School children transport problems

No proper transport arrangements for students
Islamabad, Jan 24: The schoolchildren are facing transport problems in the federal capital, as there are hundreds of educational institutions with no proper transport arrangements for the students.

Though a few institutions have their own pick and drop facility for students, but several others have their own transport.

A large number of students coming from suburbs of city to their respective schools and colleges have to confront with jostling in packed public transport, besides misbaviour of the drivers and conductors.

Qaiser Butt, a student, said the school and college buses plied only on specific routes and he always used local transport to reach his college. "

This is one of the major problems for all those who come from far-off areas," he said. Students complained that most of the local transporters did not stop their vehicles when they see students waiting.

Afshan Ali, a college student, said due to financial problems, she couldn't pay full fare of the van, while transporters did not allow student concession.

She said particularly girl students had to wait for a long time to find a seat due to which they often reach their college late. She demanded that the authorities concerned provide sufficient buses for colleges, especially women's colleges.

The parents complained about the rash driving by the drivers of public transport as well as of school and college vans and buses. Just a very few institutions care for the school kids by closely monitoring the mode of transport used by their students, they said.

Though many parents have switched over to private vans after realising the risks involved in sending their wards in jam-packed school buses, private drivers also drive heedlessly.

The parents said school transport was charging very high fees even of short distance. APP

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15,000 internships for youngsters
Islamabad: The much-awaited National Internship Programme (NIP) is likely to be inaugurated during the next week with the distribution of 15,000 internship letters to youngsters throughout the country.

According to an official of the Youth Affairs Ministry, they have requested the Prime Minister to inaugurate the NIP, and are hoping that the programme would be formally inaugurated during the next week in the Capital.

The official informed that at the occasion, 15,000 internship letters would be distributed to internees across the country. He also said that the Ministry officials have decided to give authority to the provinces for all the processed of internship contracts.

It is worthy of mention here that for the NIP project, Rs. 3.6 billion has been allocated in the Federal budget 2009-10. The project is a first of its kind intended to provide financial relief to youth and to keep them engaged in creative activities. As every year, over 50,000 youngsters complete sixteen years of education from recognised degree-awarding institutions of the country in all ranges of academic disciplines. A considerable time gap between the completion of education and job availability in majority of cases results in a sense of frustration and waste of potential.

The idea for commencement of the NIP was a temporary placement of appropriate numbers of unemployed and educated youth in relevant and matching government outfits that could be advantageous to the government as well as the unemployed youth in such circumstances.

But, unfortunately, the slow pace of the work and bureaucratic hiccups almost shattered the hopes of millions of youth, who are depressed due to their financial woes caused by unemployment. Particularly youth belonging to far-flung areas of the country could not take benefit of the project in absence of a proper awareness campaign of the programme.

According to details, in February 2007, in order to better equip graduates of the country for their future careers, the government had approved a revolutionary project of NIP where freshly-graduated unemployed youth from all over the country could get one year hands-on experience with government organisations.

But delay in release of the amount has hampered the project and the concerned quarters hardly managed to run it for more than a year.

After that, the project was shifted from the Establishment Division to the Youth Ministry and a request had been made to the Premier for getting more funds for proper implementation of the NIP.

Under the umbrella of the Ministry, the second phase of the project was formally re-launched in Larkana at the mausoleum of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed where the placement orders were given to around 500 selected candidates. In the recent past, placement orders had also been distributed among 2,300 candidates in a ceremony held in the Federal Capital. The nation

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Appointment, promotions of teachers
Rawalpindi: District education department in compliance with the directions of Supreme Court has begun a scrutiny to collect data of those teachers who were transferred from other districts to Rawalpindi, affecting the in-service promotions of the teachers from their native district, it has been learnt.

Rawalpindi is said to be one of the favourite districts where teachers from other areas of the province want to be appointed on one pretext and or the other.

In December last year, the SC while deciding an appeal of the education department against the Lahore High Court order asked the department not to transfer teachers from other districts and undo the earlier transfers and send them back to their native districts, a high school teacher seeking anonymity told this reporter.

He said the SC had asked the education department to submit report in this regard within six weeks as a good number of teachers belonging to Rawalpindi had long been waiting for promotions. He said according to rules all vacant posts were filled following the procedure of 50 per cent direct appointments and 50 per cent through

in-service promotions, but, he added, teachers coming from other districts in different cadres were making difficult the promotions of the Pindi teachers.

