Dismal state of education in Pakistan
Karachi, May 28: Curriculum being taught at seminaries, where according to a rough estimate over 2.5 million students are enrolled, is promoting terrorism in the country, said prominent columnist Dr Mohammad Ali Siddiqui on Friday.
Delivering his presidential address at a seminar on "Dismal state of education in Pakistan" held at the PMA House under the aegis of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, he said that it had become a hallmark of the planning commission of Pakistan and the ministry of finance to present exaggerated and fictitious figures concerning the country's gross domestic product on the basis of which funds were allocated to the education and health sectors in budgets.
He said the ruling class had never believed in the cause of education because this would lead to questioning their right to rule and it seemed that those at the helm of affairs had purposely kept the masses illiterate.
Presenting a bleak picture of the country's education system, he said that according to an international survey "we are intellectually a dead country because our libraries are not well-equipped and lack the minimum number of information units in a library".
He deplored that none of the national education policies devised so far had been able to decide about the medium of instruction, while tools for imparting education in the mother tongue were not available in the country.
Presenting her paper on "The language barrier in education", senior journalist Zubeida Mustafa said that while all the 10 national education policies announced so far in the country were vague in their substance, respective governments failed to implement even such policies in letter and spirit.
She said that the National Education Policy of 2009 had allowed provinces to choose the language for imparting education, but the provinces had not been able to do so and were still confused whether it should be the national language, English or the one being spoken in their respective province.
She said that there was no doubt both the English and national languages played a vital role in one's life but it was their mother tongue in which children could grasp maximum about their subjects with much ease and comfort.
Endorsing the views of a speaker who spoke on the topic of commercialisation of education, Ms Mustafa said there was no doubt that most educational institutions were being run on a commercial basis. There were also some good institutions, which were imparting quality education, but even many well-off families could not afford to pay the fee they charged.
She was also of the opinion that the present education system had widened the gap between different classes in the country.
Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology speaking on the subject of "Devolution of HEC and Model University Ordinance" said that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) must be devolved to the province under the 18th constitutional amendment and it should now be the responsibility of all the provinces to improve the functioning of the HECs of their respective provinces.
Criticising the Model University Ordinance under which the federal university was set up in 2002, he said that the ordinance was not only 'unrealistic' but was at variance with different cultures in the country. "There are so many articles in the ordinance which cannot be implemented in letter and spirit," he added.
Former controller of examinations of the Board of Secondary Education Karachi Javed Iftikhar underscored the need for conducting exams and compilation of results in a transparent manner.
Speaking about growing interference in the examination system, he said that as a matter of fact all sorts of interference in the examination system could be averted by influential people if they wished to do so.
Referring to the governor's recent directive to the BSEK that the number of examination centres be curtailed considerably, he said that the controlling authority of the boards should provide guidance to board officials for improving the exam system and the matters concerning the number of centres should be left at the discretion of the controller of examinations.
Muqtida Mansoor spoke on "Commercialisation of Education" and said that most private schools were fleecing parents on one pretext or the other in the absence of an effective monitoring system.
Most private schools were charging students 'unlawful fees' such as annual charges, festival fee, auxiliary fee and donations, he added. Dawn
Lawrence College commemorative coins to be issued
Islamabad: The government will issue 100,000 commemorative coins of Rs20 on Saturday on the 150 year celebrations of Lawrence College, Ghora Gali, Murree. According to a statement issued here on Friday, the coin will be available for public at all field offices of State Bank of Pakistan from May 28. The existing Rs20 banknotes will continue to be legal tender and will remain in circulation along with Rs20 coins. The wording "150 Year Celebrations - Lawrence College Ghora Gali Murree" in English is written on the top of coin along with the periphery. There are small beads all along the edge of coin.
Razmak College opens despite security risk
Islamabad: While the political agent of North Waziristan has set up his camp office outside the agency for security reasons, students and teachers of Razmak Cadet College are being forced to shift from Peshawar to the NWA battle zone just to send a message abroad that normalcy has been restored.
While the Army is insisting on the shift, the political administration has not given the clearance. The college was shifted to Peshawar after militants hijacked student buses in June 2009. "Please help us saving our children from becoming human shields for the army," said Zahoor Khan, a government servant whose son was among those previously kidnapped.
He together with other concerned parents of Mehsud and Wazir tribes has issued a statement seeking attention of authorities. "When we could not protect GHQ and Naval base from terrorists, how students would be saved in Razmak Cadet College. This move is tantamount to putting our future generations at risk."
The college is resuming classes in Razmak, said the joint statement of parents, in order to given impression that region has been cleared of the terrorists and our children are being used as a shield in this adventure.
Instead of heeding to their concern, the parents have been asked to pull out children from college in case of objection over shifting.
