Rawalpindi private schools closure | inter practical test

Owners, teachers protest as future of 150,000 students at stake
Rawalpindi, May 05: The Rawalpindi Private Schools Educational Society, along with other private school organisations, held a 'protest march' here on Monday against the closure of academic institutions in the city and raised slogans against the administration for its 'wrong decision'.

Raising slogans, the protesters expressed concern over the decision and said that it would jeopardise the future of more than 150,000 students, who are getting education in more than 918 private schools in the city.

A large number of teachers and owners of different private schools, carrying banners and placards, marched from the Rawalpindi Press Club to Moti Plaza on Benazir Bhutto Road. Traffic remained blocked for half an hour due to it.

The protest rally was led by Acting President of RAPS Nasreen Tariq, Senior Vice President Asia Talha, General Secretary Asif Mehmood and Tehmina Malik. The protesters raised slogans, including 'Open the Schools', 'Don't Play with the Future of Children' and 'Spread Education,' on the occasion. After the 'march,' RAPS office-bearers talked to journalists.

RAPS Acting President Nasreen Tariq said that the future of more than 150,000 students, studying in 918 private institutions, was at stake as the cantonment administration had issued notices to owners of all schools in residential areas to close down their premises immediately. She said that the administration had already sealed five schools in different localities of the city.

She said that at present there is no valid policy under the Cantonment Ordinance 2002 that provides for establishment of private schools in cantonment areas. The office of the station commander issued standard operating procedures (SOS) in 2004, under which private schools were issued no-objection certificates (NOCs) for operation in cantonment areas. But there are problems with this process like the issuance of NOC is discretionary and depends on the whims of the station commander or the influence of the party seeking the NOC. Secondly, the NOC is issued for periods of one, two or three years. Once it expires, the station commander can always refuse to extend it further, she said.

She said that owners of schools are neither being issued new NOCs nor old ones are being renewed. This issue has further been compounded with the sealing and forced closure of schools. The reason cited for the action is that these schools are causing security and traffic problems as they are situated in residential areas. She said that security and traffic problems are a national dilemma and the presence of schools in residential areas is no problem, so there is no need to close them down.

She said that not only students but more than 20,000 teachers and other staff members working in educational institutions would be affected with the closure of schools. She urged the cantonment administration to reopen all closed schools immediately, hold talks with private school managements and cancel the orders of issuing notices to school administrations in future.

RAPS General Secretary Asif Mehmood said that the cantonment administration should think about the future of students studying in private schools.

When contacted, Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) Chief Executive Officer Shaikh Shahid Bashir said that they are taking action against private schools according to the government policy. They are taking action on public complaints that schools in residential areas are creating problems for them. Getting an NOC is a must for schools otherwise they would face closure. Crackdown on private schools in residential areas would continue in future, he said.

The closure of five schools has created problems for parents, as they don't know whether their children would get admission in other academic institutions. Some parents said that students are suffering due to the 'war' between the cantonment administration and private school managements.

There are around 100 government schools and 918 private schools in the city. Private schools bear the burden of 42 per cent of students. "If all private schools are closed down where would students of these institutions go?" asked the parents.

Parents said that the matter should be resolved at the earliest in the best interest of students, otherwise the future of their children could be damaged in this situation.

Dr. Uzma Irfan, a mother, said that the school of her son Hamza, a student of class 6, was closed down. She said that the high-ups should intervene into the matter, otherwise it would result in loss of one academic year of students. The News

Policy demanded to regulate private schools operation
Rawalpindi: Rawalpindi Private Schools Educational Society (RAPS-ES) on Monday demanded that the Cantonment authorities in consultation with all the stakeholders devise a comprehensive policy regarding regulation of private schools and open the forcefully and arbitrarily sealed private schools.

Addressing a press conference at Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club, RAPS-ES President Nasreen Tariq said there was no valid, transparent and fair policy under the Cantonment Ordinance 2002 that provided base for establishment of private schools in Rawalpindi Cantonment area.

"We have established private schools in residential areas as the authorities concerned did not develop and provide us with any educational zone in the city," she said.

Later, the representatives of RAPS-ES, teachers and students of private schools staged a protest demonstration in front of Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club. Daily Times

Closure of private schools protested
Rawalpindi: The Society of Private Schools in the cantonment areas here on Monday protested the action being taken by the authorities against the schools functioning without taking No Objection Certificate (NOC).

Speaking at a press conference at Rawalpindi Press Club, office-bearers of the association criticised the sealing of five schools in different areas and said the Cantonment Board authorities had not been issuing the NOCs to the new schools and not renewing same of the already functioning schools.

They said there was no regular policy about the functioning of the private educational institutes in the cantonment areas as, they added, the authorities had only been relying on standard operating procedure (SOP) asking the schools to get the NOC for every three years.

