Many school projects cited in ADP dropped
Peshawar, March 17: Due to non-availability of free of cost land, the elementary and secondary education department will not be able to establish the required number of primary schools in the provincial capital and its adjacent rural areas, it is learnt.
Many school projects mentioned in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) have been dropped due to the non-availability of free of cost land. Education officials held the government responsible for what they called its unrealistic policy regarding establishment of primary schools.
According to the government policy, primary schools are established in designated areas on the condition that local people provided free land.
The only attraction for the owner in giving his land to the government for free used to be his appointment in the school as a class-IV worker. It was a successful policy in the past when the land prices were not that high. However, this policy isn't being followed now as the Supreme Court has given a verdict against the appointment of the landowner as a class-IV worker.
Under the government policy, a primary school should be established on a two-kanal land and the government usually approves Rs3 million for establishment of a school.
The minimum rate of land in the city area is Rs300,000 per marla, so a two-kanal land will cost at least Rs12 million. In rural areas of Peshawar, the price of land ranges from Rs30,000 to Rs100,000 per marla.
Local people said they would prefer starting their own business by selling a two-kanal piece of land, instead of giving it to the government free of cost to get the job of class-IV worker. Rapid increase in Peshawar's population and presence of Afghan refugees have overburdened the schools. The mushroom growth of private schools in the city and rural areas has helped resolve the problem to some extent, otherwise government schools wouldn't have been able to accommodate the students.
An official, wishing not to be named, said that 13 schools approved in 2007-08 were dropped from the ADP because no one was ready to provide free land in the selected region. Similarly, seven school projects approved in 2006-07 were also dropped from the ADP.
Under the government policy, a primary school should be established in one kilometre radius. However, this policy can't be implemented in Peshawar due to the increase in land prices. DawnYour Comments
Foreign IT companies investment in NWFP IT sector
Peshawar: The NWFP government is looking for foreign donors to develop the information technology (IT) sector in the province to bring it at par with other countries in the region, provincial minister Ayub Ashari said here Tuesday.
"We are looking forward to hold talks with foreign companies to get investment and support in the sector," the information technology minister said. The minister admitted the province was short of resources and that was the reason for trying to attract outside investment in the sector.
Ayub Ashari and senior officials of his department highlighted a number of achievements of his ministry in recent years. He informed that the IT department was working on computerising the record of the revenue department and that the property tax system had been computerised. According to Ashari, the secretary of the information technology department Amjad Afridi was transferred to another department but he requested his re-posting as secretary IT as he had delivered while serving there.
The ministry comprises of two different directorates: the information technology and science and technology. Sajid Hussain Shah, director IT NWFP said a centre of excellence was being set up to prepare IT professionals from universities. "We have launched a comprehensive project of establishing computer laboratories in government schools across the province. Laboratories have been established in 350 to 400 schools so far," he said.
"We have computerised the record of drivers' licenses in most of the districts of the province while the rest would be done by June. This had boosted manifold the revenue in terms of license fee. In June 2007 the revenue was only Rs39,500 while in August 2009 it went up to Rs73.83 million," explained Sajid Hussain.
He said the manual system of staff recruitment and promotion in the establishment department had been computerised. He added that the record of the NWFP Assembly had also been computerised.
Director Science and Technology Khalid Khan informed that a Science and Technology Park is being established in the city for supporting a knowledge-based economy and fostering market-oriented technological development.
He added that the ADP of the coming financial year includes establishment of cluster level quality enhancement lab, strengthening and invigoration of Lab Teaching System and provision of Tele-Health Services in basic health units of NWFP from the main hospitals of Peshawar.
It was pointed out that all this was achieved despite the fact that a total of Rs140 million, which makes only 0.003 per cent of the annual development fund of the province, was allocated for the IT sector in the fiscal budget for 2009-2010.
Ban on used computers
Islamabad: Reports that the ministry of information technology has been asked to draft a proposal for a ban on the import of used computers and IT accessories - apparently at the direction of the president himself – are cause for concern. There are about 14 million computers in the country of which about 60 per cent are used or old, 24 per cent bought as new from international manufacturers and 16 per cent locally constructed from parts either new or used.
