MAR 19 2014

After a call to prayer in Torghar, a sermon on girls education

Some girls in Pakistan hit the glass ceiling at grade 4 — the end of primary school. In Judba, the headquarters of Torghar district, this has happened because there are no schools exclusively for girls beyond a certain age. The government does not run any middle and secondary schools for girls, which is why those who finish primary school (grade 4) have only one choice: private school. And that private school, the only one in Judba, just lost 60 of its students because their parents pulled them out after tribal elders objected to coeducation and non-female teachers. Villagers told The Express Tribune on Friday that a few days ago some tribal leaders reportedly belonging to the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl had criticised parents during sermons at mosques and other public venues for sending their daughters to this one private school. They had argued that coeducation for children after a certain age was against (what they interpreted as) tribal and Islamic customs.

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Three Pakistanis selected for WEF YGLs programme

Three Pakistanis have been selected for the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders (YGLs) programme. The YGL’s from Pakistan are Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, CEO of Mahvash& Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation, Sabeen Mahmud, Founder of T2F and Mosharraf Zaidi, Founder of Alif Ailaan.  These leaders have been recognized for their outstanding work in their respective fields of promoting social change to eliminate the existing barriers to opportunities and helping people in need reach their fullest potential. The Forum of YGLs is a unique, multi-stakeholder community of more than 900 exceptional young leaders. Set up as an independent, not-for-profit foundation under the Swiss government, the Forum of Young Global Leaders is an integral part of the WEF.

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Exam under umbrella in Lower Dir

Destruction of schools by militants is common in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw but government claims that it has rebuilt around 100 schools in District Lower Dir yet there are schools without roof in the district. Rains during exams troubled students in those schools of Lower Dir.

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Terrorism, poverty can be eliminated through education

Provincial Minister for Finance, Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman has said that terrorism, poverty and ignorance can be eliminated from the society through promotion of modern and quality education.  He said that Punjab government is providing funds for up-gradation of school education and Rs. 3.5 billion are being utilized for the provision of missing facilities in all girls schools. He said that Punjab Government had spent Rs. 24.70 billion during its previous tenure to provide missing facilities in 10749 schools of the province. He said that scholarships of 12 billion rupees are being provided to more than 50 thousand students within the country and abroad from Endowment fund. While addressing various delegations, Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman informed that Rs. 3.30 billion has been provided for the distribution of free of cost textbooks to the students. 

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Despite tension, FBISE holds SSC exams

Senior School Certificate (SSC) exams under the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) started on Tuesday. Due to the ongoing tension between private schools and the board’s employees, it was feared that the exams might be disturbed. There was also a possibility that some students would not get their roll number slips. An official of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), requesting not to be identified, said on Tuesday exams were held all over the city without any disturbance. “Roll number slips were delivered to all students so it is expected that there will be no serious issue during the remaining exams,” he said. A teacher said in Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB) G-11/2 students arrived 45 minutes before, i.e. 8:45am, but the exam could not be started till 9:15am. “It is usual that on the first day exams get delayed, but no extra time was given to the students to complete the paper,” he said.

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Rethinking the medium by Zubeida Mustafa

The ill-conceived language policies adopted in this country have divided society into the haves and have-nots. Instead of education being an equaliser, it has split people into highly educated elites who study in English and poorly educated ones who study in their local language that is badly taught. Then come the new batch of education policymakers and we have a typical case of hell being paved with good (and ill-informed) intentions. They realise that our failure to have uniformity in our education system is at the root of all evil. It is this disparity that creates alienation. True. But they go off the mark when they look for solutions. To introduce uniformity, they believe that English as the medium of instruction in schools will bring everyone at par. Punjab took that route till it learnt the hard way that this approach was creating new problems. Hence the government reverted to the old system. English would not be the medium of instruction and will be taught from Class 3 onwards.

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