Don't do your child's homework | Look at education

Don't do your child's homework
Aug 23, 2008: A proper home atmosphere for doing homework is important for learning and keeping up in school.

The Nemours Foundation offers these suggestions:

* Create an area at home just for homework. It should be well-lit, with all of the supplies that your child needs.

* Set aside a certain time every day - such as before a snack or after dinner - to study and do homework.

* Minimise distractions during homework time, including music, television and phone calls.

* Don't do your child's homework. The child won't learn from mistakes if they're yours. But offer help when needed. Praise your child for doing well and trying hard.

* Be involved in your child's schoolwork, and set a good example by reading and working at home, too. The News

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Yet another look at education
IT is encouraging that the importance of updating and revising the National Education Policy 1998-2010 (NEP) is understood by the government. It is also a welcome measure that this is being undertaken on a war-footing , as we are given to understand. As the government is in the process of reviewing the NEP, it would do well to recall that the Musharraf regime had also constituted a policy review team in September 2005, with the mandate to undertake the revision exercise. The review team issued a White Paper in December 2006 which evidently did not win the approval of the education ministry bosses at the time. Hence the report was shelved. The present government has announced that the revised policy it is preparing will be known as the NEP-2008 and will be announced before the end of the year after it receives input from all four provinces. The need for revision can be attributed to the shortcomings of the education sector that the last policy prepared by Nawaz Sharif's government failed to rectify. The latest revision exercise notwithstanding, skepticism abounds. The entire exercise implores some questions owing to the checkered history of such undertakings in the past. They have generally failed to produce results. As a result such exercises have proved to be futile. Where does the fault lie? Does it lie in the recommendations which were put forward or in the implementation process? More often than not the problem has been with the lack of political will to implement the recommendations.

The last review addressed some vital aspects of the education sector such as the pillars of quality including the curriculum - and its relevance - textbooks, assessment, teachers training and learning environment; gender equity; accessibility; education financing; political interference and corruption; and parallel systems

in education. But the fact that these recommendations were shelved and never considered seriously points to the underlying factor of failure of implementation. Reviewing policies is a protracted process which requires financial resources and experts. It is a time-consuming job which should only be undertaken if it can improve ongoing reforms. Failure to get the desired results may call for a revision of the recommendations but that should not be such a challenge. The government should consider taking up the White Paper on education which is still relevant to our conditions. It was prepared less than two years ago. It offers a major advantage. The implementation process can be started right away without delay. Dawn

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Master's programme in climatology soon by Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD)
Karachi: The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has been in consultation with public sector universities to launch a separate Master's programme in climatology.

The PMD is already running an institute in Karachi to train meteorologists, and has been providing active assistance to the Islamabad-based COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, which offers a unique master's degree in meteorology. The PMD's Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics at the Regional Meteorological Centre, Karachi is affiliated with the University of Karachi (KU), and offers a one-year postgraduate diploma in meteorology. Recently, budding meteorologists from different South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries (except India) successfully attended the diploma course.

The National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Rawalpindi, and the University of the Punjab in Lahore, are two seats of higher education, which have been engaged in consultation with the PMD for launching the new course in climatology. The News spoke to academics associated with meteorology. Most are unsure about the PMD's new proposal. According to them, students who are postgraduates in geology, geography, mathematics, physics, and other sciences are considered fully qualified. Dr Tariq Masood Ali Khan is a professor of atmospheric physics at the Institute of Environmental Studies at KU and has a PhD in meteorology from the University of Philippines. He feels that a separate master's programme in meteorology will only produce postgraduates who have limited career options, owing to the specialised nature of their education. He said that the PMD has sufficient arrangements for specialised courses and training.

Dr Jamil Kazmi, Chairman of the geography department at the KU, added that relevant science departments of public sector universities, including his own, already collaborate with the PMD. Kazmi, who is also a member of the Meteorological Surveillance Board, sees no defect in the training offered by the meteorological department. However, Dr Syed Iqbal Mohsin, former geology professor and Dean of the Science faculty at KU, and later vice-chancellor of the Federal Urdu University, thinks differently. "Universities in India have been offering specialised courses in meteorological sciences. There is no comparison with Pakistan."

Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Director General Meteorological Services Pakistan, conceded that meteorology in Pakistan has been lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of the availability of qualified human resources. "We have pointed out our shortcomings to the federal government. They agreed to fund training and higher education here and abroad for budding meteorologists." he said. According to him, the government is spending Rs200 million to produce 50 qualified meteorologists over the next five years. Out of these 20 to 25 will be send abroad for a PhD in meteorology. Presently, seven weathermen associated with the PMD are undertaking PhDs in meteorology in the United Kingdom, China, Canada, and Thailand. They will be available for the Meteorological Department within two years.

Chaudhry said that at present, the Meteorology Department avails the services of 15 MS qualified weather experts. At least four meteorologists in the department have a master's level education in hydrometeorology, and seven officials/experts in seismology. Chaudhry himself is one of the two PhD-qualified meteorologists in the department. He acknowledged that the Meteorological Department's negotiations plans for launching specialised postgraduate courses in meteorological sciences had not generated the desired response, but is hopeful that this will change. Tauseef Alam, Director of the Regional Meteorological Centre in Karachi, said that there should be openings in the country for employing meteorologists in the fields of media, aviation, defence, agriculture, and related sectors.

Muhammad Tanveer, who recently spent a year at the meteorology department at the COMSATS Institute as assistant professor/research coordinator, said that there is no harm if universities launch programmes in meteorological sciences. He argued that several sectors of the country, including economy, trade and business, agriculture, and defence, are dependant upon the Meteorological Department in some way. "Had German advancing forces in the Second World War had access to timely and accurate forecasts, they would not have faced the ignominious defeat in Russia after heavy snowfall," he said. Tanveer pointed out that the number of students enrolling in the MS programme at the COMSATS Institute is declining. He stressed the need to create awareness for the requirements of meteorology experts, who provide weather predictions for the well-being of various sectors of national and economic importance. The News

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