Is education only for the rich?

Country future linked to its education system
Islamabad, March 05: The future of a country is linked to its education system and one should keep in mind that good education makes a student intelligent, progressive and law-abiding citizen as well as an honest, bold and strong defender of the motherland. That is how patriots are thinking again these days after a long time. The father of the nation attached great importance to education, health, defence and economic self-reliance. So did the civil and military men who as teachers and public servants, remaining away from politics, spent their time and energy in the national build-up with preference to the country's economic independence, people's education and health.

Old teachers of Rawalpindi and Islamabad say the quality of education, in general, has declined while parents of middle and lower-middle class find it hard to bear heavy expenses of their children's education. They recall the Quad's message to the national education conference soon after the achievement of Pakistan wherein he had pointed out that the future of the state would and must greatly depend upon the type of education to Pakistani children and the way they're brought up as future citizens of the country.

Elders assert dirty politics and selfish motives scaled down the nation's goals. Education system has derailed, it has been commercialised. The sons and daughters of a majority of the people were, and still are, deprived of school and college education on account of the class system. Merit ignored, admission to institutions was restricted to the children of the rich and influential politicians. The advice of the founder of Pakistan was thrown into a dustbin. But here were persons to whose heart education was very dear.

Hakim Syed Irshad of Gujrat was one of them remembered to this day by The Pakistan Times readers of Letters to Editor. An excellent English teacher himself, he ran a college. He used to teach the illiterate persons when he was a student of fifth class. Basically, the education system that prevailed half a century back has not undergone any change. A letter of the staunch advocate of education published in the Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore on June 8, 1955, explains how things prevailed then and are today. Here's the letter: "We were given to understand that Pakistan shall prove a land of milk and honey for the common man. We had hoped that with the birth of Pakistan, the state will co-operate to create through education a new type of man in keeping with the aspirations, ideals and traditions that were responsible to make Pakistan a reality. In the domain of education, things were too bad to admit of quack and half-hearted treatment. We, therefore, looked to the government to realise the need and importance for intelligent planning co-ordination of activity and canalising of enthusiasm, and finally assume responsibility to produce effective citizens for Pakistan. But, unfortunately, during the past one year or so things have happened in the educational sphere, which have led me to the conclusion that education has become a queer hobby of certain dominant individuals. It is indeed pathetic to find that men occupying positions of eminence and responsibility in the educational and administrative fields would have made the confusion worst confounded by their ill-conceived utterances and short-sighted policies."

"All that so far said and done about education in the name of 'reforms' has led me to the conclusion that the pressure groups in Pakistan are out to hatch a conspiracy to deprive the poor of the scanty opportunities they had for self-development. When industry and commerce became monopolised in fewer hands we did not mind. When we saw that two-kind education was imparted to our boys, one to the rich to select rulers and the other to the poor to turn them into docile instruments, we tolerated it."

"Our leaders have promised to give us a republican or democratic form of government. We know that the Americans possess perfect democracy in education. Education there is not a monopoly of the idle rich but the birthright of every American child. No attempt is made by the American educationists to dole out education according to social position. But our leaders or educationists seem to have made up their mind to reserve jealously higher education for a few, as at Oxford and Cambridge. Should we understand that the pressure groups in Pakistan take a patch from here and a patch from there, which suits their purpose, to give us the taste of long wished freedom and independence about which we had heard so much?"

Where do we stand today? Why it is being said across the country that the rich are turning richer and the poor poorer? What is the answer? Change of system or something else!. -By Zafar Alam Sarwar -

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Change in KMU medical curriculum on the cards
Peshawar: The Khyber Medical University (KMU) is working on a project to change the present medical curriculum and assessment system by introducing integration and semester system in medical colleges of the province.

Speaking as chief guest at a one-day symposium on 'Curriculum Development' organised by the Academic Section of the university at the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IPM&R), KMU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mohammad Hafizullah said currently the medical and dental institutions were following the annual system of examination in which the assessment is done at the end of the year.

He said most students start serious study near the end of the year and especially during the preparation leave. "To overcome this problem, most of the institutions other than medical have changed their system into semester system," he said.

"Specific time is allotted to each course which is finished in time and there is continuous evaluation. This keeps both the faculty and students busy throughout the year," he added.The VC said the KMU was committed to replacing the 20thcentury medical curriculum with that of the 21st century. The main feature of these reforms is adaptation of integration of the medical curriculum, he added.

