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Set of encyclopedia books : National writing contest 09-10

Education department under fire in NWFP Assembly
Peshawar, Oct 2: Following objections from lawmakers, Acting Speaker of the NWFP Assembly Khushdil Khan Thursday referred to an assembly committee the Education Ministry's directive asking the primary and middle schools to purchase a set of encyclopedia books.

The explanation by Minister for Higher Education Sardar Hussain Babak couldn't satisfy the opposition members and mover of the adjournment motion.

PPP parliamentary leader Abdul Akbar Khan earlier drew the attention of the House towards the Education Ministry's directive to primary and middle schools in the province to purchase the encyclopedia, which he felt would benefit a few people instead of students.

"The government is concentrating on improving schooling. It has authorised the Parents Teachers Council (PTC) comprising five to six people to purchase equipment for libraries, laboratories according to their own requirements," the minister replied but the mover was quick to remind the minister that they had no objection to it but why the government had issued letters to schools binding them to purchase the encyclopedia set.

Saqibullah Chamkani supported the mover and suggested to his own party's minister not to make purchase of precious encyclopedia compulsory, but instead provide teachers to schools that lack staff. JUI-F's Mufti Kifayatullah made a similar demand.

Former chief minister and PML-N parliamentary leader Pir Sabir Shah claimed that 90 percent of school funds were being misused, particularly in his native Haripur district. He demanded investigation into the matter. PML-N's Inayatullah Jadoon suggested purchase of a computer with encyclopedia software instead of wasting millions of rupees on purchasing the set of books.

The Acting Speaker, Khushdil Khan, who belongs to the ANP, said he had also received a letter and copies of the books and asked the minister to explain the need to purchase the encyclopedia and whether it was authored by a particular writer from Punjab.

Elaborating, Minister Sardar Babak reminded the differences between PTA and now PTC, saying that by improving teachers' skill and training, the department wanted to improve the educational standards of students.

Keeping in view the silence of the mover, the chair asked Abdul Akbar as to why he was confused over his own motion. "It's now the property of the House," said the mover. The chair put the issue before the House for voice vote, which was supported with "ayes" and the matter was referred to the committee concerned.

PML-Q lawmaker Zahir Shah's adjournment motion, seeking debate on the miserable condition of IDPs in his area, was admitted for discussion. PML-N's Pir Sabir Shah, independent lawmaker Fazlullah, JUI-F's Gulistan Khan and PPP-S' Sikandar Sherpao supported the mover, asking the government to register IDPs and provide them the same facilities given to others.

Independent MPA Javed Tarakai and Yasmin Zia did not press their call attention notices after getting assurance from ministers. Javed complained the government was harassing his supporters by transferring them to the far-flung areas.

The minister said such practices would no longer continue and relief would be provided to all those who had been transferred. Yasmin Zia demanded reopening of 54 girls schools in her constituency. The news


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NBF to hold national writing contest 2009-2010
Islamabad: National Book Foundation (NBF) would award Rs 1.2 million to the best writers of kids' literature in 'National Writing Competition 2009-10'.

Afshan Sajid, Assistant Director NBF told this news agency that writers can send before October 31 three copies of their writing material in English, Urdu and regional language alongwith their CV.

The writing competition is aimed at promoting kids literature, developing reading habits, increasing harmony among children, parents and teachers and creating children interest in additional reading material and textbooks, she informed.

Giving details of the competition, the director said, those books which were part of any competition of NBF, would not be eligible for entry again. Fresh and new writings will be given preference.

Afshan said that the detailed advertisement carrying criteria for the competition has been published through print media last week.

A total of 48 awards in various categories would be given to winning writers. The first winner would bag Rs 40,000, second Rs 30,000, third Rs 20,000 and the fourth would get Rs 10,000 respectively.

Under the competition, books for children aged between four to sixteen years in three different categories would be included under topics of science and technology, social sciences, social values and pictorial stories.

Science and technology group include the category of everyday sciences, health and nutrition, earth and atmosphere, environmental issues and its solutions, preparation against calamities, games and quizzes. In Social Studies group, the categories are Pakistan - its geography, places and people, travelogue, children poems, novel, regional folk and short stories, drama and national heroes.

The categories in the social values group include women role in society, peace and tolerance, ethics and values. In the pictorial stories group, the categories are picture stories, humorous stories, poster and charts. The Assistant Director said that the awards will be given to those writers who would author best books on different topics of kids' interest.

Through this scheme, the children literature would be promoted to great extent and ample books would be available for them.

The foundation would provide 500 copies of the top books of the competition to the school libraries.

To make the market accessible for writers and publishers, the foundation would play its role to create opportunities, she added.

The foundation is striving to promote reading habits among children and making studies interesting. The results announced by NBF will be final and cannot be challenged in any court. The nation


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GCMS students protest
Mardan: The students of Government College of Management Sciences (GCMS) Saturday staged a protest demonstration against the University of Peshawar (UoP) administration for eliminating the semester system in the UoP-affiliated colleges.

Talking to reporters, the students said they had taken admission in the GCMS because of the semester system. But the UoP administration had scrapped the system in the affiliated colleges arbitrarily.

Criticising the university administration for the decision, they said only one semester had been completed so far, while they were awarded admission in September 2008. They demanded of UoP Chancellor Owais Ahmed Ghani to re-introduce the semester system in the college. The news


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