630 Pakistanis to get US scholarships next year
Islamabad, Nov 13: United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) has almost doubled scholarships for Pakistani students who want to pursue their studies in the US in 2011 as against 381 offered this year.
"We are proud to share that while others are slashing their budgets for scholarships, we will increase the scholarships.
In 2010, around 381 Pakistani students went to US on fully funded programmes (including Fulbright) and next year we will double this number to 630," said Rita Akhtar, USEFP Acting Executive Director while speaking at a function held here on Friday to encourage Pakistani students to pursue graduate education in the US.
Earlier, on November 10 a similar event was held for undergraduates. Around 75 applicants, currently enrolled in local bachelor's programmes at various educational institutions of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, were present on the occasion.
The USEFP established in 1950 by the governments of Pakistan and the United States. During last 60 years, nearly 4,000 Pakistanis and more than 800 Americans have participated in USEFP administered exchange programmes.
Ms Akhtar said that two new programmes, one for journalists and the other for public administration, were also offered while the number of grantees are doubled Global UGAD, another undergraduate programme.
The function also provided a platform to aspirants to get the information about education in the US from some American Alumni that were present to represent their Alama Matar's.
Students also had a chance to interact with USEFP Educational Advisors to discuss the US application and admission process for graduate students and discuss various academic opportunities available for them.
Graduate alumni from various American universities also shared their experiences of studying in the US and how it had affected their approach towards life and work.
US Embassy's Visa Officers also established stall to answer questions and address any concerns regarding US student visas.
The officers emphasised that the US was eager and open to admitting international students from South Asia, particularly Pakistan.
There were more stalls established to provide information on scholarship programmes as well as testing services available.
"The question of financing one's education in US is of utmost concern to most aspirants. Despite being expensive, the United States is the largest grant, fellowship and scholarship funder in the world," a stallholder informed the students.
He said that students could also work on campus to earn supplementary source of income. He briefed the students that at the graduate level in US, they frequently work directly with some of the most qualified specialists in the world. DawnYour Comments
KU to remain closed from Nov 16 to 19 for Eid
Karachi: The University of Karachi (KU) will remain closed from November 16 to 19 on account of Eid ul-Azha. This was announced by the Registrar of the institution here on Friday. app
FUUAST completes nine years
Karachi: Vice Chancellor, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science & Technology, (FUUAST) Dr Muhammad Qaisar has expressed his satisfaction on the performance of the university on completion of seven years today (November 13).
Dr Qaisar reiterated his resolve to go extra miles for fulfilling the dream of Baba-e-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq – use of Urdu in every stratum of our lives. He pointed out that FUUAST was providing decent education in the national language according to the demands of the modern times. Dr Qaisar revealed that Bureau of Compiling, Composition & Translation (BCCT) has recently published three new books for B.Sc and M.Sc classes. These books are on 'Thermodynamics (Physics) By Prof Badruddoja Khan, Electricity and Magnetism by Prof Asif Siddiqui and Molecular Genetics, Evolution and Animal Geography by Dr Syed Kamaluddin and Dr Abdul Aleem Siddiqui. The news
Literacy after 18th Amendment
Promotion of literacy in Pakistan has all along remained a low priority with our governments. Financial allocations for education itself have been inadequate. Such allocations, even in most of the developing countries, range from 4 to 7 percent. The share of literacy programmes in the education budget in Pakistan has been around one percent only.
UNESCO's recommendation is that at least 4 percent of the GOP should be spent on education.
