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School teachers appointment letters

13,500 teachers waiting for appointment letters
Karachi, Dec 28: An inordinate delay in recruiting teachers for government schools across Sindh has been causing unrest among thousands of aspirants who have already appeared in the written tests held more than six months back for the appointment of primary, junior and high school teachers.

Over 200,000 candidates had appeared in the tests which were held to fill about 13,500 vacancies of schoolteachers. The tests were conducted by the Sindh University's testing service in the third week of May this year in all the 23 district headquarters of Sindh.

In Karachi alone, over 13,000 took the tests for 1,300 posts lying vacant at various government schools.

Although the tests were conducted in the beginning of the current academic year, the Sindh education department has not been able to complete the process of hiring teachers by issuing appointment letters to successful candidates even now when the academic year is coming to an end.

A number of the candidates declared successful in the tests have apprehended that the issuance of appointment letters was being delayed by those officials or influential people who wanted to fill the vacancies on political grounds.

They called for the issuance of their appointment at the earliest so that they could take up the job from the next academic year, beginning on April 1, 2010.

They said that the executive district officer (EDO) of education had prepared around 400 appointment letters to fill the vacancies of non-teaching staff in the city's government schools, and alleged that the list of names had been sent to his from the Chief Minister's House. Dawn

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Student unions spend 2009 waiting for election schedule
Lahore: Activists seeking the revival of student unions have expressed concern that 2009 has passed without any announcement for union elections, despite a promise by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in his first speech as the chief executive of the country.

Former president Ziaul Haq banned student unions from educational institutions in 1984 amid countrywide reports of violence. But Gilani in his first speech as prime minister on March 29, 2008 lifted the ban. Union leaders welcomed the development, and began preparing for elections sin line with the prime minister's announcement.

The federal government then set up a Higher Education Commission taskforce which had the vice chancellors of four major universities of the country as its members to make recommendations on a schedule for elections. The team filed its recommendations with the HEC last year, but there has been little progress since.

Student union leaders now blame the taskforce for the failure to fulfil the prime minister's promise.

HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail Naqvi said that wile the task force had tabled its recommendations, furthers plans had not been made because "it is not an appropriate time to hold elections".

Student unions remained a part of educational institutions from Independence until the ban imposed by Zia, with the movement registering its peak in Punjab in the 1980s: groups of the National Students' Federation (NSF), the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), the Muslim Students' Federation (MSF), the Anjuman Talaba Islamia (ATI), the People's Student Federation (PSF), the Imamia Students Organization (ISO) were active in the province at that time. Meanwhile, the Pukhtoon Students' Federation (PKSF) in NWFP; the Baloch Students' Organisation (BSO) in Balochistan; and the Sindhi Students' Federation and the All Pakistan Muhajir Organisation (APMO) in Sindh were promoting union activities in the other provinces. This was also the same period when a wave of violence emerged.

Groups of these organisations which still exist in most public institutions of the province are currently waiting for the implementation of the prime minister's announcement.

MTM President Jawadul Hassan Rizvi said unions were still awaiting an announcement on the election schedule. He believes that the restoration of students unions would "promote academic activities".

The president of the MSF MAO college, Suni Prince, said that renowned politicians in parliament had been part of student unions, and "the movement must be revived". He said student unions served as a platform for future leaders, and called on the prime minister to fulfil his promise.

But while the fulfilment of the prime minister's promise would be welcomed by union leaders, most civil society members and teachers are opposed to the lifting of the ban, as they fear elections might be followed by a new wave of violence.

Their concern is rooted in the current role of student unions at Punjab University; Civil Lines College; Islamia College, Railway Road; Science College, Wahdat Road; Government Commerce College, Iqbal Town; MAO College; and Dayal Singh College. Violent incident were reported from these institutions throughout 2009. The administrations say they have been unable to rid their institutions of IJT and MSF "who are backed by politicians".

Former ATI information secretary Nasir Qadri said that unions were working under political parties, and "the involvement of political parties was the main reason behind violence at the city's institutions". Daily times

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Arabic loan words in English
IT is considered quite normal for languages to borrow words from other languages. When a language takes words from other languages, these "new arrivals" are usually called borrowings or loan words. But these so-called loans are neither repaid, nor are they meant to be returned as they become property of the borrowing language.

