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Punjab govt schools & laptop's scheme

17,020 govt schools lack basic amenities in Punjab: survey
Islamabad, April 19: As many as 10,020 government schools, both primary and high, across Punjab remain without latrines and over 7,000 are deprived of clean drinking water facility, as the provincial government pushes ahead with its free distribution of laptops among brilliant students, a scheme costing it well over Rs4 billion.

A survey by the Ministry of Education Punjab for 2010-11 has made startling revelations, which arguably makes the multi-billion laptops scheme highly questionable and needless in the given exceedingly deplorable state of the government schools, which reflects a huge disconnect between the on-ground situation and the lavishly publicised laptop scheme.

Education experts believe that a nation moves forward on the basis of conducive and enabling environment in educational institutions. They pointed out young girls' school drop-out remains alarmingly high and one of the major reasons of this worrying trend is non-availability of latrines inside their schools.

They billed the laptop policy as a political gimmick, which was performed by young generation of PML-N such as Hamza Shahbaz and Maryam Nawaz, not holding any government position. "Our students desperately need provision of basic facilities such as clean drinking water, latrines, electricity and boundary walls. First ensure these and then you may go for laptops policy," they contended.

A representative of an NGO claimed that whenever a donor agency intended to extend aid or grand for educational institutions, their prime focus was on provision of latrines and clean drinking water.

A senior office-bearer of PML-N, which heads the provincial government, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, agreed that side by side with the laptop scheme, attention must also be paid towards the condition of schools.

Senator Mushahidullah, who is also PML-N Central Information Secretary, said that apart from the laptop scheme, the provincial government was setting up IT labs in 4286 schools besides improving the school infrastructure.

He claimed the government schools situation in general had improved during the last four years but conceded things were yet to improve in far-flung areas and a lot of work needed to be done there.

The PML-N senator also agreed that revolutionary changes needed to be carried out in the education sector and said everybody wanted drastic measures but these could not be done overnight.

There are a total of 59,054 schools in the government sector, electricity is available only in 38,588 (65%) of them, whereas 10,000 (17%) are without boundary walls and despite rapid deterioration in drinking water quality, clean drinking water is not available in over 7,000 schools. The news

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No textbooks despite a week into new school year
Islamabad: Students of the educational institutes run by the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) are facing problems due to non-availability of the textbooks despite a week into the new academic session.

Parents fear that their children would not be able to cover the syllabus in time if textbooks were not provided.

Umer Gul, a father of two children who are studying at the Islamabad Model College for Girls (IMCG) G-10/2, told APP that his children had only received books of four subjects so far. "It is the responsibility of the FDE to deliver textbooks to students before the commencement of their classes to save precious time," he said.

A student of matriculation at the Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB), G-10/4, said he received the books of only three subjects. "Teachers are saying that rest of the books will be provided in a few days."

Another man said, "My children studying in Model College have received only one textbook of mathematics, while the teachers are saying that they have not received other books from the directorate. It will be difficult for the children to prepare for the first-term exams if the books are not provided soon."

Talking to APP, Model Colleges Director Tariq Masood said that the National Book Foundation (NBF) was the textbook publishing authority, and claimed that it had delivered 98 percent of textbooks to the directorate.

"The FDE is continuing the process of dispatching the textbooks to all model schools and colleges, and hopefully the textbooks will be handed over to the students until the last week of April," he said.

The directorate provides free books from Class-I to matriculation every year to facilitate the students. app

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Graduation ceremony held at PAF Academy Risalpur
Islamabad: The Graduation ceremony of No 128th GD (P), 72nd Engineering, 86th Air Defence and 11th A&SD Courses and Commissioning Parade of 130th GD (P), 76th Engineering and 12th A&SD Courses was held at PAF Academy, Risalpur.

According to a press release, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force honoured the ceremony as the chief guest.

A total of 84 Under Training Officers and 16 cadets were graduated and 117 cadets were commissioned on the occasion. The ceremony included the award of branch insignias to the graduating cadets and trophies to the front-runners. The chief guest awarded the Champions Banner to No 1 Squadron of the academy.

