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Still no education policy

Education in Pakistan is in a total mess
Islamabad, Aug 04: The Pakistan Coalition for Education has rightly criticised the government's tardiness in announcing Pakistan's education policy. It is now four years since the policymakers in Islamabad decided - and correctly so - that the education policy introduced in 1998, and which was meant to be in place until 2010, was highly inadequate and needed far-reaching revisions. As a result, a body was set up under a retired bureaucrat to review the matter and make recommendations. After extensive consultations, in 2007 a white paper was produced, offering a sensible approach. But for unknown reasons the government has been dillydallying on the matter. Last year, a Canadian expert was called in and another draft was prepared in 2009. Even that was shelved in April when it was placed before the federal cabinet which felt it was not good enough and needed more input from the provinces. Nothing has been heard of it since then.

The fact is that education in Pakistan is in a total mess. One basic reason for the disarray is the absence of a policy that has led to a lot of ad hocism with various individuals and organisations acting in an uncoordinated manner. For instance, the education budget for 2009-2010 has not been prepared under the umbrella of an education policy. Worse still, experts now tell us that an analysis of last year's budget shows that initiatives were taken that favoured the elite, while financial cuts were imposed on sectors vital for the development of quality education for the masses. In the absence of a policy, private-sector education has expanded in an unregulated manner with the provincial governments offering knee-jerk responses to new situations. Under these circumstances, the Punjab government's move to set up an autnomous body with considerable private-sector representation to regulate private schools may not address the public's complaints fairly. Dawn

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Saudi women hold protest at varsity
Riyadh: Scuffles broke out on Sunday when hundreds of Saudi women students held a rare protest at a university over alleged corrupt admission policies, local newspapers reported.

The protest erupted after students were turned away on admissions day at Taif University, south of Makkah, Okaz and the Saudi Gazette said on Monday.

Female security guards clashed with the students and female guardians as they staged a sit-in and blocked streets and the entrance to the university, they said on their websites.

Witnesses quoted by the Saudi Gazette said that Red Crescent relief teams treated the female guardian of one of the girls "who was beaten up by the security women."

Al Medina newspaper said the women and their guardians attempted to storm the university's gate and were pushed back by security guards, resulting in some injuries.

The women accused the university of admitting less qualified students and closing admissions before the official registration date.

But Hisham Al Zeer, the dean of admissions and registration, denied there was any corruption in the admissions process, the Gazette said.

Photographs of the protest showed hundreds of women covered in black abayas, or head-to-toe robes, standing and sitting by a university entrance and in the street.

Saudi Arabia's interior ministry strictly enforces a ban on demonstrations, and mass protests by women in the kingdom are virtually unheard of. Afp

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Pakistani students perform well in Science Olympiads
Islamabad: Pakistani students have showed again an excellent performance in the International Science Olympiads and won seven silver medals and two honourable mentions.

These annual competitions in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics provide pre-university students from around the world an opportunity to compete in solving challenging theoretical and experimental science problems.

Four different teams selected by STEM Careers Programme, a joint venture of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), participated in the 20th International Biology Olympiad (IBO-Japan), 41st International Chemistry Olympiad (ICho-UK), 50th International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO-Germany) and 40th International Physics Olympiad (IPho-Mexico) held last month.

Mahym Mansoor from Kinnaird College For Women, Lahore and Tayyaba Maqbool Malik from Abdul Razzaq Fazaia College, Mianwali won Bronze Medals each in the Biology Olympiad, wherein 221 students of 56 countries participated. Saman Zia and Nayha Enver from Lahore Grammar School competed with 258 students from 64 countries in the Chemistry Olympiad, each winning a Bronze Medal. Similarly, Waqar Ali Syed from Pak Turk International School, Karachi represented his country in the Mathematics Olympiad and won a Bronze Medal. 565 students representing 104 countries competed in the Olympiad.

In the Physics competition, Pakistani students won two Silver Medals as well as two Honourable Mentions. Harres Bin Tariq and Muhammad Zain ul Abideen Ali Khas from Resource Academia, Lahore won Bronze Medals while Aamir Ayub from Bahria College, Islamabad and Muhammad Musab Jilani from Karachi Grammar School won Honourable Mentions. 317 students representing 72 countries participated in the Olympiad.

These shining students were selected and groomed by the STEM Careers Programme in collaboration with the Home Institutes including National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), HEJ Research Institute, Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences (ASSMS) and PIEAS.

The IBO team was led by Dr. Zafar M Khalid and Dr. Muhammad Saeed of National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad and Al-Hasanat Rasul of STEM Careers Programme.

The IChO team was led by Prof. Dr. Khalid M Khan and Dr. Raza Shah of HEJ Research Institute, University of Karachi. Similarly, IMO team was led by Prof. Dr. A D Raza Choudary and Dr. Ahmed Mahmood Qureshi of Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences (ASSMS), Government College University, Lahore, while Dr. Shahid Qamar and Dr. Masroor Ikram of PIEAS led the IPhO team.

It is pertinent to mention here that most of the students who participated in the National Science Talent Contest arranged by STEM Careers Programme invariably get scholarship for higher studies in leading universities of the world such as Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Caltech and Oxford.

The 7th National Science Talent Contest (NSTC-7) for talented students of 1st Year FSc/A-Level will be launched in September 2009.

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Grammar School shows 100% result
Rawalpindi: The students of the Grammar Public School, Saidpur Road Satellite Town showed 100 per cent result in the Secondary School Certificate Annual Examination of the Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, says a press release.

In science group among boys, Muhammad Sohaib Niazi got first position by obtaining 985 marks, Agha Bilal Zeb stood second by obtaining 981 marks, Ahsan Waheed got third position with 970 marks and Muhammad Owais Siddiqui got fourth position 964 marks.

Among the girls students, Asia Akhlaq got first position with 982 marks, Sehrish Nadeem stood second with 978 marks and Hajirah Khalid stood 3rd by obtaining 973 marks. Mina Tariq stood 4th with 971 marks.

Among boys and girls 74 students got A+ grade and remaining got A grades and only eight students got B grade. The general group of the school also showed 100% result. The administrator of the school Shamim Haider Syed congratulated all the students, and teachers and announced gold medal and cash prizes to the successful candidates in the annual prize distribution ceremony.

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Fazaia Intermediate College student distinction
Rawalpindi: Muhammad Zeeshan Ahraf, a student of the Fazaia Intermediate College, Chaklala, secured 897 marks in the Higher Secondary School Certificate (F.Sc) Annual Examination 2009 of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, says a press release.

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FG College of Commerce shows 92% result
Islamabad: The students of FG College of Commerce, H-8/4, showed 92 per cent result in Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) Annual Examination of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, says a press release. Out of 416 students 381 passed the examination with distinction. The Principal of the college Professor Zafarullah Khan Buttar has praised the devotion of the teachers and untiring efforts of the students in maintaining the college tradition of showing brilliant results. He advised students to make utmost effort in their next classes and get maximum successes in the future. The News

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