Dr Hafizullah hoped that all the principals and faculties of the public and private medical colleges would support the proposed plan of KMU. Prof Dr Sultan Mehmood, principal, Khyber Medical College (KMC), informed the participants about the work done by him and his committee for introducing the semester system. Sheilla Pinjani of the Department of Medical Education, Aga Khan University, also spoke on the subject of integration of medical curriculum. The news

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PAL announces 'Faiz Ahmad Faiz Award'
Lahore: The Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) has announced 'Faiz Ahmad Faiz Award' on poetry to pay tributes to the legendry poet, said PAL Chairman, Fakhar Zaman, in a press conference held on Friday at his office in Islamabad.

According to a press statement received via email, the "Faiz Ahmad Faiz Award" carries Rs 100,000 to be awarded on one book of poetry in all Pakistani languages and also in English. Zaman said that following the instructions of President Asif Ali Zardari, who declared the year 2011 as 'Faiz Year', the academy has planned to hold Faiz Ahmad Faiz International Conference in Pakistan in May 2011. Scholars from Holland, Germany, Italy, South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation countries, France, UK, Russia, Uzbekistan, Canada, USA, Czech Republic and other countries will participate in this conference, he said.

Zaman remarked that the PAL also planned to produce a documentary film on the life of Faiz Ahmed. All the PAL provincial branches held seminars on Faiz on February 11 and 12, while a seminar was held on February 10 at PAL's headquarters to commemorate the 100th birthday of Faiz. Zaman said that PAL published a book on Faiz's life and his works under "Makers of Pakistani Literature" series, whose third edition has hit the market in recent days. PAL also published a special book on Faiz written by Tasleem Elahi Zulfi, titled "Faiz Ahmad Faiz in Beirut". Fakhar said that Faiz's writings and poetry and books on Faiz would also be translated in all Pakistani languages. The articles read at the seminar are under publication by the University of Gujrat, which will be marketed during this month, Fakhar said. Daily times

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BMC hires staff to overcome shortage
Peshawar: Certain appointments were made on ad hoc basis in the Bannu Medical College and Khalifa Gul Nawaz Teaching Hospital, Bannu to cope with problem of staff shortages.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department notified on Friday that the appointments were for a period of one year or till the availability of regular selectees of the Public Service Commission. It said the competent authority on the recommendations of Departmental Selection Committee ordered the appointments on usual pay and allowances as admissible.

They included Muhammad Idrees Khan as assistant librarian, BS-16, Zarin Shada, Sameena Jan, Uzma Abbas, Basnoor Shada, Shakeela Naz, Haleema, Ayesha Siddiqa, Nadia Bibi, Rubi Qandeel, Musarrat Sultan, Atia Zaheen, Zaartaj, Busreen, Ghazala, Mumtaz Akhter and Noreen Peter as charge nurses in BS-16 and Mian Shah Islam, Saeed Iqbal, Irfan Ali, Farmanullah and Iftikhar Ali Khan as male nurses, also in BS-16. They have also been directed to assume charge within 30 days after the issuance of this notification. The news

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Private schools in Swabi raise fee
Swabi: The managements of private educational institutions in the district have increased admission fee and other dues with the start of new academic year.

The owners and principals of various schools held several meetings to finalise increase in admission fee and other dues. They said that parents should visit schools to register their children as admissions for the session 2011-2012 were opened.

According to the decision, nursery admission fee has been increased from Rs4,000 to Rs5,000 and monthly fee from Rs1,000 to Rs1,500 by majority of the schools. The monthly fee for other classes has also been increased with the same proportion. Some of the schools would charge about Rs6,000 as admission fee and Rs3,000 as monthly fee, sources said.

The principal of an educational institution, when contacted, said that they would conduct test for admitting students to each class and only qualified students would get admission. "No student will be admitted to our institution without test," he added. He admitted that they had increased fee and other dues but he was reluctant to unveil the ratio.

On the other hand, parents have showed concern over increase in fee of educational institutions. "We don't know how we will manage to pay educational fee of our children as we are already hit hard by price hike and inflation," they added.

They alleged that managements of those institutions were exploiting them as they knew that they could not compromise on the education of their children.