In Pakistan, this ratio has seldom exceeded to 2 percent. However, the current year's actual allocation may well be less than 2 percent. With a view to reviewing the present position of efforts of the central and provincial governments to achieve the 'Education For All' goals set at the World Education Forum held at Dakar in the year 2000, as well as the MDGs, announced by the United Nations, a National Literacy View Roundtable was held earlier this month under the auspices of UNESCO and the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD). It was organised by PACADE - the national NGO for literacy and continuing education. A senior official of the Ministry of Education presented the overall national review spelling out the programmes and allocations made by the central and all the four provincial governments, as well as the NCHD and the National Education Foundation. A special feature of the national roundtable was the presence of senior officers from the provincial finance departments. The roundtable was inaugurated by Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali, Federal Minister for Education, and addressed by Director UNESCO, Pakistan Office, Dr Warren Mellor. Some of the leading NGO's working for literacy also participated in the meeting.
It will be in order, if the literacy picture of Pakistan is sketched here for the information of readers. The facts and figures are based on the Ministry of Education background paper prepared by Dr Muhammad Saleem, Deputy Education Advisor.
Province-wise number of literates and illiterates as per provincial plans (in millions)
Literates Illiterates Literates Illiterates
Total Female Total Female Total Female Total Female
Punjab 45 17.7 27.4 17.7 73.06 33.73 5.94 4.60
Sindh 19.14 6.68 11.17 7.13 28.72 13.13 4.76 3.33
Khyber Pakhtunkwa 9.36 3.18 8.64 5.46 13.68 4.75 6.14
Balochistan 3.29 0.99 3.22 2.06 1.71 0.89 2.56 1.67
Gilgit-Baltistan 0.441 0.166 0.355 0.212 0.712 0.289 0.176 0.130
FATA 0.686 0.251 2.114 1.04 1.60 0.75 1.60 0.75
AJK 1.78 0.706 0.799 0.548 0.241 1.01 0.424 0.367
PROVINCE WISE/GENDER WISE LITERACY RATE (2008-09)
Region/Province Male Female Both
Overall 69 45 57
Punjab 69 50 59
Sindh 71 45 59
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 68 33 49
Balochistan 66 23 46
Source: Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey, 2007-2008
PSDP Allocations during the years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 for Literacy and NFE
(Rs in million)
Province/Area 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
NCHD 321 million 1400 411.5
NEF 750 1196.6 987
EEF 195 229 227
Balochistan 7.1 21 50
Sindh --- 500 328.165
Punjab --- 650 800
TOTAL 1273.1 3996.6 2803.665
If the target of 86 percent literacy rate is to be achieved by up-scaling the existing inadequate programmes, keeping in view the progress made in the primary school sector and increase in the country's population, the following number of adult literacy centres will have to established during the years 2010 to 2015 and allocations made accordingly as given below.
Number of Adult Literacy Centres to be opened 2010-15
Province/Area BLCs CPLCs LCs by NGOs NFBE
Punjab 250801 31565 49548 108501
Sindh 134334 11650 - 4895
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 106000 370 - 10000
Balochistan 15597 1729 2584 2160
Gilgit-Baltistan 2492 591 - 974
FATA 4374 1646 - 2679
AJK 1937 3875 - 3890
CPLCs: Community Post Literacy Centres
BLCs: Basic Literacy Centres
Cost/budget requirements as per provincial plans
(Rs in million)
Province/Area Development Recurring Total**
Punjab 7062.67 22099.44 34994.53
Sindh 7062.67 22099.44 40243.71
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 4675.14 2163.68 7388.62
Balochistan 284.98 1136.71 1617.79
Gilgit-Baltistan 32.7 328.0 432.8
FATA 710.0 1327.0 2425.0
AJK 1200.0 3023.0 5067.0
The question is will even 50 percent of these targets be met? Presently, only 700 literacy centres have been opened by the Balochistan government. Even if NCHD starts additional 2,000 centres, the total will fail to meet the targets fixed in the approved National Plan of Action. But the situation in Sindh is just a little bit better. Less than 2,000 centres are planned to be opened against the
required annual number of more than 20,000.
The plans and allocations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab are substantially larger and a better infrastructure has been put in place, but here too unfortunately the pace of progress in actually starting the centres has been showing down for the last two or three years.
