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Gender disparity in Pakistan education

Call to end gender disparity in education
Peshawar, Apr 24: Despite the passage of 14 years the provincial government is yet to frame rules under the NWFP Compulsory Primary Education Act, 1996, due to which the law could not be implemented.

The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) on Friday called upon the provincial government to frame the relevant rules so as to effectively enforce the law.

Addressing the launching ceremony of "Global Action Week of education", the regional manager of Sparc, Jehanzeb Khan, and provincial programme manager, Khalid Mehmood, stated that according to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Annual Statistical Report 2008-2009 there were around 497 non-functional schools out of a total of 26,793 primary, secondary and higher secondary schools in the province.

Mr Khan stated that the government should bring an end to gender disparity in education in accordance with the Dakar Framework for Action adopted in 2000 at an international educational conference. "A total of 65.6 per cent and 67.9 per cent boys are enrolled at primary and secondary level in the province whereas 34.4 per cent and 32.1 per cent girls are enrolled at primary and secondary level respectively, which shows the gender disparity in the province," he added.

He pointed out that the number of male working teachers at primary and secondary level was 64.6 per cent and 71.6 per cent respectively and the number of female teachers at primary and secondary level was 35.4 per cent and 28.4 per cent respectively.

Mr Khan stated that around 14.6 per cent of girls were enrolled in government primary schools were attending boys' schools and 4.6 per cent boys were attending girls' schools, which showed the non-availability of school buildings for respective gender.

He informed the participants that the Global Action Week was observed every year from April 19-25 throughout the world. This year the global campaign is being held under the theme "Financing quality public education"

Khalid Mehmood stated that according to the Global Monitoring Report 2007 Pakistan was far behind to attain the goal of adult literacy by 2015.

The report illustrates that education in Pakistan suffers from worst forms of negligence, indifference and apathy. "Out of 160 million total population, half are less than 18 years of age. An estimated 25 million children are not going to school and approximately 10 million are in child labour," he added.

Public expenditure on education as a percentage to GDP is lowest in Pakistan. "Surprisingly instead of increase in state funding in education, the trend of investment on education has been decreasing as 2.5 per cent and 2.47 per cent in the year 2006-07 and 2007-08 were allocated respectively whereas it is estimated to be 2.10 per cent during the year 2008-09," Mr Mehmood stated.

He said that according to Pakistan Social and Living Measurement Survey (2007-08), the overall literacy rate (age 10 and above) was 56 per cent. The literacy rate among males was 69 per cent and 44 per cent among females in 2007-08. Literacy rate remains higher in urban areas (71 per cent) than in rural areas (49 per cent), the report says.

He stated that the said official facts and figures showed that the government had taken no concrete steps to address the most important issue which was directly linked to development, prosperity and future of the country.

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Kohat BISE announces steps to reform private schools
Kohat: The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Kohat announced on Friday to reform private education sector by ending corruption, nepotism and exploitation at all levels.

Addressing a press conference at his office on Friday the secretary of BISE, Kohat Shahid Zaman told journalists the new chairman had devised a comprehensive strategy to eliminate corrupt teachers involved in cheating and minting money. He was accompanied by the assistant secretary Malik Nayyar Azam Khattak.

Mr Zaman informed that the new chairman had proposed that the students of all private schools must wear uniform of same colour and design to end discrimination.

According to new salary structure, he said, the owners of schools would not appoint teachers below BA/BSc/B.Ed up to middle level and would pay them Rs10,000 minimum. Those teachers taking classes of 9th and 10th grades should hold master degree and must be paid Rs12,000 minimum salary per month. This was being done to end exploitation of teachers at the hands of the school owners and encourage quality education at all the institutions, he added.

Similarly the BISE, Kohat schedule fee should be Rs500 from nursery to class 5th, Rs700 from class 6th to class 8th, Rs900 for 9th and 10th and Rs1,200 for intermediate students.Mr Zaman said all such schools would be closed down which had not been registered properly and failed to implement the pay and fee formula. Similarly, he added, nobody would be allowed to run more than one school with one registration.

The secretary BISE, Kohat declared all unions and groups except SECTA and Schools Officers Association as illegal and imposed ban on their activities.

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Security around schools tightened
Peshawar: In the wake of reports about the entry of would-be suicide bombers in the cantonment area, police continued patrolling in the streets and did not allow parking outside schools.

Police have also issued registration numbers of the vehicles reportedly in use of militants.

Police were seen patrolling on the main and link roads. It was observed that police personnel had been deployed outside different schools, who had asked the school managements to ensure vehicles were not parked outside the buildings for picking or dropping students.

The schools' main gates remained closed and students had to use the small gates under tight security in order to check the entry of any suspected person. A watchman said they had instructions to stop even women wearing 'shuttlecock' burqas as terrorists could enter in the garb.

Police said there was information about the entry of would-be suicide bombers in Peshawar and they had to check people roaming outside schools.

Gulberg police station SHO Zahid Alam said the area connecting Peshawar cantonment through Gulberg was very open and outlaws could easily enter the sensitive area, adding the checking did not mean to tease the people but it was compulsion of police.

About the movement of suspected people in the jurisdiction of the Bana Manai police station near Gulberg, he said rider squads' personnel had been strictly directed to cover the link roads and pavements to ensure security.

Referring to the killing of a student in a bomb blast outside the Police Public School on the Jamrud Road on April 19, he said police had to alert the school administrations and enhance security after that incident.

