Pakistani engineering students participataion

Pak young engineers to figure in Eco-Friendly Challenge
Islamabad, March 18: Top universities of the country would send 27 teams of young engineers to participate in the Shell Eco-Marathon, which is an educational platform that encourages students across Asia to design, build and test fuel-efficient vehicles.Of immense interest to every Pakistani is the fact that 27 student teams have registered for the event - the highest number in the competition.

These teams come from top universities across Pakistan and will pit their eco-vehicles against 120 teams from Asia.

Started in 1939 as a wager to see who can travel furthest on a single litre of fuel, the competition to be held from July 8-10, 2010 in Malaysia has grown into a global competition to develop solutions to society's most pressing dilemma - the energy challenge.

The event will be held at the Sepang International racetrack, a Formula One track in Kuala Lumpur.

This is only the second time that Pakistan has taken part in the competition. Last year four teams of young engineers from the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Science and Technology (GIKI), and the Pakistan Navy University of Science and Technology (NUST) participated.

In a send-off ceremony held in Islamabad on Wednesday, teams displayed their shining new vehicles in the presence of the chief guest, Syed Naveed Qamar, the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources.

Qamar lauded the team's efforts, stating "today we are extending the boundaries of our innovation and technology. The students who are taking part in this competition are amongst the best technical talent in our country. I congratulate them for their hard work and dedication to their projects and for presenting a positive image of Pakistan in the world."

He said this competition is an essential tool to develop better technologies and policy for energy conservation.

Mr. Zaiviji Ismail, Country Chairman Shell Pakistan, in his address stated tremendous capability and talent exist in Pakistan, and by facilitating the participation of these teams in 2010 it is hoped to innovative solutions would be found out for energy challenge.

The futuristic vehicles constructed by the student teams were displayed inside the event as a testimony to the hard work and immense potential of these young teams.

Besides, the prestige of winning the title of the most fuel-efficient vehicle in their respective categories and the chance to win attractive cash prizes for their schools, these teams have the unique opportunity of representing their country on a global forum, and to stand as the pioneers in fuel conservation from Pakistan. APP

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Youth and civil society
Ministry of Youth Affairs will hold a workshop `Youth & Civil Society' today (Thursday) to deliberate on the opportunities for utilising the potential of youth in a constructive way.

The participants of the workshop, arranged in collaboration with the Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN), will ponder on implementing strategies regarding the uplift of youth as per stated in the National Youth Policy.

The purpose of the workshop would be to start a process of cross-learning and discussion regarding initiatives, which can be taken up for the development of youth across the country, as per the National Youth Policy and in possible new areas suggested at the workshop.

To this end, the workshop would essentially include two types of opportunities for learning. The first would be presentations from those organisations, which work specifically with youth. Their presentations would be based on best practices, which have been tried and tested, in order for the Ministry of Youth Affairs to replicate them across the country.

Secondly, the workshop would also include discussion or breakout groups, each with a different theme based on and around the National Youth Policy and motivating the youth to strive for excellence; encouraging peace, tolerance and national unity; character-building of youth in Islamic values, good citizenship, respect for basic human values, etc; ensuring income-generation opportunities for youth; encouraging sports and recreational activities; improving youth health; increasing social volunteerism; removing gender imbalances; and meeting the needs of special youth. The news

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Teachers to be trained to end corporal punishment
Peshawar: The provincial government has signed a memorandum of understanding with a non-governmental organisation for providing training to teachers to end corporal punishment in the schools by adopting alternative methods.

According to a press release, the MoU was signed between Elementary and Secondary Education department and Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) here on Wednesday.

The corporal punishment has caused dropout problem in various schools of the province. The understanding was reached between the two entities to adopt such a mechanism whereby problems being faced by students and teachers would be resolved at school level.

Sparc executive director Arshad Mehmood said that the project would help improve quality of education in light of Pakistan's international obligations as state party to Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The MoU will ensure and extend mutual cooperation between Sparc and the government department. For this purpose a baseline survey will be conducted in five districts of NWFP-- Nowshera, Peshawar, Swabi, Charssadda, and Mardan -- initially and later that can be extended to other parts of the province.

The project aims at capacity building of teachers and mentors by introducing alternatives to corporal punishment through trainings and follows-ups, along with exploring and establishing a mechanism to gradually eliminate corporal punishment from schools.

During the project mass awareness campaigns will also be run by Sparc on radio and television as well as posters and flyers to sensitise people as well as highlight the issue of corporal punishment and its adverse impact on children and their education.

