Punjab schools finally reopening

Schools to open today
Lahore, Sept 14: All schools in the province are finally opening on Tuesday (today) after a 14-week summer vacation.

Of 2,970 public schools, which were affected by the recent floods, over 2,500 schools will open as well.

Punjab school education department secretary Aslam Kamboh said all schools would open except around 400 schools that were completely demolished or still submerged by floodwaters.

He said the flood-affected people, who had taken refuge in schools in Layyah, Bhakkar and Mianwali, had left and schools were ready to open. Similarly, he said, most people were ready to leave for their homes or villages soon after Eid. He hoped the schools in Muzaffargarh would also open within a week's time.

Kamboh said that around 600 schools in various flood-hit areas would open in makeshift places or nearby available buildings.

He said the school education department had also collected additional textbooks lying in almost all districts that had been sent to the flood-affected areas for distribution among students.

"Each and every student in flood-hit areas will get new textbooks by the end of this week," he added.

The secretary also said that all schools' teaching and non-teaching staff had already been called for duty from Sept 6.

Meanwhile, private schools will also re-start academic activities on Tuesday because the government had directed all private schools to remain shut till Sept 13.

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Reopening flooded schools a big challenge
Rajanpur: Summer vacation is going to end after Eidul Fitr, but floodwater is still stagnant in lawns and classrooms of all major educational institutions of Rajanpur district.

Although plans are under way to reopen rural primary schools in makeshift shelters, accommodating thousands of male/female students studying in middle, high and college grades in makeshift shelters is a dilemma for local and provincial educational authorities.

Officials this correspondent talked to said weeks and, in some cases, months are required to make dysfunctional educational institutions functional again.

There are 412 educational institutions, including two colleges, affected by flood after a breach in Sheroowala embankment on Aug 3. Some educational institutions have been damaged partially and others fully. Among the affected institutions the majority is located in Jampur tehsil.

According to Makhdoom Javed, Rajanpur EDO (Education), 190 primary schools, eight middle, nine high and one higher secondary school are badly damaged in Jampur tehsil.

Nasir Abbas, district officer (literacy) said of the 39 adult literacy centers almost 50 per cent had been washed away by flood water. This correspondent visited Government Elementary School, Jampur, situated in the middle of city on the Indus Highway and found it submerged in two to three feet deep water, even 35 days after its flooding. Its boundary wall has collapsed.

Same is the case with the Government Girls, Government Boys and Government Commercial College. The Girls College administration has started collecting applications for admission to first year classes in a private house of a female college teacher. "The reason is no one can enter the college premises," an applicant said.

Rasheed Abbas, Dera Ghazi Khan Director Colleges, says four boys and girls colleges (in Jampur and Kot Addu) had been badly damaged and would take time to be functional. Abbas admitted it was an 'abnormal' situation and thousands of college students would suffer.

This correspondent talked to several officials but they were not clear how submerged educational institutions would start functioning. "Data regarding damages is being collected," said an official.

It is learnt that Provincial Secretary Schools Aslam Kamboh reached Rojhan on Thursday and reportedly discussed ways how schools could be made functional again.

"Each official is in a fix and lacks proper plan. Department also lacks funding required to rebuild schools," an educational official informs privately.

Rauf Lund, a political and social rights' activist from Jampur, suggested that without involving local communities and NGOs this gigantic task of rebuilding educational institutions could not be done. "The question that how thousands of students will continue their education after Eidul Fitr needs more attention from the government."

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43pc of Maths students above world average
Lahore: About 43 per cent of Pakistani students have performed better than the world average in the mathematical contest held for the students of grades three to 12 in March last.

According to the result declared by the Pakistan Kangaroo Commission here on Monday, about 35,000 students had participated from all over the country, including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

This was the sixth year of Pakistan's participation in the world contest held annually by the International Association Mathematiqueans Frontiers (Mathematics without Borders).

In the first year held in 2005 about 8,000 students of Pakistan had participated in the contest. This year about 5.5 million students had taken part in the competition from 46 countries of the world.

Pakistan Kangaroo Commission chairman and GCU's Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences Director General Dr AD Raza Chaudhry said the result has been declared after the commission had compiled a detailed performance analysis of the participants. "The result shows that young Pakistani students are progressing in mathematics year after year. Last year about 41 per cent of students were above the world average."

