JUNE 2 2014

A ‘ghost school’ in Islamabad

The principal comes to the school twice a week, marks her attendance and draws full salary every month. But there are no students here. The Islamabad Model School, in Soan Garden Society, was constructed by the Pakistan Welfare Department (PWD) in 2010 at a cost of Rs3.5 million. Furniture had also been procured for the classrooms. Four years on, the school has yet to become functional because the Federal Directorate of Education has refused to take control, claiming that the structure was not built according to the PC-1. The furniture was moved for storage to a nearby PWD school, where it is rotting away. The model school is located in Zone Five near Islamabad Highway and falls in the Islamabad NA-49 constituency, currently represented by Tariq Fazal Chaudhary of the PML-N. Interestingly, the land for the primary school was donated by local residents who have also been involved in the release of funds from the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue and with documentation work of the PWD.

Complete Story: http://tribune.com.pk/story/716338/education-woes-a-ghost-school-in-islamabad/


Education department in a fix over enrolment campaign

The Education Department Rawalpindi is in a fix over the achievement of Universal Primary Education (UPE) target for enrolment by October 31 as 15 eligible officers have declined to accept the responsibility of assistant education officers (AEO) to monitor the campaign. Under the UPE campaign, the education department is supposed to get 120,000 out of school children enrolled in government-run schools by October 31. However, when the education department tried to fill 15 vacant positions of AEOs, secondary schoolteachers with five years of mandatory experience refused to take the responsibility. As a stop gap arrangement, the department in clear violation of set rules a few days ago appointed 15 junior teachers but four of them also refused to join their new posts. Executive District Officer (education) Qazi Zahoorul Haq said: “I violated the rules because I was unable to carry out the UPE campaign without AEOs, and I appointed junior teachers just for a few months to achieve the enrollment target.”

Complete Story: https://www.dawn.com/news/1109676/education-department-in-a-fix-over-enrolment-campaign


NEC cuts funds for education from six to below five percent

The National Economic Council (NEC) which met under chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday decreased the share of budget allocation on education in Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the next financial year. The NEC also approved to increase the power of Central Development Working Party (CDWP) for approving development schemes from Rs 1 billion to Rs 3 billion. The NEC did not accept the summary of Planning Commission in which the power of CDWP was proposed to be increased from Rs1 billion to Rs10 billion. Governor KP Mehtab Abbasi also protested over cutting the size of the PSDP allocation for Fata. The allocation was decreased from Rs18 billion in outgoing fiscal to Rs15 billion in the next year. But the Planning Commission informed the KP Governor that the government envisaged a special package of Rs4 billion for Fata so its actual allocation would not decrease in 2014-15.

Complete Story: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-253076-NEC-cuts-funds-for-education-from-six-to-below-five-percent


Fighting for education

Bibi Halima, 26, is an icon of women empowerment in her own right. Her recently-published book “Khawabon mein likhi tehreerein” narrates the trials and tribulations of growing up in the remote Hangu District, where girls’ education is often not a priority. The book is an amalgamation of critical essays, literary reviews and short stories written over a long period of time. Halima received the Parveen Shakir Award in recognition of her achievements in the academic and literary sphere at the Parveen Shakir Urdu Literature Festival that concluded at a local hotel on Saturday. She also read out a short story that she wrote two days ahead of the festival. Titled “Ghumshuda kaghaz ki kashti,” the story underlines the plight of girls from her native town. “The story is reflective of how girls are treated in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” said Halima. “It follows a girl who wants to study fine arts but her parents have planned her marriage without her consent. And so, like paper boats, she is destined to lose her own essence.”

Complete Story: http://tribune.com.pk/story/716009/overcoming-the-odds-fighting-for-education/


For most Afghan refugees, school is not an option

Far too young and fragile to be working, the little boy should have been in school, or safe at home. This is the first impression you get when you see nine-year old Zayar Khan, an Afghan refugee, struggling to push a handcart filled with several dozen watermelons along the road leading to Islamabad’s biggest bus terminal. Wearing a loose outfit spotted with countless stains, he has to rest after short intervals. His job is to transport fruit to a large store half a kilometre away from a shop at the terminal. He typically makes 10 to 12 trips and earns over Rs 120 a day. Till April 14, Zayar was a student of third grade at a school run by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) for refugees in Sector I-10, when the capital’s civic agency razed the school terming it an illegal facility being established on encroached land. Today, Zayar is among 80 per cent Afghan refugee school-aged children in Pakistan, who are out-of-school. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), only five per cent of registered Afghan refugees have completed primary education.

