Pakistani schoolboy broke 'O' Level record

Teen who broke 'O' Level record
Islamabad: A Pakistani schoolboy has smashed a world record by getting 23 A grades in his 'O' Levels, taking inspiration from the controversial father of Pakistan's atomic bomb who is hailed a national hero.

Ibrahim Shahid, 17, the son of a university professor of electrical engineering and educated at the private Beaconhouse School System in Islamabad, set the record last month by achieving 23 As in 24 subjects in the Cambridge examination.

"It's a recognition for my country. This has never been done at 'O' Level," he told AFP, dutifully thanking his parents and teachers.

"My teacher in Australia told my father 'Mr Shahid your son is an average student and he can never excel,' and then I decided to prove myself," he said in reference to two years he spent in Australia at primary school.

Shahid has yet to decide what to study at university, but said he is drawn to physics and economics, wanting to do something to help his homeland, teetering on the edge of economic meltdown and beset by poverty.

"I want to do something for my country - something unique," he said. He confessed to being "worried" about Pakistan, which suffers a critical "brain drain" of talent to the West.

Shahid said he takes inspiration from Abdul Qadeer Khan, widely hailed a hero in Pakistan, but reviled in the West after he confessed in 2004 to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Until February 2009, Khan was subject to a house of arrest for operating a nuclear proliferation ring, but Washington says he still represents a risk.

"I'm impressed by Dr. Qadeer Khan. I want to serve my country.

"The future generation has to believe in hardwork. They should not be disheartened. They should work hard to make the impossible possible," he said.

The Cambridge 'O' Level is an internationally recognised qualification for children aged 14 to 16, as part of preparation for university entrance and before end of school examinations.

It is designed especially for the international market and students whose first language may not be English.

Shahid's teacher Qurat-Ul-Ain welcomed his achievement as a rare piece of good news and a "message of hope" for Pakistan's future.

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Beaconites bag 24 CIE international distinctions
Islamabad: Beaconhouse School System, Northern Region, students have been awarded 24 international distinctions by the University of Cambridge in the O and A level examinations for 2010, says a press release issued here on Wednesday.

These distinctions include three top in the world and 14 top in the region.

Tanyah Hameed, BMI, has topped in the world in A Level Psychology, Urwat Til Vusqa, BMI, has topped in the world in O Level Mathematics and Haran Innocent Bhatti, BMI, has topped in the world in religious studies. These scholars are joined by the following top in the region recipients in a variety of subjects for A level and O levels.

Urwat Til Vusqa, BMI, O level Additional Mathematics, Areej Abbasi, BMI, O level Environmental Management, Hamza Mahmood, BEC, O level, Urdu Language, Syed Zohaib Asad, BEC - O level, Human and Social Biology, Hammad Khan, BMI - O level Pakistan Studies, Muhammad Muneeb Zafar, BMI-O level Physics, Syed Hamza Sohail, BMI - O level Physics. The distinction holders in A level include, Brayshna Kundi, FC - AS level, English Language, Sidra Hassan, BMI- A level Chemistry, Hammad Nadeem, BMI - A level Computing, Zarina Tariq, BMI-A level Economics, Mehr-Un-Nisa Arshad Malik, BMI-A level, Law, Khadija Mahsud, BMI-A level English Literature, Rabeea Ahmed, BMI-A level, Thinking Skills.

Urwat Til Vusqa, BMI, along with her top in the world and top in the region distinctions has also been awarded the Second Place - Best Across Seven Cambridge O Levels - making her the recipient of 3 CIE distinctions.

Shiza Rizwan Qazi, BMI, was declared the first place - Best Across Nine Cambridge O Levels. Fatima Sharif, BEC, is the recipient of first place - Best Across Eight Cambridge O Levels. Saad Shahid, BEC, has been awarded third place - Best Across Seven Cambridge O Levels.

Mahrukh Mumtaz, BMI, has received second place - Best Across Eight Cambridge O Levels. Anam Amin, AGAL, has received the second place - Best Across Four Cambridge International AS Levels.

