian at graduate and Intermediate level in any college due to acute shortage of teachers.

The Master in Arabic studies is also in fewer universities and none in any postgraduate college. The classes in Urdu and other subjects at Masters level have been closed also due to lack of interest by the authorities failing to provide teachers and classroom facilities for these students. Same is the case with journalism, social work, social studies and local and foreign language studies which form elective and optional subjects in BA. Why the studies in Urdu language and literature is facing crisis and poor enrolment at Master classes is the fact that one can appear in MA Urdu as an external candidate in the Punjab University annual examinations. Besides, job opportunities for Masters degree-holders in Urdu are fewer and very little in the education department.

If the teaching and tutorial facilities are improved and quality education in Urdu is imparted by the competent teachers students would surely be willing to take admissions in regular classes. This is evident from the fact that Government MAO College has introduced MA Urdu classes recently which is receiving tremendous response. The 25 seats sanctioned by the Punjab University for Part-I have been filled by the closing date of admission 2009. The part-II had also 12 students enrolled in the year 2008 as the second batch of the degree.

Head of the Urdu department Prof Mohammad Rafi said tutorial practices in regular classes provide real knowledge, correct recitation of verses, vocabulary, accent and pronunciation. Why students hesitate to take admission is because of the fact that teachers are ignorant of teaching methodology while every subject has its own teaching methodology which should be imparted to teachers during the training period or refreshers courses before taking the classes. The teachers too are not appointed on the basis of their aptitude for teaching Urdu literature. As such they fail to create an environment which could attract the students.

He said arts and science should go parallel to each other and decline in any of the two could lead to a disastrous end. The nation

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GCU discussed stay of Iqbal in Germany
Lahore: The Government College University, Lahore Monday organised a lecture-cum-discussion on the topic of 'Iqbal and Germany'.

According a press statement issued here, the stay of the great national poet in Germany and its effects on the whole Europe extensively came under discussion in the lecture. GCU Urdu Department Professor Dr Khalid, who has recently completed his PhD on Allama Muhammad Iqbal from Germany, delivered a detailed lecture and answered the critical questions by the university students.

He said that he had studied all the historical documents available in reference to Allama Iqbal in Germany. He specially mentioned Iqbal Street in Heidelberg Germany and the great poet's house.

He told students that Allama Iqbal's poem 'Aik Sham' was written on a stone at the Younger River. He said the stay of Allama Iqbal in Germany and his literary works seemed to have a deep impact on Europe.

GCU reference for Dr Waheed: Government College University, Lahore Urdu Department Monday arranged a condolence reference of noted Urdu poet, critic and intellectual Dr Waheed Qureshi.

The department passed a resolution to highlight the services of Dr Waheed for Urdu Literature and the Government College University, Lahore, stating that Pakistan and Urdu had lost a great educationist, researcher and a teacher. They remembered that Dr Waheed had gifted a large collection of his books to the GC University library. They also offered Fateha for the departed soul.

GCU Vice Chancellor Dr. Khalid Aftab said Mr. Waheed was a great scholar of Urdu literature, terming his death a national loss. Old Ravians Union Secretary Kamran Lashari has also expressed grief over the death of a great Old Ravian. A large number of students and teachers from the GCU also attended special prayers held for the great Urdu scholar at his house. The news


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