'School texts spreading more extremism than seminaries'
London, May 19: The texts used in state-run schools of Pakistan foster religious extremism in a less blatant but more widespread way than the Wahhabi madressah, says a report (The threat of Pakistan's revisionists texts) in the The Guardain on Monday.
If the Pakistani government truly wishes to fight the extremist threat within its borders, it must begin at the roots, warns Afnan Khan, the author of the report.
The report also said that Pakistan's minorities were being written out of school textbooks while the government conveniently looked the other way.
Mr Khan quoted historian Professor Mubarak Ali as saying that the Pakistani establishment taught their children right from the beginning that this state was built on the basis of religion – that's why they don't have tolerance for other religions and want to wipe out all of them.
This strategy lays the blueprint for a fascist state, the professor said, adding: The logical conclusion of this line of thinking is a very narrow definition of who a real Pakistani and real Muslim is. Once minorities are out of the picture, they turn on other sects.
Mr Khan also quoted a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor which pointed out how deep the rot went. Learning outcomes in social studies for nine-year-olds still include ideas such as "acknowledge and identify forces that may be working against Pakistan", "make speeches on jihad", "collect pictures of policemen, soldiers and national guards" and "India's evil designs against Pakistan".
He said the policies of General Zia were continued by those who followed him: Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and General Pervez Musharraf.
According to Mr Khan, non-governmental organisations and independent educationists have attempted to address the subject, but have so far failed.
He quotes a most recent systemic survey on the topic conducted among a group of high-school students and teachers.
Their report, he said, found disturbing themes in social sciences and history such as "Pakistan is for Muslims alone", "the world is collectively scheming against Pakistan and Muslims and Islam" and "Muslims are urged to fight jihad against the infidels".
The report, he added, noted that the textbooks routinely engaged in historical revisionism and placed questions designed to portray Hinduism as an inherently wicked religion: "There is no place for equality in Hinduism. Right/Wrong."
He quoted Father Francis Nadeem, of the National Council for Inter-faith Dialogue, saying that such efforts were marginalising minorities and making them feel like strangers in their own homes.
"It is an intellectual way of segregating the minorities from the society and it gives them an impression that they were not part of the nation at all. The way extremism is being instilled in the minds of people during the past few decades shows that there were some forces working in the country who wanted to eliminate the minorities from Pakistan," he said.
According to Mr Khan it is this sort of indoctrination that sows the seeds of extremism in the minds of the people and opens the door to further brainwashing. Dawn
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QAU teachers stage demo for rights
Islamabad: The Academic Staff Association of Quaid-i-Azam (QAU) on Monday held a protest demonstration on the varsity campus on Monday for their rights.
A large number of teachers took part in the protest demonstration to press the government for acceptance of their demands like making contract employees permanent, promotion of teachers on a regular basis.
The demonstration started amid slogans from the Central Library up to the Admin Block against the administration. The staff association made it clear that if their demands were not fulfilled then they will stage a protest on Wednesday and call for a formal strike for acceptance of their legitimate demands. online
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27 students caught for blocking road
Rawalpindi: Waris Khan police on Monday took into custody around 27 students of a local polytechnic institute for blocking Benazir Bhutto Shaheed (BBS) Road for an hour during a protest rally taken out against management of their institute.
Over 100 students of the institute, located on Tipu Road near Motti Mehal, took out a protest rally and blocked BBS Road in protest against raise in fee and fine on leaves by Muhammad Azam, managing director of the institute.
They said it was impossible for many students to pay inflated fines and fee.
They also accused the institute management of not releasing to them roll number slips, which were mandatory to sit examination. Condemning the police action, the protestors said the police took into custody their many fellows, though they had not created mess.
Waris Khan Police Investigation Officer (IO) Yousaf Butt said around 27 students had been taken into custody for pelting two vehicles with stones and blocking the main Rawalpindi artery. The students will be booked for taking the law into their own hands, he said. Daily Times
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AIOU dispatches roll number slips
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has dispatched the roll no. slips, scheduled of final examination semester Autumn 2008. According to the Hafeez Ullah, controller of Examination, (AIOU) the Examination has been started from May 25 in all over the country simultaneously, says a press release here on Monday.
Roll no. slips of PTCL, CT, ATTC, B.Ed, Matric, Intermediate and Bachelor programmes have been dispatched to the eligible students at their given addresses by postal mail service. Students who will not receive the roll no. slips on or before 20 may are advise to contact their concerned AIOU regional offices.
Roll no. slips along with date sheet has also been placed on AIOU website address is (www.aiou.edu.pk) for the convenience of students. Roll no. slips to the students of programmes will start from June 4. All AIOU students are also advised in their own interest to read the instructions mentioned on roll no. slips carefully before entering into the examination centre.
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Confusion over increase in teachers' emoluments
Rawalpindi: Confusion prevails among teachers over the matter of increase in their emoluments as whenever they approach officials at the office of executive director (education) they get a different reply.
Teachers Association President Saghir Alam said the in-charge of the Chief Minister's Task Force on Education had recently stated that Mian Shahbaz Sharif was sincere in announcing a good package for government schoolteachers in accordance with those enjoyed by federal government teachers.
