Support for Pakistani students in UK | Education right

Drive launched in UK to support students
London, June 13: A group of civil activists which calls itself the London Support Group (LSG) has launched a national campaign in support of the 10 Pakistani students arrested on suspicion of being involved in plotting terrorist activities in the UK but released for want of actionable evidence and now facing deportation on security grounds.

Appropriately named 'Justice for the Northwest 10' as most of the 10 detained students are from the NWFP province of Pakistan, the campaign launched by the LSG on Friday demands immediate release of the detainees and urges the authorities to let them complete their studies before their return to Pakistan.

As part of the campaign a public meeting is being organised on July 2 at the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Solicitor Gareth Peirce, family members of arrested students, Tariq Mehmood (Justice for North-west 10 campaign), Asim Qureshi (Cage Prisoners) and members from UCU and NUS and others will address the meeting.

The group has also set up an online petition demanding justice for the students and urging authorities to stop their unjust deportations.

Academics and classmates of the detained students have been asked online to write to the detained students and provide them study material to occupy their minds at what is a very difficult time for them, and liaise with the prison authorities to permit students' access to their course materials and make arrangements for them to be able to sit for their exams.

The public at large has also been asked to request their MPs to support the campaign and submit an early day motion (EDM) on the matter.

Mohammad Sarwar, a member of parliament of Pakistani origin, has already submitted an EDM demanding the students' immediate release so that they can continue their studies.

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'Education be declared basic right in constitution'
Islamabad: The participants of a seminar on Friday demanded that education be declared the citizens' basic right in the Constitution.

Dr AH Nayyar, a researcher at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), said at the seminar on 'Education budget: low investment, poor future' that the state should recognise provision of quality education as every child's fundamental right. He said people should be sensitised on educating school-age children. He urged government to allocate good funding in the next budget for promotion of education.

The researcher regretted nearly half of Pakistani population was illiterate and that the country was graded way down with the least developed countries on the scale of human development.

"Our constitution must say that getting education is a fundamental right of every child, obligating the state and political governments to provide opportunities for quality education to each and every child of this nation," he said.

Mukhtar Ahmad Ali, of Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives-Pakistan, said education system was in dire straits in the country due to low budgetary allocation and questionable priorities. There followed a discussion during which participants called for recognition of education as a basic right of citizens. Daily Times

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FDE frames post-recruitment law 'to axe 69 teachers'
Islamabad: The future of 69 teachers inducted by the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) hangs in the balance due to some 'surprising' changes in rules of business, sources said here on Thursday.

Sources said English teachers (males and females) were inducted some three years back in line with the set rules and regulations on salary worth Rs10,000. An advertisement was published in the media after which written tests and interviews were taken from candidates before their final induction, sources said.

Sources further said the teachers were quite happy due to regularisation of their jobs in March this year after an order given by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani regarding regularisation of contractual employees.

An official of FDE, who requested anonymity said that all these teachers fulfilled the educational qualification given in the advertisement that was why they were inducted by the directorate. "But soon after regularization of their jobs, the rules of business were changed and now the high ups of the directorate started arguing that these teachers don't have B.Ed and M.Ed degrees so they cannot qualify for a regular job," he said.

The official said these circumstances led to withdrawal of written orders issued for regularization of jobs of the teachers after which all of them are now working again on their previous contracts. Sources said the withdrawal orders were issued on the grounds that these teachers were given 'temporarily regularisation', a term that is itself so contradictory.

Now it is not clear whether their contracts would be renewed or the concerned authorities would sack them, sources added.

The official said changes in procedures in the later stage cannot be justified and it is clearly an unjust move to again give

them status of contractual employees.

The ongoing situation has created a sense of insecurity among the teachers whose contracts are going to expire in near future. The rumours of termination of their contracts were also ripe in the last couple of months but no such thing happened, but still all of them are quite worried about their jobs.

Some of the teachers alleged that the move to withdraw orders regarding regularization of English teachers was made to pave the way for reinstatement of those employees who were sacked in 1997 by the Nawaz government.

They said that the federal government had announced increase in salary on couple of occasions in the annual budgets, but no raise was given to them. "It is good to reinstate the employees sacked by the Nawaz government mainly to reverse the appointments made by its rival political party, but if it is done at the cost of existing employees then it would not be a wise decision," they said.

Twice this correspondent approached FDE Director Rafiq Tahir, but on both occasions he refused to offer his comments, saying "When he will get

updated information then he will himself provide information over this issue."

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HEC recognises AIOU's journal
Islamabad: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has recognised the standard of Allama Iqbal Open University biannual English journal titled 'Pakistan Journal of Education' (PJE). This was notified an HEC letter, sent to the editor Dr. Mahmudur Rahman that PJE has been included in the category of research journals of the country.

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NUST sets up camps to facilitate IDPs
Islamabad: The Military College of Engineering (MCE) of National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) has established camps for IDPs at eight locations in Mardan which are providing facilities of education, healthcare and water and sanitation to 455 families comprising about 6,000 IDPs. Approximately 400 students, both boys and girls, are getting basic education along with free books and writing material, whereas, comprehensive computer labs have been provided by NUST to facilitate senior students in IT education. The teachers are selected from amongst IDPs and are paid by the NUST. The News

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