Later, NWFP Education Minister Sardar Hussain said that the teachers who enroll their children in private schools would be sacked from the Education Department, he said while addressing the oath-taking ceremony of the Private School Teachers Association's newly elected committee in Peshawar.

Hussain said that the decision to bar teachers from enrolling their children in private schools was made during the recent session of the NWFP Assembly to improve education standards at government institutions and it would be implemented in April.

However, NWFP Teachers Association General Secretary Khairullah Hawari said this law "should also be implemented on those who enacted it". Dawn

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Debate on education system
Islamabad: Renowned scholar Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy said on Tuesday that the culture of effective communication was diminishing in universities as the number of female students hiding their faces with Burqa (veil) were rapidly increasing compared to the trends that prevailed during the decade of 60s and 70s.

The comments made by the renowned scholar resulted into eruption of heated debate during the last session on "Education System in Pakistan: Lessons Learned and the Ways Forward" during the conference organised by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) here.

A professor, who is teaching in the Islamic University, contested the remarks made by Dr Hoodbhoy on the issue of veil, stating that those girls wearing Hijab were more brilliant compared to the male students.

Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy replied that exceptions could be there but he was worried of this growing trend as he knew some teachers at the university level who were openly advising that those female students were not allowed to enter their classrooms who did not observe Burqa.

Dr Hoodbhoy also said that although the allocation for Higher Education Commission (HEC) was increased by around 1,200 per cent but the quality of education was deteriorating in such a way that now students were not willing to appear in the GRE exams.

He alleged that HEC purchased a machine called Pelletron with estimated cost of Rs 400 million, which was lying idle at the Quaid-i-Azam University. He demanded that this money should returned by those who had approved this project. He also alleged that Dr Samar Mubarakmand (who is currently Member Planning Commission) and Dr Ashfaque Ahmed (who is currently acting deputy chairman PC) were responsible for purchasing this obsolete machine.

Dr Hoodbhoy also proposed that the ban on student unions should be lifted as it would help to nurture leadership from middle and low income groups instead of military generals or feudal political class.

He also proposed that teachers should be brought in from neighbouring countries instead of USA and Europe as they were reluctant to come to Pakistan in the wake of existing security environment. He said the government envisaged through the education policy that it would increase the expenditure on education to 7 per cent of the GDP.

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RMC principal's suspension
Rawalpindi: The students of Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) here on Wednesday protested against the suspension of their principal Dr Mussadaq Khan and urged the Punjab government to re-appoint the official.

Hundreds of students came out of the college at about 9:30am and gathered at Moti Mahal Chowk where they staged a sit-in, blocking traffic.

Later the protesting students went to Rawalpindi Press Club and gathered at Liaquat Bagh Chowk where they raised slogans in support of Dr Mussadaq Khan. They protested for about two hours and later dispersed peacefully.

Later in the day the local chapter of Pakistan Medical Association, in its meeting, condemned the suspension of a known surgeon and urged the government to restore him to his earlier position.

The doctors termed his suspension politically motivated and a conspiracy against Dr Mussadaq who had been serving as principal for the last seven years. The news

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PTA website urdu version
Islamabad: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday launched Urdu version of its official website to facilitate public and telecom users.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on IT Latif Khosa inaugurated the website at PTA headquarters.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Mr Khosa said: "As we innovate in technologies and services on the internet, mobile and other segments of telecommunication, it is vital to ensure that our exclusive regulatory and policy structure is preserved, maintained, and built upon."

According to PTA Chairman Dr Mohammad Yasin, the authority had marked itself as the first-ever governmental organisation to introduce full-content version of website in Urdu. The website contains the same contents of the English version converted into simple Urdu language. Dawn

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Grant for primary school
Islamabad: Japan will provide a grant of Rs7.8 million to a non-governmental organisation (NGO) for the construction of a primary school in Hafizabad, Punjab.

Japanese ambassador Chihiro Atsumi and M.H.Sufi Foundation Chief Executive Officer Parvez Hussain Sufi signed an agreement under the 'Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects' here on Wednesday, says a press release.

The school will comprise 21 classrooms, 24 toilets, a principal's office, a staff room and a library in Saroopwala village, where students will be given standard education in English medium by well-trained teachers.

Besides, the NGO will provide fee concession to the students.

About 600 children living around the locality will get education.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Japanese envoy said provision of basic education to children was a priority area in Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA), adding Japan had been extending the greater part of its grant in this field. Dawn

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