The school owners alleged that neither renewal of existing NOCs nor new certificates were being made to accommodate the ever-increasing demand of the private schools in the areas as, they said, some 900 private schools had been working in the cantonment boards against 100 public sector schools. They demanded that a comprehensive policy should be chalked out for the private sector education as, they said, the pretext of traffic jams and schools being opened in the residential areas were non issues. They also demanded opening of the sealed schools and sought ensurance for not sealing any other school in the area.

Dismissing the idea of private schools being security risks, the representatives of the private institutions said in the prevalent situation no place was considered safe and it could not be made a basis for closure of schools.

When contacted, Executive Officer Rawalpindi Cantonment Board Shahid Bashir said no new NOC would be issued to the schools as, he added, residential areas had been infested with such schools without any permission from the board.

He said the schools already functioning in the cantonment areas would not be sealed and that only new schools with no NOCs were to face closure. The authorities have continuously been receiving complaints about unchecked growth of schools in residential areas causing traffic jams and security hazards, the RCB head said. Dawn

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No more practical test for intermediate Statistics exam
Islamabad: The practical examination of Statistics has been abolished from the new curriculum at the intermediate level. The decision was taken at the committee meeting of the said subject to review the curriculum in which representatives of all the provinces had participated.

The committee members decided that the practical should be abolished from the examination of all the boards across the country, which would be implemented with the implementation of new curriculum. "There is no use of practical as it is merely a duplication of questions. The students are given the same questions to solve in the practical and the paper as well so it doesn't make any difference whether the practical should be conducted or not," said a member of the committee.

However, a senior professor of Statistics Department at Quaid-i-Azam University opined that the teachers at the intermediate level are not properly trained to conduct practical. They don't ask students to collect real life examples and just provide the data to calculate and put formulas.

"Practical is a vital part of student evaluation and should not be abolished in college courses rather it should be modified and made research oriented. It is the basic level of research of the subject, which leads to the higher level so to abolish it completely is not the only solution to the problem," he added.

Another professor of F. G. College for Boys H-9 Kazim Hussain said; "Though the purpose of practical of all the subjects has been corrupted and destroyed by the people who come up with references to get marks illegally but it doesn't mean that they should be abolished from the exams. The need is to make them more transparent and interesting so that the students can be motivated towards research and the concepts be cleared to the students."

"The students should be sent out to the field to collect data to evaluate and draw results. But the data collected in 19 70's is still used in the practicals," he added.

The spokesperson of the Education Ministry and DG, Federal Directorate of Education, Atique-ur-Rehman, did not comment on the issue, as he had no knowledge in this regard.

Earlier, out of total 100 marks, 15 marks were allocated for practical and the time period of the practical was two hours. In the syllabus of practical following topics were included Probability, Discrete and Continuous Probability Distribution, Binomial, Hypergeometric and Normal Distribution, Statistical Inference, Association, Orientation of Computers. The Nation

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University of Wah students' protest
Rawalpindi: Students of university of wah protesting for the charter of university. hec has approved before and by the govt of punjab, but governer of punjab has to be signed and the summary is given to assembly whereby the university will get charter. The students of university of wah has given the warning till 18th may. -By Hassan Ahmed Khan via fresh_lake@yahoo.com

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AIOU BE(Telecom) exam from May 12
Islamabad: The final examination of Bachelor of Engineering (Telecommunication) Semester Autumn 2008 of Allama Aqbal Open University (AIOU) will commence simultaneously in Lahore and Rawalpindi on May 12.

Controller of Examination AIOU, Hafeezullah said that roll number slips have been dispatched to the students on their respective mail address. Those students who have not received their roll number slips till May 6, were advised to contact examination section or on phone numbers 051-9057648/92050051, he added. He said that the examination would conclude on June 6.

The controller said that roll number slips and date sheet were also available at the university website www.aiou.edu.pk.

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IHC moved against QAU in admission case
Islamabad: A man has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the Quaid-i-Azam University administration for giving admission to his daughter in self-finance scheme instead of regular scheme despite the fact that she secured 78% marks in her graduation examination.

The petitioner, Abdul Khaliq, said that he had applied for his daughter's admission in the university as a regular student but she was given admission in the self-finance scheme.

He said that students enrolled under regular scheme have to pay Rs8,000 per semester

while he has to pay Rs40,000 per semester because of admission of her daughter under the self-finance scheme, he contended.

He prayed to the court to direct the university to let her daughter study as a regular student. In another case, Justice Syed Qalb-i-Hassan of the IHC adjourned hearing in a writ petition till today against Attorney General (AG) Sardar Lateef Khosa for his disqualification. Barrister Jawaid Iqbal Geoffrey had filed the petition on Saturday seeking disqualification of the attorney general for doing private practice as a lawyer. The News

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