While speaking on the occasion, the chief guest said, "The PAF has highly sophisticated aircraft, air defence systems and other supporting equipment that will be assigned to your care as sentinels and custodians of the country's aerial frontiers. To keep these precious national assets in the highest operational state and accrue maximum advantages out of it, it is incumbent upon every one of you to exercise your professional acumen and technical expertise to the maximum." "The oath that you have taken today symbolizes the trust that nation and the PAF have reposed in you, which puts an important and sacred responsibility on your young shoulders. I am confident, you will Inshah Allah acquit yourselves of your duties in a most dignified manner, in line with the aspirations of the nation and traditions of the PAF."

Pilot Officer Muhammad Imran Afzal of No 128th GD (P) and Pilot Officer Atta-ur-Rehman of 72nd Engineering Courses were awarded trophies for best performance in general service training, respectively.

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Pak student excels in Abu Dhabi competition
Islamabad: Ali Raza Randhawa, a final-year student of BS Electrical Engineering at the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, snatched a win for Pakistan during the Elevator Pitch Contest held in Abu Dhabi.

The event was held at Abu Dhabi Women's College, Khalifah Campus. Over 70 short-listed semi-finalist teams, out of 4,500, pitched their idea 20 times to 20 CEOs, Presidents, Directors, and Saudi Khalifahs, who were representing different companies at a two-day entrepreneurship workshop.

The event was jointly organised by GIST (CRDF Global) and MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Region. Sheikha Lubna Al-Qassimi, Minister of Foreign Trade for UAE, and Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, were chief guests on the occasion.

Ken Morse, Founding Managing Director, MIT Entrepreneurship Centre, trained the young entrepreneurs around the world during the workshop.

Pak-Energy Solution, founded by Randhawa, is committed to becoming pioneer of green revolution in Pakistan by providing cost-effective energy solutions to the masses.

"The farmers cannot afford high prices of chemical fertilizers whereas use of these chemicals is the prime cause of damage to the quality of food in Pakistan. To cater this problem, Pak-Energy Solution is introducing an affordable biogas plant," says Randhawa.

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IIU female students hold annual cultural week
Islamabad: It was a perfect time for International Islamic University female students to have a fantastic break to mark the annual cultural week after conclusion of their mid-term examinations last week.

The backyard of the grand Faisal Masjid wore a festive look, as students set up around 50 stalls inside and outside of the International Islamic University Auditorium Complex, depicting cultural snapshots of Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The joy of festivity, taking place in the foothills of lush green Margallas, was doubled by the spring season.

Showing their keen interest, several students also established stalls of various brotherly and friendly countries, including China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries. Scores of students of these countries also study at the university.

Some staff members of the Islamabad-based embassies also visited the related stalls. Several embassies cooperated with the students by providing a few traditional items: Bangladesh embassy provided sari, fishing net and other articles to the students, after having been approached and told about their intention to set up a stall; Saudi Arabia, Iran, China and other countries also did not lag behind in extending similar cooperation to the students.

Captivating and appetising smell of Iranian and Afghan food attracted a lot of visitors, as food items of these countries and of others, were nicely cooked and tastefully presented. Even recipe books were also available at stalls.

Respective university departments provided funds to the students, who also contributed as much they could, to outdo others in putting up impressive work at the venue. It was the 24 annual cultural week since the inception of the university. It is organised in March but this time, it was delayed due to mid-term exams.

Through a presentation, some students also provided their fellow colleagues and visitors a chance to have peep into Mughal era, as they visited a stall, showing Mughal era. Some of the students complained about outsiders (males), who were invited to decorate certain stalls, as over 98 per cent stalls were set up by students themselves.

The stall of China consisted of two portions, like many other stalls, one was devoted to its culture and show-casing the phenomenal progress the country made in every sector of life over the years and this brought a sorry feeling in the minds of many, as to why Pakistan lagged far behind despite having won freedom two years earlier than Beijing; the other section projected mostly its traditional foods.

One of the organisers told this correspondent that male entry to the venue was banned, however, teachers or female family members of the students were encouraged to be part of the festivity. "It has been very informative. We must appreciate these students, who despite limited resources, made commendable efforts to depict in their own way, a glimpse of friendly countries, besides showing diverse cultural shades of the four provinces and other regions," remarked the mother of a student. Some university teachers and students had also their food stalls before the complex, where food items were bought like hot cakes by students as well as their family members. A dress show is planned for Thursday, followed by prize distribution next day. The news

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