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National Internship Programme monitoring

50-member staff approved for monitoring NIP
Islamabad, Jan 13: To ensure proper monitoring and evaluation of the National Internship Programme (NIP) at regional and provincial levels, the Ministry of Finance has finally approved a 50-member staff for the Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYA).

Source in the Ministry of Youth Affairs said on Tuesday that uptil now, the mega project aimed at providing useful job experience of one-year to educated youth, was run by a staff of only 19 members at the federal level. "There was no staff to monitor the project at regional or provincial levels," said the source.

He said that when the project was handed over to the Ministry of Youth Affairs by the Establishment Division, the total number of staff members was 35 that were later reduced to 19. The source said that for effective monitoring and implementation of NIP, the ministry demanded an additional staff of 70 persons to set up at least nine regional offices in the country.

The NIP is the biggest project on the portfolio of the Ministry of Youth Affairs for which the government has allocated Rs3.6 billion for the fiscal year 2009-10. Before being handed over to the ministry, the Establishment Division, which provided internship to 26,000 qualified youth in 2007, was managing the project.

In 2008, around 75,000 students applied for the programme. Among them, 54,000 were found eligible. However, the procedure of short listing and recruitment came to a standstill at that time, as the Establishment Division was not provided with appropriate funds.

For the year 2009, the ministry had received around 70,000 applications. Out of these, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has 12,000 applications and the names of successful candidates have been forwarded to provincial governments for their placement. "The placement at the federal level will also start within this week," the source said.

He said that the placement of youth from Malakand has already started which will be followed by placement on special seats announced by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani for youth from Balochistan. He said that some relaxation has also been made for youth from Sindh.

According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs recently, the ministry has released funds amounting to Rs588.9 million to Punjab, Rs307.9 million to Sindh, Rs307 million to NWFP, Rs5.4 million to Balochistan, Rs1.5 million to AJK, Rs7.2 million to FATA, Rs6.5 million to the Gilgit-Baltistan and Rs65 million to the Islamabad Capital Territory for payment to internees.

Blaming shortage of staff for slow selection and placement process, the official hoped that the staff approved by the Ministry of Finance would help speed up the process.

He said the new staff would be hired by the end of January. Currently, the post of Director General NIP is also lying vacant following the retirement of DG NIP Ashiq Abbasi in December. The news

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NCA facing multiple problems
Rawalpindi: Recently instituted National College of Arts (NCA) Rawalpindi campus is facing multiple problems in its expansion of new faculties and departments in absence of sufficient land for this purpose.

Principal National College of Arts (NCA) Prof Naazish Ata-Ullah told that Rawalpindi campus of the college needed a piece of land in Islamabad since it was pledged by the government at the time of its inception.

Prof Naazish was of the view that it is a national institution as it has quota system and students from all corners of the country came here to get education.

"It is a unique institute which provides national integrity because students of the college go back in their respective areas after experiencing and sharing values and culture of their fellow students of various areas," she maintained.

But she regretted that inspite of this fact, this educational institution is not being given proper attention as the college also lacked its own hostel building. Extending the future plans of the college, Principal NCA informed that college had planned to establish other departments like Design Faculty, Multimedia Art programme and Theatre Department.

"Unfortunately, the college has no land to build more buildings for the new faculties," she maintained. The nation

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AJK PM directed edu dept to formulate new education policy
Muzaffarabad: AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider on Tuesday directed the education department to formulate a new education policy with the help of experts, laying emphasis on elimination of class-based education system.

The class-based education system is widening the gulf between the rich and poor on the one hand and narrowing opportunities for the poor to excel in different walks of life on the other, he said during a meeting held to review the working of the department.

He said weaknesses in the prevailing education system were also giving birth to extremism which had necessitated changes in it to satisfy all segments of society.

He said the new policy should also incorporate transparent recruitment and training of teachers and effective monitoring of their performance. Mr Haider admitted that the basic problem of education department was its flawed recruitment system and desired results could be achieved only when it was brought in consonance with the principle of merit.

