MAR 05 2014

Good news for Sindh, Balochistan

Education Sector Plans for Sindh and Balochistan were endorsed by the representatives of 10 development organisations and agencies at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) as a prerequisite to seek US $100 million from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to help Pakistan achieve education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Education Minister Balochistan, Sardar Raza Muhammad Barrech, Secretary Education Balochistan Ghulam Ali Baluch and the Additional Chief Secretary Sindh Fazlullah Pechuho witnessed the signing ceremony on Tuesday. The representatives of the European Union, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Australian Government's Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), German Aid Agency (GIZ), United Kingdom's Department for International Aid (DFID) World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF signed the endorsement document. The GPE had indicated a grant of US $100 million for programme implementation of the education sector plans in Sindh and Balochistan. Of this, Sindh will receive $66 million and Balochistan will get $34 million. The World Bank is the supervising entity for both Sindh and Balochistan, whereas the European Union and UNICEF are the coordinating entities for Sindh and Balochistan respectively. 

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Govt takes radical measures to improve education standard

The Khyber Pakhtonkhaw Assembly Standing Committee on Elementary Education with its chairman and MPA Muhammad Arif in chair met here in Peshawar on Tuesday and discussed matters related to improvement of education. Provincial Minister for Education Muhammad Atif, MPAsJamshed Khan, Sardar Hussain, Shah Hussain, Mohtarma Zarin Riaz and Mohtarma Meraj Hamayun Khan besides senior officers of the department attended the meeting. Addistional Secretary education, Qaiser Alam Khan briefed the committee about different matters pertaining to improvement of education in the province.

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Poorly performing teachers get one-time relaxation

Apparently succumbing to teacher unions’ pressure, the Rawalpindi education department has decided not to take departmental action against the school teachers whose classes produced poor results in the last Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination. The office of Executive District Officer (EDO) had ordered action against more than 400 teachers, who were responsible for poor results in SSC part one examinations last year. However, teachers on the other hand put onus of the poor results on the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Rawalpindi as, what they said, they issued faulty result. According to sources, it has been decided that teachers of grade 16 and below, who have been issued notices or awarded punishment, would file appeal with District Coordination Officer (DCO) against the EDOs decision. When DCO will ask EDO Education for his comments, he will seek relief for the teachers, the sources said. Talking to Dawn on Tuesday, EDO Education Qazi Zahoor-ul-Haq confirmed that when teachers would file appeal against his decision he would recommend relief for them.

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Reasons of Low Levels of Education in Pakistan

Education around the globe is considered as the defining feature of economic and social development. Pakistan on the supply side has clearly lagged behind in provision of adequate educational resources and consequently on the demand side has failed in creating a clear demand for education. However, it is important to realize that the problems which hinder the provision of education are not just of mismanagement by government but some of them are deeply rooted in the social and cultural orientation of the people. Overcoming the latter is difficult and would require a change in attitude of the people until then universal primary education is difficult to achieve.

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We cannot close our eyes

In a poverty-stricken village in deeply conservative rural Pakistan, Muslim girls are getting the chance to protect and defend their bodies with a controversial sex education project. In neat rows, the Pakistani 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 groundbreaking lessons are taking place in deeply conservative rural Pakistan, a Muslim nation of 180 million people. 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. But teachers operating in the village of Johi in poverty-stricken Sindh province say most families there support their sex education project.

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Pakistan´s new security policy aims to reform madrassas

Pakistan plans to bring all of its madrassas, or religious schools, under its national education system within one year under a landmark security policy aimed at combating extremism. The first "National Internal Security Policy", a copy of which was seen by AFP on Sunday, says that some of the country´s 22,000 madrassas are responsible for spreading extremism. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan presented the policy in parliament on Wednesday after a decade-long insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and cost the economy "more than $78 billion". On the topic of religious schools, the document says: "It is important to mention upfront that not all madrassas are a problem and therefore these must not be viewed negatively as a whole.  "However, there were problems within some madrassas which have spread extremism," it adds, noting "financing from unidentified sources" and the "publication and distribution of hate material". The vast majority of madrassas in Pakistan fall outside government control and offer little in the way of mainstream subjects for their students.