Complete Story: http://tribune.com.pk/story/716011/future-in-peril-for-most-afghan-refugees-school-is-not-an-option/


Cache of textbooks found at scrap dealer’s shop

A good stock of textbooks published by the Punjab Textbook Board has been found in a scrap dealer’s warehouse in Hajveri Colony.Scrap dealer Muhammad Imran told reporters that some teachers and clerks of the Government High School, Narowal, sold out those free textbooks to him for Rs500 per 40 kilo. The stock includes the books of science, mathematics, English, Urdu, social studies and other subjects of grade one to 10. The education department provides free textbooks to the students of public schools to help them get free education. As the news of the stock spread in the city, several people gathered at the dealer’s shop and alerted the district administration and Narowal education department officials. District Monitoring Officer’s (DMO’s) official Iftikhar visited the shop and inspected the books. After their visit, the shopkeeper shifted the stock to some undisclosed location.

Complete Story: https://www.dawn.com/news/1109665/cache-of-textbooks-found-at-scrap-dealers-shop


Call for education

Education experts at a Parents Day function on Saturday called upon teachers, parents, society and state to create strong coordination aimed at ensuring provision of standard education at government institutions. The function was organised at the Government Higher Secondary School Chakdara with a local leader of Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Muhammad Ishaq in the chair.  Besides heads of schools, teachers and students and notables of the area were also present on the occasion. Principal Muhammad Tahir Khan shared the progress report and spoke about shortage of basic facilities, including furniture, IT teachers, classrooms and laboratories in the school. Students of the school presented Qirat, naat, national anthem, national songs and speeches during the function. Former president of all Teachers Association Mushtaqur Rahman, Principal Humayun Khan, Principal Tahir Khan, senior teacher Bahrawar Sher, former UC nazim Abdul Wadood, former students of the school Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Ahmad Shah and Bakht Zamin addressed the function.

Complete Story: http://www.nation.com.pk/lahore/01-Jun-2014/call-for-education


Government all set to pass private schools regulatory authority bill

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government is finally set to pass the private schools regulatory authority bill in the provincial assembly, despite stiff resistance from some treasury lawmakers. Sources within the education department said the chances of the bill’s passing materialised after the government took owners of well-known private education institutions on board. The step to regulate private schools was taken by the previous provincial government, which drafted a bill for setting up an authority within the government’s ambit. But the move drew ire of the private education sector at the time. People familiar with the matter said the private school owners were successful in convincing some of the lawmakers to stand against the bill. Later, then education minister Sardar Hussain Babak tabled the bill in the house but it was later stuck in the selection committee due to alleged links of private school owners with some officials sitting on key posts at the time.

Complete Story: http://tribune.com.pk/story/716199/after-much-resistance-government-all-set-to-pass-private-schools-regulatory-authority-bill/


Private schools refuse to pay professional tax

The owners of private schools have refused to pay the annual professional tax to the excise and taxation office (ETO) Rawalpindi. The private schools were directed by the ETO office to deposit the professional tax of Rs3,000 per year. However, a delegation of the All-Pakistan Private School Management Association, headed by its divisional president Abrar Ahmed Khan, on Saturday held a meeting with the ETO, Sohail Majid, and informed him that their institutions did not fall in the category of professional taxpayers. “We informed the ETO that under the Property Tax Act, the government cannot get professional or commercial tax from the private schools,” said Abrar Khan. He added that after listening to their complaints, the ETO advised them to contact the higher authorities.

Complete Story: http://www.dawn.com/news/1109822/private-schools-refuse-to-pay-professional-tax



Pindi education dept gets its budget back

In a major development, the Punjab government on Saturday returned Rs38 million special budget it had withdrawn last week from the education department, Rawalpindi. Now the government has directed the executive district officer (EDO) for education to carry out development schemes in schools. Last week, the Punjab government, without giving any reason, withdrew Rs720 million from education departments of the province. Out of a total of Rs720 million special budget for the provision of missing facilities in schools, Rs38 million was for the education department Rawalpindi. “Today, I was told by the authorities concerned that the government has decided not to withdraw the special budget. The deputy secretary planning for Punjab directed me to carry out the development schemes,” said EDO education Rawalpindi, Qazi Zahoorul Haq.

Complete Story: http://www.dawn.com/news/1109824/pindi-education-dept-gets-its-budget-back


Not enough money for new ICT schools

The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2014-15 appears to be out-of-sync with the rising demand for more schools and colleges in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).  The Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD)’s proposal for 25 new projects has been summed up in one project titled ‘establishment/uplifting of eight schools in ICT’, in the PSDP 2014-15. Documents available with The Express Tribune show that the CADD submitted a proposal of Rs240 million for eight new schools but could get only Rs150 million approved by the Planning Commission. As enrolment is on the rise and CADD is considering abolishing evening shifts, the noose is tightening around the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) for construction of new schools.

