WB team assessing impact of PESRP in Punjab's 15 districts
Islamabad, March 16: The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank (WB) has launched an exercise for assessing the impact of part of the much trumpeted Punjab Education Sector Reform Programme (PESRP) under the title of "Public School Girls' Stipend" in selected 15 districts of the Punjab for ascertaining its sustainability in the longer term.
A three-member team of the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) has launched its exercise for holding consultation with the stakeholders concerned in order to evaluate the assessment of the programme, which invested around Rs 1 billion per annum for paying stipend to female students in public schools in the 15 districts.
Members of the IEG held consultative meeting here on Monday with the stakeholders, including representatives of multilateral and bilateral donors as well as representatives from ministries, attached departments, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and National Rural Support Programme (NRSP).
Households with eligible girls in grade 6th to 10th receive a cash transfer of Rs 600 per quarter, conditional on attending public school, with less than 20 per cent absence rate. The evaluation seeks to assess the sustainability of impacts over time, as it does so by estimating relative difference in enrolment and attendance rate of girls for the period 2005 to 2008 and early differential effects of the programme on the labour market, marriage and fertility outcome.
It was pointed out during the discussion that the Punjab government sought to address the existing gender disparities in education investment by enacting a girls' school stipend programme in 2004, targeting girls in districts with literacy rate below 40 per cent. "There are some estimates that around 35 per cent children, having age between five to nine years, are out of school," said a WB official.
A study is underway to come up with the facts that why such a huge ratio of children are out of school. There are some preliminary estimates that the enrolment rate improved by six to nine per cent when the girls' stipend programme was launched. But the IEG of the WB would validate this claim whether this increase was actually achieved or it was just done on papers.
It was pointed out during the workshop that the National Education Policy was envisaged to increase expenditures on education up to seven per cent of the GDP by 2015, which itself showed that this target was highly ambitious one keeping in view the ground realities when Pakistan is under the IMF's bailout package.
It was also told that there were reports of misappropriation of funds in Sindh's stipend programme, which was launched in 21 districts and the WB's third-party auditors also pointed out massive irregularities in it. The news
Students attack board officials in Kohat
Kohat: The secretary and controller of Kohat Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education escaped attempt on their lives by two armed students on Monday.
The secretary, Shahid Zaman and controller, Amanullah Wazir of BISE, Kohat, told the Jarma police two boys came to them when they were taking a walk inside the board building and demanded roll numbers illegally.
According to the report by the officials the students insisted on issuance of roll number slips of the examination centre of their choice on gunpoint. They said when they refused to oblige the students opened firing. However the officials remained unhurt in the attack.
The officials immediately called the police who caught the students along with two pistols and bullets while fleeing in a car from the board.
The Jarma police registered cases against the accused, Maqbool Shah and Muzahir Shah, residents of Jungle Khel.
It is important to note here that annual examination of 9th and 10th classes is scheduled to begin from Tuesday, March 16, and the teachers and students had been trying to get the centres of their choice which turned the BISE, Kohat, into a fish market for the last ten days. Dawn
Roll number slip issuance
Rawalpindi: A girl student sustained minor injuries in an alleged suicide attempt with a razor blade at the Government Girls School, F-Block, Satellite Town, in protest against the non-issuance of her roll number slip to appear in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Annual Examination 2010 which started on Monday.
Sources said that the roll number slips were not issued to more than 12 students of the school. The parents of students requested for the issuance of roll number slips but to no avail. The injured student, Kiran Nazakat, was administered first aid in the school. The roll number slips were issued to the remaining students after the alleged suicide attempt.
When the newsman contacted Principal Shakeela Khatoon, she had already left the school and she was not even available on her mobile phone. However a phone call received by this scribe from the number 0321-5014563 of a man who introduced himself as Abdul Rauf Khan, the husband of the school principal, Shakeela Khatoon, and also editor of debates in the National Assembly, said: "I am in Lahore and my wife called me regarding the issue. I want to clear her position that no such incident took place on the school premises." He said that it might be possible that such an incident took place in the student's home.
A teacher, Aneela, said "We had issued roll number slips to the majority of students. The remaining roll number slips were also given to the students early Monday morning."
When this correspondent asked her about the incident of Kiran Nazakat, she disconnected the call. When she was again contacted, she said that she was in the examination hall and could not comment.
However she said that there might be another reason behind the incident, but not the issue of the roll number slip. Executive District Officer (Education) Malik Ashraf said: "I am not aware of the incident. I will immediately order an inquiry into the issue if that is the case."
Preston varsity job fair
Islamabad: Employers and educational institutions in Pakistan should have a strong interaction with each other not only to provide employment opportunities to potential candidates, but also to provide young students with the guidance about what the market is expecting from them.
In the prevailing economic crisis, the employers are in the best position to let the universities know what their requirements are and what kind of professionals they need. The interaction would enable universities to brief their students on the existing trends in market that would help students to get better jobs and adopt career path intelligently.
These views were expressed by Chancellor Preston University Islamabad Dr. Abdul Basit here on Monday, in connection with a Business Ideas & Job Fair, to be held at the International Jinnah Convention Center on March 25 and 26.
Dr. Basit said that potential employers as well as educational institutions, particularly universities, should take keen interest in the Business Ideas & Job Fair and should participate in it actively.
Preston University Islamabad is actively participating in the Business Ideas & Job Fair 2010, which is being organised by Tehzeeb Pakistan & Jang Group.
"Preston University has a full-time career management center to help its students finding internships and job opportunities in reputed business organisations. The Career Management Centre (CMC) would also participate in the job fair," said Dr. Basit.
He said the specific job of the CMC is to evaluate market trends for the sake of students. "I believe the participation of the CMC in Business Ideas & Job Fair would enhance its performance." He added that senior faculty members of the university would also be present in the job fair to guide fresh university graduates on how to decide a career path.
"They would also guide young students that how to serve in the existing market effectively, what subjects they should study."
To a query, he said through there is an economic crisis, consumer goods and markets, telecommunication, health and pharmaceutical industries are however doing their business well. "It means that there are job opportunities in market but to safeguard future of our youth, we would have to guide them that how they can grab a better job."
He said that to have a prosperous Pakistan in future, the government should provide equal opportunities of scholarships to students and faculty members of private universities. "The Preston University has produced above 55,000 graduates of which nearly 20,000 are serving abroad and are contributing a lot to the country's economy." He added that the upcoming Business Ideas & Job Fair 2010 would also enable corporate leaders in the country to assess the capabilities of Pakistani universities.
"The job fair would contribute in bringing closer the employers, educational institutions and potential candidates and all the three would be benefited in result," he said. The news
Libyan student expelled
Islamabad: A Libyan student was expelled from the National University of Modern Languages (Numl) after he took photographs of a girl student, causing a brawl here on Monday.
An insider said that the brawl took place when the Libyan student – Taha – of the Functional Courses Department was spotted by two local students Raja Irfan and Abbas taking the photographs at open area of the university.
They asked Taha not to take photographs of the girl and discard those already taken. This led to exchange of harsh words between them.
Later, five to eight students of various Arab countries joined Taha and thrashed Irfan and Abbas. As the news about the incident spread, a large number of students gathered at the spot and separated the brawling students from each other. The department's staff also rushed to the spot and dispersed the students.
Later, Industrial Area police reached the university, but the Numl's administration did not allow them to take any action against the students involved in the brawl.
An inquiry conducted by the head of the department – Jawaid Ahmad – found Taha guilty. The Libyan was expelled from the university and the two local students were placed on six-month probation. Dawn
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