Abolishing examination fee for Class 9, 10 students

Only public sector students to get exam fee exemption
Lahore, July 04: Huge financial implications involved in abolishing the examination fee being charged by the education boards, has forced the government to weigh different options, like extending the favour only to Class 9th and 10th students of the public sector schools.

According to a study conducted by the Punjab Higher Education Department, at least Rs 3 billion would be required annually by all the eight Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISEs) of the province if the government exempts the examination and registration fee of matric and intermediate students of public and private institutions.

The announcement regarding waiving the examination fee was made by Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif a couple of months ago. However a final decision in this regard is yet to be made.

Following a detailed study, the Punjab Higher Education Department on Friday moved a summary to the chief minister, giving the government different option how to bear minimum financial burden in this regard.

Sources in the department said if the favour was extended only to students of public schools (Class IX & X) it would cost the government less than Rs 1 billion.

They said it had been identified that the BISEs are charging fees in different heads including examination fees, registration fees and other heads like re-checking answer-sheets, correction of name and date of birth etc. A Lahore board official said the boards had to make arrangements for exams including setting up of centres, transportation, paper marking and remuneration of exam staff etc by the fee collected by the students. He added if the same was to be abolished the government would have to provide financial assistance to the boards.

An official of the department, seeking anonymity, said the department was not clear whether the chief minister's announcement was related to examination fees only or all kinds of fees being charged by the boards.

The sources said it was likely that the CM might approve fee-waiver for Class IX and X students of government schools only, as the government was already offering free education including free textbooks upto matriculation in the public sector schools.

They added those studying in schools working under Punjab Education Foundation's Financial Assisted Schools (FAS) programme might also be offered the fee waiver as under the said programme the government was bearing tuition fee of the students.

The chief minister had taken a strict notice with regard to abolishing examination boards' fees at a meeting on June 18 and categorically announced "abolition of examination fees being charged from regular and private students by all the eight education boards in the province".

A senior official of the department said the summary had been moved to the chief minister, adding a final decision about elimination of the fee being charged by the boards would be taken in a couple of days.

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Students of Froebel's set the stage alight
Islamabad: The students of Froebel's International School set the stage alight on Thursday evening enthralling a packed house through their play 'Dracula' on the school premises.

The extraordinary performance of all actors, fine classical costumes, intelligently made sets, a perfect sound system and smoke effects by a team of 'A' level students impressed everyone. The ups and downs of the story along with tastefully selected tracks kept the audience, mainly students and their parents, captivated.

The play had a bit of everything - romance, comedy, sad scenes and dance sequences choreographed by drama supervisor Shama Nawaz. No one among the audience could stop appreciating the talents of the 15-member team of young boys and girls who managed to do every challenging task on their own, ranging from story writing, production and direction to set designing, makeup and costumes.

The biggest hit remained the flawless action sequences that made everyone literally jump from there seats. There was sword fight, cowboy shooting scenes and a fight between vampires and the saviour Dr. Van Helsing, enacted by Daniel Ali.

The drama started with a wonderfully choreographed dance of vampires performed by Alizeh Malick, Mahnoor Shah and Zeinab Khan. The smoke, lights, makeup, dresses and sets added to the effect created by the flowing movement and expressions of vampires, giving the play a perfect start.

With just the right expressions and impressive dialogue delivery, Saad Gul in the role of Dracula received tremendous applause from a lively audience. His smart use of stage space and accurate body language went to show the great talent he possesses.

To get his true love Meena back, the Dracula travels a long distance and finally succeeds in trapping her but Meena's fianc» Jonathan, the role performed by Shayan Mahmood, rescues her in the end after stabbing the Holy Cross into Dracula's heart.

It will be unjust not to mention the finely designed gowns of Meena (Anique Ansari) and her friend Lucy (Nida Ejaz). Both girls looked and acted as if they had stepped right out of the actual centuries old story of Dracula.

Although Quincy (Umair Abbasi), another of Lucy's friends, had a comparatively shorter appearance yet he was the heartthrob with his cowboy appearance and arrogant style.

The action-packed drama was given a lighter tone by the extraordinary comedy sequences of Philippe (Adil Habib) and Jack (Daniyal Faisal). Philippe, the nosy French butler of Lucy and Jack, the under confident fianc» of Lucy, made everyone laugh with their gestures and dialogues.

The boy behind the extraordinary play, Director Shayan Mahmood said that they had worked on the play for the last six months. "First we booked the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA)'s hall for the play but they cancelled our booking at the last moment due to some official event they had to hold," he said.

Shayan said that they did day and night rehearsals for 20 days and enjoyed every moment of it. "It was a learning experience for all of us," he said while appreciating the work of backstage players especially Talha Zareef on light, Abu Baker on sounds, passionate work of stage manager Minal Tariq and assistant producer Jeffery Zhang.

Commenting on the wonderful performance of the young team, drama supervisor Shama Nawaz said that the youth were full of talent and there was a need to direct their talents and energy in the right direction. "The only thing they need is the guiding force which can engage them in creative activities," she added. The News

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