Educating girls of Nathiagali

Who's responsible for educating girls of Nathiagali?
Nathiagali, July 06: Last week, I escaped from the hectic city life to Nathiagali, situated in Abbottabad district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Some Pakistani families have been frequenting the Galiyat for five decades and own properties and lodges there. These summer residents have formed the Nathiagali Residents Committee (NRC) to solve a host of problems faced by the community. During my stay, I went with some NRC members to visit the Keiri Reki Girls Secondary School, five kilometres from Kalabagh. This is the only government school for girls within 15 kilometres and has been targeted as a key area for sustainable development by the NRC.

Over the past decade, the government has striven to introduce a series of measures addressing female education and improving girls' enrolments and literacy rates, but these efforts do not seem sufficient. Socio-cultural and economic forces have hindered the expansion of female education.

The government has formulated the Perspective Development Plan (PDP) for 2010-2011 to visualise long-term macroeconomic and sectoral growth strategies, implemented through operational strategies in a series of three-year rolling plans. So, progress in female education is to be determined by the level of implementation of the PDP, which makes a serious effort to reflect gender concerns.

A major handicap this region faces is the number of teachers and teaching standards. Teacher-training institutions have not been expanded and practice of the rote system still continues. The development of syllabi has also been restricted to arts and minimal effort is given towards science and mathematics. Infrastructure development has also shown slow progress, with a place like Nathiagali having only one government school for girls.

My visit to the Keiri Reki School revealed that the earthquake of 2005 severely affected the toilets and washing facilities there, virtually destroying the toilets. It has been five years since then and the government has yet to fund the school's needed repair. The NRC is one of the few organisations that have invested in the community, with funds generated by donations from the residents to sustain local projects.

My family and I have taken keen interest in the uplift of this school. My cousin, currently studying abroad, has, in collaboration with an NGO at her university, raised enough money to construct new bathrooms at the school. While experienced collaborators manage construction and school logistics locally, a core operations team of college students raises funds and spreads awareness in their home countries.

Reconstruction of this school is their second project. The renovation will include installation of new bathrooms, a new septic tank, two water tanks and a computer lab.

As I was driving down to the school, I was stunned to find several telecom towers. Ironically, just down the road, 500 girls do not have toilets and water-drinking facilities. With less than 25 percent of girls across Pakistan currently attending secondary school within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 56 percent of girls' schools lack bathrooms and an additional 45 percent are without drinking water. Some of the girls told me that they do not go to the bathroom until they reach home in the evening.

I also found out that more than 50 percent of the girls had to walk for around two hours to reach the school. The teachers had further complaints some of them are coming in from Abbotabad, 40 kilometres from the school. This tedious commuting takes place daily due to a lack of teachers and infrastructure facilities within their areas.

As this joint effort by the residents, my family members, and NGOs is finally materialising, we are forming a model school, which the government can follow when building more schools here, and use to restructure the currently functioning schools. Girls' education is a priority for the Education Ministry and the provincial education departments. If NGOs and residents work closely with the federal government, the future of girls' education can be improved remarkably. Daily times

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KU set to accommodate hearing-impaired students
Karachi: A researcher in the Department of Computer Science, University of Karachi (KU) has developed a methodology to help accomodate the hearing-impaired in regular classes.

The methodology was developed under a project titled "Roshni" (light) in Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence by senior lecturer of the department, Syed Asif Ali, who has been engaged in research in this field for the last 12 years.

As per the methodology, special students will be now be able to attend classes with normal students in the same classroom.

Named the "Uniform Educational System by Information Technology," the research project aims at using IT speech and vision matching on mathematical and statistical basis.

The project is in its phase of completion. This research has been published in ISI Index and proceedings of IEEE Conference 2010 in China.

It has also been marked as the important research work in the International Conference for Computers and in the Special Conference 2010, University of Vienna, Austria.

Given the fact that there was an absence of a comprehensive system which allowed special students and normal students to acquire education in the same classroom, KU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr Pirzada Qasim showed interest in the project, and the university allowed PhD level research on the topic.

Chairman Prof. Dr Aqil Burney has been overseeing the process from its initial phase, and has also supervised the research work.

With the implementation of this project, KU will become the pioneer of using latest technology for special students.

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Inter classes at Home Economics College from 2011
Peshawar: College of Home Economics, University of Peshawar, will start intermediate classes from the upcoming session, principal of the college Ghazala Nizam said in a statement here Monday.

She said the college was one of the four institutes in the country devoted to the study of home economics for developing complete educational programmes to meet the challenges faced by the society.

The institution, she said, equipped young women with the specialized knowledge of subjects related to home economics. "The college has acquired a special significance in moulding the female generation to study a unique blend of both science and art subjects," she said.

"The institute is launching a new programme in the evening shift for the academic classes of higher secondary educational level for the girl students in FSc pre-medical, pre-engineering and general science including computer science, statistics and economics," she added. The principal said the existing syllabus of Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar would be followed. The news

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PMDC decides to display results on website
Islamabad: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council while talking action on the news item published in TheNation has decided to upload result of the Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) exam on its website.

Earlier, depriving the students of their due rights, the Council was reluctant to provide the marks sheet to the candidates who had failed in the recent Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) exam, creating further suspicion about the transparency of the exam.

This unjustified step on part of the PMDC has further intensified the ongoing controversy that surfaced after PMDC had failed 489 out of 507 students who had taken the aforementioned exam on June 20.

It may be mentioned here that the passing percentage is the lowest in the history of RMP exams in Pakistan. The students have requested Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to intervene into the matter.

While talking to TheNation, Registrar PMDC, Dr Ahmad Nadeem Akbar ensured that the result would be available on its website.

He said the PMDC was showing no hesitation in issuing the result cards. "I was not approached by any of the student regarding the marks sheet issue", he maintained.

He was of the view that the PMDC cannot compromise on its standard and said due to the high medical education standard, Pakistan ranks in top ten countries. The nation

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MoU signed with UK varsity to enhance teachers' capacity
Mardan: Leicester University of UK and Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan singed a MoU for teachers exchange and advanced research in academic programmes a few days back during a ceremony held in the UK, the AWKU sources said on Monday.

The sources disclosed that Professor Dr Ihsan Ali, vice-chancellor of the Abdul Wali Khan University, during his recent trip to UK had singed the MoU with a representative of Leicester University regarding student teacher exchange programmes as well as research and academic advanced programmes including teacher training and admissions into MS/PhD programmes.

After singing the MoU the University of Leicester would offer admission to the students of AWKU in different programmes on discounted rates.

The sources hoped that the agreement would not only help in imparting higher education but would also provide a golden opportunity to the concerned teachers and students to learn the advanced and modern ways of research and academic activities. Dawn

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