Exams postponed due to weather conditions

BIEK, KU postpone exams
Karachi, June 07: The University of Karachi (KU), Federal Urdu University, the matriculation, intermediate, and technical boards, and a private university have postponed the annual examinations (both theory and practical), which were scheduled on Monday (today), due to weather conditions.

The Registrar, KU, Prof. Kaleem Raza Khan, has announced that the tests/interviews for the candidates for the post of lecturers in the Department of Sindhi and the interviews for the successful candidates for the post of lecturers in the Department of Mass Communication which were scheduled to be held on Monday, June 7, 2010, have been postponed. The decision was taken in view of the weather conditions and the forecast by the Meteorological Department. The new date will be announced later, he said.

Moreover, all the semester examinations of morning and evening programmes which were scheduled to be held on Monday, June 7, 2010, have been postponed and the new dates will be announced later. However, all the other academic and administrative activities will continue as usual, he further said.

The Controller of Examinations, Board of Secondary Education, Karachi, Kalim Asghar Kirmani, has said that theory exams of special candidates and practicals of Classes IX and X has been postponed owing to weather conditions and new dates would be announced later.

The Chairman, Board of Intermediate Education Karachi, Anwar Ahmed Zai, said that Board had postponed all papers which were scheduled for morning and afternoon shifts and now the BIEK would conduct these papers on June 29, 2010.

Meanwhile, the practical examinations for Science and Home Economics Groups which were scheduled for Monday (today) at different colleges and Higher Secondary Schools have also been postponed. The students should contact to their respective institutions for new dates in this regards, he added.

Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, Federal Urdu University, Sindh Board of Technical Education also delayed examination schedule due to heavy rainfall in Karachi. The news

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Schools continue to charge summer vacation fee
Karachi: Private schools are charging summer vacation fees again this year as the government and private schools have yet to reach a consensus on this issue, leaving the parents as the only victims in the deal.

While talking to a delegation of parents of schoolchildren on February 21, Sindh Chief Minister's Adviser Sharmila Farooqui had directed Sindh Education Secretary Siddique Memon to stop private schools from charging fees during summer holidays.

However, when Memon was recently contacted in this regard, he said no such directives had been issued.

When this scribe reminded Memon on what day Farooqui had given the order, he said, "We are still examining the issue, but there is nothing legal about it as yet."

Farooqui said, "Government officials have tried at least twice in the past few months to call up a meeting with the owners and administrators of private schools. However, the Sindh Directorate of Private Institutions has been unable to organise any such meeting."

She said a major reason behind non-arrangement of meetings is that the children and grandchildren of all bureaucrats study at private schools and hence, private schools' owners are not bothered to attend any such meetings called by the government.

On the contrary, Sindh Directorate of Private Institutions Director Mansoob Hussain Siddiqui denied that private school owners did not attend government meetings, and said, "They do come when they are invited, but the fact remains that private schools charge 12 months' school fees just like public schools do. So, there is no need for any such directive from the government for private schools."

Meanwhile, in this confusing state of affairs, parents continue to be the victims who have to pay hefty school fees during summer holidays if they decide to send their children to private schools.

"I have three school going children and each child's average monthly fee is Rs 7,000. In my opinion, having to pay this huge amount of money to the school during summers without sending our children there is equivalent to wasting it," a parent complained. Daily times

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'New IT project to create 100,000 jobs'
Karachi: Information Technology Minister Raza Haroon has informed the Sindh Assembly that the government will establish a project - internet media city - on the Superhighway and after completion the project is expected to create some 100,000 new jobs.

He said that 200 acres had been acquired for the project and the media city would be established on the pattern of the media cities in Dubai and Manchester.

He said this while responding to the written and supplementary questions of the members of the Sindh Assembly on Saturday.

The minister said that the mega project of the media city was introduced in 2005 while tenders for the project were released in April 2010.

He said the IT department owned the land which was so far not allotted to any private investor. A proper procedure would be adopted for the allotment of the land to foreign and local IT companies, he added.

In reply to a question, he said that the project of E-policing system was under way with the cost of Rs940 million in the province.

He said that Rs400 million had been spent on the project so far while 157 contractual employees were recruited on a merit basis.

He informed the house that the government employees would be issued biometric identification cards under the Biometric Identification Electronic System (BIES) scheme, costing Rs100 million, to keep a record of employees' attendance.

In the first phase, information about approximately 10,000 civil servants would be fed into the system, he added.

He said the websites of 21 departments of the Sindh government had been made while 6,962 youths were given a four-month IT training under the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Youth Development Programme.

The trainees had been given a monthly stipend of between Rs5,000 and Rs7,000 during the training period, he said. ppi

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Education in Balochistan
Quetta: In the last couple of months a number of teachers have been targeted and killed in Balochistan. Some of them had been living there for more than four decades and were immersed in the local culture.