A Razmak cadet college teacher Atta-ul-Rehman said that they have been told that shifting back to Razmak is being done on Corps Commander Peshawar's order. "This is Corps Commander's (Peshawer) order. I'm obliged to follow," he said quoting Maj (r) Atta-ul-Rehman, the newly appointed college Principal who applied for security officer job but given the top position technically held by a brigadier-rank officer. The principal did not respond to calls and messages.
The college teachers critical to decision have been put on warning. "A team teachers sent for inspection of college building in Razmak sought security of their families in case of any untoward situation," said a teacher. The principal reacted angrily to this. "Instead of giving ear to their concerns, he put them on notice and sought explanation."
Previously an English teacher, Noor Mohammad Wazir, was killed in a bomb blast leaving his family in a lurch as nobody in the government offered financial compensation to them, said a teacher.
As the management has been ordered to pack up, the college premises in Razmak is still occupied by three brigades of the army where trading fire and rockets with militants is a routine business, say teachers and parents.
Even the political agent of North Waziristan sits in Bannu instead of Miran Shah on security grounds and escorted by a huge cavalcade.
The management has been directed to resume college in Razmak from May 30 despite inspection reports by the college's own team led by Mushtaq Ahmad, head of college's English department, that the security situation is not conducive for academic business.
The concerned parents, in a joint statement, have sought the attention of the media and legislature. It said that the report of Cadet College's inspection team about the feasibility of shifting to Razmak must be made public so that people could know that the move has been ordered despite serious reservations of the inspection reservation.
"We don't want that the army and other authorities face huge embarrassment again through this move. We don't want that the dead bodies of students and teachers are 'gifted' to the government by the terrorists."
British Council holds discussion on knowledge exchange
Islamabad: The British Council under its Higher Education INSPIRE programme held a roundtable discussion on 'Knowledge
Exchange' in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on
The INSPIRE network enables knowledge exchange and collaboration between universities, businesses, communities and other organisations for social and economic benefit. The HEC has identified knowledge exchange (KE) between universities and business communities as a key priority. Their main aim is to enable universities to effectively contribute to the development of Pakistan's economy and society.
Major stakeholders from the universities, businesses and the civil society were invited to take part in the discussion. The key areas identified for knowledge exchange were Mapping, Brokerage and Leadership and these were deliberated upon during the discussion.
Participants shared success stories of knowledge exchange between universities and businesses and also pointed out issues that are in the way of more meaningful exchanges. It was identified that mapping (measuring) of existing exchanges and partnerships between universities and business was the need of the hour in order to highlight best practices and inspire other such exchanges.
"The discussion has tremendously benefited us and we have emphasised on university linkages with community, industry and the government. Such interactions always provide us an international prospective to education, industry and society," said Lieutenant-General Mohammad Asghar, Rector, National University of Science and Technology (NUST).
"The initiative has helped in bringing different people together that could constitute a vibrant research community in Pakistan. Such research communities can play a pivotal role in helping Pakistan's economic and social progress," said Fayyaz Baqir of Abdul Hamid Khan Resource Centre.
Joanna Chaffer, Programmes Consultants, British Council, expressed satisfaction at the aims of the event and said, "Knowledge sharing is the key priority for British Council in the region particularly in Pakistan. This event is the starting point of a long-term engagement and has huge potential for growth."
Pakistani students prepare for a year at US community colleges
Islamabad: Sixty students gathered Friday at the Serena Hotel to kick off their pre-departure orientation for a year of study at US community colleges, says a press release.
This is the sixth group of Pakistani students to study in the United States under US government-funded Community College Initiative Programme. "I am excited to see these outstanding students from every province of Pakistan go to the United States," said Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, spouse of US Ambassador Cameron Munter.
"They will be studying in US schools, learning new skills and becoming part of their local communities. They will have the opportunity to show everyday Americans the true face of Pakistan, and learn about Americans beyond the distorted stereotypes in the media."
The Community College Initiative Programme is a one-year, non-degree scholarship program that provides opportunities for Pakistani young professionals to develop leadership, professional skills and English language proficiency, while studying at a community college in the United States. Participants study agriculture, applied engineering, business management and administration, nursing, media, or tourism and hospitality management.
The US Embassy in Pakistan administers the largest educational and cultural programmes of any US Embassy in the world. More than 8,000 Pakistanis have participated in fully funded academic or professional development programmes in the United States. Five thousand Pakistani youth currently are enrolled in US government-funded English language programmes in Pakistan.
Rawalpindi: Haroon Zafar has secured first position in the LLB (Part-I) Examination in the Muslim Law College, says a press release. During the convocation held in Islamabad, Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa gave him 'Excellent Academic Performance Shield' and appreciated his efforts in obtaining first position in the examination. Haroon Zafar belongs to Dera Ghazi Khan.
