Private schools regulatory bill

Body to regulate private schools: NA committee sitting on bill
Islamabad, Jan 19: Almost five years on, the 'Islamabad Capital Territory Educational Institutions (Regulation and Promotion) Bill could not get through the Parliament.

According to sources, the bill was introduced by the government in the National Assembly in 2007 to establish 'Islamabad Capital Territory Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority' aimed at introducing uniform education system for all private educational institutions (school, colleges and universities) in the ecapital.

The bill was first referred to parliament's standing committee for education. Later, after the devolution of ministry of education, the bill was sent to standing committee on cabinet division and now it is lying there.

Although a regulatory authority does exist, it is a mere schools registration body and does not have power to keep check on their working. The authority came into being through presidential ordinance.

The objective of the bill was to register and regulate private educational institutions to ensure that they have a uniform policy that includes seven points: 1) Curriculum should be according to federal scheme of studies; 2) same duration of academic session and holidays; 3) rate of fee being charged by the institutions, qualification of teaching staff, their terms and condition of service including salaries; 4) promotion of curricular and co-curricular activities on inter-institutional basis; 5) achievement of uniformity of academic standards and assessment among the institutions; 6) capacity building of teachers; 7) performance of such other functions to get the abovementioned objectives.

The bill also empowers the authority to conduct inspections of the registered institutions and those applying for registration. Besides, it can also cancel the registration of institutions if they are not following rules.

It will ensure that the building of an institution has sufficient space and its structure is sound to accommodate a certain number of students.

According to the bill, the Authority shall consist of a chairman and two members (appointed by the federal government).

A director of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) said after legislation, it would become possible to ensure uniform curriculum in all the educational institutions.

Irum Habib, teacher in a private school said, 'Owner of the school pays me Rs5,500, whereas , on paper, they give me Rs7,000'. After the legislation, the authority will keep check on this illegal practice, she said.

Secretary Standing Committee, Fayyaz Hussain Shah said that because of current political situation some meetings of the committee have been postponed. After the approval of the bill the education system will improve, he said.

On the other hand, owners of private schools expressed apprehension that the regulatory authority might misuse its powers and involve in corrupt practices.

President, All Pakistan Private Schools Association, Malik Ibrar said that no doubt after legislation standard of education will improve but feared the authority might start demanding money from schools on one pretext or the other.

'The Authority should have its own budget so that it should not resort to imposing fines on schools and collect money,' he said.

Member of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat, Malik Nawab Sher Waseer said that being very important bill and he would take personal interest in getting it through the parliament.

'We have to introduce uniform educational system for the development of the country and there should be no conflict and differences on this issue,' he said. Dawn

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65% teachers still not paid special duty emoluments
Islamabad: More than 65 per cent Punjab government teachers who had carried work of 'verification of voters list' for three months have yet not been paid their special duty emoluments.

Credible sources in educational institutions told this correspondent that immediately after carrying out work of population census and housing census, on the orders of the Punjab government, the related administrations of their respective districts in Punjab had assigned more than 65 per cent teachers special duty of verification of electoral lists in the entire province in the month of August 2011 when the schools reopened after summer vacation.

While performing their duties, every teacher both male and female spent amount of conveyance and food expenses from their own pocket to perform verification work door to door. Moreover, the teachers also passed through tough time at the hands of the people particularly female educators.

According to the terms and conditions, the government is bound to pay Travelling and Dearness allowance to each teacher amount to Rs5,000 per month. The assigned teachers discharged verification duty for three months, which is from August to October 2011.

Ironically, despite applying for payment in November 2011, the teachers have yet not been paid their emoluments which is estimated to Rs15,000 per teacher.

Punjab SES Teachers Association, Rawalpindi District, Additional president Chaudhry Mohammad Yasin, Office Secretary Raja Mohammad Zia and Information Secretary Chaudhry Qaiser Abbas who had also performed special duty confirmed the report. Due to non-payment, tension, unrest and anxiety have gripped more than 65 per cent teachers, they stated.

Replying to a question, these educators claimed that the representatives of the association of their respective districts of Punjab had recently approached the related officials in the Punjab government in connection with payment. However, according to the officials, the payment of emoluments to the assigned tutors would not be made in near future. The government claim that it would take another four to six months. Different excuses are given by the concerned officials. Some officials say that payment of emoluments to the teachers is not being made due to lack of funds. Whereas, according to others the payment is delayed because the lists of electoral verification still remains incomplete.

