FEB 26 2014

You have the ‘Right to Education’ but only if you are ready to pay

The Constitution of Pakistan dictates that every child has the ‘Right to Education’. It is unfortunate, however, that time and again, incidents have come to light that prove that this right is neither appreciated by the students nor is it respected by the education department’s own officials. In the latest violation of the fundamental right, an education department’s district officer extracted an estimated Rs2.5 million from students on the pretext of conducting ‘centralised exams’, The Express Tribune has learnt. On Monday, when as many as 500,000 students from classes I to VIII had to appear for the annual exams at public schools across the city, a survey of around a dozen out of 224 girls’ secondary schools confirmed that a total of 50,000 female students had been coerced to pay Rs50 in order to appear in the exams. Syeda Neelofar Ali, the district officer for girls’ secondary and higher secondary schools, was the only officer who managed to come up with such a ‘precondition’ for the exams. The move is in stark violation of the Right to Education Act, which states: “No child will be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing secondary education” The fee has put strain on young girls who were pursuing education at these public schools. “I study at this school because my father does not earn, while my mother works as a housemaid. I have been told that I need not study anymore if the school asks to pay money the next time,” said Azra Salim, a student at Government Girls’ Secondary School, Clayton Road, Karachi.

Complete Story: http://tribune.com.pk/story/675722/a-different-kind-of-extortion-you-have-the-right-to-education-but-only-if-you-are-ready-to-pay/


Stipend being given to lady teachers

Provincial Minister for Information Muhammad Atif Khan Tuesday said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is giving additional stipend of Rs. 400 to each female teacher, teaching at government schools of seven districts. He said the stipend is being given to encourage teachers working in challenging circumstances in far flung areas, adding that teachers often feel reluctant to go to these areas for teaching. Talking to a delegation of Provincial Youth Assembly here at his office, he said that children enrolled at government schools in backward areas need attention to get quality education. He said the PTI led provincial government is not compromising on education and taking measures to address the problems of teachers. Realizing the issue of absence of teachers of government schools located in far flung areas, he said that additional stipend is being given to teachers to overcome the problem.

Complete Story: http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=234760


Balochistan govt to set up 2,000 girls school with Unicef help

Girls schools would be established in Balochistan's backward and far-flung areas. "Global Partnership has already decided to provide 34 million dollars in this regard", Sanaullah Panezai, Unicef's Balochistan chief on education told Dawn.com on Tuesday. Moreover, adviser to the Chief Minister Balochistan on Education, Sardar Raza Muhammad Bareech stated that the education department has evolved a strategy with the financial and technical support of Unicef other organisations to make sure provision of education to children of the province. "Our government's priority is education", he said, adding that all out efforts were being made to ensure early childhood education in the province. He stated that Global Partnership has committed the amount to educate kids of Balochistan. Sardar Bareech said that the recently prepared Balochistan Education Sector Plan was endorsed by all donor agencies and organisations working for the promotion of education in the country.

Complete story: https://www.dawn.com/news/1089381/balochistan-govt-to-set-up-2000-girls-school-with-unicef-help


Sindh village gives girls pioneering sex education class

In neat rows, the girls in white headscarves listened carefully as the teacher described the changes in their bodies. When the teacher asked what they should do if a stranger touched them, the class erupted. “Scream!” one called out. “Bite!” another suggested. “Scratch really hard with your nails!” a third said. Sex education is common in Western schools but these ground-breaking lessons are taking place in deeply conservative rural Pakistan. Publicly talking about sex in Pakistan is taboo and can even be a death sentence. Parents have slit their daughters’ throats or doused them in acid for crimes as innocuous as dancing at a wedding or looking out the window. Almost nowhere in Pakistan offers any kind of organised sex education. In some places it has been banned.

