USAID help for Pakistani universities

US to help 7 universities construct, rehabilitate their education faculties
Islamabad, Feb 03: The United States will build new Faculty of Education buildings at six Pakistani universities and renovate a seventh education facility, as part of an agreement signed Wednesday between the universities and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said Karen Freeman, USAID Deputy Director for Pakistan.

She stated this while addressing the signing ceremony of a memorandum of Understanding for construction and rehabilitation of faculty of education buildings, says a press release. The construction will take place over the next two year and the new and renovated buildings will eventually house approximately 2,000 students of two new teaching degrees: the four year Bachelor' Degree in Education and a two-year Associate Degree in Education in teaching that USAID helped design and introduce in order to increase quality of teacher preparation across the country and 100 faculty members each year.

"Pakistan and the United States have enjoyed a long and productive relationship that spans more than 60 years and covers a variety of fields. Today's ceremony is yet another expression of the US Government's long-term commitment to help build a stronger, more prosperous Pakistan," she added.

"It gives me great pleasure to be here with you today to witness the signing of the MoU between the seven of country's public universities and two of USAID implementing partners for the construction and rehabilitation of Faculty of Education buildings across the country. The contribution to the Pakistani education system is yet another example of the US long-term commitment to helping Pakistan address its development priorities.

"Our collaboration in higher education sector spans more than five decades. One of our first undertakings in this sector was the construction of the Institute of Education and Research at the University of Punjab in 1960s. fifty years later, this institute continues to help the country shape its education policies. Over the years, we have worked together to build more higher education institutions that have since become premier centres for knowledge and learning. I am very proud to list among such the Institute of Business administration in Karachi, the Lahore University of Management Sciences, the Faisalabad Agriculture University as well as the Peshawar Agriculture University, and many more," she said.

Karen Freeman said: "I am happy that through today's commitment we are continuing this tradition of supporting Pakistan in its efforts to develop strong education institutions." She said that these new facilities will help attract and train best young minds to teaching profession and will help improve the professional knowledge and skills of many other teachers.

Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari appreciated the efforts of the US Government for improving the quality of education across the country. The $15 million construction initiative was officially launched today at the Higher Education Commission, where representatives of the USAID signed MoU with representatives of the seven universities. As part of the agreement, the US will construct new Faculty of Education buildings at the Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University in Quetta; the Hazara University in Mansehra; the University of Education in Lahore; the University of Sindh in Hyderabad; the University of Karachi in Karachi; and the Sardar Abdul Latif University in Khairpur (Sindh). The US will also help renovate the Institute of Education and Research at the University of the Punjab. The news

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Pak-China Friendship Scholarship
Islamabad: As many as 173 male and female graduates received "Pak-China Friendship Scholarship" certificates while 92 beneficiaries of 3-month vocational training course received Waseela-e-Haq cheques during a function held here on Wednesday.

Training course was offered by "Pak-China Friendship Scholarship" a shared venture of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and China Foundation for Peace and Development (CFPD).

BISP Chairperson Farzana Raja, Ambassador of China in Pakistan H.E. Liu Jian, Imtiaz Safdar Warriach President PPP Punjab, PPP MNAs Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Nadeem Afzal Chan were also present in the ceremony in which Rs1.5 lac each Waseela-e-Haq cheques worth Rs14 million were distributed amongst 92 beneficiary families.

H.E. Liu Jian, Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan, on the occasion, said China would keep supporting the BISP for its future endeavors as well. He said that the mutual cooperation between the BISP and the CFPD in vocational training is proving a bridge for mutual cooperation between the two countries in the social sector.

Imtiaz Safdar Warriach, President PPP Punjab said the BISP is fulfilling a national obligation of working for poverty reduction.

He said the success of vocational training programme of the BISP is a befitting response to the elements who throw baseless criticism on the programme. Dawn

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4,000 students take part in World Wetlands Day event
Islamabad: Students from around 100 schools of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad took part in the 'World Wetlands Day 2012' at the Islamabad College for Girls (ICG) in Sector F-6/2 here on Thursday.

As many as 4,000 students participated in various activities organised by the Pakistan Wetlands Programme (PWP) on the occasion. Students actively participated in art competition, story-writing and poem competitions. Students were seen busy drawing paintings on the theme with colours on chart papers.

The chief guest of the event was M. Javed Malik, secretary of the Ministry of National Disaster Management. Other guests included Abdul Munaf Kaimkhani (DIG Forest Department) and Saleem Ullah (programme officer climate change, environment and energy at the UNDP). The opening remarks were given by Dr. Ghulam Akbar, national programme manager of the PWP. A speech was delivered by the secretary to mark the significance of the day, while the closing remarks were made by Ahmad Khan (director programmes at the PWP).

This year, the World Wetlands Day celebrations focused on the theme of 'Wetland and Tourism' with a slogan 'Wetland Tourism: A Great Experience'. This has been designed to create a sense of awareness among people about the role tourism plays in their environments. The Wetland Tourism has benefits both locally and nationally for people and wildlife - benefits such as stronger economies, sustainable livelihoods, healthy people and thriving ecosystems - an ideal time to start thinking about this precious source! With their natural beauty and biodiversity wetlands make ideal locations for tourism. The income can be significant and support livelihoods locally and nationally. Wetlands provide other 'services', too, such as water, food, water purification, erosion control ,etc., for the benefit of tourists and tourist accommodation. The income generated by tourism for national and local economies in and around wetlands can be substantial. Unsustainable tourism may bring short-term benefits but long-term losses to wetland health, compromising ecosystem services and sometimes local livelihoods. It is worth noting that tourism is one of the many services that wetlands deliver. Ensuring well-managed tourism practices in and around wetlands and educating tourists on the value of wetlands contributes to their health and the long-term benefits that wetlands provide to people, wildlife, economics, and biodiversity.

Similar campaigns are being organised in Gilgit, Chitral, Peshawar University (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Khabbeki Khushab, Kot Addu, Faisalabad, Lahore (Punjab), Sukkur, Keenjhar Lake, and Karachi (Sindh), Gwader (Balochistan) other towns and villages of Pakistan.

The Pakistan Wetlands Programme (PWP) has been a trendsetter in developing a firm base for mainstreaming the values of wetlands across Pakistan. The programme, being implemented by the World Wide Fund for Nature, Pakistan, (WWF), once again organised the celebration of one of its mega events being held each year on February 2nd, 2012, to mark the date of adoption of the International Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran in 1971.

The closing ceremony will be held on February 15 at the Islamabad College for Girls, F-6/2, where the winners will be awarded with gifts and souvenirs.

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Naat contest held at AAUR
Islamabad: Directorate of Students Affairs of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) organised a Naat competition in University Auditorium here on Thursday.

Students from different departments of the university paid tributes to the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him). They presented beautiful and soul-stirring Naats. Zakat and Usher Committee, Satellite Town, Rawalpindi, Chairman Fazal-ur Rehman was the chief guest on the occasion.

In his address, he said that Islam is based on Holy Qur'aan and teachings of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him). He said teachings of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) should be followed and nothing should be given importance more than this.

He said: "Reciting Naat is incomplete unless and until we act upon the teachings of Holy Qur'aan and Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him). He prayed that may Allah Almighty bless the students with intellectual thinking along with knowledge. At the end chief guest distributed prizes among the winners of competition.

In the competition more than 15 students participated among them Naveed Gul got first position, while Syed Yasir Zaidi and Khawja Nouman got second and third positions, respectively. Dr. Muhammad Irfan Ul Haq and Dr. Ghulam Hussain Babar of PMAS-AAUR were the judges of the competition. The news

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