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Studying in female universities

What it is like to study in an all-female university
Rawalpindi, Sep 10: According to a famous African proverb, If you teach a boy, you educate an individual; but if you teach a girl, you educate a community. Educating women is vital for the growth and progress of a society. One cannot expect a nation to prosper in today s competitive world if its women are left behind.

Pakistan has around 132 universities that are imparting quality education to students. Most of these institutions follow the co-education system. However, Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU), being the first institution of its kind for females, has played a pivotal role in women s emancipation by offering educational facilities in an environment conducive to learning. The university has paved paths for them to achieve a brighter future.

The learning environment be it co-education or any other system has a substantial impact on students. Students of FJWU expressed different opinions regarding the pros and cons of studying in a female-oriented environment.

Aqsa, a student of B.ECO at FJWU says, I got admitted to this university, not because it is a women s institution but because it is well-reputed, provides an environment that is comfortable and competitive, and enables students to pursue their courses without fear or insecurity.

Being part of a patriarchal society, there are certain stereotypes attached to women s behaviour, and they are often subjected to constant reminders by their elders that they are women and are supposed to act as such.

Ayesha Khalid, a student of BCA shared her views, In a culture like ours, such institutions are important as girls need to have at least one place where they get to be who they want to be, and explore themselves more openly and freely.

There are still some established cultural and traditional norms in our society, and one of the most common issues that women come across is parents reluctance to send their daughters to study in the same institutions as men.

Aisha Siddiqua, a student of English department believes that such institutions are a ray of hope for women who are bound by social restrictions, and in their absence, would remain deprived of the joys of university life. You can act up to your utmost potential without any hesitation. You feel more confident and your self-respect is untainted...I can study with more concentration than anywhere else...Moreover, parents feel apprehensive about our future; they shudder at the thought of their girls studying with males and this is largely because of the societal pressure, Ayesha said.

Ayesha Mehmood, a former student of FJWU, believes that one of the drawbacks of studying in such institutions is lack of confidence while interacting with men. I feel that I am not competent enough to work with men and mostly feel hesitant talking to male peers and colleagues as I was so used to my university environment, she said.

Hafsa of Bachelors Communication Sciences disagreed with this notion. We do get an opportunity to interact with men as there is an organized system at FJWU, according to which it is compulsory for every student to pursue community work and a 6-week internship which develops confidence in them and gives them enough exposure and knowhow of their professional workplace, she pointed out.

Maria Kafil from the English Department believes that there are instances when even co-education cannot develop confidence in women. I have studied in co-education for 12 years and could not perform well; I was shy. I opted for an all-girls medium for my bachelors in a government college. Believe me, the experience and the contrast between the two mediums compelled me to seek admission in FJWU, she said.

On the whole, students studying at FJWU are contented with the environment and the academia. Such institutions have helped women in overcoming the many barriers that they have to face in their academic lives. Moreover, the education provided by these institutions helps women to excel in both their professional as well as domestic lives. If institutions like these will cease to exist, then we as a nation and a country as a whole will suffer irreparable damage.

(The writers are students of the Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi). The news

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Students of CMT clinch top positions
Islamabad: Students of the College of Medical Technology (CMT) being run by the National Institute of Health (NIH) have achieved record-breaking distinctions, clinching eight out of the top 10 positions in the HSSC-MLT annual examination 2011 conducted by the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education.

According to details, the first three positions also went to the same college with Farasat Mehmood obtaining first position with 836 marks, two students Tariq Mehmood and Muhammad Waqas obtained 797 marks each and securing second positions, 12 students obtaining 709 and above marks whereas eight students obtained 660 and above marks.

Similarly, students of the college appearing for BSc (Hons) Allied Health Sciences (MLT Specialty) Mid-Comprehensive Examination 2010 conducted by the King Edward Medical University, Lahore, have secured six out of top 10 positions including the first position. Rabia Fatima clinched the first position by obtaining 464 marks while two students Bibi Khadeeja and Imran Yaseen obtained 455 and 447 marks respectively and secured the third and fourth positions.

According to a spokesman, CMT is a prestigious institute imparting quality training in its work field since 1961. Being a pioneer institute in this field, the college has been affiliated with Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education and King Edward Medical

University Lahore for HSSC MLT and BSc (Hons) programmes.

The spokesman added that students qualifying from this college are serving in various institutes of the country and abroad, especially in Middle East countries.

The college is producing technical human resource as students have exposure to new and advanced techniques in the field of Medical Laboratory Technology and are provided with opportunity for hands-on training in the laboratories of NIH.

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A college fights for survival
Rawalpindi: While the Punjab government continues boasting about establishment of Danish School System to make quality education accessible to the poor; the only college in the backward Kahuta tehsil is at verge of closure due to financial constraints.

