Universal Primary Education Campaign

Parents face action for not sending children to school
Lahore, March 15: With a view to ensure the 100 percent enrolment of all out children of age group (5 to 9 year), first phase of Universal Primary Education Campaign will be launched by the School Education Department from March 23 to 31st May, 2010.

Whereas, the Second phase of the campaign will start from August 14 and continue till the target is achieved. According to the circular issued by School Education Department Punjab, survey and registration of un-admitted children (5 -9 years) age group will be made all over the province.

Officers and officials of District government, public representatives, stake holders, private institutions, public as well as private organizations will also participate in the campaign.

The Education Department will ensure the retention of newly admitted children in school by creating friendly atmosphere in the educational institutions.

Departmental officials will also keep close contact with the parents to reduce the dropout rate.

With a view to aware the people from the significance of Primary Education Campaign, the seminars, discussions and walks headed by notables and public representatives will be arranged at District, Tehsil, Markaz and Mohallah levels.

The Education Authorities have decided to take legal action against the defaulter parents and in this connection the Deputy District Officers will send the list of parents on monthly basis, who do not cooperate and send their children for admission in school to concerned EDO (Edu.).

Notices will also be issued to parents under Compulsory Primary Education Act 1994, who will not get admitted their children of age group 5-9 years to schools despites efforts by teacher / filed officers and initiatives of the action. F.P Report

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"upe is a good programme for education but it is not good that primary teachers perform the following program going home to home.for this purpose separte department should be established.or this work is done by union council department."
Name: mahmood ul hasan
Email: mahmoooddd@yahoo.com

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Students hold their ground against terrorism
Lahore: Despite several schools closing down in RA Bazaar and Allama Iqbal Town after Friday's attacks in Lahore, terrorism failed to dampen the spirit of students, who pursued extra-curricular activities at educational institutions in high spirits.

The week saw s flurry of terrorist attacks in the city, however, educationalists said that sports and other extra-curricular activities were needed to provide the students with a much-needed distraction from the dangers in the world around them.

A sense of foreboding peril was observed in citizens and students alike with a number of private schools in Model Town, Cantonment and Allama Iqbal town closing down on Friday. It was observed that although several schools in the city closed down, there were others who engaged their students in various extra-curricular activities. These schools were trying to divert attention from the tragic events that had visited the city during the week.

The eight Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) in Punjab are currently holding matriculation exams with various public and private sector schools also busy in holding their respective exams. Most of the city's major schools had organised extra-curricular activities with the aim of giving students a welcome distraction so that they could appear for their exams with relatively fresh minds.

Despite the twin-suicide blasts in RA Bazaar, the Kinnaird College Political Science Department students hosting a lecture on the impact of terrorism on the youth. The students went on with the show even though they had gotten word of the blast, fulfilling their commitment to the struggle against terrorism.

Also on Friday, the Salamat International Campus for Advanced Studies (SICAS) held its annual prize distribution ceremony at the Ali Institute, in which students of the institute performed plays and music performances and highlighted the issues of special persons. They proved that they would not bow down to terrorism or fear. Students' parents also attended the ceremony and appreciated the faculty and students for holding such activities instead of staying indoors.

The Government Girls College Gulberg had organised a week of various activities and competitions. Different colleges from across the city participated in the activities, including art competitions, floral arrangement competitions, debating contests and poetry recitation competitions. Separately, students of the Fatima Jinnah Medical College (FJMC) held their annual sports day on March 11, in which medical college students took part in various sports competitions, while the college administration rewarded them with certificates and medals.

The Lahore Garrison Education System held a ceremony on March 13, as did the Grand Public School in Model Town. Such extra-curricular activities showed that students the future of the country are standing tall and firm against terrorism. It is not only the country's military that is making sacrifices in the endeavour, as a number of schools were targetted by terrorists last year in Swat and NWFP. Daily times

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Punjab non-functional schools
Lahore: The Chairman of the Punjab Chief Minister's Taskforce on Elementary Education, Raja Muhammad Anwar, has said that 1050 public sector schools were not functional across the province, including 60 in district Jhang only.

According to a DGPR handout, Raja Muhammad Anwar, while talking to an eight member delegation of private schools and college owners association of district Jhang at his office on Sunday, said the Punjab government was committed to strengthening the role of private sector schools for achieving 100 per cent literacy rate.

The delegation was headed by Tahir Farooq Sajid. The Taskforce chairman said for this an independent and autonomous organisation to be called as the Punjab Private Education Promotion and Regulatory Authority (PPEPRA) would be set up.

Raja Anwar said the government did not want to levy any tax on private schools as it was committed to encourage the private sector. He said the taskforce recommended to the government not to levy any commercial tax on private schools receiving fee less than Rs 1,000 from their students, for five years.

Furthermore, it is also recommended to provide free textbooks to students of such schools, who are 86% of the total number of schools in the province. This would benefit the private sector by playing a facilitating role as PPEPRA will act as a one window facilitator to the private sector to solve their problems at their doorsteps.

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Focus on primary education
Lahore: Speakers at a seminar have emphasised the need to focus on primary education and urged the government to increase budgetary allocations for the education sector and ensure consistency in implementation of policies.

The seminar "Role of Private Sector in Promotion of Education: The Challenges" was organised by the Mir Khalilur Rehman Memorial Society (Jang Group of Newspapers) and the Tameer-e-Pakistan Party at the PC Hotel on Sunday.

Speakers were divided on the role of private sector in promotion of education. Some argued that the private sector had taken up the issue of education as a business while others argued its role was quite important as no government had ever given priority to education.