English is unusual in that it has very liberally borrowed from other languages. "English, perhaps more than any other language, is an insatiable borrower. Whereas the speakers of some languages take pains to exclude foreign words from their lexicons, English seems always to have welcomed them," writes David Crystal in his The Cambridge encyclopaedia of the English language. "Over 120 languages," he adds, "are on record as source for its present-day vocabulary and the locations of contact are found all over the world". One of the sources of English words is Arabic and many of Arabic loan words have become an integral part of the English language.

But in the process of adoption and assimilation, some changes have occurred in the pronunciation of loan words due to linguistic and phonetic limitations. In some cases, this change in pronunciation is so drastic that it has become very difficult to recognise the original words. The reason is 'double adoption' since natives of England had but a little direct contact with the Arabic language and before these words found their way into the English language, they had already been assimilated into some other European language. As Robert Claiborne has beautifully summed it up in his brilliant work 'The life and times of the English language': "Since England, unlike the Mediterranean lands of Christendom, had little direct contact with the Arab world, it borrowed few Arab words 'from the source'.

Its borrowings were at second hand, via French or Latin, meaning that by the time they had passed into English they had been phonetically (and sometimes syntactically) assimilated not once but twice.

As a result, the English word often has a tenuous resemblance to its Arabic original".

Here are a few Arabic loan words that, in most cases, have appeared in English dictionaries as headwords. In addition to the books referred above, I have consulted some other books too, especially dictionaries, to ascertain the roots, but citing them all here would have been ponderous.

Some Arabic words have shown little change in pronunciation hence they are easily recognisable. They are used in English almost in the same sense, too. For instance (original Arabic words have been shown in parenthesis), 'alchemy' (al-kimia), 'alembic' (al-ambiq), 'alkali' (al-qali) 'amber' (ambar), 'algebra' (al-jabr, the full name: al-jabr-w-al-muqabila), 'Aldebaran', or the first-magnitude red star of the Hyades, (ad-dubran,), 'kohl' (kohl), 'alcohol' (al-kohl), 'cipher' (sifer),'orange' (naranj), 'sherbet' (sharbat), 'sofa' (suffah) and tariff (taareef).

Many Arabic words appeared in English in a thinly veiled form and can still be recognised with a little effort. For example, saffron (zaafraan), 'spinach' (asfaanaakh) and ghoul, or a demon that preys on the dead, (ghol), all sound only slightly different. Similarly, such Arabic words as 'syrup' (sharaab), 'calibre' (qaalib) and 'cotton' (qutun) are easily identified.

'Admiral' is derived from 'ameer-ul-ala' or 'ameer-ul-bahr'. 'Artichoke' is from 'al-kharshof'. 'Candy' is a slightly different form of Arabic 'qand' or 'qandi'. 'Makhaazin' (singular: makhzan) or the 'storehouses' became 'magazine'.

A large number of Arabic loan words entered the English lexicon through Spanish since Spain had been ruled by the Muslims for centuries. Some such words are: 'alcaide' or 'alcayde' (al-quaid; we can safely assume that the English word 'guide', too, is a form of 'quaid', or one who leads), 'alcazar', or a palace, (al-qasr).

The French language absorbed many Arabic words which were later transmitted to English with some changes. The words that arrived through French include: 'azimuth' which in Arabic is 'as-samt' (direction).

Another astrological term is 'zenith' that came via French. The origin is Arabic 'samt-ur-rass'. 'Nadir' too is a gift from Arabic though the original was not that brief: samt-un-nadhir. Yet another stranger that adapted to western conditions is 'carafe', which is from 'gharafa', or 'draw water'.

'Alcove' is from 'qubba', or 'al-qubba', which literally means 'dome'. 'Ream' is from Arabic 'rizmah'.

Another interesting word is 'assassin'. Derived form 'hashasheen', this word is a reminiscent of a fanatic, militant sect that would intoxicate young men by making them consume hashish or cannabis and order them to murder their political rivals.

Do not forget 'arsenal' while talking about murders, for it has been derived from 'as-sana', literally meaning 'fire'.

To take war off your mind, let us talk about love. 'Gazelle' is in fact 'ghazaal' in Arabic, the same word which has given us a beautiful genre of Urdu love poetry: 'ghazal'. And if you need some rest, get some 'mattress' which is from Arabic 'matrah', meaning 'the place to sit on, a cushion'.