Complete Story: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/26-Feb-2014/sindh-village-gives-girls-pioneering-sex-education-class



Magic of a teacher

A WITTY quote runs, “Doctors bury their mistakes. Lawyers hang them. But journalists put theirs on the front page.” I would add, “And teachers exhibit theirs for generations to come.” Take the case of Pakistan where the malaise in education runs deep. It began decades ago and has increased as poor education for one generation has ensured a worse batch of teachers for the next. Mercifully, this flaw has now come to be recognised and an effort is under way to rectify the wrongs of the past. The focus has shifted to teachers. All schools worth their salt are now providing for the training of their teachers on an ongoing basis. Workshops and seminars are held regularly. The concept of lifelong education is catching on.

Complete Story: https://www.dawn.com/news/1089574/magic-of-a-teacher


Private school seeks college’s help to get FBISE registration

A private educational institution on Tuesday played a trick with the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) to get itself registered with it. But it did not do it on its own rather it had the support of a government college in this regard, Dawn has learnt. For registration, it is mandatory for a school to have all facilities, including well-equipped laboratories for experiments in chemistry and other science subjects and a library. An official of Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB) F-8/4, on condition of anonymity, said the private school wanted to get registered with the FBISE and inspection was due on Tuesday, but it did not have all the paraphernalia required for registration.

Complete story: http://m.dawn.com/news/1089504/private-school-seeks-colleges-help-to-get-fbise-registration


Educational institutes tighten security

Authorities in Islamabad have said extraordinary security measures have been taken at all private and public educational institutions in Islamabad to prevent any untoward incident in the wake of the current wave of violence in the country. Sources in Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) informed that in view of the renewed threats from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the FDE has started sending security related instructions to the educational institutions throughout the city. “We are considering deployment of security personnel at educational institutions, particularly those offering co-education, and personnel of police have also been placed at some institutions to make sure that educationalist live in a peaceful atmosphere,” sources in FDE told Daily Times. The sources said situation in the whole country was not a hidden secret and since the collapse of talks with the militants so enhancing security in educational institutions was the need of hour. Keeping in view the threats, the high ups in FDE decided to enhance security at all institutions for the safety of students and teachers both in the public and private sector institutions.

Complete Story: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/26-Feb-2014/educational-institutes-tighten-security




Good on Johi

According to the WHO, Pakistan houses a considerable youth population with an estimated 44.6 million people falling within the age bracket of 15-24 years by the year 2020. That number accounts for one quarter of the country’s demographic and, naturally, remains most significant in the critical role of shaping the country’s future. The young female population of Pakistan remains most vulnerable: With 1 out of 6 girls between the age of 15 to 19 years being married and a considerable number in the rural areas entering marriage even before 15. Consequently, early and frequent pregnancies, inadequate knowledge of contraceptive methods, birth spacing, paltry prenatal care and other maternal morbidities plague the lives of young women. To make matters worse, the societal stigma and shame in our communities surround these subjects and deprive women of the basic right to publicly express their concern and fears.


Complete Story: http://www.nation.com.pk/E-Paper/Lahore/2014-02-26/page-6/detail-2


Illiteracy in Pakistan by Shabbir Ahmed

Education is considered to have a strong connection to social and economic development. The concept of “knowledge economy” has increased the importance of role of education in the development of human capital. A society of literate citizens has more chances of development at the economic and social levels. But our country has ignored the importance of education sector over the years and as a result we are now ranked as one of the least literate nations in the world. According to the “Education for All” Global Monitoring Report, almost 6.5 million children in Pakistan do not go to school. Countries like Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ghana, Niger, Kenya and Mali are placed in relatively better positions than Pakistan. A large number of students who make it to schools, however, drop out by class five. According to NEP, about 72 per cent make it to grade five which means a dropout rate of 28 per cent.  This significant figure further brings down the chunk of the population that makes it to school. The large number of out of school children means that they will grow as illiterates and they have no skills to play a useful role in society. These people will experience poverty, unemployment and even involvement in criminal activities. The out of school children which is more than one third of the population will be greater than all of the contemporary threats and Pakistan is not prepared at all to tackle this problem.

Complete Story: http://thefrontierpost.com/article/78336/Illiteracy-in-Pakistan/