He said a special characteristic of the contest was that it encouraged the school children to excel in mathematics. In Pakistan it had ignited much-needed enthusiasm for mathematics among the school children and their teachers. He said not only 43 of per cent students had performed better than the world average but 34 of them had also won the national top positions who formed part of the world's top four per cent of the students this year. Dawn

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Psychologist heading Mass Com Dept
Lahore: When the Punjab government is attaching huge importance to merit and professionals, there is one public sector college just a stone's throw from Secretary Higher Education's office, where head of the Psychology Department has taken over the Mass Communication Department, and the qualified teachers have been relegated to redundancy.

As per sources, in gross violations of rules and regulations of the Higher Education Commission, the administration of Government MAO College has notified Tauqir Saleem Khan, head Psychology Department, to run the affairs of the Mass Communication Department as Chairman. Interestingly, in the process the qualified staff of the media studies has been neglected, which seems to be a whimsically done in order to put a favourite in a higher place.

Since the provincial government has also launched BS (Honours) 4-year programme in 26 public sector institutions across the Punjab, and this particular College is also included in it, while the Mass Communication Department will also run the same programme.

"One can gauge the interest and sincerity of the government officials when the concerned have appointed a psychologist as head of the Department sans any thought process about which the latter might not know even the ABC," commented a senior teacher, seeking anonymity.

Earlier, the newly-placed 'bunch of great brains' has already flip-flopped with the admission and entry test dates. Even poor at date counting, the College administration lost its way while announcing the dates for the submission of forms and holding of the entry tests for almost all departments of the College, including the Mass Communication and Psychology departments. Twice the advertisements were published in the national dailies, and even then the administration failed to hold tests as per the announced dates since these were done during the Eid holidays. Apparently, no body seemed to have questioned the College administration about causing loss to the public exchequer by getting advertisements published twice. Resultantly, in contrary to the published dates, tests were held as per some 'personally convenient' dates prior to the announced ones, while a large number of students were kept in darkness about it. However, the admission process continued and said to have been completed as well, which has raised doubts about the transparency of the admissions in the minds of the people, who are seeing some method behind the reckless changing of dates.

However, according to the source, the College administration is thinking to conduct the tests again, whereas it preconcludes the possibility that Tauqir Saleem Khan will keep on holding the forte of the Mass Communication Department, while the qualified staff will be neglected till the HEC and the Higher Education Departments provided it wakes up act to mend the wrongs. The nation

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Students from other areas forced to spend Eid in Lahore
Lahore: Several students belonging to areas outside Lahore were forced to celebrate Eidul Fitr in the city due to various circumstances, including the devastating floods that have ravaged the country. Students from the southern parts of Pakistan said that due to the flood their families were upset and their resources had been destroyed, leaving the people to live in tents.

Students from northern Punjab said that Eid was a message to all Pakistanis that they remember their countrymen who had lost everything in the floods. Similarly, foreign students could not celebrate Eid with their families due to small number of holidays that they were given plus their exam schedules. At a time when citizens were celebrating Eid in their homes, a number of students from southern Punjab were discussing the devastation left in the wake of the floods and talked of how much their missed their families.

It is important to mention here that a large number of students from southern Punjab were enrolled in various public and private institutions of the city, including the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore, King Edward Medical University (KEMU), Beaconhouse National University (BNU), Allama Iqbal Medical College (AIMC) and the Punjab University (PU). Naseem, a medical student at FJMC said that due to the floods, her family members had been separated, as his father and brothers had shifted to their relatives with their luggage while her sisters were left to stay in tents. Daily times

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VC exchanges greetings with faculty members
Lahore: University of the Punjab Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and a large number of teachers, students and employees of the varsity offered Eidul Fitr prayer at Jamia mosque New Campus on Saturday morning.

Later, the VC exchanged Eid greetings at the VC House with senior faculty members including Prof Emeritus Dr Mohammad Akram Shah, Prof Dr Mohammad Ehsan Malik, Prof Dr Mansoor Sarwar, Controller Dr Zahid Karim Khan, Prof Dr Khawaja Amjad Saeed, Prof Dr Mughees-ud-Din Sheikh, Prof Dr Mohammad Akhtar, Prof Dr Aman Ullah, Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz, Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar, Prof Samee Uzair, Dr Nauman, Baba Anwar-ul-Haq, Dr Shakeel Ahmad, Farhat Hussain Siddique. A large number of varsity employees and students were also present on the occasion. The nation

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