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BISE Peshawar to have control room for exam

A control room is being established in the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) during secondary school certificate examination 2014 for the facilitation of students, parents and public at large.The control room will offer services from 8am to 5pm on a daily basis during the examination, which will commence from March 12 and will continue up to March 29.Similarly, practical examination will commence from April 4 and will continue till April 9, 2014.The control room will be manned by two staff members available at phone numbers 091-9216878 and 091-9222073. The phone numbers of facilitation-cum-complaint cell are 091-9216262 and 091-9216264 while its email address is

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Teachers will teach weak students in summer vacations

Education Department, Punjab has decided to help the students who are weak in their studies and demanded the list of teachers who want to teach those students in summers vacations. Teachers will be paid for teaching in vacations. Teachers’ Unions welcomed this decision of Punjab Education Department.

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Pak Navy will help to improve education activities in Balochistan

Pakistan navy has established Bahria Schools in Gwadar and Ormara to improve the quality and access to education in Balochistan. Navy has also decided to patronize government schools in Balochitsan. Quota has also been allocated to Baloch students in Bahria schools of Karachi.

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AJK, GB students included in Punjab education programmes

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that there is no dearth of talent in Pakistan and the young generation is the hope of a bright future for the country.  He said that youth can change the destiny of the nation through hard work, honesty and continuous efforts. He said that students should pay attention to their studies and propagate the message of unity, discipline and hope. He said that the Punjab government has also included talented boy and girl students of Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and other provinces in its programmes aimed at promotion of education which is promoting national unity. The chief minister announced laptops for the position holder students of other provinces who are currently on a visit to Lahore.  He was talking to position holders of Sindh, KPK, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir during a meeting, here today. Provincial Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, Secretary Higher Education, Secretary Information and Director General Public Relations were also present on the occasion. The Chief Minister welcomed position holder students of Sindh, KPK, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir in Lahore. He said that young generation is the guarantee to a glorious future of the country.

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The battle of ideas by Zubeida Mustafa

The seminar organised recently by the Forum for Secular Pakistan on ‘Democracy and Secularism’ drove home two basic truths. First, there can be no democracy without secularism. Secondly, democracy needs a national democratic movement to survive and develop further. The keynote speaker I.A. Rehman, secretary-general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, elaborated this very succinctly. On the occasion all the speakers did an excellent job of highlighting the dangers faced by the advocates of secularism in a Pakistan that is under threat of Talibanisation. For the audience, mostly likeminded liberals who had turned up in sufficient strength — by the standards set by such intellectual exercises — this did not provide new food for thought. The slogans for secularism have been raised again and again for a long time now. Read Sibte Hasan’s book The Battle of Ideas in Pakistan that appeared in 1986 and you know secularism is not a new demand. Yet, I would say it is not bad strategy to revisit such ideals since this serves to strengthen the conviction of those who stand for them and refresh the memories of others who may have forgotten their history.

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Lack of will

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is alone in the fight against illiteracy in Sindh. He is dismayed by the low literacy rate in his government’s province and has announced an educational emergency in Sindh to reform the education sector. This statement has been appreciated and welcomed by all but Wednesday’s baton charge and use of tear gas and water canons against the peacefully protesting male and female teachers of the teachers’ organisation, Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) has raised many questions about how and why the Sindh government and education department officials have been creating hurdles in Bilawal’s education emergency declaration. It is the teachers who can play an important role by joining hands with him to improve the falling standards of Sindh education. We have the resources to resolve all issues facing Pakistan but we lack only will power when it comes to bettering the lot of the general public. The army chief, Raheel Sharif, even briefed the prime minister of Pakistan on how the army can clear North Waziristan within a four-week-long operation.

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The business of education by Sana Gauri

All of us in Pakistan, rich or poor, want to enroll our child in a private school where everyone speaks English. We all want to secure the future of our child and for this the tag of English-medium is very essential in our country.

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