Chaudhry Yasin cleared that till now the association has not adopted any step including protest. However, if payment is not cleared in February, then we would be compelled to adopt strategy for getting our rights.

Commissioner Rawalpindi Zahid Saeed when approached for comments claimed that the amount of census population has been cleared. However, if the payment of verification of electoral list is not done, he would talk to the concerned officials in the government for clearance of teachers' dues. He said he would check the matter with the DCO for taking next step in this regard.

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AAUR given 2 months to raise standard
Islamabad: A meeting of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council (PVMC) was held at the HEC Secretariat to discuss the issue of non-accreditation of DVM programme being offered by the Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi (AAUR).

HEC Executive Director Dr. Sohail Naqvi, PVMC President Dr. Muhammad Arshad and AAUR Vice Chancellor Dr. Khalid Mehmood attended the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sohail Naqvi stressed the importance of the issue as future of all veterinary students is at stake due to non-registration of offered programme with the council.

Dr. Arshad said that the PVMC would not make any compromise on the quality of veterinary education being offered in Pakistan. The vice chancellor agreed that there were shortcomings in meeting the minimum standards for accreditation of DVM programme. On the assurance of the vice chancellor, the university has been assigned a grace period of two months to fulfil its requirements.

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Inter-Schools Maths Olympiad on Jan 29
Islamabad: PakTurk International Schools and Colleges will hold an Inter Schools Maths Olympiad (ISMO) here on January 29.

All the students of government and private schools from Rawalpindi and Islamabad can take part in ISMO 2012, said a statement issued here on Tuesday. The competition has been arranged to provide opportunity to the students of primary and middle classes, to exhibit their talent and get recognition as well as the awards, it added.

The main objective behind conducting this competition is to prepare the students to participate in the International Mathematics Olympiad. The competition is to provide a chance for students of class 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th to prove their potential and get prizes ranging from Rs1,000 to 30,000.

The prize money motivates students besides helping deserving students to prepare to take part in the International Olympiads. The ISMO Team plan to hold such events on national level, which will also help realizing goal to bring a change in the attitude of students towards mathematics.

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Seminar on Azerbaijan held at Preston University
Islamabad: Speakers highlighted the importance of events of January 1990, in the history of oil-rich Central Asian Republic of Azerbaijan in a seminar titled '20th January a turning point in the history of Azerbaijan.'

The seminar was organised by Society for Asian Civilisation at the auditorium of Preston University here Wednesday. Soviet forces and Caspian flotilla stormed streets of Baku, the Azerbaijan capital, on January 20, 1990, killing people protesting against the communist system and attack of Armenians at Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian-majority enclave of Azerbaijan inside the republic.

Ambassador of Azerbaijan Dashgin Shikarov who was the chief guest, highlighted the good brotherly relations between Pakistan and his country and thanked SAC for organising the function.

Dr. ZA Qureshi, Head, Department of International Relations, National University of Modern Languages, said that Soviet authorities ordered full-scale military attack on Baku with 26,000 Special Forces backed by tanks after declaring state of emergency in the Azerbaijan capital. He said that they killed more than 130 people including women, children and elderly, injured thousands of civilians and detained thousands of civilians in the face of stiff resistance put up by the Azerbaijan people.

He said that the harsh action was to stop dissolution of communist rule in Azerbaijan. He said that Human Rights Watch called this as an exercise in collective punishment and a warning to the nationalists everywhere in the union. He said that Haider Aliyev, A CPSU Politburo member joined the protesters in Moscow. He later became the president of Republic of Azerbaijan.

Former ambassador Aamir A Shadani said that disintegration of Soviet Union started on January 20 as the events in Baku led to separatist movements in other Central Asian Republics. He said that later, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev admitted in Istanbul in 1995 that declaring the state of emergency in Baku was the greatest political mistake of his life.

Mati-ur-Rehman Mirza, vice-president of the society, presented vote of thanks in the end. Preston University Vice-Chancellor Dr. Basit in his welcome address said that January 20 is a day in Azerbaijan history to be remembered for paying homage to the sacrifices of the people who laid their lives for the independence of their homeland.

Dr. Saif-ur-Rahman Malik, Ilhan Muhammadov and Dr. ZA Qureshi also spoke on the occasion. 'Fateha' was offered for the departed souls of the January 20th, 1990, massacre. A documentary in this respect was also screened on the occasion. The news

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