They included teachers, principals of colleges, a university dean, an acting vice-chancellor and the education minister. A factor common to all these people was that they were non-locals and came from other provinces. The repercussions of these targeted killings are multi-dimensional but the main victim appears to be education.

Balochistan is the largest province in the country with an area of 347,190sq km, or 43 per cent of the total area of Pakistan. The population constitutes only five per cent of the country's total population. It is this vast difference between area and population that attracted people from other provinces to come and settle here. Among them were a number of educationists who made important contributions in their field.

It is important to note that it's not essentially a population-related issue and in the case of Balochistan the population is projected as decreasing by 1.3 per cent by 2025. The apparent cause of the problems is of a political nature and has led to a sense of deprivation and socio-political exclusion.

Balochistan has a history of army operations that goes back to the initial years of Pakistan. The last one was during the Musharraf era when Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed in an operation ordered by Pervez Musharraf and widely condemned. The backlash of this murder was swift and severe.

The anger was demonstrated in many ways, as has also been the case in the past when armed resistance occurred. Yet on all those occasions, violent reaction was confined to the rural areas and the targets were not civilians, especially not teachers. The teaching profession has enjoyed much respect by the masses in traditional Baloch society. It is a recent and surprising phenomenon that political revenge has picked on teachers as targets. This has had a direct impact on education.

The role of education in the process of development is considered crucial. We live in an age of knowledge economy where the literate citizens of a country constitute its human capital, which plays a significant role in national development. A more comprehensive definition of development includes education, in addition to income and health.

According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan (2009-10) Balochistan lags behind in terms of the literacy rate, which is 46 per cent as compared to 59 per cent in Punjab, 56 per cent Sindh and 49 per cent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Gender Parity Index (GPI), as defined in the Economic Survey of Pakistan, is the ratio of females' enrolment to the males' enrolment. A GPI of more than one indicates that in proportion to every male in the school, there is more than one female". The GPI index score for Balochistan is 0.35 which is lower than Punjab (0.69), Sindh (0.61) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (0.49).

As part of the gender divide in education, there is a vast difference in the literacy rate between the urban and rural areas of Balochistan. These unequal divides on the basis of gender and area suggest that a sizable portion of the population has not been given the opportunity of obtaining education and is thus not fully active in the process of development.

The recent phase of unrest that started with the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006 took an ugly turn when the teachers came under attack and many were killed. These killings had associated chain reactions. Teachers who came from other provinces suddenly found they were unsafe and started applying for transfers. According to one estimate more than 70 faculty members of the University of Balochistan have submitted transfer applications. This is a huge number given that there are only 200 faculty members in all. A sudden and en masse departure of qualified faculty will have a serious effect on the quality of education.

Besides the university, a number of colleges are now also closed. The school system has stopped working, for even those that remain open are practically dysfunctional because of the absence of faculty members and very low student attendance.

This is a disturbing situation that has a direct impact on Balochistan's younger generation. Long closures of educational institutions, the sudden departure of qualified faculty, the very intolerant attitude towards other ethnic groups and a threatening environment on campus will have a negative impact on the academic scene.

Balochistan, which is already lagging behind in terms of development, needs innovative initiatives to cope with the educational challenges of quantity, quality and fair distribution on the basis of gender and the rural-urban divide. Such initiatives were launched a couple of decades ago with the help of foreign funding agencies and had some positive outcomes for students and teachers. All of them have now, unfortunately, come to a halt.

The local teachers and students have tremendous potential. What they need is exposure to quality education and professional experience. It is through education that Balochistan can realise the dream of sustainable socio-economic development that promises enhanced political awareness and a creative means for exploring the freedom of expression and ideas. But education that ensures such dreams can take place only on campuses with peaceful classroom interactions, where disagreement can be shown in an agreeable manner and where teachers are respected and considered important.

The writer is the director of the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore School of Economics and author of Rethinking Education in Pakistan.

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Karachi varsities' admission policy slammed
Nawabshah: Chairman of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz Basheer Qureshi has criticised the admission policy of universities and professional colleges of Karachi which were not admitting students from interior Sindh.

Speaking at a press conference here on Sunday, he said that educational institutions of Karachi had become no-go areas for students from interior Sindh.

He blamed the PPP government and governor of Sindh for the discriminatory policy under which any "settlers" were admitted to medical and engineering colleges on the basis of fake domicile certificates.

He accused the government of having failed to address the grievances of students of Shah Abdul Latif University of Khairpur who were assaulted by police for demanding power supply during their examinations.

Describing the new federal budget as anti-Sindh and anti-people, he said it gave no relief to the people. Dawn

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