Italian, too, has been a corridor through which alien Arabic words entered the realms of English. 'Garble' is one such word. It is from Arabic 'ghurbaal', meaning 'to sift', though 'Noor-ul-lughaat' says it is the Persian word 'gurbaal' that has been 'Arabicised'. Here I have not mentioned words such as mufti, emir, haj, harem, muezzin, jihad, fakir, sheikh or Hadith, etc, that are comparatively newer entrants and are used to denote the same meanings. Dawn

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Kinnaird College status
Lahore: The latest episode at the Kinnaird College (KC) involving the sacking of seven faculty members has generated a heated debate among academic circles besides highlighting another serious issue of the actual status of the college.

According to KC Principal Dr Bernadette L Dean, the Kinnaird College is a private institute whereas Secretary of the Higher Education Department Punjab, Ahad Khan Cheema, believes that it is neither a government nor purely private institute. He says the college has been running under a special arrangement.

Besides its presence in the KC Board of Governors (BoG), the Punjab government has employees who have been serving at the Kinnaird College and drawing their salaries from the government exchequer. "Certainly this does not happen in private organisations", commented a senior official of the department who requested to remain anonymous while adding, "The recent episode will help a lot in solving the longstanding issue related to the actual status of the college."

He said another perplexing issue was pertaining to making rules for the college as the power vested in the Punjab government unlike the KC's BoG. He said the particular clause was quite complex as like KC the government was not involved in making rules for private institutions.

Talking about the recent sackings, the official said, "The Punjab government cannot react if the college repatriates even all government teachers serving at the college to their parent department" adding, "The hiring-firing power vests in the college and not the government."

Explaining further he said the department had objected to the recent move since the KC teachers had submitted an application to the BoG for alleged irregularities by the principal. "The government would not have interfered provided the teachers had not moved any application to the BoG of which the education department is also a member", he added.

The official, however, added "The time has come to thrash out all issues with the KC". It is important to mention here that seven faculty members were shown the door by the KC principal on December 23. Four out of the seven were repatriated to the Punjab government as they were from the regular government service.

The move was seen as victimisation by the principal as the KC BoG had constituted a fact-finding committee on December 5 on the complaint of the teachers about alleged unjust and unfair appointment of the registrar by the principal.

Meanwhile, in a press release issued on Saturday, KC Principal Prof Dr Bernadette L Dean clarified her position and reiterated that the services of contract employees had been dispensed with on completion of their contract with the college while services of government employees had been repatriated to the parent department according to the past practice.

She also claimed that the appointment of the registrar was made by the college administration after fulfilling requisite procedural formalities of duly advertising the post in the press and following appointment procedures.

Nonetheless, it is important to mention here that the Higher Education Department, Punjab, had expressed concerns over the sacking of the teachers and asked the college principal to wait until a report of the fact-finding committee.

Some KC students have also launched a campaign against the sackings and in this connection various forums like SMSs and the internet, including social networking website, are being used to 'spread the word' as the college is closed these days for annual winter and Christmas holidays.

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KUST VC kidnapping clue
Peshawar: Though his whereabouts have reportedly been traced, the authorities have failed to recover the kidnapped vice-chancellor of Kohat University of Science and Technology Prof Dr Lutfullah Kakakhel despite a passage of 51 days.

The VC had gone missing on November 6 while he was on way to the university from Peshawar. The authorities launched a crackdown on the Akhurwal tribesmen soon after the kidnapping of the senior academician and arrested several dozens tribal people and sealed properties of many others under the Collective Responsibility Clause of Frontier Crimes Regulation. However, the action failed to yield results.

For about 25 days of the abduction, the whereabouts of the kidnapped VC were not known, as the authorities had failed to locate him and none had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Later, the VC reportedly contacted his office in the university and some members of his family asking them to expedite efforts for his release. The authorities then came to know that the VC was in the custody of Tariq Afridi, commander of the Darra Taliban, who wanted release of his four commanders from the captivity of the security forces.

The teachers of public sector universities demanded of to the chancellor to ensure safe release of the VC, but to no avail. They held protests and set several deadlines for the authorities to ensure release of the VC, which too failed to bear fruit. But now the protests by teachers and students have lost momentum and efforts on the part of the political administration and security forces for his safe recovery have weakened.

Some senior professors of the University of Peshawar are of the opinion that now that his kidnappers and their demands are known, the government should take firm steps to get him recovered.

They said that no sincere efforts were being made for the prompt and safe recovery of the VC. Dr Lutfullah is a senior academician and pioneer of computer science and information technology in the NWFP. He had served as head of several institutions. He also served as advisor to the governor on information technology. The news

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