The parents said that private institutions were given a free hand to charge students according to their free will as there was no mechanism to check them. "There is dire need to set criteria of fee charging," said Nooral Amin, a resident of Maneri Bala.

Meanwhile, the annual examinations have been started at public sector schools. The heads of schools said that it was expected that the examinations would be concluded till March 15 as a number of teachers were expected to leave for performing duty in the secondary school certificate examination, to be conducted by Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Mardan on March 16. Dawn

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FM radio station starts at FG Margalla College
Islamabad: The Federal Government Margalla College for Women, F-7/4, launched the test transmission of its FM radio station with an aim to educate students of the Mass Communication and apprise them of the latest developments taking place in the flourishing media industry, says a press release issued here on Friday.

The FM radio station named 'Voice of Margalla' can be tuned on 98.6 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. It is the first campus radio to be established by any public sector college in Pakistan.

Dr. Shaheen Khan, director-general of the Federal Directorate of Education, was the chief guest on the occasion. Principal Ghazala Khalid and members of the Educational Broadcasters Forum (EBF) were present on the occasion. EBF President Qasim Haider expressed his views and assured his full support to the newly-established FM radio station.

The 'Voice of Margalla' besides broadcasting information on a number of issues will also educate students about technicalities of radio production as well as news writing.

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Turkish car-racer visits Bahria University
Islamabad: Students of the Bahria University enjoyed an orientation given by 29-year-old Turkish car rally driver Burcu Cetinkaya who visited their campus here on Thursday.

Accompanied by her sponsors, Burcu Cetinkaya aptly described all major rallies she participated in with the help of multimedia. She also supervised a practical demonstration on changing wheels of a car.

Besides being a keen and ardent sportswoman, she is a linguist with command over five languages. She has participated in three high-profile car-racing championships in 2009. She told students that she is now focusing on winning a seat in the world motor rally championships.

Students showed keen interest in her inspiring talk on motor sports along with her advice on safety measures of driving.

In the end, she paid a courtesy call on Bahria University Rector Vice Admiral (r) Mohammad Haroon who lauded her efforts in not only promoting motor sports among women, but in addition, strengthening the already existing brotherly ties between Turkey and Pakistan.

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Literary competitions held
Rawalpindi: Literary contests were held on the second day of weeklong intercollegiate competitions, organised by the Rawalpindi College of Commerce (RCC) and Jinnah Institute of Informatics, Commerce and Sciences (JIICS) in collaboration with Jang Cultural Wing, says a press release issued here Friday.

The ceremony was held at the Rawalpindi Arts Council with prominent poet and National Language Authority Chairman Iftikhar Arif in the chair. Different competitions including 'Husn-e-Qiraat', Na'at, Urdu debate and English debate held on the second day.

Iftikhar Arif expressed his deep satisfaction over the excellent quality of speeches both Urdu and English delivered on the occasion by the student saying, "The quality of languages I have witnessed today is impressing."

He said it was astonishing for him that today students not relay only one some routine sentences and verses in their speeches, but deliver extraordinary and new verses.

On the occasion JIICS Chief Executive Prizada Rahat Quddusi said: "The quality of Urdu, was dropping with each passing day, however, he expressed his hope that by holding such competitions on national level, we could do a lot for the betterment of Urdu literature."

He said he was quite satisfied that day after seeing the performance enthusiasm and understanding level of Urdu literate of the students.

Terming the students, who had participated in the competitions, as national asset, he resolved, that RCC and JICCS would continue to play their pivotal part of ornamenting students with co-curricular activities besides curricular one.

Students enjoyed the event very much, as it was observed by their clapping. After that judges announced the results, according to which, in Husn-e-Qiraat contest Sundas Malik clinched first position, while Asma Naeem and Tayyaba Ishtiaq stood second and third respectively.

In Urdu debate contest, Sana Batool grabbed first position, while Rabia Javed and Sadia Mushtaq stood second and third. In English debate contest, Shafaq Batool secured first position, while Sehr Tasavor and Amina Mushtaq clutched second and third positions respectively.

Similarly, in Punjab debate contest, Abeer Ghafoor, Afshan Manzoor and Komal Paul secured first second and third positions respectively.

At the end of contests Iftikhar Arif and Pirzada Rahat Quddusi distributed prices among the successful students. The news

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