No vacancy for primary teachers

No vacancy for primary teachers in five towns
Karachi, May 24: Candidates for the Primary School Teacher (PST) from five towns could not land any jobs, while the list of successful candidates from 13 other towns was displayed on 13th May 2009.

According to education department sources, 3,232 candidates qualified for the written test as a Primary School Teacher (PST) which was held in mid 2009. The final list of 410 successful candidates from 13 towns of Karachi was displayed at the district office of education Bolton Market on 13th May 2010.

Candidates from five towns which include Gulbarg, Shah Faisal, Liaqutabad, North Nazimabad and Jamshed are still waiting for their names to be included in the final recruitment list. However, sources at the office of District Officer Education said that according to the formula by the Reforms Support Unit (RSU), which is conducting the processes of recruitment in collaboration with the World Bank, there is no vacancy in these five towns.

Sources from RSU told PPI that the recruitment of teachers is a part of Reforms Support Program which is ongoing with a grant from the European Union and a loan from the World Bank.

According to RSU's formula, which was made in the light of the directives from the World Bank, there are only 512 vacancies in particular schools, which are in 13 towns of Karachi where more than 60 students are studying in one school.

It was also learnt that the Education Department recruited only 512 PST's; however, more than 1000 seats are lying vacant in the schools of Karachi. Sources said that influential elements get their joining letters issued for the primary teachers' post from interior Sindh on a political basis and then get them transferred to Karachi against these vacant posts.

Some aspiring candidates present at the District Education Office termed it as massacre of merit and said that it is unjust with the other qualified candidates. It is also pertained to mention that about 450 clerks and other staff of BPS-1 to 15 were appointed in education department in November 2009. However, they are still waiting to get their salaries. An affected clerk requesting anonymity stated that whenever they ask for their due salaries, they are only given lip-service.Secretary education could not be contacted for a comment in this regard despite several attempts. The news

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Urdu Dictionary: a great dream comes true, but no celebrations
It was Wednesday, June 6, 1928. Stanley Baldwin, three-term Conservative British prime minister, rose "to propose a formal Toast of Gratitude and Admiration to the Editors and Staff of what was to be formally and unforgettably called The Oxford English Dictionary - for the twelve mighty tombstone-sized volumes were now, and after 70 long years of terrible labour, fully and finally complete", writes Simon Winchester in his The meaning of everything: the story of the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford, 2003).

Telling the story of The Oxford English Dictionary, popularly referred to as OED, Winchester writes in his peculiarly captivating style, "The first two sets had been made and formally presented: one had gone to King George V, the other to the American President, Calvin Coolidge. Downing Street had been obliged to purchase its own official set for Mr Baldwin - and rarely, he later said, did a day go by when he did not consult it." Baldwin declared it to be "the greatest enterprise of its kind in history".

It was Wednesday, April 14, 2010. The last pages of the 22nd and final volume of Urdu Lughat: Tareekhi usool par came out of press. The editors and staff were jubilant. Sweets were distributed and everyone seemed intoxicated - though no toasts were proposed - for after 52 long years of terrible labour, to borrow Winchester's words, 22 tombstone-sized volumes of Urdu Dictionary were fully and finally complete. But no prime minister is here to celebrate the greatest feat of Urdu lexicography, for there are apparently more important tasks to attend to than expressing gratitude and admiration to the compilers of a 22-volume Urdu dictionary, notwithstanding the fact that compiling the most comprehensive dictionary of a language is one of the most important accomplishments in the history of a nation and should be a source of national pride. It is an achievement that has made us as proud as winning the 1992 cricket world cup or, perhaps, even prouder. The mere thought that Urdu is now ranked among the major languages of the world - along with English, German, Arabic and Persian - that have such comprehensive dictionaries, fills us with pride and joy.

The English language, as is often said, has some half a million words and OED contains, or at least claims to do so, each and every word of the language. But English lexicography has a long history and OED could not have achieved "the greatest enterprise of its kind in history" without the contribution of scores of past lexicographers among whom was also the legendary Samuel Johnson who, according to Winchester, "set the standards for the following century, and some still think for all time, of just what an English dictionary should be." No one has ever been able to declare the exact number of words Urdu has. Though there have been some efforts, such as the book titled Urdu alfaaz shumari, it is very difficult to ascertain the number of words a language has until a comprehensive dictionary like the Urdu Dictionary Board's is compiled. Now, after the completion of the project, assuming that every volume on average contains at least ten thousand words, we can safely calculate that Urdu has about 220,000 words.

And as for our own Samuel Johnson, no personality other than the legendary Baba-e-Urdu Moulvi Abdul Haq fits the image and efforts. Though, comparatively, Johnson lived much earlier and his A dictionary of the English language had been published in 1755, Abdul Haq was the one who first thought of an Urdu dictionary that would contain each and every word of the language and would explain every word with the help of illustrative citations from Urdu literature of different eras, confirming the continuation of the usage and different nuances.

Unlike some purist English writers such as Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) who wanted to 'fix our language forever', Johnson wanted 'not to form, but to register' the language. Just like Johnson, Abdul Haq had a keen sense of what a dictionary should be and intended only to record or register the language and not 'to fix' or 'form it'. He began work on Lughat-e-kabeer or The Grand Urdu Dictionary in 1930 - which was published quite later, and, that too, incompletely - and wrote in its foreword that the job of a lexicographer is to record and register the language, its usage and the changes it goes through. A lexicographer, he wrote, cannot be given the licence to decide which word is correct or good or is to be retained and entered in the dictionary and which one is to be labelled incorrect or bad and is to be consigned to the graveyard. The most comprehensive dictionary of Urdu, he wrote, would record each and every word of the language, whether archaic or obsolete, offensive or derogatory, technical or poetic, dated or modern. Before him it was Sir Syed Ahmed Khan who had dreamt of a comprehensive Urdu dictionary, but he was perhaps too busy in other tasks of national importance that kept him from working further on the project, though he had published a sample of a model Urdu dictionary in 1869.