In the Punjab, 6,000 centres are claimed to be opened this year, while the National Plan requires an annual target of more than 30,000. The Federal Education Minister rightly pointed out in the inaugural address that with the concurrent list abolished under the 18th Amendment, the burden of providing funds would now wholly fall on the provincial governments for the promotion of literacy. He hoped that the provincial government would provide for larger allocations for literacy in view of their enhanced share under the National Financial Award. Hopefully, also the NCHD, which has a proven capacity of opening thousands of centres, will continue to supplement the provincial programmes. UNESCO too is expected to keep up its laudable efforts to support the governments in Pakistan and continue providing technical assistance for the improvement of the literacy programme.
Unless the civil society and the media takes up in right earnest the case and cause of literacy promotion, we will not only fail to achieve any of the EFA targets set at Dakar, but also go on adding to the number of illiterates. Imagine a country in this day and age where around 60 million people cannot read even the number of a bus or the calendar.
The writer is a political and international relations analyst. Email: email@example.com The nation
Education ministry 'to oppose transfer of key powers to provinces'
Islamabad: Seemingly not willing to surrender, the Ministry of Education has tightened its belt to oppose moves for transfer of some key powers to the provinces after passage of the 18th Amendment, sources said here on Thursday.
Sources told this scribe that Education Minister Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali is all set to express his reservations to the concerned authorities in a couple of days over perceived transfer of key powers to the provinces with regard to formulation of curriculum, syllabus, planning and policy and control over centres of excellence.
Sources in the Ministry of Education claimed that the provinces are not able to handle the massive challenge of dealing with the provision of education, as they lack both capacity and financial resources to meet growing requirements of this sector. They said on one hand the provinces seek more and more powers and on the other none of them is ready to provide legal job protection to hundreds of thousands of employees currently working in the Ministry of Education.
A source even stated that there is no mention of transfer of the Ministry of Education to the provinces in the 18th Amendment, as being trumpeted by various quarters. The 18th Amendment holds some major implications for the education system in its Article 25-A that reads: "Right to education: The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to 16 years in such manner as may be determined by law."
Another major implication of the 18th Amendment for education is that the curriculum, syllabus, planning, policy, centres of excellence and standards of education will fall under the purview of the provinces.
An official of the ministry, who requested anonymity, told this scribe that the contents of the curricula should remain with the federation to ensure unity and harmony among all the federating units in the country. "If provinces introduce regional languages in schools after getting powers then how will one be able to avoid its adverse effects that may result in weakening of the federation," he said.
He said if all powers are given to provinces then what would be the future of projects planned in National Education Policy such as establishment of 26 cadet colleges in the country.
According to official data, the education ministry has planned to set up a total of 26 cadet colleges out of which 15 have so far been approved in the cities including Ghotki, Okara, Zhob, Panjgoor, Pasrur, Choa Saiden Shah, Jaffarabad, Mianwali, Noshki, Kohlu, Chilas, Swabi, Kandhkot, Muzaffarabad and Multan.
Functions of the education ministry articulated in Rules of Business 1973 include formulation of national policies, plans and programmes; development of curricula and textbooks; financial assistance to educationists and men of letters; construction of national libraries; welfare of Pakistani students abroad and administration of selective federal educational institutions. The ministry of education has seven wings, two attached departments, six autonomous bodies and 14 subordinate offices for its assistance. It also exercises control over 13 centres of excellence, six area study centres, six Pakistan Study Centres and three Shaikh Zayed Islamic Centres.
Additional Secretary Education Sheghan Sharif Malik told this scribe that there is no ambiguity with regard to transfer of functions to the provinces because the subjects mentioned in Schedule 4 of the Constitution would remain with the federal ministry.
"It is actually the case of transfer of functions instead of transfer of ministry to the provinces because the functions related to the federal government would be performed by the federal education ministry," he said.
To a question, he said there is no controversy over transfer of functions and 18th amendment clearly distinguishes the functions related to federal and provincial educational ministries. The news