MAY 02 2014

Need for an educated nation

Education is the most important factor of any society as it shows how a nation has progressed. An illiterate nation cannot properly understand national aims and goals, they cannot understand the value of unity and discipline in life and remain unaware of the latest advancements. Education improves human life gives people better opportunities and makes life more informed and disciplined. Providing education is the State’s responsibility but unfortunately we have not been blessed with even one ruler, democratic or khaki, who wanted this nation to be educated. Article 25-A of Constitution of Pakistan obligates that State ‘will provide free and compulsory quality education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such a manner as determined by law’ but there has been no implementation of this Article.

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EU promises 30m Euros to Balochistan for education sector

European Union (EU) has pledged to provide 30 million Euros for development of the education sector in Balochistan. Addressing a function organised at the head office of Balochistan Rural Support Program, the head of the EU delegation, Berend de Groot said ways and means were discussed with Pakistani officials during the past three months for development of the education sector. According to media reports, the EU and the Government of Pakistan launched a seven-year program spanning the years 2014 and 2020 for rural development and removal of educational backwardness. “Bringing girls in schools is our priority,” Berend de Groot said. He said the Balochistan government had come forward with ideas for promotion of education and development of far-flung areas of the province.

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Cameron praises Shahbaz vision for education

British Prime Minister David Cameron, during a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, spoke very highly of Punjab-DFID cooperation and praised Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for quality of leadership especially his vision to promote education, skills development and health programmes.  He further said, “We can face the British taxpayers and justify our funding to Punjab and Great Britain is very happy to continue its cooperation.” Meanwhile, Shahbaz said that the UK PM’s appreciation of the Punjab government’s steps in skill development, education and other sectors is a matter of pride not only for Punjab but the whole country. He said that the Punjab government is ready to share its experiences with other provinces.

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When sanitary conditions stand in the way of education

Blocked roads, schools destroyed and homes carried off by floodwaters. More than 20 million Pakistanis saw their daily lives affected by the intense flooding in 2010. Added to this were heavy rains felt during the monsoon seasons in 2011 and then in 2013. The consequences of these disastrous rainfalls are still very much present. Terre des hommes (Tdh) is renewing its support for this country that is still one of the poorest in the world.

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Two schools bombed in KPK

Three government buildings were blown up by miscreants in Mohmad Agency and Charsadda district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today. Security sources said a government-run hospital was blown up in Shabqadar Tehsil of Charsadda and two schools in Mohmand Agency this morning. Official said miscreants set off explosive material to blow up the building. Security forces conducted a search operation in the areas.

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Teachers freed in paper leak case

Five teachers, who are facing trial for their alleged role in leaking primary class paper have been freed from Adial Jail here on Wednesday. These teachers are accused of leaking English language paper of 5th class, prepared by the Punjab Examination Commission. The other day, special judge Anti Corruption Rawalpindi had accepted their bail plea. Those who were set free are Gulzar Hussain Raja (principal Abbasi High School), senior teachers Zulfikar Ahmed, Zahid Iqbal and others. During the hearing of the bail plea, the said teachers through their lawyers had contended before the court that they had nothing to do with the alleged paper leaking issue.

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Ghost schools, teachers haunt Balochistan, says adviser

The menace of ghost schools and teachers has assumed alarming proportions in Balochistan, according to Chief Minister’s Adviser on Education Sardar Raza Mohammad Baraich. “Teachers use political pressure to get the postings and transfers of their choice,” he said at a ceremony organised jointly by the provincial government and Unicef in connection with the school enrolment campaign. He said his office was thronged on a daily basis by political personalities and other influential people who seek posting of teachers at their favourite schools. On other hand, he said, a large number of teachers did not take classes. Presently there were hundreds of ghost schools and teachers in Balochistan, he said and stressed the need for reopening closed schools, making ghost schools functional and forcing ghost teachers to take classes.

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Why is 95% of the budget being spent on 8 depts including health, education?

Members of the Sindh Assembly sitting on the opposition and treasury benches spent a busy day discussing the budget. The one question on everyone’s minds was why 95% of the revenue budget was being spent on eight departments including education, health, finance, irrigation and local government. The others, they said, were being ignored. The MPAs claimed that there was a need to form a committee to oversee the development performance. “Even after showing an expenditure of more than a billion rupees in the education and health departments, many schools and basic health centres remain closed,” said Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Khursheed Junejo. After the 18th Amendment, it has become mandatory to review how much and how the budget has been used in a quarter. However, instead of three months, this was being done after nearly 10 months.

