Teachers training and motivation

Most essential elements in education
Islamabad, Nov 7: One of the most essential elements in education that determines quality is the competence and commitment of the teachers who convey knowledge and values to their students. It would not be wrong to say that the teaching sector forms the weakest link in the educational chain in Pakistan. As academic standards declined over the years, it was inevitable that teachers who were products of this decaying system would be the ones affected most adversely.

Not only did this malaise impact on their pedagogic skills and knowledge, it also robbed them of their motivation. Hence it is a positive sign that education authorities in various provinces are attempting to address this problem. While the National Education Policy focuses on in-service training of teachers to improve their standards, others are offering monetary incentives in a bid to motivate teachers to do their best.

It is in this context that the Punjab government deserves to be commended for recognising the key role of teachers and taking the initiative to institute awards of Rs50,000 each for 1,000 teachers/head teachers for their performance. Although the criteria have been defined and seem fair enough on paper, much will depend on how they are applied in practice. Given the corruption in our society, one hopes that this will not become another avenue for bestowing favours on the protégés of those who wield power at different levels.

There is, however, one quality which cannot be quantified but is more important than the yardsticks spelt out for the award. It is a teacher's ability to motivate his or her students. The best teachers are those who are able to mould students into knowledgeable, caring human beings that can become an asset for society and the state.

They should also have the capacity to motivate students to think rationally and seek knowledge as a life-long pursuit. One hopes that the Punjab government as well as other provincial administrations will devise ways and means of mobilising their teaching cadres with incentives other than monetary gain so that they can pass on their motivation to their students. Dawn

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Education is must for elected officials
Peshawar: According to a Gilani Research Foundation survey carried out by Gallup Pakistan, majority of all Pakistanis believe education is extremely important for elected officials and that people without proper education should not hold public office; 70% of all respondents claimed that the government is doing wrong by eliminating the requirement for a Bachelor's degree for people running in the election, 29% favour the decision and 1% gave no response.

In response to another question, 48% said both good education and relevant experience is necessary to be in the government, 34% said only good education matters, 17% believe only relevant experience counts and 1% gave no response. A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the country were asked "Recently, government has decided to withdraw the requirement to have a bachelor's degree for participating in the elections.

In your view is this decision right or wrong?" Twenty nine percent (29%) think it is the right decision, where as 70% believe otherwise. One percent (1%) of the respondents gave no response. It is notable that a slightly higher percentage of urbanites (31%) as compared to their rural counterparts (28%) are in the favour of this decision.

In a follow up question the respondents were asked "In your view, in order to run good government is it more important to have good education, relevant experience, or both education and experience?" Thirty four percent (34%) prefer highly educated people to be elected in the government, 17% said relevant experience matters the most, whereas 48% believe both good education and experience count. One percent (1%) of the respondents gave no response. The findings reveal that a proportionately higher percentage of ruralites believe being highly educated (36%) and having relevant experience (`8%) is more important to run the government where as a higher percentage of urbanites believe it's a combination of both good education and relevant experience which counts.

A significantly higher percentage of ANP voters (81%) think both education and experience are important. The study was released by Gilani foundation and carried out by Gallup Pakistan, the Pakistani affiliate of Gallup International. The latest survey was carried out among a sample of 2765 men and women in rural and urban areas of all four provinces of the country. F.P. Report

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Kohat University vice chancellor kidnapped
Peshawar: Kohat University of Sciences and Technology (KUST) Vice-Chancellor and former advisor to the NWFP governor Dr Lutfullah Kakakhel was reportedly kidnapped while coming to Peshawar along with his driver and a staff member on Friday.

Dr Lutfullah, a senior academician and a well-known scientist of the province, was on way back to his residence in the Professors Colony at the University of Peshawar campus after leaving his institution on Friday noon.

It was learnt that his driver and an unidentified staff member were accompanying the vice-chancellor and had reportedly been freed by the unidentified kidnappers while Dr Kakakhel along with his vehicle had been shifted to an unknown location.

It was not known as to whether he was abducted from Darra Adamkhel or Matani. The militants based in Darra Adamkhel are suspected to be behind the incident as they have resurfaced recently by kidnapping and killing people, travelling via the vulnerable Kohat Road. "He has been kidnapped from tribal area and not Peshawar," a senior police official informed.

A massive search operation was launched in Darra Adamkhel and Matani after his kidnapping was reported to the senior administrative officials. Teachers at the University of Peshawar and four other universities in the campus were angry over non-provision of security to an academician of the calibre of Dr Lutfullah. Many complained that militants had stopped him in the past while coming to Peshawar but the government never bothered to provide him proper security.

Dr Lutfullah played a key role in establishing universities of science and technology across the NWFP when he was appointed adviser to the-then NWFP governor Iftikhar Hussain Shah.Hailing from Nowshera district, Dr Lutfullah is the man behind promotion of the education of information technology across the province. He did his PhD in physical chemistry from the UK and authored several books.

