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UK Chevening scholarships for the year 2009-10

Chevening scholarship deadline Sep 15
Karachi, Aug 09, 2008: The British Council has announced the Chevening scholarships for the year 2009-10, which covers the cost of a year's post-graduate study in the UK. Projects Manager Seema Khan said that the deadline for the applications is September 15 and application forms are available from selected TCS outlets or from the British Council website. These scholarships are awarded to Pakistanis with high intellectual abilities who will play a formative role in the country's development. Last year (2008-09) there were 425 applicants from Sindh and Balochistan and 25 were short-listed for interviews. The four candidates finally selected will leave in the next couple of months for higher studies in the UK. The scholarship is for one year of post-graduate study in the UK. App

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Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arabia Pakistan exam results in September
Karachi: The annual examinations of 90,195 madrassas or religious seminaries held by the biggest board, the Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arabia Pakistan (WMAP), started on August 2 and ended August 7. Their results will be available in the first week of Ramadan. "The work on result preparations will start within this week and the results will be finalized in three weeks and hopefully the results will be announced on the first Ramadan (first week of September)," said the WMAP's Qari Hanif Jalandhri on Friday. Answers booklets would be checked in Karachi rather than in Multan, owing to the warm weather and constant load shedding. The examinations were held peacefully and no complaints were reported. "We had doubts that some problems might occur due to the situation in the tribal areas," he said, but there was peace in Kurram Agency, Dera Ismail Khan, Matta, Swat, Bajaur, Wana, Waziristan, Charsadda and in other sensitive areas. Daily Times

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'Peela' school children tickled pink with real academics
Karachi: Over 600 students at three major government school campuses located along the sewerage drain known as the Green Belt in Mehmoodabad are getting a real academic environment for the first time ever as a group of philanthropists have decided to make the 'peela school culture' evaporate forever, it was learnt on Friday.

The students will also celebrate the country's 61st Independence Day on August 14 after a gap of four years by organizing and participating in a number of events, including national songs competition, tableaus and other related activities.

The three schools, a primary, a secondary and a higher secondary campus, are spread on approximately 4.5 acres alongside one of the city's major sewerage drains, best known as the Mehmoodabad Green Belt, Jamshed Town. The provincial and city government education departments neglected these schools and the teachers did not show any interest in them.

The school buildings look war-torn and most of the open spaces became part of the adjoining sewerage drains. The accumulating sewerage water ate away at the boundary walls, bringing them down, and added to the damage to the single-storey buildings that now have multiple cracks after the basements were split by seepage.

The 17-year-old schools have a very low actual enrollment but show a record enrollment on paper; in fact the school received a larger school management committee (SMC) fund for the last many years than any other school in the city. The SMC fund is issued according to the number of students enrolled in the school.

For the last two years, the Awami Welfare Services (AWS), a Citizens Community Board (CCB), has taken charge of these schools to improve their overall condition both physically and academically. The AWS comprises renowned professionals, including educators, engineers and businessmen, and is headed by Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Siddiqui, while its executive committee consists of Engineer Anwarul Haq Siddiqui, Pervez Sadiq, Engineer Khalid Jamil Ansari and others. Only two months ago, the city council formally handed over charge of the school to the AWS and approved its proposal for a renovation and uplift project worth Rs 10.5 million.

During a visit of green belt schools on Friday, this correspondent observed that AWS members have achieved some what they proposed to do two years ago when they approached the city government to register their CCB and propose a project worth Rs 28 million.

AWS President Siddiqui said that the AWS is focused on three major projects to improve three schools, the Government Higher Secondary School in Mehmoodabad, the CMS Higher Secondary Schools on Nishtar Road and the Government Higher Secondary School on University Road. However, the school on University Road will be replaced with another school project as the city government has adopted this school as a model school.

The goal is to refurbish these schools, which are in worse condition than any other city government schools, and this is a joint venture by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and the CMIS. The CMIS is a committee set up to monitor and improve CDGK schools and to complete two pilot projects, the establishment of 40 model schools and the setting up of a town educational development center.

AWS Executive Committee Member Engineer Anwarul Haq said that they have focused on five basic necessities which are missing from these schools. "Provision of potable water, improvement and installing of sewerage system, providing security and safety to the students as well as infrastructure, furniture and installing electricity with electric water coolers, fans and other facilities," he said.

He said that during the last two years, they did what they could with the financial assistance generously provided by renowned businessmen. They have pooled some million rupees to upgrade the overall conditions of these three campuses. The city government has yet to issue its share, 80 percent of the total cost, while the CCB has raised the 20 percent, which the AWS has submitted as its share in the Rs 28 million project, he said.

"Most of the open spaces on the premises of these three schools were inundated with sewerage water throughout the year but in collaboration with Jamshed Town Nazim Javed Ahmed, we filled these ditches. The town nazim also provided potable water connections for the schools. Besides this work, we also renovated the auditorium which had disappeared under wild weeds that engulfed the whole structure," he said.

The AWS members have shown great enthusiasm in bringing such an extraordinary change to the current education system and said that if the government shows a greater interest in supporting philanthropists this way, the academic situation in the city can be upgraded in record time.

Currently, the three schools have a total of 695 students and a staff of 50, which includes teachers and the non-teaching staff. The AWS members want to increase enrolment of students and teachers.

"Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq recently assured us that the government is inducting 7,000 teachers for the schools of the province and needs of all schools located in Karachi will be addressed on priority," Haq said.

However, the AWS is also devising various plans to encourage students and teachers to make these institutes role models for academic institutes located in the Mehmoodabad and Jamshed Town, which comprises 13 union councils with a total population of 733,821 as per the 1998 census. Daily Times

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