Sindh to block Skype | Ghost schools
Is the internet next?
Karachi, Oct 05: In the hot pursuit of terrorists, the Sindh government has conveniently forgotten civil liberties.
three-month, province-wide ban on web-based instant messaging services,
particularly those used through smartphones, comes at a time when
citizens have already gone a whole year without YouTube – depriving them
of the globally popular video clips sharing website. Next in the line
of fire are Internet-based communication services, especially Skype,
WhatsApp, Tango and Viber. Apart from Skype, the other three
applications are largely used on smartphones.
and voice messaging services became popular when the previous government
resorted to shutting down cellular phone services in major cities to
prevent terrorist attacks on religious holidays. Skype is the most
widely used in Pakistan. A large number of people use the service to
communicate with their relatives and friends living abroad on their
personal computers, laptops, smartphones and other hand-held devices. The news
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'Ghost schools' cause leakage of billions: report
Islamabad: Ghost schools in Pakistan result in leakage of
billions of rupees and exacerbate the high levels of frustration
experienced by the overlooked, neglected and disenfranchised youths.
Such schools also represent lost opportunities for progress of
millions of children, says the 'Global Corruption Report' released by
the Transparency International (TI) on Tuesday.
The report says that despite decades of intervention by the World
Bank, Asian Development Bank, Unesco and many other international
multilateral institutions, corruption in Pakistan has contributed to
bringing public sector governance mechanisms close to collapse. The
education sector is severely affected by corruption, threatening the
quality of more than 150,000 government-supported schools across the
The schools also known as 'shadow schools' were perpetuating cycles
of abject poverty, child labour and unemployment and compounded poor
performance in education indicators.
Over half of the Pakistani children do not have access to education
and the country is projected to have the largest out-of-school
population, of 3.7 million, in the region by 2015.
The report says that ghost schools and other means of corruption in
the education sector are currently a low-risk, high-return activity,
which could be facilitated by a network of corrupt actors positioned in
Such practices must be urgently addressed to protect the future of 21
million students in the world's sixth most populous nation. No effort
or resources should be spared to give the future generations the
opportunity to rise from poverty, fully equipped to face the challenges
of tomorrow for a more prosperous Pakistan.
Political will is the first prerequisite for change, yet corruption
in education is so pervasive that it permeates the highest ranks in the
country. While education may not be valued by all at the highest levels
of government, across all provinces in Pakistan demand for high-quality
education is strong. Giving the children the education they deserve will
require transforming political will through continued media attention
and community involvement, according to the report.
Addressing ghost schools requires strengthening of accountability,
and this includes holding school heads to account if payments are found
to be going to non-existent teachers. It might entail depositing
salaries directly into the banking accounts of teachers, making it
easier to verify who is receiving funds, says the report.
It has also been recommended that government auditors visit each
school annually and certify the school's physical existence, with
verification by independent third parties. Improving accountability can
also mean drawing on the resources outside the education sector for
collaboration. The report says the phenomenon of 'ghost schools' ranks
as the most troubling. So-called ghost schools exist on government
rosters, but provide no services to students, although the teachers or
administrators assign to these schools continue to receive salary.
Corruption has undermined the reputation of the education sector in many
countries. Almost one in five people worldwide paid bribes to education
services last year while in the poorest countries the number rises to
one in three, the report states.
One overarching recommendation of the report is the need to reach a
better understanding of education as an essential tool in itself in the
fight against corruption. The social role and value of the school and
the teacher must be placed at the forefront of education policy and
anti-corruption efforts. National policy-makers should see the teacher
as a role model and the school as a microcosm of society and train
teachers to teach by example. Dawn
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60 graduates given degrees at ICU convocation
Peshawar: Some 60 graduates of BS programme were given away degrees at the
convocation of the Islamia College University (ICU) here on Tuesday.
graduates were awarded gold medals for their brilliant performance.
Three PhD and four MPhil degrees were also distributed on the occasion.
Governor Shaukatullah was supposed to be the chief guest on the
occasion, but he couldn't turn up owing to other engagements. In his
absence, vice-chancellor of University of Peshawar Dr Rasul Jan, who
also holds additional charge of vice-chancellor ICU, was the chief
The ceremony was held at the historic Roose Keppel
of the university. Senior alumni, faculty members and students attended
the convocation present. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Rasul Jan
congratulated the graduates and threw light on the history and services
of Islamia College University, which, he said, was not only the most
historic, but greatest seat of learning in the province. Former governor
Lt Gen (r) Ali Mohammad Jan Aurakzai was also present on the occasion.
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UoP Zoology Dept begins Golden Jubilee celebrations
Peshawar: The Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Department of Zoology, University
of Peshawar, started at the auditorium hall of the Institute of
Education and Research on Friday.
The students of BS
programme prepared a documentary in connection with the day wherein they
highlighted that around five million animal species exist in the world.
added that due to the negligence of fellow Habitat colleagues, human
beings, 27,000 of them extinct annually. They revealed that if the
condition persists, 15 million of the animal species would be extinct in
the coming 30 years.
Earlier, Chairperson of the
department Dr Naheed Ali presented the performance review. She said the
college has produced good number of masters, M.Phil and Ph.D scholars
since its establishment in 1963. She called for establishment of a
Centre of Paristology and Vector Biology to study and take control over
epidemics caused by animals in the region.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Rasul Jan, who was chief guest of the
day, said that humans should learn a lesson of living in harmony from
animals. The news
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