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June 2008 - Urban Resource Centr - DOC

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									                                             Sham university reforms
GEN Pervez Musharraf‘s regime boasts of its successes in science and education at home and abroad. Recently I saw
Pakistan‘s successes trumpeted by a large official delegation headed by Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, chairman of the Higher
Education Commission (HEC), at a conference in Trieste, Italy.

They came to address a special session on science development in Pakistan — the only country that had requested and
paid for such special treatment at the conference. Those who did not know about the state of science in Pakistan were
amazed by the claims made. Those who knew better were stunned by the flood of self -serving lies, half-truths and deceit.

The claims made were several. A 300 per cent jump in research publications shows that academic activity in Pakistan
has vastly increased; nine new engineering universities with European teaching faculty will soon be established; the
3,000 Pakistani students sent overseas for higher degrees will revolutionise the university system upon return; PhDs
produced annually from Pakistani universities will soon approach the spectacular figure of 1,500; mathematics is now a
strong discipline in Pakistan; and so forth.

The truth is very different. Even though spending on higher education has increased 15 times over the last five years, the
improvements have been cosmetic. Genuine science in Pakistan has actually shrunk, not grown, over the last three
decades. The trend has not been reversed. Euphoric claims notwithstanding, public university education in Pakistan
remains miserably backward by international standards. Its real problems are yet to be touched.

Take the HEC‘s first claim: the three-fold increase in Pakistani academic publications. Fantastically large per-paper
monetary rewards to university teachers — a practice not adopted anywhere else in the world for excellent reasons —
have indeed boosted publication rates. But publishing more papers is not the same as doing more research. Instead, the
high rewards have caused an explosion of plagiarism, theft of intellectual property, publication of trivial results and
falsified data, and publication of slightly different versions of the same paper in different journals. Most published papers
are worthless academically and scientifically.

The reader can readily verify the last point. All that is needed is a computer and an Internet connection. Simply type into your browser, and then the name of any individual scientist or scholar you want. (Academic
databases even more comprehensive than Google are available but not free.) A list of publications of that person,
together with a count of the number of times his/her papers have been cited by other scholars, will be displayed.
Remember that a piece of scientific work is important only if it is useful to other scientists, or to industry in the form of
patents that lead to new products (a separate database exists for that). So, in a matter of seconds, one can see which
individuals are considered important by the world of science and academia.
The results of such database searches are eye-opening. A majority of papers by Pakistani authors, even if published in
international journals by hook or crook, have exactly zero citations (once self-citations are removed). Such papers have
contributed nothing. They may just as well have not been written. The average number of citations per Pakistani paper is
3.41 (includes self-citation), which is much below that in scientifically advanced countries.

Still more shocking is the citation record of some of Pakistan‘s most well-advertised scientists, whose relentless self-
promotion at government expense would be considered a crime in another country. While they have hundreds of papers
and books to their credit, most of these have zero citations. Others in their field seem to have scarcely noticed any of
their work. On the other hand, the reader can check that about 25-30 other Pakistani scientists, who are unadvertised
and relatively unknown, have a far better citation record and a moderately good international sta nding in their respective

Now for the HEC‘s nine Pak-European universities project. This is a stunning disaster. The most advanced university (in
terms of construction and planning) was the French engineering university in Karachi. Named UESTP-France, with a
completion cost of Rs26bn, it was to have begun functioning in October 2007. There is still no official explanation for why
this did not happen, no new date has been set, and no account given of the money already spent.

On the face of it, making Pak-European universities sounds like a wonderful idea. Pakistan would pay for France,
Sweden, Italy and some other European countries to help set up, manage and provide professors for new universities in
Pakistan. It would be expensive — Pakistan would have to pay the full development costs, recurrent expenses, and euro-
level salaries (plus 40 per cent markup) for all the foreign professors and vice -chancellors. But it would still be worth it
because the large presence of European professors teaching in these Pakistani universities would ensure good teaching.
High-standard degrees would subsequently be awarded by institutions in the respective European countries.

Even common sense said that the project could not work. Perhaps one can persuade beefy mercenaries of the French
Foreign Legion to go to some country where suicide bombings happen daily and killing of ordinary citizens by terrorists is
routine. But it takes an enormous leap of faith to think that respectable academics from France — or any other European
country for that matter — will want to live and teach in Pakistan for a year or more. Travel advisories issued by several
European governments warn against even brief visits. That the French professors did not turn up at UESTP -France is
scarcely surprising. But, lost to their mad fantasies, HEC planners are now working on the vain assumption that the
Germans and Swedes are made of sterner stuff than the French.

A wiser leadership would have aimed for one properly planned new engineering university, set up under the European
Union. It would have sought external help for adding engineering departments to existing universities, as well as to
massively upgrade existing ones. But these relatively modest goals are unacceptable to the present HEC leadership that
believes, like the Musharraf regime as a whole, in grand plans rather than practical, feasible reforms.