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Fifth grade students feel the pressure
Rawalpindi: The Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) has put the future of thousands of students of fifth grade in jeopardy by scheduling two papers in a day.

A number of parents said that their children were appearing in examinations under immense pressure, which could affect their results.

Students of grade five are bound to give two papers in a day. For it, they have to stay in their respective examination centres from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with a break of one hour.

Ishfaq Khan, the father of a student, said that the date-sheet for grade five students is quite tough. Students are studying round-the-clock, which is affecting their health. The concerned authorities should prepare date-sheets considering the level of students.

Sources in the Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) said that the decision of taking two papers in a day has been taken to manage the budget of the department.

The department is not getting even a single rupee from students. That is why it has been decided to make such a date-sheet. He said that there are around 1,200 examination centres for grade five examinations. The department is paying around Rs200 to the invigilator, Rs400 to the superintendent, Rs700 to the resident superintendent, Rs100 to class 4 employees per day and gives Rs5 per paper to evaluators. "Scheduling two papers in a day would definitely cut the expenses," sources added.

When contacted Rawalpindi District Officer (Education) Qazi Zahoor, he said: "Parents are also contacting us and complaining against the schedule of two papers in a day. We are only following orders of the Punjab Examination Commission. During the meeting with PEC officials, the issue of two papers in a day was raised. But we were told that the PEC had to manage its budget and it has data that two papers in a day produces good results. The news

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Girls primary schools lack basic facilities
Islamabad: Majority of girls primary schools in the country lacked basic facilities including drinking water.

The Education Monitor of Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) in its report based on the monitoring of 137 girls schools in 87 districts across the country said sanitary workers were not present in 72 per cent of the schools, 32 per cent did not have a peon and 29 per cent lacked security guards.

As many as 59 schools were monitored in 32 districts of Punjab, 33 in 23 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight districts in Balochistan, 35 schools in 22 districts of Sindh and two schools in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

According to Fafen, half of the schools did not have basic facility of clean drinking water making students vulnerable to water borne diseases.

Furthermore, 46 per cent of the schools did not have the facility of staff rooms for teachers and 24 per cent were without playgrounds.

The report says that one fifth of the 137 schools are not housed in proper buildings. The situation was better in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in this regard as compared to other provinces.

Transparency surfaced as a major issue during the teams visits as 20 schools did not provide information about the sanctioned teaching posts and 66 declined to provide information about the sanctioned posts of non-teaching staff.

Information regarding the attendance of teachers and students in the school was also withheld by some schools.

About seven per cent of the total sanctioned teaching posts and 13 per cent of the sanctioned non-teaching posts in the schools were lying vacant. The highest number of unoccupied teaching (9 per cent) and non-teaching (22 per cent) posts were observed in Sindh. DAWN

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Students visualise Kashmir on canvas
Islamabad: Students from various educational institutions of twin cities on Wednesday captured the natural beauty of Kashmir and some Kashmir issues on their canvases with colours and artistic skills in a painting competition.

The competition was organised by Ministry of Culture and Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) to mark the forthcoming Kashmir Solidarity day on February 5.

The on spot painting was followed by an exhibition of those paintings that are created during the competition while the participants will be awarded certificates for their brilliant abilities.

Using the medium of water colours, pastels and mix media, the paintings portrayed natural beauty of Kashmir including landscapes, rivers, mountains and green zones while the paintings by some of the students expressed their views on struggle of Kashmiris for freedom and their basic rights.

As many as 30 students participated in the event, which provided the students with a platform to showcase their talent and express their concerns over International issues.

The PNCA has planned various activities to observe Kashmir Solidarity Day with a focus on utilising young talent and engaging youth in healthy activities.

The programmes will continue till February 5 featuring cultural shows, presentation of national songs, dramas, mime show, poetry recitation, tableaus and puppet show depicting the stories on issues related to Kashmir and its importance for Pakistan.

The events also include regional dances by PNCA Performing Arts Group in colourful costumes and traditional jewellery of Kashmir.

On February 5, daylong activities will be held while an exotic art and craft bazaar will also be a part of the events with a variety of traditional Kashmiri items. The news

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