School vouchers with high fee tag

School fee vouchers, the stuff so important to parents
Karachi, Oct 11: Here's the stuff so important to parents: school fee vouchers. I hadn't read the voucher with high fee tag brought home by my son, but my knee-jerk reaction was indeed negative. I like the simplicity of school vouchers, they appeal to my sense that the school management policy is at its best when it is simple.

Events over recent weeks have got me thinking about how we sort out the mess that is school fee vouchers, and they seem to have a lot of trouble in store for parents. However, that is not to say that I have unfounded concerns about the 40 to 50 per cent increase in school fee vouchers, and I'm sure the reasons mentioned for the sudden increase by the school management are not satisfactory at all. The famous ones who have increased the tuition fee are: City School, Beaconhouse School, Army Public School, and Saint Mary etc. The last year's increase was also a sudden and unexpected one and came like a bolt out of the blue for the poor parents.

In the eyes of school management, the size of the fee voucher should be directly related to the minimum viable size of a school. So all arguments presented by the parents are not going to set the fee structure low, and all talk to convince the school management is irrelevant. Private schools have had the biggest increase in pupil numbers in five years as parents dig deep to avoid the government education system. Although successive above-inflation fee increases have driven the average cost of private education beyond the means of the poor, the number of children enrolled in schools belonging to the middle class has risen to a record number.

This is despite a fall in the number of children of school age, and fears that the credit crunch could lead to recession. The increase has been driven by a big expansion of provision in the nursery sector, as growing numbers of preparatory schools have decided to accept three-year-olds. Longer working hours, commuting and the rising costs of formal childcare have persuaded more parents to turn to private schools for a preschool education.

Parents are buying into private school education at a much earlier age. Once they are in, they wish to remain. Parents demand somebody should be there to monitor as to why the private schools keep on raising monthly fees every year and at times twice a year between Rs1,000 and Rs1,500 in the existing fee slab?

The school management says it is compelled to increase tuition fee to be able to meet staff salaries expenses and other development costs. Private schools say this is because they offer a broader education and wider range of subjects. At the top end of the scale, there are now schools charging hefty amount of money per annum. The school management says it has deliberately kept its fee increase to 50 per cent this year, in anticipation of harder times. Whatever the reasons, private schools need to start making things easier for parents. -Writer (The news)

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Pakistani students to participate in international event
Karachi: An interesting competition for the school students is being organised across the world on November 10 titled "One Day in the Life", through iEarn Online Collaboration Centre. Pakistani students are participating in this event enthusiastically, the director iEarn Pakistan Farah S Kamal said on Saturday.

It may be noted that iEARN Centre Pakistan is run by the Society for International Education (SIE), a non-profit Karachi-based educational organisation. SIE has nationwide outreach network and is dedicated to the development of global partnerships in education, capacity building of learning communities based on the effective use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) for Pakistan and rest of the world.

She said that participation procedure is very simple - iEARN network globally ask students to document whatever they do between midnight on November 9 till November 10 midnight in writing, photography, videos or other media. There is no special format. If their English is poor, they can participate with images alone. Students can share digital photographs of their daily life such as; school, family, community routines, vacations, festivals, community events, religious rituals, as they experiences on November 10 and write short description of what is depicted in the photographs and its significance. It can be then shared with other participating students from around the world through iEARN Online Collaboration Centre.

Farah opined that the event is initiated by an iEARN USA teacher, Chris Bear, along with the teachers from Pakistan and many countries around the world. This is not a competition rather a day where the global community of students come together to share the diversity of their lifestyle and celebrate the commonality and learn to respect differences as they share their daily-life images.

A documentary photojournalist Susan Copen Oken, whose work has appeared in Life Magazine, Sports Illustrated and a variety of books (including the 1986 bestseller "A Day in the Life of America"), will help the students including the Pakistani students to prepare them for participation in a big event of "One Day in the Life" project through online.

So far 29 countries have been registered for this event and more countries will join till November 10. Students from any Pakistani school including government, private or Trust-based can participate in this event. The participants must be registered members of iEARN-Pakistan. Interested schools can get themselves registered at official website. All participating students from Pakistan will get a certificate of participation from iEARN Pakistan, Farah S Kamal confirmed.

She further said that topics may include anything as students might do between November 9 midnight and November 10 midnight: morning routines (grooming, chores), breakfast, getting to school (if it's a school day), school routines, after-school activities, jobs, family life, friends and neighbors, home, evening meals, snacks and evening routines. One great way to get involved before (and after) November 10 is to join the ongoing "One Day in the Life" project themes. These have no time constraints - students may document their lives right away, and participate in any of the themed discussions. It's also a great way to prepare for the final day.

Just recently, students have begin working a variety of daily life themes including "Mealtime", "Morning Routines", "Where I Live" and other topics. The students can choose from the existing themes, and can create new topics related to daily life to document, she added. The nation

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Post-surgery death of woman: VC admitted negligence of doctors
Hyderabad: The vice-chancellor of the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences Prof Dr Noshad A. Shaikh said on Saturday preliminary inquiries into the death of a village woman after surgery at the civil hospital revealed some negligence on part of senior doctors.

The VC said that the doctors did not plan her surgery properly because a small surgery would have been preferable to provide immediate relief to the woman before a major operation.

He said that some faculty members had approached him with the request to show leniency towards the doctors who belonged to the university but he had told them in clear terms that if evidences proved their negligence he would take serious disciplinary action, which might include termination of jobs.

He initiated formal inquiry into the causes that led to death of Ms Sadori Solangi, 35, on Oct 5. She was operated upon for shunt insertion by Dr Mohammad Hamid and Dr Vash Deve on Aug 31 and was asked to leave the hospital despite no improvement in her condition. On Sept 19, she reported with complaints of unconsciousness at the neurosurgery ward and died on Oct 5.

The VC recorded statements of the woman's brother Amir Ali alias Zamir Solangi, Prof Dr Aftab Qureshi of neurosurgery, Associate Prof Dr Riaz Raja Memon, senior registrars Dr Mohammad Hamid and Dr Wash Deve, Dr Abdullah who were involved in Sadori's operation and accused by her brother of negligence.

"I have also sough help of Prof Dr Shams Brohi of neurosurgery from People's Medical College Nawabshah, Prof Dr Sattar Memon and Dr Shams Memon of medicines," he said.

He admitted "there is negligence on part of doctors who are associated with the university" and said "even if it comes to sacking them it will be done because enough is enough".

He said that he had felt that proper counselling had not been done about the patient's condition and her family had been dealt with quite rudely by the doctors. "The complainant is blaming everyone from faculty of medicine. One must think why he is only accusing neurosurgery doctors? I believe the issue of money being paid to Dr Aftab Qureshi needs further inquiry," he said.

The case was serious but they could have provided relief to the woman through a small surgery with local anaesthesia. "Once her condition had improved then they could have planned major surgery," he said.

"Some faculty members tried to prevail upon me to save the doctors but I told them in clear terms that this tradition must end now. I mean this is not the way they should perform their job," he said.

Dr Riaz Raja said that he was not part of the team, which operated upon the woman. He was on summer vacation till August and the surgery was done on Aug 31, he said. Dawn

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