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7th grade English at intermediate level

7th grade English being taught at intermediate level
Islamabad, Sept 10: Degree classes in federal capital are on the verge of commencement but so far students and teachers do not have any idea what will be the course because degree awarding institutions have been affiliated with Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) and will not use the course of Punjab University.

On the other hand experience of most of the members of the board of studies is based on intermediate level coaching and only 4 out of 22 members have experience in graduation work.

According to sources, 14 Colleges (10 ex-FG and 4 Model) of Islamabad under Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) have been granted affiliation by QAU Islamabad at graduate and postgraduate levels and they have been detached from University of the Punjab, Lahore. It is indeed, a huge switch over of affiliation in the history of FDE. Being the first experience, so many issues have taken birth with big question marks regarding their solutions.

A faculty member of a college said that BA/BSc and B.Com part-I classes are going to start in current month but little homework seems to have been done regarding courses of teaching, the detailed instructions to the colleges for teaching, purchase of relevant books and even the paper pattern which students need to follow right from the beginning.

"The teachers in different colleges feel confused regarding courses at graduate and postgraduate levels. The board of studies notified for various disciplines have reportedly started holding their meetings but their snail's pace progress will definitely fail to cope with demand of the students taking admission in BA/BSc part-I," he said.

"Most particularly syllabi for teaching are the first and the basic step which is still in the air. Therefore, both teachers as well as students feel the chaotic situation and none of the two know anything about it. This is the situation when students are preparing to wear uniforms and sit in the classrooms," he said.

An officer of FDE said that most of the members in the board of studies do not have experience of teaching graduate and postgraduate level subjects.

"Many of the senior professors working under FDE who are competent and qualified like Dr Salauddin Darwesh in the subject of Urdu, Dr Rashid Azeem in the subject of Botany, Dr Muhammad Sajid Khan Khakwani in Islamic Studies and many more PhD's with more than 20 years experience of teaching to degree classes, were ignored," he said.

"Making of curricula and syllabi is extraordinary task and involves many things. Those concerned must be well aware and skilled in selection of subjects keeping in view demand of the job market, mental level of the students. Moreover the courses being taught at Intermediate, Degree and Postgraduate levels must be chained up to avoid repetitions of the similar topics in the course outlines or syllabi," he said.

A Faculty member of a college said: "Even the amendments proposed must be based on objective approach, keeping in view the available resources, capacity of institutions and the books available in the market."

"In the past, many experiments have already been made in the syllabus from schools to the university levels and many of them have failed because they were not according to the need of the society and available facilities," he said.

"The best examples are English language (compulsory) courses being taught at metric (SSC) and intermediate (HSSC) levels. The books recommended and being taught at present, are actually meeting mental level of 7th and 8th grade students. It should be remembered, these books replaced 'Interactive English' which was the first course meeting the mental levels of 9th and 10th grade students," he said.

"Similarly, English language (compulsory) at HSSC-I level passed through many experiments and trials in the past few years.

The old Punjab Text Book Board course was replaced with a book by National Book Foundation which remained in the limelight in the National Assembly due to controversial poems," he said.

Maqbool Ahmed, father of a student said that he does not know that what is going on in educational institutions of federal capital.

"No one is willing to tell me which books will be included in the course," he said.

Spokesman for Federal Government College Teachers Association (FGCTA), Professor Tahir Mahmood said, "Unluckily the task of affiliation with QAU was assigned to education wing of CAD which had neither experience nor competency to meet it effectively. "If the matter was directly dealt with by the respective colleges through FDE, as the previous routine with Punjab University, it would have been completed. Experienced, qualified and competent professors who had more than 25 years experience of teaching to degree classes were not recommended by CAD in the board of studies," he said.

"If senior professors are kept away in policy making, one cannot give assurance of a prosperous Pakistan. So their names should be added".

However, FGCTA, the elected body of federal government college teachers, fully endorses and appreciates this affiliation of ICT colleges with QAU Islamabad," he said.

Joint Secretary CAD, Rafique Tahir said that process was in transitional period so teachers and students seem confused but all the issues will be resolved and board of studies will look into all issues. Dawn

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School uniforms hitting parents in the pocket
Rawalpindi: Pindiites and Islooites are cutting back on food and other facilities to ensure their children have what they need for school, therefore, schools should keep school uniform costs down to ensure that hard-pressed parents aren't hit with an unnecessary economic burden, says Sahafi Muhammad, a middle class trader.

"A growing number of families are struggling to pay for even the most essential items and combined with additional expenses, such as paying for books and transport and being obliged to make the so-called voluntary contributions to school funds, the start of a new school term can be a very difficult time. Many parents are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the rising costs of sending a child to school," adds Shafi.

"In the current education landscape dozens of schools across the twin cities are competing with each other. It is understandable why many want to do this, but they need to remember that parents do not have an endless pot of cash for school clothing," says Rafay Mahmood.

"After already forking out for a whole new uniform when our children started primary or secondary school, the last thing parents want to hear is that they don't have to foot the bill for entirely different uniforms, sometimes just twelve months later," says Noshad Ali, a UDC at the agricultural ministry.

"This aim can be best achieved by rationalising the range of uniform options, and discouraging the 'single shop' approach to school uniform," suggests Ghazala Faheem, a mother of five kids. "Yes, this is relatively simple but highly practical measure that would allow families the opportunity to shop around for better deals and not to be forced to rely on a select number of retail outlets, which often charge outrageous prices for uniforms," says Seemin Inayat, having six school-going kids. "Purchasing copybooks having school logos or uniforms with school badges from particular shops may let schools keep their individuality but it creates unnecessary hassle and financial burden for parents," adds Seemin.

"What I am all out against is the overly charged super-substandard garments being sold as uniforms these days. I appreciate that costs are quite on the high side nowadays but the over pricing for things which I would not even buy from a second hand shop is unacceptable! It is a shame that apparently the book vendors are given a free hand in this regard," says Ahad Hussain, a private company employee.

Mrs. Naseem Ahmad, a private school teacher says, "I am against the monopoly as from where to buy the uniforms. Another thing that irritates me is that on various occasions the school changes the uniforms or part of it; therefore I cannot use it for the younger children although the uniform is still good. What is the main reason that we send our children to school - business or learning?"

Mehreen Ali, a dress designer, says, "I am for school uniforms but I hate the racket that schools and booksellers have to settle unreasonable prices. Just make school uniforms plain and basic, so that the customer can obtain them at a decent price. School uniforms should be made affordable and not a burden on the family's budget. They should be kept simple, such as shirt, tie and trousers for boys and 'shalwar qameez' for girls; of same colour for all schools, and the only distinction from one school to another should be the school badge." The news

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