Punjab Science Fair | FCC convocation

Research-based projects at Punjab Science Fair
Lahore, Nov 27: Over 200 students from across Punjab displayed their research-based projects in categories of biology, chemistry, computer sciences, mathematics and physics at the Punjab Science Fair held at the Children's Library Complex on Friday.

The Intel Pakistan organised the fair in the run-up to the Intel-International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel-ISEF), one of the world's largest pre-college science competitions.

Speaking at the science fair ceremony, Punjab school education department additional secretary Ali Husain Malik said the Intel was playing a vital role in promoting IT education in Pakistan and recognised the increasing inclination of today's youth towards technology while also giving them a medium to express it.

"Given the crucial role of technology in today's world and our reliance on the same for so many things, this fair is a fine example of what Intel is doing for the youth of Pakistan, by giving them a greater avenue to interact with their surroundings and experience situations and circumstances that the students of 20 years ago could only dream about," he said.

Intel Pakistan country manager Naveed Siraj said the winners of the Punjab Science Fair would proceed to compete at the National Science Fair, which would be held in January next, where projects would be assessed by a panel of renowned judges, with winners progressing to Intel® ISEF.

He said the Intel-ISEF was the world's largest science fair and the only global science competition for students of Grades IX-XII.

In 2011, more than 1,500 young scientists from all across the world will gather to exchange ideas and knowledge, showcase cutting-edge science and compete for more than $4 million in awards and scholarships. The event will be held from May 8 to 3 in 2011 in Los Angeles, California.Mr Siraj said the Intel had been holding the science fairs for the past six years in Pakistan. "The Intel aims at furnishing more opportunities to young people in schools to learn about technology and problem-solving skills, and hope to secure the next generation of innovators and role models.

"It is promising to note such an overwhelming interest from students in the areas of science and engineering. We are appreciative of the government's support towards this initiative, which is aimed at encouraging research-based learning in schools all across Pakistan," he said.

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FCC convocation
Lahore: The Forman Christian College University is holding its convocation on Saturday (today).

Governor Salmaan Taseer will preside over the convocation.

AWARD: The Higher Education Commission has announced the Best University Teacher Award for the year 2009 for Dr Ismat Naeem, professor of chemistry at the Lahore College for Women University.

Dr Ismat Naeem has 50 research papers published in national and international journals in the last three years besides supervising a number of MS/PhD research students.

She also established a linkage with the School of Pharmacy and Biological Science, University of Portsmouth, under HEC-BC Link-II Programme and completed two research projects funded by the HEC.

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GCU sweeps literary contest
Lahore: The Government College University debating society on Friday clean swept the All Pakistan Inter-Collegiate Literary Contest 2010 hosted by the Government College, Bhakkar.

The GCU was declared the best team of the Literary Contest, besides it also won seven oratory awards at the event.

In Naat recitation, Qasim Amjad secured the top position, while in Quran recitation Hafiz Asif was declared the best.

Moheeb Raza stood the best Urdu speaker, while Jadhaun Aslam secured the second position in English declamation contest.

Moheeb Raza also stood second in Punjabi Takra (debate). Saleem Hasni secured first position both in ghazal and nazm competitions.

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PBTE caught impersonators
Lahore: The Punjab Board of Technical Education (PBTE) supervisory staff has caught eight impersonators from an examination centre at the Government College of Commerce, Gujrat, appearing for Diploma of Associate Engineer second annual examination for 2010.

The supervisory staff caught six impersonators red-handed and got them booked with the Civil Lines Police, Gujrat. Two impersonators managed to escape.

It is learnt that all the eight impersonators are third year students at Swedish Pakistani Institute of Technology, Gujrat, and they were appearing for the examination in place of first year students of the same institute. Dawn

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Russian team visits PU
Lahore: A five member delegation from Russia visited the Punjab University's College of Arts & Design (PUCAD) and called upon the college principal and other faculty members.