Workshop on public speaking held at FJWU
Rawalpindi: A workshop on 'Public Speaking Skills' was held here at Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) with the collaboration of Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy on Friday.
US Embassy's Assistant Cultural Affairs Specialist Jason Seymour said that public speaking is the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners. Interpersonal communication and public speaking have several components that embrace such things as motivational speaking, leadership/personal development, business, customer service, large group communication, and mass communication.
Public speaking can be a powerful tool to use for purposes such as motivation, influence, persuasion, informing, translation, or simply entertaining.
A confident speaker is more likely to use this as excitement and create effective speech thus increasing their overall ethos.
Senior Cultural Affairs Specialist of the US Embassy, Dilawar Khan, said that good speaker will be organised and have the confidence to present the substance of the speech to an audience. Being able to speak effectively is a valuable skill that can be learned as a student and applied later in life.
A large number of faculty members and students of Communication and Media Sciences Department attended the workshop.
At the end, Chairperson Department of Communication and Media Studies, Dr Shamim Zaidi, presented souvenirs to the guest speakers. The news
Teacher beats student black and blue
Rawalpindi: Despite ban on physical punishment in government schools, a student was badly beaten by teacher for not following his orders to clean a classroom.
According to details, Arshad Mehmood, a teacher at Municipal Corporation Boys High School, Dhoke Ratta, on Thursday thrashed Zeeshan Aftab, a student of 7th class, with a stick.
However afterwards the teacher made efforts to hush up the incident by tendering an apology to the boy's family and involving the area notables, but the student's uncle refused to pardon him.
On Friday Javed Iqbal, uncle of the student, moved applications against the teacher with the Executive District Officer Education and Ganjmandi police station.
Iqbal said that when his orphaned nephew came home on Thursday, he was unable to sit on chair. When asked, Zeeshan told his mother about corporal punishment at the hands of teacher for not cleaning the classroom.
When the mother removed his shirt, signs of torture could be witnessed on Zeeshan's body, Iqbal said. "Cleaning classroom is the duty of sweepers but still the teacher badly beat Zeeshan." He alleged that there were "wounds" on the right leg of his nephew, adding that the matter was also brought into the notice of the school's principal but he did not pay any heed.
But Raja Riaz Kiyani, principal of the school, said he had "immediately issued show cause notice to the teacher and also wrote a letter to EDO for taking action against him."
Terming it a sad incident, he said he never allowed physical punishment in the school.
Quoting the teacher, the principal said he had only asked two students to pick the wrappers of chips from the classroom. "We never ask students to clean up classrooms. It is the duty of sweepers."
Raja Kiyani maintained that the teacher did not beat Zeeshan "intentionally". He said the teacher had asked Zeeshan and another student Uzair to remove "wrappers" but they did not. On this, the teacher asked to become 'murgha' (a painful body posture).
According to the principal, Uzair obeyed but Zeeshan refused, making teacher angry. "He lost temperament and started beating Zeeshan."
The principal said the teacher would be suspended but added he has admitted his mistake and apologised to the boy's family. Dawn
Graduation ceremony of GSIS KG section held
Islamabad: The graduation ceremony of the Kindergarten Section of the Global System of Integrated Studies (GSIS) was held at the Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai Auditorium here on Friday.
The chief guest on the occasion was leading educationist Silvat Ali.
After recitation from Holy Qur'aan, a beautiful 'hamd' in the form of tableau was presented by the students. A colourful welcome dance 'Welcome to you' was presented by the students of nursery. The gleaming faces of the little dancers were appreciated by guests and their parents.
The young children then presented the English play 'The Elves and the Shoe Maker'.
Another item, which won the hearts of the audience was the 'Role of the Devil' by Kindergarten Green. In this item, the small children depicted the corruption in the society and how the devil is busy with his work and provokes people to do wrong things. A simple message was nicely conveyed by the children.
The next item was 'Traffic Rules' by Nursery Red. The GSIS School Choir continuously entertained the parents with their well-prepared songs between the performances. The English play 'The Coat of New Leaves' won rounds of applause from the audience who loved the play. Students who performed were completely involved in their acting.
In her address, Silvat Ali highly appreciated the efforts of the teachers and school management in organising a beautiful show. She emphasised the need for high quality education, which could fulfil the requirements of the present century.
GSIS Principal Quratulain Ali, thanked all the parents for their cooperation.
Later, graduation ceremony was held in which the young graduates dressed in blue gowns walked on the stage with their heads held high. The occasion ended with a graduation song 'Clap Clap Clap your Hands'. The news