He said the only option in the rules for inter-district transfer was if either of the spouses was a teacher and wanted to be with the other in different district. But this rule is applicable only when there was a vacant post for the transfer, he added.

As many as 93 teachers working in Rawalpindi but hailing form other districts have been directed by the office of executive district officer education to report to the office of director public instructions DPI, Lahore, following the directions of the SC, he said.

When contacted, EDO Education Malik Muhammad Ashraf confirmed that the department had started collecting data about such transfers as these had been undermining the in-service quotas for the school teachers.

He said until the scrutiny about such transfers was completed and the data compiled for final action, the decision to send the teachers back would remain in abeyance. In response to a query, the EDO said such transfers were not made in violation of any rule or policy but these were being undone on the direction of the SC after some teachers moved the court. Dawn

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Youth constructive role
Islamabad: The overwhelming majority believe that Pakistani youth can play a constructive role in combating growing extremism in the society.

This was revealed in two survey reports 'Civic Health of Pakistani Youth' and "Youth Review of Counter Extremism Policy in Pakistan" conducted by Centre for Civic Education.

Majority of the youth (64.5 per cent) are unaware about the existence of any formal youth policy. Only 35.5 per cent know that the government has recently approved a policy for youth.

Out of the 35.5 per cent who knew about the Youth Policy only 11.4 per cent had a enhance to have read the draft Youth Policy.

While 88.6 per cent who know that there is a Youth Policy remain unaware of what is in store for them.

While national politics appears to be the significant part if youth's media diet as 57.1 per cent of them prefer to read about national politics. However, 48.8 per cent are interested in entertainment news as well as 33.3 per cent like to read about international affairs. Dissection of data along the gender line reveals that majority of male (65.1 per cent) are fond of entertainment news. There are some who equally like to read news about national politics, international affairs as well as entertainment. Liking for national political news increases from 40.1 per cent in less than 20 years age group to 69.5 per cent in the above 24 years.

Pakistani youth consume media in more than one language.

However, Urdu remains the most favourite language as 75.8 per cent like Urdu media. English is preferred by 46.1 per cent, followed by Sindhi with 8 per cent and Pashto 7.8 per cent. Low on the youth choice list is the media in Punjabi with 3.2 per cent and Balochi with 2.3 per cent.

An amazing majority of youth (72.6 per cent) are willing to get involved in volunteerism. Again male youth are more eager to do voluntary work than females as 73.7 per cent male against 71.5 per cent female are willing to be engaged in volunteerism.

The survey gathered 1,855 responses from thirteen districts across the country. The questionnaire addressed three main themes i.e voice, vote and volunteerism.

Two additional questions were included on the theme of extremism in Pakistan and what role, if any, youth can play to counter it.

The research will help policy makers understand ideas, opinions and trends among Pakistani youth.

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Free textbooks provision
Peshawar: NWFP Education Minister Sardar Hussain Babak Saturday said the provincial government had earmarked over Rs906 million for provision of free textbooks to the students.

Inaugurating the distribution of free textbooks project at the Peshawar Press Club, he said 4.489 million students would benefit from this scheme.

He said textbooks would be provided to students enrolled in all the government-run primary and high schools in the NWFP initially for the session 2010-11.

He said students in the NGOs-run schools would also be provided free textbooks.

He said the number of the schools that would benefit from the project is 26,793 including 17,622 schools for boys and 9,171 for girls.

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UOP, USA varsity collaboration
Peshawar: The University of Peshawar and Biose State University, USA, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for long-term collaboration.

"Dr Sona Karentz Andrews, provost and vice president of Boise State University and Prof Dr Yaseen Iqbal on behalf of UoP Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Azmat Hayat Khan signed the MoU in the US the other day," said a press release.

The purpose of the MoU is to provide a mutually beneficial framework for research, education, training, capacity building and cultural exchange between the two institutions.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Yasin Iqbal said that a joint project titled "development of materials connection centre" at the UoP was also in progress under the Pak-US joint S&T collaboration programme funded by the USA Academy of Sciences and Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

He said that as a result of these efforts a joint MPhil/PhD course for students and scholars of both the institutions through video conferencing had already been started and eight PhD scholars were jointly supervised there.

Dr Justra, president of Boise State University, assured the visiting professor of every possible support aimed at raising the standard of education in Pakistan. The news

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