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Collision course in private school textbook

Collision course in biology textbook
Aug 29: Politics, education, religion and culture have all collided on the campus of a private school in Karachi. The cause of the collision is a textbook used in the teaching of biology to class seven students which includes several pages of text and graphics detailing the human reproductive process, internal and external organs, basic factual information about contraception and the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. The textbook is imported from Singapore and is published by a company of international repute. The books we use to educate our children and the curriculum they are taught within have been the subject of bitter conflict for decades. Attempts to modernise or revise the national curriculum have been either half-hearted or frustrated by conservatives who resist any kind of change. State schools today offer a poor basic education which turns the increasingly affluent middle-class to the private sector, with many of the better private schools affiliated to foreign examination boards such as Oxford and Cambridge and teaching their students to GCE O- and A-level standards.

The discussion about this particular school has quickly turned both ugly and violent, with parents urged on by men with who-knows-what agenda breaking in to the school and demanding that the offending texts be removed they have been and that the teaching of music be optional rather than compulsory. Once again extremism trumps modernist thinking and practice and the controversy has the capacity to spread like wildfire. There are those including an ever-energetic religious party who are trying to mobilise the populace against modern methods of education and international curricular standards. The private schools are caught in the dilemma of being linked to a world outside where the educational environment is constantly evolving (and secular) unlike the world where they operate which isn't. Our culture is naturally conservative, but this does not mean that we have to cut ourselves off from the wider world. There is a desperate need for quality education, and if we do not educate our children better than we do currently then we deserve nothing less than a place at the bottom of every pile we are part of. This particular school controversy exemplifies everything that holds us back from being a part of the modern world. We need not ditch our values for those of the west, but we do need to find a middle-ground that allows the responsible and culturally appropriate teaching of human biology.

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Buying back-to-school shoes
Back-to-school time means lots of preparation for parents, including the prospect of buying shoes for their children.

The American Podiatric Medical Association offers these shoe-buying tips:

Today's Health Tips

* Always have your child's feet measured before you buy shoes. Children's feet grow quickly, so you shouldn't rely on a previous measurement.

* Opt for new shoes instead of accepting hand-me-downs. That will help ensure a better fit and avoid spreading germs, such as the fungus that causes athlete's foot.

* Inspect the heels of your child's shoes to check for uneven wear, which may indicate a foot problem.

* If feet aren't the same size, buy larger so as not to squeeze the bigger foot.

* Don't buy shoes that aren't comfortable. There should be no reason to "break in" a new pair of shoes.

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Dir college closed after clash
DIR: The Government Degree College, Dir, was closed for an indefinite period after a clash between two student groups, college officials said Friday.

The clash took place between the president of People's Students Federation, Adil Murad, and president, Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, Mohsin, over some petty issue.

The students said that after the scuffle, the brothers and relatives of Moshin rushed to the college and thrashed Adil and his friends on the premises of the college. The college administration decided to close the institution for an indefinite period.

"Yes, we have closed the college for an indefinite time. It will not be reopened until three former students of the college are arrested," the principal of the college said. He added that police were investigating the clash and would soon reach a conclusion.

The principal, however, said the college administration had registered an FIR against Adil Murad, Israr and Tehseen, all PSF affiliated students. "We tried to resolve the issue peacefully and ward off any untoward incident. The chief proctor had summoned Moshin's relatives to the office to convince them not to retaliate and keep the college environment peaceful but to no avail," he said.

The PSF staged a demonstration soon after the clash to protest over the thrashing of their colleagues by outsiders. They blocked the road outside the DCO office and chanted slogans against the IJT. The news

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Youth urged to go for skill development
Islamabad: Chairman, Skill Development Council (SDC), Imtiaz Rastgar has urged the youth to go for skill development as it would help reduce unemployment in the country.

Speaking at a closing ceremony of AutoCAD course organized by SDC here the chairman said that skill development was necessary not only for up-gradation of industrial base but also improvement in economic health of the country.

He said that the industries in the region have great potentials to enhance exports through focusing on value-addition, which could not be achieved without skilled manpower.

He appreciated the role of private sector in helping the government to improve skill level of labour force and said the industry was spending its resources on skill development.

The Chairman said the Council has adopted effective strategies to expand the opportunities of getting the right skill for the youth, middle level professional and housewives.

He added that the Council was also focusing on multi-lateral skills and has enhanced its facilities manifolds by offering demand based, tailor made courses.

Later, he distributed certificates among the participants of the course. Three Bangladeshi nationals also participated in the course. App

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