Over 50m in Pakistan illiterate

Literacy Day on 8th
Islamabad, Sep 07: International Literacy Day would be observed across the globe on September 8 including Pakistan with the theme for Year 2009 'Literacy and Empowerment'.

The day is observed every year since 1965. Literacy is recognised as a basic human right. The purpose of the International Literacy Day is to focus attention on the need for mass literacy and to highlight the importance and benefits of literacy to individuals, communities, societies, and for the world community as a whole. Since literacy is so closely linked to all aspects of life, it is almost impossible to imagine a life without literacy. International Literacy Day therefore focuses attention on literacy issues and the need to raise public awareness and support for literacy. Today, about 45% or over 50 million people in Pakistan are illiterate. Half of the rural women can not read and write. Pakistan is a signatory to different national and international Conventions and Declarations, including Education For All (EFA) and MDGs.

Eradication of illiteracy is a constitutional responsibility of the State of Pakistan, as per Article 37-b of the Constitution, says a document issued by UNESCO.

It said the Govt of Pakistan has been taking steps to promote literacy and basic education in the country. However, government efforts can produce better results only when all sections of the society actively participate in the fight against illiteracy. Policy makers and change agents, particularly the political parties and parliamentarians, should lead the literacy movement in their constituencies and at the national level. Civil society, especially the mass media can play a key role in creating an enabling environment for promotion of literacy and basic education in Pakistani society.

It said ranking of Pakistan is not impressive with respect to literacy rate when we compare its position with other countries of the region, particularly in South-West Asia. The following table presents a comparative picture.

Historically, it said Pakistan has not been spending enough on basic education. In 1962, Pakistan signed an international declaration to increase its education budget up to 4% of GNP by 1980. Budget for the education sector has remained low. The following table shows how much Pakistan has been spending on education against the promised figure of 4% of GDP.

It said few adult literacy programmes launched in the past, were under financed, planned and launched in haste, implemented without effective monitoring, and closed abruptly due to administrative or political changes. Illiteracy, though a critical challenge for Pakistan, failed to receive due attention and support of subsequent governments. On average, less than one percent of the education budget was allocated or spent for adult literacy and NFBE programmes. Adult literacy and NFBE has been suffering with following problems:

There are some certain reasons due to which Pakistan has not succeeded to achieved desired goals in the education sectors, these factors include lack of a consistent and strong policy, poor financing of adult literacy and NFBE programmes, absence of a proper organizational structure at various levels, low quality due to weak professional base and leadership gap or indifference of political leaders to patronize literacy movement in their areas, it said.

The document said although education is the responsibility of the provincial governments, however, federal government ought to support critical areas, which are neglected or underdeveloped. By signing Education For All Declaration, Pakistan has committed to achieve the target of 86% literacy by 2015. However, an analysis of the past trends show that Pakistan will not be able to achieve this target, unless existing pace is accelerated and country wide programmes of Adult literacy and Non-formal Basic Education are launched with, a new vigor and under a stronger leadership of parliamentarians, community leaders, and social workers.

On September 08, ceremonies including seminar, debate and rallies would be taken out across the country to mark the day while on September 11 another ceremony would be held in the Federal Capital.

Education Minister, teachers and learners of NFBE Centres, officials of Ministry of Education, UN agencies and NGOs Focus will deliver speeches. The nation

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PU awards PhD to faculty member after 9 years
Lahore: The award of a PhD to a faculty member following approval of thesis report after nine long years by the Punjab University's Advanced Studies and Research Board (ASRB) has become a subject of heated debate among the university's academic circles.

There are those who see at the move as a "favour" while others, including the university administration, term it "relief" from vindictive policy of the former administration.

The PU's ASRB meeting held on September 1 approved 16 reports on PhD theses, including one of Prof Zahid Kareem, who is presently working as university's Controller of Examinations.

According to sources, Prof Zahid Kareem registered for PhD in Geology on 30.10.1993 got his registration confirmed on 19.02.1995. They said that according to rules, a candidate could submit his/her thesis within seven years after registration. Interestingly, the said faculty member submitted his thesis exactly within seven years on 30.10.2000. They further said reports by foreign referees on the said PhD thesis were submitted on 30.07.2009 and 19.08.2009 respectively while the report by local referee was submitted on 21.08.2009.

A number of PU faculty members, talking anonymously said that the real issue of concern was the delay witnessed in the particular case. They said such a delay was rarely witnessed in the university. The question is "Where the thesis was in all these nine years?" asked a concerned faculty member.