If the ban were to be imposed no trader would be able to sell used or secondhand computers in the marketplace, with an estimated fourfold increase in the price.
Computer manufacturers claim that we (and other countries) have become a dumping ground for first-world cast-offs that are energy inefficient. Those opposed to the ban say that we have an increasing computer penetration because of the availability of cheap used machines, a rising use of relatively inexpensive internet connections and a boost to the economy through ISPs, vendors of computers and peripherals, and the advertising industry.
The Pakistan Computer Association has strongly objected to the proposal saying it will benefit the multinationals, price computers out of the reach of poor students and affect the livelihoods of thousands of vendors across the country. Education generally, and especially in the poorer sectors of the population would suffer at a time when computers are finally gaining a classroom foothold.
Also, the rapid spread of internet connectivity which is driven by the availability of cheap used computers could come to a grinding halt. What we really need is for one of the big manufacturers such as Intel to set up shop here in order that good quality affordable computers can be manufactured in-country. Locally manufactured machines could then find their way into the secondhand market and the need to import used machines would diminish over time.
We lag far behind other developing nations in terms of computer and internet penetration and we do not need any further impediment to the progress we are already making. A bad move – think again, ministry of information technology. The news
Muslim women education
Islamabad: Education holds key to emancipation of women, said former South Asian analyst at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom Safiya Ghori.
She was speaking at a seminar on 'Women's Emancipation and Islamic Ideological Framework' on Tuesday. The seminar was organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with the US Embassy.
Ghori said that it was wrong to assume that Islam preached its believers to persecute women. She said suppressing women and giving them sufferings were the traits of a patriarchal society and these had no links with Islam.
She said that Muslims should be vocal about whatever they believe and they should put their message across to others. She termed it a public relations problem that the Muslims failed to communicate their beliefs and convictions to people of other religious communities.
She said that since Islam was not interpreted in real sense, there were many misconceptions about the religion, Muslims and Pakistan in the US and other western countries. She called for the making of an Islamic ideological framework to address issued faced by the Muslims.
She underscored the need for presenting the true humane face of Islam to the world in order to do away with these misconceptions and glorify the religion that rightly deserves admiration.
Alluding to the interviews of young Muslims published in an American newspaper recently, she said the youngsters talked about how it was normal for them to remain Muslims and play baseball, basketball and other sports at the same time like other human beings.
She said that it was wrong to believe that women are suppressed in Islam. She said that when she was adviser to the Obama administration on religious minorities, she tried to dispel this impression and stressed that it is a matter of choice for the Muslim women to wear veil or not.
Mome Saleem from SDPI said that men also had rights and there was a need to accord equal importance to their rights as well. She stressed gender equality in this respect.
Earlier, Will Wades from the US Embassy made introductory remarks.
In the question hour session, a lawyer said that not women only but children and poor were also exploited in the Pakistani society. He said that Taliban did not know the real Islam. He stressed the need for attaining rights of fair sex in the light of Islamic teachings and commandments. Daily times
Ceremony held at UoP
Peshawar: Pakhtun Students Federation has vowed that it would apply philosophy of the nonviolence of Bacha Khan to quell the prevalent wave of terrorism on the soil of Pakhtun.
This was stated by Imtiaz Wazir, newly-elected campus president of PkSF, at the oath-taking ceremony held at the lawn of the Pearl Canteen at the University of Peshawar.
He said that Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan had told us long ago that von-violence was mandatory for durable peace but his voice fall and deaf ears and today the entire nation was facing barrage of suicide and bomb attacks everywhere in the country.
Only through spreading Bacha's teachings, we can put brakes on the soaring law and order situation, he said, adding that peace was most needed for which we are ready to give sacrifices but would not surrender before the terrorism.
Other office-bearers elected for year for the campus (University of Peshawar, University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, NWFP Agriculture University and Khyber Medical College) are: general secretary Hilal Khan, senior vice-president Hidayat Momand, vice-presidents Rafiullah, Arbab Ali and Iqbal Wazir, deputy general secretary Aimal Khan, information secretary Jamil Masud, joint secretaries Aiziz Bacha and Hurmat Ali and finance secretary Gul Mohammad Dawar. Dawn
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