Only 42 percent children able to read Urdu

25.8% are able to read sentences in English: report
Islamabad, Jan 27: Forty-two percent children of the country have the ability to read a sentence in Urdu or in their own regional language, while merely 25.8% are able to read sentences in English, according to a report launched on Thursday at the Planning Commission Auditorium.

Federal Minister of Professional and Technical Training Riaz Hussain Pirzada was the chief guest on the occasion. The survey titled 'Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan 2011' was conducted in the rural areas of the country. It was conducted by the South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED), managed by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in collaboration with the Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI), Department for International Development (DFID), National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) and Oxfam.

According to ASER, a household survey that assessed learning outcomes of children in their school-going age (5 to 16-year-olds) in 85 districts (rural areas) across Pakistan has found that a majority of children cannot even read up to Class-II level text in Urdu, English or their regional languages. Moreover, these children cannot solve basic-level arithmetic problems.

The survey found out that only 41.8% of the assessed children can read at least a sentence in Urdu or in their own regional languages, while merely 25.8% are able to read sentences in English.

Arithmetic learning level of children were even more abysmal, as only 40.1% can do two-digit subtraction sums, while only 23.6% can do three-digit division sums.

The survey has been conducted in 28 districts of Punjab, 15 of Balochistan, 14 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 17 of Sindh, four of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, three of Gilgit-Baltistan and two of FATA, as well as in the Islamabad Capital Territory.

The report reveals that 57.3% of the three to five-year-olds are not enrolled for pre-schooling, while 32.3% of the five-year-olds are not enrolled in any school at all, which poses a great challenge for the respective provincial governments that are struggling to achieve universal primary education. Moreover, 79.9% children between six and 16 years of age are enrolled in schools, of which 36% are girls and 64% are boys.

The percentage of children who are not studying at all stands at 20.1%; the dropout rate among these children has been recorded at five percent. The report maintains that 15.1% children have never been enrolled in any education facility at all. Among the out-of-school children, 52.7% are girls.

The survey has found that around 74% children are enrolled in government schools, 23.1% in private schools and 2.9 % in seminaries (madrassas and informal educational institutes).

Addressing the launch ceremony, Riaz Hussain Pirzada said Pakistan had been consistently performing poorly in the education sector. "We are seen to be off-track in terms of meeting the education targets set in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All (EFA). The minister said that according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Pakistan had the largest number of out-of-school children in South Asia, with a majority being girls.

"ASER data gives us district-by-district vital information that can help us plan and mobilise resources on a need basis," he said.The minister said that after the passing of the 18th Amendment and Article 25-A, education has become a fundamental right for all children aged five to 16 years. "As we approach 2015, the target date for fulfilment of MDGs and EFA, the ASER report is indeed a very persuasive tool to gauge challenges and progress in the education sector," he said. Daily times

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KU a 'no-go area' for Sindhi students: minister
Karachi: The University of Karachi has become a "no-go area" for Sindhi students. This was stated by a provincial minister, Rafiq Engineer, during a session of the Sindh Assembly on Thursday.

He said students from Lyari were also being discriminated against in the educational institutions of the city. MQM's Faisal Sabzwari said the House should not be used for running an "election campaign".

He said every institution had its own policy. Sabzwari pointed out that a university had been established in Lyari, and it too had a particular admission policy. The House also witnessed a heated debate over a resolution of PPP's minority MPA pertaining to implementation of uniform education system in the province.

The debate ensued when the mover, Saleem Khurshid Khokhar, said pupils studying in "Peelay (government)" schools became clerks and office assistants while those studying in private English medium schools got lucrative jobs.

MQM's provincial minister Syed Sardar Ahmed took exception to such remarks and observed that many notables in different fields had studied in government schools.

When Shazia Marri suggested that no MPA should bring any resolution or bill without proper research and asked that the mover should explain where his children were studying.

It angered Khokhar who said the minister had become "personal". In a fit of anger he made certain remarks and asked as to whether before moving the resolution, it was necessary to demonstrate profile of one's children.

Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro pacified the situation by persuading Khokhar to offer an apology for his remarks. On the suggestion of finance minister Murad Ali Shah, Saleem Khokhar withdrew his resolution to move the same in the next session after removing "deficiencies" from it.

Meanwhile, the PA referred an adjournment motion of Saleem Khokhar to the standing committee on education. Khokhar also introduced a private bill for protection of religious minorities' properties.

The PA also unanimously passed a private resolution moved by Muhammad Adil Khan, urging the provincial government to approach federal government to direct multinational coal exploration companies to recruit local people and ensure uplift schemes in the areas.

The PA referred Khalid Ahmed's resolution to standing committee on transport pertaining to provision of concessionary travel scheme for senior citizens. The MPAs unanimously passed a resolution moved by Anwar Mahar, urging the Sindh government to ensure drinking water in New Pind, Micro Colony and Islam Colony of Sukkur.

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British Council organises 'Ilm Possible' at KU
Karachi: If Pakistan is to become successful, basic educational facilities should be provided to all citizens, said Professor Dr Khalid Iraqi of Karachi University(KU) on Thursday while addressing the 'Ilm (knowledge) Possible' presentation. "Besides the government, everyone should play their roles in spreading education and knowledge." The event was organised by the British Council along with student advisors of the institute. Asad Farooq, who was the guest speaker on the occasion, said the Article 25-A of the Constitution states that it is the government's responsibility to provide free and compulsory education to its citizens between the ages of five to 16 years. "We intend to spread the message with the help of youngsters." Meanwhile, the KU administration has started conducting interviews for admitting students on sports-quota. An official said admissions would be strictly merit-based.

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BIEK asks colleges to apply for affiliation
Karachi: The chairman Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) said on Thursday that all private colleges and higher secondary schools which have not yet renewed their affiliation for the examinations-2012 with the board are advised to do so or else their students would not be allowed to sit in the annual exams.

Anwar Ahmed Zai said that the last date for registration is February 29. The registration of private colleges and HSS by the education department is accorded for a specified time period and after expiry of that period fresh renewal is necessary, he said.

The BIEK has already constituted inspection teams consisting of senior teachers and educationalists that are visiting such institutions as per schedule. There are many institutions that have not renewed the registration till date and their heads have been reminded to do so in order to fulfil the legal requirements. Otherwise, their students could face inconvenience, Zai added.

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PhD awarded at PU
Lahore: The Punjab University on Thursday awarded a PhD to Saadia Shahzad Alam d/o Changez Shuja in the subject of Pharmacology after approval of her research thesis entitled "Effect of High Dose Thiamine Therapy on Biochemical Profile and Activities of Thiamine Dependent Enzymes in Type 2 Diabetic Patients." results: Punjab University Examinations Department on Thursday declared the results of various examinations. The exams are BCom (Hons), Semester System, sessions 2007-09 & 2008-10, Postgraduate Diploma in Cost and Management Accounting, Semester System, sessions 2006-07 & 2007-08, Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship Development, Semester System, Sessions 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07 & 2007-08, and Bachelor of Laws (Morning), Semester System, Session 2004-07. The news

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GET to name campus after Arfa
Lahore: Ghazali Education Trust (GET) held a condolence reference for the world's youngest Microsoft professional Arfa Karim and paid her rich tribute here on Thursday.

Arfa's father Col (r) Amjad Karim presided over the reference. GET President Akhtar Abbas, Executive Director Syed Amir Mehmood and social worker Musarrat Misbah were also present on the occasion. The participants paid homage to Arfa for her valuable services in the field of information technology. The GET administration also announced that a campus of Ghazali Schools Faisalabad would be named after Arfa Karim. Daily times

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