Showing the hollowness of the other official claims of progress would take more space than available here. Slick
PowerPoint presentations by HEC officials throw one figure after another at dizzying speed giving the impression of
fantastic progress. But the intelligent listener must ask many questions: does it make sense to select thousands of
students on the basis of a substandard high-school level numeracy and literacy test, and then send them for an
expensive graduate-level education in Europe? Will the quality of Pakistani graduates not be further degraded by pushing
PhD production far beyond the capability of the present universities?

It is time to end the fetish of buying tons of expensive scientific equipment that, at the end of it all, produce only zero -
citation papers and zero patents. Curiously, after a bunch of projects were exposed as phoney, the HEC broke with its
past practice and now no longer puts on its website details of HEC-funded projects. It is also time to stop HEC officials
and HEC delegates from gallivanting across the globe at public expense on the vaguest of excuses for ‗fact-finding‘
missions and conferences.

There must be an independent investigation of the HEC‘s plans and financing, a review of its programmes and a full audit
of accounts. The inquiry should be jointly done by the future government through the PAC and NAB, assisted by a
citizen‘s committee. Individual whims and personal ambitions must be checked to protect the national interest. Pakistan is
a poor country although, looking at the HEC‘s spending patterns, one would conclude the opposite.
In my next article, I shall argue that there are far better uses for the enormous funding that is now available for higher
(By Pervez Hoodbhoy, Dawn-7, 02/01/2008)

                                                  The year that was
Another year full of happenings and events — tragic, happy and emotional — has whizzed by all too soon. It seems only
yesterday that these major events that have affected so many lives happened. As we wait for new events this year,
here’s a glimpse of the rollercoaster year that came and went.

One of the saddest moments for the staffers of Dawn was the demise of the legendary editor Ahmad Ali Khan, widely
known as Khan Saab. He passed away in March last year.

Many interesting events made history in the past year. In January, US senator Hillary
Clinton decided to run as presidential candidate to become, if elected, the first woman
president of America. Also, Art Buchwald, the famous humorist and Pulitzer Prize
winner, and a favourite of many, passed away in January. Considered the ‗Wit of
                               Washington‘, his columns were widely read for his
                               subtle satire. Quoting his lines from a local magazine, ―If
                               you criticize the establishment long enough, they‘ll
                               make sure you become a member of it.‖

                                Carlo Ponti, the Italian producer and husband of Sofia
                                Loren, who won an Oscar and also launched her career,
                                died at age 94, in Geneva, in January.

                                Back home, headlines were made when a gardener in Toba Tek Singh committed suicide
                                when his wife delivered a second baby girl. Also, controversy stirred as the government
                                decided to revise the national curriculum and include history of other religions to promote
                                interfaith and tolerance. As approval from the government took some time in coming, it
                                was decided to put off the changes till the next academic session.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority along with the health ministry, pulled up so me broadcast channels
                              that misled the public by showing ‗unethical and lethal health related advertisements‘ that
                              included weight reduction and treatment of incurable
                              diseases such as diabetes, hepatitis C and cancer.

                                Conflict was strife when the government ordered the
                                demolition of Lal Masjid in Islamabad in January. Hundreds
                                of veiled women sprung into action to defend the mosque.
                                Mukhtar Mai‘s book, In the Name of Honour was launched.
                                She has penned her feelings and the treatment meted out to
                                her after her ordeal. Mukhtar Mai also received the Council
                                Europe North-South Prize in Portugal in March.

                                In the biting cold of February, Maulana Fazlullah, popularly
                                known as Mulla Radio, aired some controversial statements
                                through his radio station in Swat against women‘s education,
                                music and polio drops.

As spring set in, the Newsweek called Musharraf-Benazir ‗a perfect match‘ for Pakistani politics as ―both politicians share
a liberal, secular outlook.‖ The month of March was filled with flower shows and bas ant festivals while a first of its kind,
Raqs Karo, a dance drama performance took place in Karachi. It was organised by Sheema Kirmani‘s feminist theatre
group, Tehrik-e-Niswan.

In March, a 22-year-old Pakistan-Canadian woman, Misbah Iqbal, a mother of three, created history by participating in
the famous Mrs World Pageant in 2007 in Sochi, Russia.

Also in March, mercifully, Pakistan was also returned the Gandhara artefacts illegally shipped to the United States of
America. The artefacts, 39 in number, were confiscated by the Homeland Secretary Department in the year 2000. They
included sculptures, a Buddha statue, and a cup belonging to the second century, and are on display at the Islamabad

Mum president, Zareen Musharraf and wife of the President, Sehba Musharraf inaugurated in Rawalpindi, a new train of
the Pakistan Railways, the Sir Syed Express which runs between Karachi and Rawalpindi. The train offered separate
seats for women, a service that was resumed after 20 years.