Established in 1964, the college is the only institution catering to areas from tehsil Kotli Sattian to Dhadial and Hular bridge to Sihala police station inhabited by over a million people. The college has always clinched good position in the examinations held under the Punjab University.

Being near Khan Research Laboratory (KRL), the Punjab government was some years back asked to hand over the college to KRL due to its sensitive location. However, finally it was decided that the college would be run by a board of governors consisting of both Punjab government and the KRL officials.

Nuclear scientist Dr A. Q. Khan was the first chairman of the BoG from 1996 to 2002 and according to the college staff, he would make hefty contributions to the college every year. They said it was the golden period of the college when Dr Khan headed the BoG.And until last year, the Punjab government also continued releasing Rs6.2 million quarterly for the uplift and salaries of the college staff. However, this year the provincial government drastically reduced the quarterly budget to Rs1.5 million only. As a result, teachers of the college have not been paid salaries for the last two months. The teachers said they had to borrow money for Eidul Fitr.

"The latest situation is that, the Punjab government has asked us to generate funds by increasing tuition fees to meet the college's expenses. We have increased the fees but without the help of the government we cannot run the college and ultimately it has to be closed," Principal of the college Prof Shabbir Raja said.

"We are already charging each student Rs6,000 annually and we cannot further jack up the fee and burden the poor people. The college cannot survive in the current situation," he maintained.

With 60 teaching staff and over 1,000 students, including 300 females; the college has a covered area of 400 kanals having four playgrounds, an auditorium and a laboratory.

The service structure of the teachers is also not promising and they are not even entitled to any pension. Last year, one of the teachers died of heart attack and the government refused to release his pension. Later, a court of law ordered the government to pay Rs500,000 to his family.

Dr Arshad Miraj, a teacher of the college, told this reporter that the government was deliberately closing the institution in order to replace it with Danish School. He regretted that thousands of students in the rural area would suffer if the institution was closed. "There is no fund for the maintenance and repair work. The college is presenting a pathetic look and teachers are switching over to other jobs. We have informed the authorities concerned about the situation but so far have not received any positive response," he said.

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Teachers refuse to perform additional duty
Rawalpindi: The teachers serving in government schools all over Punjab have refused to accept additional duty regarding corrections in lists of voters on the call of their respective associations and unions. According to them, the decision to this effect has been taken in the best interest of students, who have to suffer due to absence of teachers from schools.

All Punjab Teachers Association President Sagheer Alam confirmed that on the directives of the Punjab government, the concerned city district administrations have assigned additional duties regarding correction in lists of voters to teachers serving in government schools.

He said that the additional duties were assigned a couple of days ago to more than 10,000 teachers. As a result of the step, students, both boys and girls, have to suffer and due to teachers absence the attendance ratio dropped significantly.

It merits mentioning here that around five months ago the government had assigned census duties to teachers and at that time too students had to suffer.

This is highhandedness of the government. Moreover, immediately after the end of duties of correction in lists of voters, a plan has been finalised to depute teachers on the duty of population census from October 10 this year, Sagheer Alam claimed.

Instead of deputing teachers on additional duties, he said, this work could have been taken from them during summer vacation, which would not have affected studies of students.

The APTA office-bearers have decided to boycott additional duties and a decision in this regard would be finalised in a meeting today (Saturday), which would be attended by teachers from all over the province, he added.

The APTA president said that if the concerned administrations would take action against teachers during the boycott of duties then they would start a protest movement.

On the other hand, Commissioner (Rawalpindi) Captain (r) Zahid Saeed, commenting over the issue, confirmed that teachers have been assigned additional duties regarding correction in lists of voters. He also agreed that studies of students would be affected due to this step. However, the commissioner cleared that duties have been assigned in pursuance of the orders of the Supreme Court to Election Commission of Pakistan to correct the lists of voters before the next general elections. The election commissioner has issued directions to the concerned district administrations for kicking off the work in this regard. We could have deputed teachers on duties during summer vacation, but the verdict of the apex court has been passed recently. The district administrations, headed by commissioners, then passed on the orders to the concerned education directorates for initiating work on it, he stated. Anyhow, additional allowance is paid to teachers for doing extra duties and only 50% of staff is assigned work, the commissioner clarified.

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SZABIST holds orientation for new students
Islamabad: An orientation ceremony for the new students of the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) for the session 2011-12 was held at the Islamabad campus to provide students with the smooth and helpful transition into university life.

SZABIST (Islamabad campus) Director Syed Asad Hussain in his address welcomed the new students.

The director said that SZABIST has always focused on quality education. During the last few years our students have shown excellent performances and are serving in leading national and international organizations, he added. There was a question and answer session with the students after the address. The news

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