He said interestingly on Sept 1, the ASRB meeting, in which the PhD cases were approved, was also attended by Prof Zahid Kareem being Controller of Exams of the university.

However, a PU official said Prof Kareem suffered at the hands of the previous administration which did not approve even panels of examiners for him.

"His case was deliberately kept pending," claimed the official. The present administration, under the leadership of Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran, organised many meetings of the ASRB to clear the mess and provide relief to the affectees, he said, adding that the teachers should appreciate the university administration instead of making it an issue as relief was being provided to the "aggrieved" teachers. He said in such cases, the administration was responsible for delay and not the candidates.

Prof Zahid Kareem, when contacted, said he had submitted his thesis within the given time, adding that it was responsibility of the university administration to process it accordingly. Without naming anyone he said "I suffered at the hands of others." PU Registrar Prof Dr Naeem Khan who had also attended the ASRB meeting held on Sept 1 said the case was processed on merit. The news

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Islamiat made compulsory
Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that Islamiat subject has been made compulsory from first grade to graduation in National Educational Policy 2009 for the religious awareness. He said this while holding a meeting on Saturday, regarding National Educational Policy 2009 here at Chief Minister House.

Shahbaz Sharif said the meeting decided to include history and geography in Pakistan Studies from primary to secondary level and exclude from the syllabus the material that stand in conflict with Islamic teachings and values.

He said it has been decided that science and mathematics would be taught in English language in a bid to boost the modern education, adding a regulatory authority is being established to establish and coordinate the private educational institutions.

Sharif said he is thankful to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to incorporate the recommendations of Punjab government in National Educational Policy.

The girls are being offered vast opportunities of education in this policy, he added.

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Punjab University announced BSc results
Lahore: Punjab University Examination Department has declared the results of BSc Home Economics, First Year, Annual Examination 2009, BSc Home Economics, Second Year, Annual Examination 2009, BSc Home Economics, Third Year, Annual Examination 2009 and DOMS, Part-II, Supplementary Examination 2007 and Annual Examination 2008. Detailed results are also available at PU website www.pu.edu.pk. F.P report

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34,000 educators recruitment to complete soon: CM
Lahore: Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that the condition of education sector has been pathetic during the last 62 years owing to lack of commitment and spirit on part of bureaucracy and politicians.

He said without eliminating illiteracy and ignorance, the dream of putting the country on the road to progress and prosperity could not be materialised.

He was addressing a meeting held to review the recommendations regarding the National Education Policy 2009 at the Chief Minister's Secretariat here on Saturday.

The chief minister said that despite all resources the desired results could not be achieved in education sector during the last 62 years while the countries having less resources had made great progress through bringing revolution in educational sector with their commitment, spirit and dedication.

Quoting the example of Sri Lanka, Iran and Bangladesh, he said these countries had improved education sector due to their sincere efforts.

Mr Shahbaz said his government had taken revolutionary measures for improving education sector which would only be fruitful when implemented in letter and spirit. He said the process of recruitment of 34,000 educators on merit throughout the province would be completed during the next week and the step would be an unprecedented example of teachers' recruitment on the basis of merit.

He said the project of establishing computer labs in more than 4,000 schools of the province would be completed by the end of next month.

The CM said the government was implementing a strategy to raise the education standard for which special attention was being paid to the teachers' training while incentives had also been announced for the hardworking teachers in this regard. He said Danish schools project had been started for providing the latest educational facilities in far-flung areas so that students of such areas might acquire education like the children of privileged classes and get a high place in the society.

Shahbaz Sharif said the promotion of vocational training was important for development and for this purpose, the Punjab government had further activated Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Tevta) and skilled manpower was being prepared according to the demands of the market. He stressed that dropped out students should be motivated towards technical educational institutions so that they could not only earn livelihood for their families but also play a role in development of the country.

The Chief Minister said that he was thankful to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani who had included the recommendations of the Punjab government in the National Educational Policy 2009.

Earlier, the secretary Schools, Higher Education and Literacy presented detailed recommendations for the National Educational Policy 2009.

Students call on CM: Students selected for four years' language course in China under a scholarship programme called on Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif at the Chief Minister's Secretariat on Saturday.

According to a DGPR handout, the chief minister congratulated the students on their selection for the language course and expressed his best wishes.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Shahbaz said future of Pakistan was linked with China and students belonging to Punjab should learn Chinese language and serve the country. He said students after getting expertise in Chinese language would be helpful in development of industrial, trade and other sectors of Pakistan. He stressed upon the students to represent their country in China in the real sense and pay all their attention towards education. The news

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