According to him, the next day it was learnt through EDO Education Ashraf Malik that the provincial government has decided to pay a special grant of Rs1,000 to only 20 per cent of schoolteachers producing good results in the education board examinations.
He said "It is unjust and unfair. The Rs1,000 special allowance must be given to all teachers, irrespective of any influence or recommendation. Moreover, as announced earlier and confirmed by the in-charge of the Chief Minister's Task Force on Education, a good package will be announced for teachers in the forthcoming budget."
Referring to other issues and demands, Saghir Alam said both federal and Punjab governments had announced an increase in their education budgets. However, he regretted, till now the decision has neither been implemented nor included in the document of the new education policy, he added.
According to Saghir Alam, representatives of teachers under his leadership met the Punjab education secretary on his visit to Rawalpindi recently and submitted their demands to him for approval. "The secretary had assured us that he would arrange a meeting of representatives of teachers with the Punjab chief minister on May 16 (Saturday) for submitting their demands and getting them approved by him. However the meeting could not be arranged," he said.
Sagheer Alam said that now representatives of teachers have forwarded their demands to the Punjab chief minister through the education secretary. The demands include allocation of group insurance maturity benefit to teachers, upgradation of teachers along with their promotions, increase in their emoluments by at least 50 per cent in the forthcoming budget and move over in teachers' scales according to their seniority.
"A special meeting of the Punjab Teachers Association executive body members will be held in Lahore to discuss all issues and draw a line of action to be adopted in case of failure of the acceptance of our demands by the government at both federal and provincial levels," he announced. The strategy will be announced before the announcement of the national budget in June, he concluded. The News
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Beaconhouse sets Rs 25m target for IDPs
Islamabad: The Beaconhouse School System (BSS) launched a relief operation for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the IDP Camps in Mardan, said a press release on Monday.
Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, former foreign minister and a BSS Director, initiated the humanitarian work during his visit to the IDP camps along with Danial Mahmud Kasuri, Executive Director BSS. Khurshid Kasuri lauded the efforts of the Beaconhouse teachers who are voluntarily working along with the school Management at the Beaconhouse Campus in Mardan.
Senior BSS staff members Shagun Irfan and Brig (Retd) Hassan Shah coordinated the efforts of 120 volunteer teachers who started humanitarian work at the camps on Monday, while numerous others who had turned up for support were requested to assist in the coming days. The male faculty members helped IDPs at Sheikh Yasin Camp in Mardan while the female teachers visited eight government schools lodging IDPs. The Beaconhouse teachers will identify heads of displaced families and then will identify and ascertain their needs, and offer relief accordingly.
Kasuri said that the activities were targeted around providing assistance to anywhere between 3000 to 5000 families in five to six weeks. Cash, medicines, sleeping mats, pedestal fans and hand fans, dry food, water coolers and shoes were distributed among the IDPs.
The Beaconhouse aid group also provided financial assistance and necessities to about 250 Christian IDP families sheltered at the Lutheran Church in Mardan.
Beaconhouse chairperson Nasreen Mahmud Kasuri, had earlier requested the entire Beaconhouse staff to donate a day's salary for the Swat IDPs. Beaconhouse hoped to raise more than Rs 2.5 crore.
Kasuri said the displaced persons were fighting the war for Pakistan, and people from all over Pakistan have pledged their support for the IDPs. The Nation
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Jack & Jill School celebrates Mother's Day
Rawalpindi: Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May but celebrations go on for a few days afterwards as well.
In this connection the Jack and Jill Montessori and High School held a function at the school which was attended by the mothers of children studying there. Educationist Najma Shahid was the guest of honour. The function was held outdoors where a stage had been set up and had a backdrop with appropriate words which read, "Mother plays the most important role in the family." Before the proceedings began guests were presented with paper hearts, a sign of love and affection from the students.
The programme began with the anchor person for the morning, Mina Arif welcoming the guests and quoting the words, "It is often said and truly so, that a mother can take everyone's place but no one can take the place of a mother," followed by Shaban Shabbir reciting some verses from the Holy Quran, translated by Basit Wali.
Mina then went on to say, "Mothers Day is a day to pay tribute to the only person in the world whose love, affection and concern are selfless, the only person who doesn't ask for an interest on the investment," and announced the first item of the morning, which was a poem in Urdu recited by Fatima Amjad followed by students of class four and five singing a sweet lullaby. Then Aleena Bashir recited a poem, as did two younger children, Zaeem Khalid and Mahnoor. The performance concluded with a tableau highlighting the changing trends in the attitudes of parents and children towards the elders in their family. Titled 'Rehmat ki Barsat,' it portrayed the vicious cycle that is the outcome of one generation's behaviour towards their elders, who in turn suffer the same fate when they get old.
Speaking on the occasion, Najma stressed that parents should be careful about how they behave and react to a situation because children learn by example and are quick to pick up both right and wrong behaviour.
Adding that it was the duty of the school as well as the parents to inculcate a caring attitude in children because neither could do it alone, she quoted incidents and personal experiences that surely gave food for thought to those who were listening - very intently, it could be seen!
Principal Tehmina Malik also emphasised the 'by example' lesson, which is an important aspect in teaching children how to behave, especially towards their elders. She acknowledged the wisdom of her father - who, by the way, was also present - in this respect and concluded by thanking the mothers for attending the celebrations. The News
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