But Baba-e-Urdu had an advantage: he knew about OED and had modelled his proposed Urdu dictionary on it. But in addition to his other scholarly engagements, he had to fight a long battle over the Hindi-Urdu controversy before he could do much about the dictionary. Later, the office of Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu in Delhi was ransacked during post-independence riots in 1947 and they ruined many an invaluable asset including manuscripts. With great difficulty, he managed to migrate to Pakistan, bringing with him only limited assets from Anjuman's great library including manuscripts. Here in Karachi he began work on his dictionary afresh. In 1958, the government established the Urdu Dictionary Board (UDB) and Abdul Haq was made its first chief editor. In 1961, he passed away but the seed that he had sowed had grown into a sapling and soon it grew to be a fully grown tree with the publication of the first volume of the dictionary. It was 1977.

So, it is a long story. But compare it with OED and you would appreciate that we have been able to do it in only (yes 'only') 52 years - 51 years and ten months, to be exact - while it took them 70 years. We published 22 volumes whereas their first edition consisted of 12 (the second edition of OED has 20 and a third, online edition is being compiled). The first edition of OED, called "the longest sensational serial ever written" by Arnold Bennett, contained 414,825 headwords and over 1,827,000 illustrative citations, says Winchester. The Urdu dictionary has fewer words and citations but, as opposed to OED, it quotes with each and every citation the page number of the book from which it has been cited. Just keep in mind their resources, commitment, long history of English lexicography, scholarship and compare it with our meagre resources, comparatively weak commitment, a lethargic bureaucracy and unmotivated editors and staff (kept deprived of even basic facilities for some 50 years and some are denied any promotion even today - after 20 or more years of service) and you would realise that we have accomplished something that is amazing by any standards. Also remember the fact that Philological Society, now credited with first coming up with the idea of compiling such a huge dictionary, was founded in 1842 and the actual work on the English dictionary, later known as OED, had begun in 1860.

A unique feat has been achieved by a few staff members of UDB individually as well. They are those who have been associated with the board since the first volume and have worked till the very end, contributing to the 22nd volume. They are Farhat Fatima Rizvi, editor, and Syed Meraj Ali Nawab, composer. In fact Farhat Fatima has also been acting Chief Editor for the 22nd volume. Many external scholars, too, have served UDB on an honorary basis but Lahore's Muhammad Ahsan Khan's services are unique as he has been helping UDB in finalising the manuscripts and providing the board with rare and classical illustrative citations that are usually hard to come by. His feat seems all the more remarkable considering that he has been giving a helping hand to the board even before a single volume was published and he used to comment on the samples of the dictionary and offer invaluable advice when the sample pages were published in the board's magazine 'Urdunama' and comments were invited by the then secretary of the board, Shan-ul-Haq Haqqee - another unsung hero. Hats off to Haqqee and all those who have somehow worked to make this great national idea come true. Another person who deserves our salute is Dr Farman Fatehpuri who served as the dictionary's chief editor and really expedited up the pace of work, bringing out ten volumes in as many years.

We sincerely hope that a commemorative postage stamp would be issued to tell the world what remarkable work has been done. Pride of performance, cash awards and promotions will be given to the editors and staff of UDB and the achievement will be celebrated in a befitting way with both the president and the prime minister officially inaugurating it and sending the message to the world that we are not a nation of terrorists, rather we are a civilised nation that loves and honours its scholars. Dawn

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BIEK chairman's tenure extended
Karachi: Sindh Governor Isratul Ebad Khan has extended the tenure of Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) Chairman Anwar Ahmed Zai by three years, a notification issued on Sunday read. The news

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Universities discuss accords
Hyderabad: University of Sindh and China's Sichuan University have agreed to sign an agreement for exchange of students and teachers.

The vice-president of Sichuan University, Prof Dr Shi Jian, and UoS vice-chancellor Prof Dr Nazir A. Mughal, at a recent meeting discussed academic issues and research programmes for initiating the linkage between the two universities.

At the meeting convened by the Higher Education Commission, Prof Dr Shi Jian led a delegation of 25 students and four administrators.

Dr Mughal briefed the delegation on the university's academic and research programmes. Dawn

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Schoolteachers stage demo, sit-in in Larkana
Larkana: Schoolteachers staged demonstrations, sit-ins and rallies on the fifth consecutive day of their protest campaign in Larkana and Qamber-Shahdadkot districts on Saturday.

They are demanding for provision of teaching allowance, timescale and registration of teachers who have passed the tests. They also call for facilities equal to other provinces.

Addressing participants of a sit-in, the office-bearers of the Primary Teachers Association (PTA) said it appeared that the Sindh chief minister was not interested in resolving the issue of teachers by throwing back the summary thrice.

In Qamber-Shahdadkot, teachers boycotted the classes in primary and secondary schools and took out a protest rally.

In Dokri and Bakrani, primary school teachers boycotted the academic activities and locked the schools. Hundreds of teachers gathered at the Taluka School and took out a rally.

In other cities of the two districts, schoolteachers boycotted the classes and took out protest rallies. The news

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