"He was the pioneer of the Computer Science Department at the University of Peshawar, which he established after returning from the UK," stated Anees, a relative of the missing VC, adding that two companions of the professor had been freed. The news

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Schools in Bajaur area open after 15 months
Khar: Several schools were reopened in different areas of Charmnag valley of Nawagai tehsil on Friday after closure for 15 months.

Officials said the decision to open the schools was taken by the local administration on a demand of local people after "restoration of peace in the region".

According to the political demonstration, government's writ had been established in most of the areas of Charmang after the over eight months' search operation.

Agency education officer Gul Rehman said that many of the 18 government-run schools, including those in Loe Jhewar, Tangi, Glokas, Syed Ashah and Manogai, had been reopened.

He said girls schools had not yet been opened yet, adding primary boys schools would accommodate female students for the time being.

Mr Gul said 431 of the 615 educational institutes in the Bajaur Agency were open and the rest were still closed due to poor law and order situation in some parts of the tribal region. He said 107 schools in Mamond, 46 in Nawagai, seven in Salarzai and five in Chamarkand were closed.

He said 66 schools had been destroyed by militants in different areas of Bajaur during the last two years.

Meanwhile, five militants laid down arms and surrendered to security forces in Loe Mamond tehsil.

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Protest against killing of professor
Quetta: The Pakhtunkhwa Students Organisation (PkSO) held a demonstration on Friday in protest against the murder of Prof Khursheed Akhtar Ansari of the Balochistan University.

Prof Ansari was gunned down by unidentified attackers when he was going to a mosque on Thursday night.

PkSO activists took out a procession from Government Science College before gathering in front of the press club. They raised slogans against the wave of target killings in the province and said that anti-education elements would not be allowed to deprive students of their right to seek knowledge.

Kabir Afghan and other leaders claimed that Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi knew the people behind the target killing but he was hesitant to take action against them.

They said the government in the name of reconciliation had given a free hand to militants who were killing innocent people with impunity.

They said that Prof Ansari was murdered by the same elements who were involved in previous acts of target killings. Dawn

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Schools planned to cut mortality rate
Mansehra: The National Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Programme would construct Community Midwives Schools in 12 districts to bring down the current 'mother and infant mortality rate' in NWFP, it was learnt.

The announcement was made at a three-day training workshop for teachers and tutors of CMW at concluded at Nathiagali on Friday. Instructors from 24 districts of NWFP were imparted training at the workshop.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Salar Khan, provincial coordinator for MNCH Programme, Dr Muzafar Ali Jakhrani, deputy programme manager MNCH, Islamabad, Dr Mohammad Sangeen, Nighat Durrani, Dr Shahzad Khan Swati, Dr Mohammad Qasim and others said because of high mortality rate in the country, government and DFID launched a six-year (2006 to 2012) MNCH Programme with an estimated cost of Rs 20 billion in the country.

They said currently the MNCH programme was functional in all the 24 districts of the province. The speakers said minimum qualification for employment in the CMW was matriculation and these CMWs after completion of 18-months training would be appointed at each village equipped with necessary health facilities. They said that it was pity that 90 percent deaths related to pre- and post-delivery cases were in the developing countries and that Pakistan was among the top countries with high infant and mortality rates in the world.

The speakers said currently 80 percent birth deliveries in rural areas of NWFP took place at homes at the hands of untrained birth attendants. They said this was a big reason for such a high mortality rate among infant and children in the country.

The speakers said MNCH was striving hard to bring down the infant mortality rate to less than 55 per 1000 live births by year 2011. They said keeping in view the wave of terrorism in some parts of the NWFP and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) it seemed a bit difficult, but all resources would be utilized to achieve the goal.

The speakers said the work on the construction of CMW schools had been started in 12 districts of NWFP in Peshawar, Mansehra, Chitral, Lower Dir, Abbottabad, Charsadda, Nowshera, Swabi and Karak.Work would now be launched in another three districts of Kohat, Swat and Buner.

A total of 1810 Community Midwives (CMWs) would be appointed in the 24 districts to bring down the current mother and infant mortality rate. This will ensure skilled birth attendants in rural and far-flung areas of the province. The news

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Teachers denied salaries
Chiniot: Thirty-one teachers working with non-formal basic education schools have been without salary for the last four months.

These schools are being run by the Literate Punjab Project of Literacy Department. On July 1, Chiniot was upgraded as district and after that these schools have virtually been abandoned by the government.

Kishwar Sultana, a teacher working at Adda Kalri, said that her monthly salary was just Rs2,500. Non-payment of salary had created problems for her as Eidul Azha was also around the corner.

Executive District Officer-Literacy Ramzan Ahmad said all the teachers of non-formal schools would be paid salaries from the Jhang office till next fiscal year. Dawn

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