During the visit, they were shown artwork of students. They expressed delight over intellectual level of students and appreciated the education environment in the PU. They said that their apprehensions about Pakistan had been stood corrected after experiencing the hospitality and welcoming attitude of faculty members of PU and their students.

The Russian delegation comprised Director Centre for Energy and Security Studies Anton V Khlopkov, Director of Programme for Conventional Arms Vadim B Kozylin, Centre for Policy Studies in Russia (PIR Centre), Elena Suponina, Head of the International Department, Vremya Novostey Daily Russian Newspapers, Dmitry Sabov, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Ogonyok Weekly Kommersant, publishing paper and a freelance photographer, Irina Kalashnikova. The news

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No-confidence on vernacular languages schools
The last amendment in the 1973 Constitution empowers the provinces on education, which states that it is the total provincial responsibility to organise and fund the education system as it likes irrespective what the other three provinces are practicing or planning.

The main reason which led to the chaotic state of affairs in education is that right from the inception the provinces were not given enough freedom to frame their curriculum and medium of instruction, to include history of respective areas and cultural heritage in the courses.

On the occasion of Partition, the mother tongue of two out of five provinces mother tongues was the medium of instruction in their schools. The real establishment did not like this arrangement and some of top bureaucrats suggested Arabic as national language to avoid clashes between the speakers of local languages. Thanks God, this proposal was widely rejected. Another attempt was made at a higher level to confine Bengali, the language of the majority, to the province. The move annoyed the Bengalis and ultimately language was one of the major factors which contributed to the separation of the two wings.

The second irritating factor related to language emerged in Sindh which had Sindhi as medium of instruction at primary and middle levels. Sindhi rightly said that the newcomers to the area should adopt Sindhi a mean to get closer to the locals. Instead of accepting Sindhi as the medium of instruction at the provincial level, the Sindhis and their language were more ridiculed than appreciated and it was the height of the hatred when the senior most crusader of Urdu language declared Urdu as the only Islamic language and Sindhi, Punjabi, Balochi, Pushto and Kashmiri the creation of 'kafirs and statue worshippers'. The Sindhis felt threatened economically when Karachi was taken over by the federal government. The divide between urban and rural Sindh is still alive and burning.

The first education policy, framed by then federal education ministry under Bengali minister Fazlur Rehman, was made while the Quaid-i-Azam was alive. In that policy, the status of Sindhi and Bengali was recognised and it was recommended that other mother tongues also be taught in schools if they could not be made medium of instruction. This part of the policy was ignored by the rest other three provinces and Azad Kashmir. The philosophy of centralization or the so-called strong centre remained the motto of the establishment dominated by the immigrants and Punjabi bureaucracy which strictly followed all the colonial tactics of governance to rule the people. Their connections with the colonial west which extended aid and loans and undemocratic patronage to them deteriorated the educational system. Under the existing policy, aid is accepted with dictations that English should be made a compulsory subject and medium of instruction at the primary level. The World Bank has already extended generous aid to the 'mental slaves of the West' to establish English medium schools. These institutions were tasked with relief work for flood victims. In the past, this job was always given to government and reliable private educational institutions. Recently, a half-page official advertisement appeared in newspapers showing the names of those institutions. World powers express no confidence on official distribution methods of foreign aid. The Punjab government is also not ready to distribute aid to flood-stricken people through its own educational institutions. It means we have confidence only in those things, ideas and policies dictated by the western powers.

Another recent development in educational field is that the Punjab government selected 13 outstanding students from the province, particularly from its backward areas, for higher studies in western or educationally advanced countries. This selection also appeared in national newspapers as advertisement from the Punjab Educational Endowment Funds. All the students have been selected for engineering disciplines. What does that mean? The government's approach towards society is purely materialistic. It has no regards for social arts and sciences which first make the character of the man and the woman. Engineers and technologists can play their role after the character of the student or man is made on solid grounds. One wonders why philosophy, history, literature, anthropology and allied subjects are totally ignored.

In the past, no proper attention was given to character building. Consequently, we lack men of vision, self-less politicians, parties with set principles, sociologists, economist with indigenous ideas. Dawn

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