Punjab Minister for Education and Excise & Taxation Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said education was the top priority of the government, adding it was unfortunate that earlier no government could set its direction in this regard.

Lauding the role of private schools, he said the public sector, with the support of private sector, would achieve the target of 100 percent literacy rate by 2013 in the province. He said the number of private schools had increased manifold over the years, adding these should unite on a single platform to promote education.

The minister talked about the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF), saying talented students who earlier had to face problems in continuing education were being awarded scholarships under the PEEF, established with seed-money of Rs 2 billion. He said teacher training programmes were being held to ensure quality of education.

Punjab University (PU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran was of the view that we could not depend solely on the private sector for development of the country. "The history is witness that countries that made progress did so under patronage of public sector institutions," he said. He said the role of private sector educational institutions, especially schools, was more important in Pakistan as no government had ever paid due attention to public sector schools.

Referring to China, Russia and Korea, the PU VC said: "The private sector cannot play the role which the public sector can to bring the country out of backwardness." He said research and development (R&D) was equally important, adding it was unfortunate that no government could prove its commitment to education in terms of budget. "It is also unfortunate that policies change as governments change," he regretted.

Senior educationist Dr Nosheena also talked about the low budgetary allocations for the education sector besides lack of professionalism and obsolete curriculum. She said it was a hard fact that major chunk of the budget was spent on paying debt and defence sector, adding lack of funding for education was a serious issue.

Dr Nosheena also highlighted the importance of teachers, saying teacher was the linchpin of the education system. She said those joining the profession of teaching by chance could not deliver well. She added the role of the private sector in promotion of education could not be underestimated.

Nadia S Malik from the US said no society could progress without focusing on education, especially women education. She said it was unfortunate that out of 600 million women and girls in Muslim countries, most were having marginalized lives.

Private Colleges Association's Chairman Amanullah said the private sector was playing an important role in promotion of education and instead of facilitating it the government had imposed various kinds of taxes on private sector education institutions. He said that if the government could not abolish these taxes, it should bring down their rate.

Former PML-N parliamentarian Sohail Zia Butt said we could excel in comity of nations by improving the standard of education. "We have resources but unfortunately our institutions are not strong," he added. About the role of private schools, he said though such institutions were minting money but were providing quality education to the children. He said there should be some kind of uniformity in fee structure of private schools.

Brig (retd) Muhammad Yousaf said it was unfortunate that education had never been the priority of any government in Pakistan. He was quite critical of private sector schools, saying most had taken the task as a business and not as social service. He underlined the need for better salaries and social status for teachers, saying teachers had great duties and responsibilities. He also highlighted the need for focusing on primary education, saying education upto 7 years of age was very important. "Developed countries such as the UK pay special attention to primary education," he said.

University of Lahore Chairman MA Rauf said the standard of public sector institutions was deteriorating with the passage of time. "Once people took pride in sending their children to Central Model School or the Government College but the situation is different today," he said. "There are universities like Oxford and Cambridge for Europe but in the Subcontinent we have Taj Mahal," he lamented while pointing out that education had never been priority of our rulers. He said highest funding was provided to public sector universities in Musharraf regime, adding unfortunately the standard of education could not be improved. "The increasing private sector institutions show that there is a vacuum," he added.

PU IBA Director Dr Ehsan Malik criticised private sector institutes of higher learning, saying why the private sector was not opening campuses in the far-flung areas. "Their approach should be education-oriented and not money-oriented," he said.

Former Interior Secretary Tasneem Noorani said there was a need to focus on schools situated in villages and far-flung areas. "There should be more focus on schools in villages," he said. He said different kinds of education systems were creating divisions within the society, saying this must be checked.

Mir Khalilur Rehman Memorial Society (MKRMS) Chairman Wasif Nagi also spoke on the occasion. Tameer-e-Pakistan Party Secretary General Aziz Ahmed Awan, Bishop Samuel Azariah, PU Dean of Education Prof Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal, GIFT University, Gujranwala Rector Dr Iqbal Tahir, Prof Abdul Qayyum Mirza and renowned fashion designer Bee Gee were also present.

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Health Department vacancies
Lahore: The Young Doctors Association (YDA) has criticised the Punjab Health Department for failing to announce vacancies of professors in basic medical sciences through PPSC.

YDA office-bearers, including Dr Rana Sohail, Dr Salman Kazmi, Dr Aslam Rao and others, said there was severe shortage of medical teachers in the basic sciences departments of public and private medical colleges, adding several posts of professors of Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathology, Forensic Medicine and Community Medicine were vacant.

They said four seats of professors of Pathology, which were announced by Health Department last year, were withdrawn from PPSC, as the criteria had not been laid for them, adding these posts were still vacant since Health Department had not announced these vacancies in the PPSC so far.

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Army role to education
Lahore: To acknowledge efforts and achievements of students and teachers of the Lahore Garrison Education System (LGES), a High Achievers and Incentive Awards ceremony was held at the Garrison Academy the other day.

According to a press release, Lahore Corps Commander Lieutenant General Ijaz Ahmed Bakhshi, who is also the Patron of the LGES, was the chief guest on the occasion. He awarded prizes to the students for attaining distinction in various curricular and co-curricular activities.

Gen Bakhshi said that apart from defending the national frontiers, Pakistan Army was also making invaluable contributions to the nation building projects and the education sector was one of them.

"Pak Army has contributed large network of army public schools and cadet colleges in the country," he said, adding, "The LGES is making earnest efforts to groom young minds into diligent, honest and responsible citizens." Earlier, LGES Chairman Major General (retd) Muhammad Tariq Masood highlighted the achievements of the LGES. The news

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