He directed that primary teachers should be chosen from the same union council. He also called for reducing the burden of syllabus on students up to the middle standard.

The prime minister also sought a report from the officials about need based upgradation of educational institutions within a month.

Earlier officials told him that the current year's budget of the department (schools) was Rs9.54 billion including Rs3.22 billion for reconstruction programme. Dawn

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School health plan
Islamabad: The government has decided to develop a national strategy and action plan for acceleration of the Joint School Health Programme being undertaken by the Ministries of Health, Education, Environment and the One UN reform programme.

The decision was taken during a meeting organised here on Tuesday with Minister for Health Makhdoom Shahabuddin in the chair. Representatives of relevant ministries, the UN and the World Bank were also present on the occasion.

Based on the national strategy, a Plan of Action will be drawn up and implemented. In keeping view ongoing interventions in the area of school health, model districts will be selected for the programme.

Training materials which are under preparation will be finalised and printed, and teachers and healthcare workers will be trained to launch effective school health programmes.

Addressing the meeting, Shahabuddin said there is an urgent need to promote the health of students attending schools. He ensured that the Ministry of Health would push the School Health Programme forward with full dedication. The government had signed the Joint Programme Component on School Health chalked out jointly by the UN agencies and the government under the 'One UN-One Programme' reform. The joint programme aims at initiating, strengthening and sustaining school health programmes in selected districts.

Director General Health Professor Rashid Jooma promised to actualise the decisions taken within a week's time. He said all public, private and religious schools would be included in the School Health Programme in pilot districts. Health messages would be included in the ongoing health education programmes.

Speaking on the part of One UN, WHO Representative Dr. Khalif Bile requested the Ministry of Health to provide some seed money for acceleration of the programme by moving a PC-1. The government should help in selection of pilot districts. The UN agencies can take some districts through ongoing programmes; for example, the WHO can provide funds from the Emergency Programme for NWFP, he proposed.

The Country Representative of Unicef Martin Mogwanja elaborated the role of his organisation in the School Health Programme, and called upon the government to assume a leadership role. WFP Representative Wolfgang and World Bank Health Specialist Dr. Inam-ul-Haq also spoke on the occasion.

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UoP diagnostic lab
Peshawar: The University of Peshawar (UoP) has set up its own diagnostic laboratory with the latest research and equipment at the Centre of Biotechnology.

It would offer facility to university students and employees to analyse various tests ranging from blood sugar, hepatitis and lipid profile. The services of the laboratory would be extended to the general public in the long run.

UoP Vice-chancellor Prof Dr Azmat Hayat Khan inaugurated the laboratory at a simple ceremony on Tuesday. The vice-chancellor said the establishment of a full-fledged diagnostic laboratory was a very good initiative and would offer services to the students, faculty and university employees.

Prof Dr Azmat said it was often seen that commercial laboratories come up with different results and the establishment of such a laboratory would give accurate data and results. Students of microbiology and biotechnology can get a variety of data and blood samples for study of microorganisms and various cultures, he added.

Director Centre of Biotechnology Dr Muhammad Bashir said that since the establishment of the centre in 2001, it had worked to its full potential despite limited resources.

The Microbiology Department was shifted to this centre in 2007 and now the microbiology research and diagnostic lab has been set to help the students, staff and general public in getting experience coupled with precise and economical testing facility. Faculty and students of the university also attended the ceremony.

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FBISE hold Naat competition
Islamabad: In connection with the Annual Academic Week, the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) organised a 'Naat' competition at the Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB), I-8/3, says a press release.

IMCB Principal Muhammad Saleem Qureshi was the chief guest on the occasion. Students of various schools and colleges affiliated with the FBISE participated in the competition. Ali Abbas of Askaria College, Bank Road, Rawalpindi, got first position in the competition.

Sadaf Tariq of FG Degree College for Women, Abid Majeed Road, Rawalpindi, bagged second position. Qurat ul Ain Farooq of Fauji Foundation College for Girls, New Lalazar, Rawalpindi, got third position. Muhammad Talha Zubair of OPF Boys College, H-8/4, got the consolation prize. The news

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