Complete Story: http://tribune.com.pk/story/716357/psdp-2014-15-not-enough-money-for-new-ict-schools/


PML-N government gives low priority to higher education, health sectors

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has given low priority to higher education and health sectors in next fiscal year development budget and reduced allocation for education by 35 percent in 2014-15 National Development Programme.  The National Development Programme was approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) on the recommendations of APCC shows that the allocation for education, training & standards in the Higher Education Division is Rs 3.4 billion for 2014-15 The amount is 35 percent less when it compared to Rs 5.34 billion in the ongoing fiscal year 2013-14.  The government has allocated Rs 2.68 billion for National Health Services, Regulations & Co-ordination Division in the forthcoming budget 2014-15 is only increase 4 percent over compared to Rs 2.574 billion in the current fiscal year. The PML-N government did not approve any new development project in next financial year 2014-15 for Education, Training & Standards in Higher Education Division while it has allocated a total of Rs 3.4 billion for 12 ongoing projects. 

Complete Story: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=http://www.brecorder.com/business-a-economy/189/1188375/&ct=ga&cd=CAEYACoTNjAwNTgzODE1OTc4MjU5ODMxMjIaYTg0MmFkOWI3ZWQwMmZhYzpjb206ZW46UEs&usg=AFQjCNHeTvGe_5zU9SCt-sB8krhorulO-A


Teacher, five students injured in roof collapse

A religious teacher and her five students sustained injuries when a roof of a room caved in here on Friday evening. Police said Sakina Bibi was teaching Quran to her students when the roof of her house at the Model Town in Sihala caved in. The incident occurred after the wall of a nearby under-construction house collapsed on the room during a windstorm. The room was located on the first floor of the teacher’s house. At the time of the incident, there were 15 students. The neighbours retrieved the teacher and her students who were trapped under the debris. The teacher along with five students - Ali, 10, Zain, 6, Ujala, 10, Taimur, 6, and Sumbul, 10 - were injured.

Complete Story: http://www.dawn.com/news/1109686/teacher-five-students-injured-in-roof-collapse


Lit Fest celebrates the giants of Urdu Literature

The Parveen Shakir Urdu Literature Festival 2014 opened this Friday at the Comsats Institute of Information Technology (CIIT). Organised by the Parveen Shakir Trust, the festival is the first of its kind in Pakistan and aims to promote Urdu literature in the country.The festival featured several sessions on renowned Urdu writers and poets, including Mirza Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Allama Iqbal, and Parveen Shakir. Mazharul Islam, one of the organisers of the festival, told Dawn that the festival aimed to promote Pakistan’s Urdu literary traditions and heritage, especially amongst the youth. The festival opened with a session on Mirza Ghalib, moderated by Mazharul Islam and attended by renowned actor Talat Hussain, Professor Saeed Ahmed, poet Amjad Islam Amjad, Majid Qureishi, Iqra Aslam, actor Qavi Khan and Ali Raza.

Complete Story: https://www.dawn.com/news/1109684/lit-fest-celebrates-the-giants-of-urdu-literature


PM launches fee reimbursement scheme today

Prime Minister’s fee reimbursement scheme for the students of less developed areas will be officially launched under the aegis of Prime Minister Youth Programe (PMYP) today (Monday) at Peshawar. The PMFRS was already launched in Balochistan by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on May 21, 2014. This was decided in a high-level review meeting chaired by the Chairperson of the Prime Minister’s Youth Programe (PMYP) Motharma Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Sunday. The meeting decided that the Chairperson of the PMYP will handover 100 percent fee reimbursement cheques at Peshawar among the students hailing from the less developed areas of KPK and FATA undertaking MA, MSc, MS, M Phill or PhD courses from the HEC recognized public sector universities. The meeting was informed that out of the total 30,000 post graduate students hailing from less developed areas of the country, more than 6000 post-graduate students hailing from KPK and FATA will benefit from the 1.20 billion rupees scheme launched by the present democratic government to encourage the pursuit of higher education for the students facing financial constraints

Complete Story: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/06/01/business/pm-launches-fee-reimbursement-scheme-today/


Summer vacation starts today in schools

The summer vacations in government schools start from today (Sunday). On the direction of the Punjab government, all schools under the Punjab Education Department would observe summer vacations from June 1 till August 14. Private schools are expected to start their summer vacations from June 15. Furthermore, the Punjab government has issued a notification that the private schools would not receive the fee during summer vacations or else their registrations would be cancelled.

Complete Story: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/01-Jun-2014/summer-vacation-starts-today-in-schools


Senior teachers to be made headmasters and headmistresses

Issues between teachers’ unions and Punjab Education Department have been settled and education department has issued the notification of appointing senior teachers as headmasters and headmistresses. This notification has been issued under Chief Minister’s Package and all the teachers promoted in 17th and 18th grade will be made headmasters and headmistresses.

