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No 'P' in textbooks | Education complex problems

Department doing it on its own: 'No Pervez and Pervaiz in textbooks'
Lahore, April 26, 2008: The Punjab education department has taken a decision to remove President Pervez Musharraf and former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi's messages and pictures printed back-to-back on a page in Class-I to Class-X textbooks, being distributed free-of-cost in government schools all over the province.

In order to avoid embarrassment at the hands of the new PML-N government in Punjab, the education department itself discussed and took a decision that a page carrying both political leaders' messages and pictures be removed from the textbooks lying in the warehouses at tehsil-level as well as the main warehouse of the Punjab Monitoring and Implementation Unit (PMIU). It is estimated that over 500,000 textbooks are lying in the warehouses.

It is learnt that the education department led by secretary Qazi Afaaq Husain had also discussed an option to block the textbooks lying in warehouses. However, it was decided that such a huge number of textbooks be brought in use by removing the 'objectionable page' instead of blocking and converting those books into a pile of waste papers. The meeting agreed that the wastage of books would bring embarrassment than purging the textbooks of `political influence of the previous government' by removing a page.

Consequently, the page is being torn by education department monitoring supervisors under the supervision of district monitoring officers (DMOs) and the PMIU at all warehouses in tehsils in Punjab and the main PMIU warehouse.

It is learnt that the new textbooks, which are being printed these days, do not carry Pervez Musharraf and Pervaiz Elahi's messages but that of the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The new textbooks include those for Class-I, VI and IX, which are based on updated curricula.

When contacted, Punjab special secretary education (schools) Zahid Saeed said the education department had this year decided to distribute textbooks before summer vacation to students studying in government schools all over the province.

As the new PML-N government had come into power, he said, the education department had on its own decided to remove one page carrying Pervez Musharraf and Pervaiz Elahi's messages and pictures to avoid any embarrassment. "The education department had discussed various proposals and finally agreed to remove the page in question," he said.

Answering a question, Saeed said the department had no option than to remove President Pervez Musharraf's message and picture because it was printed back-to-back on a page carrying Pervaiz Elahi's message and picture as well.

He said the new textbooks, which are in printing process, do not carry any political leader's message or picture but that of the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. "The textbooks were sent for printing, while there was a caretaker government in the Punjab province," he added. -By Mansoor Malik (Dawn)

Education Complex without water for many months
Lahore: The Education Complex, which houses offices of two senior education officers and the related staff, has been facing an acute water shortage for many months, creating problems for employees and visitors.

The complex, situated near the famous electronics market Hall Road, houses offices of the Executive District Officer (Education) and the Directorate of Public Instructions (Elementary), is visited by hundreds of people daily. It also has offices of District Officers (Colleges) and District Officers (Schools) etc.

According to officials, who did not wish to be named, the issue of the water shortage had surfaced when a tube-well, installed nearby the complex, went out of order a few months ago. "The matter was not taken seriously. However, the advent of summer and prevailing loadshedding made all to realise the situation," they added.

A number of employees, on Friday, staged a protest demonstration at the Education Complex and criticised their bosses for not paying attention to the problem despite a lapse of many months.

They chanted slogans against the DPI and the EDO and demanded they address the issue on priority.

One of the protestors said that low-ranking employees were the most-hit by the water shortage, adding, "Officers do not have any idea of the water shortage, because they are getting it through their employees."

Another employee said it was hard to use toilets because of the scarcity of water and visitors had to face troubles too. He said some officers had installed small water motors but they were for their personal use.

He said water pressure was low despite use of motors owing to which water could not reach the second and third floor of the building while loadshedding was also creating problem. "Employees of the top floor are real victims of the shortage as they have to take water in containers and bottles," he added.

He said clean water was not available due to old and rusty underground pipes. "Almost all officers have installed water filters in their offices while the low-ranking staff was compelled to use contaminated water," he added.

A senior officer, on the condition of anonymity, said the DPI and the former EDO, who had recently been transferred, could not ensure the supply of water despite requests by employees.

When contacted, DPI Elementary Ch Ashraf Naz Gondal said the issue had been taken up on several occasions with the EDO as he was the custodian of the complex. He said his directorate had already applied to the Water and Sanitation Authority (WASA) for a direct connection.

He, however, claimed the problem had been resolved to some extent after installation of water motors.

Talking about the employees who had staged a protest demonstration on Friday, Mr Gondal said most of them were habitual late comers and were exploiting the situation for their ulterior motives.

He said special filters had been installed in almost all offices for the benefit of all, without any discrimination, in order to ensure pure water. He said the new EDO had also held a meeting in connection with the water supply to the Education Complex. Lahore EDO (Education) Abdul Shakoor Anjum was not available for comments. The News
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