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Govt schools to be built on modern lines: Imran Khan

Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Wednesday announced to reconstruct the government schools on modern lines. “We have started public awareness campaign for the reconstruction of government schools and for this purpose two donors have donated five million rupees in the first phase”, he said while addressing the inauguaration ceremony of Tameer-e-School programme in Doran Pur area of Peshawar on Thursday.

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A literary delicacy to tickle teachers’ taste buds

Capital’s first ever Teachers Literature Festival opens today with enriching interactive sessions. The federal capital is celebrating its first ever Teachers Literature Festival (TLF) today at Federal College of Education (FCE), Sector H-9. The festival, organised by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi and Oxford University Press in collaboration with Open Society Foundation and FCE, is featuring many national and international celebrities participating in different interactive sessions, programs and activities. TLF is being celebrated first time in federal capital along with Children Literature Festival (CLF) and according to organizers TLF would be celebrated on May 1 while CLF would be held from May 2 to 3 at the same venue. These three-day literature celebrations would be featuring many interactive sessions and activities including talks, interviews, discussions, workshops, book fair, puppet show, competitions, food stalls and many others.

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Interactive class tech project

The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) has launched pilot project of introducing interactive classroom technology in 25 selected schools in Lahore and other districts. These schools are attached under Education Voucher Scheme (EVS) with the foundation.  The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing ceremony was held at a local hotel with MD-PEF Dr Aneela Salman in the chair. The MOU was signed by PEF Director (CPDP) Bushra Saeed Khan and CEO of Social Engineering Consultants (SEC) Sonia Saleem on behalf of their respective organizations. Under the pilot project, SEC will provide computerized electronic boards and multimedia projectors free of cost to EVS partners to teach their students through latest IT based equipment.

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Parents, teachers demand revival of two weekly holidays

Parents of the students studying in schools and colleges of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) have demanded of the authorities to restore two weekly holidays as weather turns hot. The decision of two weekly holidays for the public departments was taken by the government in May 2010 due to the power crisis in the country. However, on November 28, 2013, Capital Administration and Development (CAD) Ministry declared Saturday as a working day for the 423 educational institutions working under Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).

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Street children demand right to education

If we are born in an underprivileged society, it does not mean that we should be deprived of our right to education and a happy and healthy life in a secured environment. This voice was raised on Wednesday by over 65 street children from capital’s slums, who are studying at the Out-of-School Children’s School (OSCS) established on the premises of the National Protection Centre (NCPC), through posters, songs, speeches and videos messages at an event organised by Rozan in collaboration with the NCPC. The event was held as part of the International Street Children Day, celebrated on April 12 every year. The street children also demanded that the government took necessary steps for their overall well-being.

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KP’s education push

AS the aphorism goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This seems to be the case in Pakistan, particularly when the issue is one of interventions that would improve the lot of the common man. Consider, for example, that the KP government led by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has in recent days initiated a push on education. This is a worthy initiative indeed, for there is no doubt that whatever the range of problems faced by the country in general and the province in particular, matters can only improve once levels of education start climbing. So far, regardless of the fact that we have signed pledges to provide free education to all, besides making this a constitutional right, enrolling every child in school remains a distant dream. So there is every reason to appreciate that the KP government has made this goal a priority. 

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On conspiracy theories, education and the state by Madiha Afzal

Conspiracy theories flourish like little else in this beleaguered nation. There is no point listing examples of such theories here: you know how it goes. A new one crops up and spreads like wildfire following an event of significance, usually something terrible that needs an explanation. The phenomenon being ‘explained’ may vary, but the set of scapegoats, the powers perceived as orchestrating (in local parlance, ‘behind’) each event remain the same: in order of ‘popularity’, these are the United States, India and Israel, and Pakistan’s own distrusted government. Note that some conspiracy theories may be true; still others may contain some element of truth. This piece will attempt to unpack why false conspiracy theories exist and thrive in the Pakistani context, and what, if anything, can be done to counter them.

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Inclusive growth: education pathway by Ahmar Qasim Qazi

The Planning Commission of Pakistan has been seriously engaged in devising the Vision 2025 and 11thFive Year Plan 2013-2018, as one could see from its sincere efforts on 22nd November’s Conference in the Convention Center Islamabad. I found Mr. AhsanIqbal the Minister for Planning, Development and Reform unambiguously clear in deciding the direction of the economy.  He was enthusiastic as well to implement and achieve the desired goals in order to get Pakistan’s development process back on the track.

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