Complete Story: http://www.express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspx?newsID=1102243215&Issue=NP_ISB&Date=20140601


School still in ruins since 2005 earthquake

Students of Government Primary School Badgran, Union Council, District Abbottabad are still waiting for the teachers to come to their school. The school was damaged in devastating 2005 earthquake and still in ruins since then.

Complete Story: http://www.nawaiwaqt.com.pk/E-Paper/islamabad/2014-06-02/page-16


Textbooks from 6th to 10th class are available online now

Punjab Textbook Board has made all the textbooks, from 6th to 10th class, available online to help students study online during summer vacations.

Complete Story: http://www.nawaiwaqt.com.pk/E-Paper/islamabad/2014-06-02/page-2


What should be the share of education in budget?

Jang newspaper has conducted a survey to know the opinion of students about the budgeting of education in fiscal year 20014-14. All of the students were of the view that education budget should be increased to at least 4 percent of the GDP as developed countries spend 5 percent of their GDP on education.  

Complete Story: http://e.jang.com.pk/06-02-2014/Pindi/page8.asp



Pakistan’s 60 million illiterates by Inyatullah

This column is about the 60 million Pakistanis who cannot read the number of a bus or a calendar. The country is a signatory to numerous international commitments to guarantee everyone’s right to education. The very first national education conference in Pakistan in 1947 resolved to accord the highest priority to the promotion of education with Quaid-e-Azam telling the participants that for the newly founded country, education was “a matter of life and death.” A number of commissions and committees followed to reiterate and reinforce the message. The 1973 Constitution laid down that illiteracy was to be eradicated within the minimum possible time. In 1990, the world held the largest ever conference on education at Jomtien, Thailand, where along with others, Pakistan committed itself to substantially lowering its illiteracy rate. Very little however, was actually done, with the result that the literacy rate remained one of the lowest in the world.

Complete Story: http://www.nation.com.pk/columns/31-May-2014/pakistan-s-60-million-illiterates


Education policy and local languages by Zubair Torwali

In late 2010, encouraged by the Eighteenth Amendment, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P)provincial cabinet meeting, discussing language instruction, approved a multilingual solution to the teaching of mother languages in schools across the province. For the first time in the history of the province, Hindko, Khowar, Seraiki and Indus-Kohistani were included in the syllabus apart from Pashto, the main language of K-P. According to the official website of the K-P government, Pashto will be introduced as a compulsory subject in 17 districts from grade one to grade 10, with Hindko, Seraiki, Khowar and Indus-Kohistani introduced in the remaining seven districts of the province. Moreover, the K-P government had also taken steps to see to the formation of a Khyber-Pakhtunhwa Regional Languages Authority (KPRLA), which would work for the promotion of all the languages spoken in the province. The provincial authorities have, indeed, taken some laudable measures in this regard, but progress in planning and implementation of these policies has yet to be witnessed. Indeed, catering to teaching materials in the local languages is not an easy task.

Complete Story: http://tribune.com.pk/story/716264/education-policy-and-local-languages/


Higher education, lower priorities by Dr. Noman Ahmed

According to a recent news report, the public sector universities in the country are compelled to raise its fee due to limited inflow of recurring grants. The various quarters of the government are advising the universities to generate more and more revenue on their own to become financially viable. But this cannot happen without burdening the students, most of whom come from lower to middle income groups. One of the foremost problems that the higher education sector in the country is experiencing is the drying up of budgetary preferences that this vital sector enjoyed during the previous decade. With the opening of new public sector universities all across the country, including Sindh, the HEC is now faced with a far greater challenge to judiciously divide an even smaller pie of public finances among increased stakeholders. 

Complete Story: http://tns.thenews.com.pk/high-education-commission-lower-priorities/#.U4w_WfmSyrA


Budgeting for a knowledge economy by Dr Atta-ur-Rahman

The budget is looming ahead, and the million-dollar question is whether our government, particularly the finance minister, has a plan to transition our country from a low value added agriculture economy to a high value added knowledge economy. Pakistan should be setting aside a major portion of its budget on strengthening existing universities and research institutions as well as organisations such as PCSIR, PARC, PAEC etc, establishing new institutions particularly in emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, genomics and bioinformatics; training high quality professionals and workers in line with market demand; creating effective linkages of academic institutions, with industry; providing incentives to the private sector to undertake research and development by government financial support for human resource development and laboratories and establishing technology incubators and specialised technology parks.

Complete Story: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-253264-Budgeting-for-a-knowledge-economy


Increase in education budget by Muhammad Riaz Akhter

Education has become a provincial subject after the 18th amendments and now it’s the responsibility of provincial governments to allocate sufficient amount of resources to overcome the bleak situation of education. Education was stressed in the manifestos of all the political parties before election 2013, specially PMLN and PTI. This budget will a test of both of these parties about their commitments for education.

Complete Story: http://www.nawaiwaqt.com.pk/E-Paper/islamabad/2014-05-31/page-16