When contacted, Cantonment Circle SP Shafiullah Khan said that SHOs of the region had been directed to visit the schools and keep close liaison with principals concerned to avert any harm to the lives of children.

"We seized a suspected car and arrested one person near Sango on Thursday evening after an encounter, but it is yet to be ascertained if the car is owned by militants or drug smugglers," he said.

The area linking the tribal region, he said, was open and anti-state elements could easily enter the limits of Peshawar. However, he added, police had covered maximum of the area.

He sought support of parents to park their vehicles at a distance from the schools while picking or dropping their children. He also asked administrators of schools to enhance security measures by appointing security guards to keep vigilance on the movement of irrelevant and suspected people near the buildings.

Police also continued checking of vehicles in the Saddar Bazaar, which led to traffic congestion at checkpoints, especially on the Mall Road, Arbab Road and the Saddar Road.

Police said they had reports about a possible attack during Friday prayer and sufficient personnel would be deployed at different mosques to avert any incident. Dawn

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Agriculture University process for appointment of vice-chancellor in final stage
Peshawar: Process for the appointment of a full-time vice-chancellor for the NWFP Agricultural University has entered the final stage as the search committee after panel interviews with nine candidates for the prestigious office has recommended three names to the Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa governor, who is also chancellor of the public sector universities, to take the final decision.

The office fell vacant on January 2, 2010, after the retirement of the vice-chancellor Prof Dr Said Khan Khalil from service. He was, however, given acting charge on January 16 till appointment of new vice-chancellor. The post was formally advertised on January 21, asking aspirants to apply for the post till February 2.

Some 30 candidates applied for the position, according to sources. The recently reconstituted search committee after the scrutiny of the applications called nine candidates for panel interviews on April 13, the sources said. Those interviewed included Prof Dr Said Khan Khalil, Prof Dr Khan Bahadur, Prof Dr Riaz Khattak, Prof Dr Zahoor Swati, Prof Dr Fazle Raziq Durrani, Prof Ghulam Habib, Hamidullah Shah, Munir Khattak and Mohammad Afzal, the sources added.

The search committee for appointment of vice-chancellors of public sector universities then proposed three names to the governor for final selection, the sources said.

There were reports that Dr Said Khan Khalil has been recommended again despite reservations by some members of the committee. But another source said that he had not been recommended at all. However, the governor has the discretion to appoint anybody he wants as vice-chancellor. He could also appoint someone not proposed by the search committee. The other two recommended candidates are Dr Khan Bahadur and Dr Riaz Khattak.

Meanwhile, some faculty members of the university have expedited their campaign against Dr Said Khan Khalil, who is a great survivor. They are of the opinion that he has already completed three terms as vice-chancellor, which is against the statutes of the university. As per the university laws, a man can serve as vice-chancellor for only two consecutive terms, claimed a senior professor requesting anonymity. If this is true, it is strange that the search committee even then shortlisted him and called him for interview.

The Agricultural University Teachers Association (AUTA) held several meetings discussing the alleged irregularities committed by the university administration under Dr Said Khan Khalil in the last five years. The teachers' representative body and some senior faculty members of the university also sent a number of letters to the governor highlighting the alleged corrupt practices of Dr Said Khan Khalil.

In a fresh 10-page letter that was also sent to The News, serious allegations of moral and financial corruption, illegal appointments, misuse of power and use of various tactics to appease those at the helm of affairs have been levelled against him. The news

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Performing arts festival begins at GIK institute
Peshawar: A three-day 12th All Pakistan Performing Arts Festival started here on Friday at the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI), Topi. The Cultural Dramatics and Entertainment Society (CDES) of the GIKI is organising the festival.

The official media partner for the event was City FM 89.

Pro-Rector (Academic) Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid (SI) was the chief guest who also formally inaugurated the event.

More than 200 participants of 15 teams from all over Pakistan travelled to GIKI and were part of the colourful cultural festival.

Teams of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (Karachi), Government College University (Lahore), Thespainz Theatre (Karachi), Fast (Lahore), Comsats (Lahore), Adnan Jahangir and Umair Arif participated in the performing arts festival.

CDES coordinator Yasir Afridi said aim of festival was to bring together all the leading universities of Pakistan under one roof, to perform on one stage. The 12th All Pakistan Performing Arts Festival is an amalgamation of all the performing arts -- from mime to dances and from plays to live band performances.

The musical performances were from the bands Catharsis, Kafiyat and solo performance by Bilal Khan.The festival has been the greatest merit of CDES since last 11 years and this year proves to be no different.

The atmosphere was liked and appreciated by the sponsoring companies and the visiting alumni.

Sohail Ahmad, famous comedian in Pakistan's performing art circles, will be the chief guest on the third and concluding day of the event. App

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USAID denies withholding funds for schools
Mansehra: The USAID has clarified a report appearing in a section of press alleging that the agency is withholding funds for the reconstruction of ten schools in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa.

A statement issued here said that the USAID had committed to reconstruct 31 schools in the province out of which 21 were being built by contractor Camp, Dresser and McKee.

The work on these schools was either complete or underway, the statement added.

"Consistent with its new policy of working through government of Pakistan agencies rather than foreign contractors, USAID is in the process of transferring funds to the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) for the reconstruction of the remaining ten schools. No funds are being withheld," the statement concluded. Dawn

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