The murderer of Zille Huma Usman, the slain provincial minister, Mohammad Sarwar, was sentenced by an anti -terrorism
court. The man confessed that he had killed four other women but was not
prosecuted due to lack of evidence. The killer has nine children.

The Defence Housing Authority in March was allowed by the Sindh High Court to
proceed with the Beachfront Project on the ‗condition that it allows free public access
and does not block the view of the beach and the sea‘. The Shehri-CBE and the
                                    residents of the area opposed the project for
                                    converting a free recreational spot into mega
                                    commercial land.

                                     Coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in
                                     mysterious circumstances in his hotel room
                                     during the tour of the Pakistani cricket team in the World Cup 2007 in the West
                                     Indies. He was reportedly very dejected after Pakistan was out of the tournament
                                     after losing a crucial match to Ireland. The police questioned the Pakistani cricketers
                                     for an alleged involvement in the murder but found no evidence.

                                     The much celebrated book, Jesus of Nazareth, written by the Pope, was launched in
                                     April on the 80th birthday of the Pope, Benedict Joseph Ratzinger. The 448 page
book offers an analysis of the ‗Mediterranean influence of Christ‘s teachings, Marxism and its shortcomings and the
exploitative aspects of capitalism‘.

On the home front, minister Nilofar Bakhtiar was in troubled waters when she was served a fatwa for hugging her French
paragliding coach in France. As her photographs were splashed in the various newspapers, her party bosses considered
her a threat to the party and thus she was asked to step down from her post. Sumaira Malik took over from Nilofar

With judicial activism at its peak, the KSE 100-share index jumped ahead of 12,000 points —
a record jump — as active buying took place in the oil, cement and banking shares.

                             The Insha ji utho, ab kuch karo fame, Ustad Amanat Ali Khan‘s
                             son Asad Amanat Ali Khan passed away in April. He belonged
                             to the Patiala gharana and sang innumerable songs for
                             Pakistani films and TV. He was born in 1952.

                             Shrek the Third, released in April, became a rage amongst
                             youngsters. Amusing twists in the story sent ripples of laughter
                             as villains turned into ‗good guys‘.

                             Cricket saw Inzamam ul Haq bow out of the game. One of the
                             outstanding batsmen of the world, his last days were a letdown in the Twenty20 series and
                             the World Cup for his fans.

                           A 12-year-old girl from Bhawalpur, Anam Fatima, became one of the youngest authors by
writing a 700 plus page novel, The Quill, which was a local version of Harry Potter. The story was about two young
orphans who build an imaginary world in which the forces of good and evil wage war against each other with magical

May dawned with Paul Wolfowitz resigning from his post as president of the World Bank. Wolfowitz conceded that he
made many mistakes but they were in the interest of the bank. The resignation was duly accepted.

Actress Saima made a public confession that she was married to film director Syed Noor for some years. The celebrated
film director was married to Rukhsana Noor and had two children. Saima was the heroine of Noor‘s every other film.

Munni Baji, the radio celebrity whose voice is etched in the minds of many listeners of the popular radio programme,
Bachon ki Duniya, passed away in April at the age of 73. She worked for Radio Pakistan for 45 years and retired in 1993.

Organised by the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, the first ever International Mystic Music festival took place in May in
Karachi. Many folk musicians, classical singers and dancers were invited locally and from abroad
                         to perform.

                          The Second Floor, a coffee house made an appearance on the literary
                          scene of Karachi. Burning issues of society, both national and
                          international are discussed and personalities are invited for talks.
                          Poetry recitation and book readings are also done.

                          Famous journalist Nuzhat Amin passed away in May. She was a
                          committed women‘s rights activist.

                        As political temperatures rose in June, a disabled man, Aslam Pervez
                        Masih made a peace journey across the country. The 35-year old man
                        rode a tricycle pedalling with his hands from interior Sindh to Islamabad
to promote peace and harmony in the country.

On June 2, the government clamped a ban on live coverage on TV news channels. PEMRA said that permission would
have to be sought from the Ministry of Information in case of special events.

Cyclone Yemyin inundated the province of Balochistan with devastating floods on June 24-25, and more than two million
people were affected and thousands perished while many were rendered homeless. The Inspector General of the
Frontier Corps in Balochistan, Major General Saleem Nawaz stated that the cyclone brought more destruction than the
earthquake in October 2005.

In June, in the run for firsts, the Wimbledon Tennis 2007 tournament became the first event in history to offer an equal
amount of prize money for both Men‘s and Women‘s titles. Sunita Williams also became the second woman of Indian
                             origin to make a ‗new space endurance record for female
                             astronaut‘. The American-Indian returned home on June 20.

                          In July, the hit film Khuda Kay Liye was released all over the
                          country. Directed by Shoaib Mansoor, the movie drew
                          multitudes as cinema houses were packed to capacity through
                          the initial weeks of its release.

                          In Karachi, a publishing company organised a launch ceremony
                          of Harry Potter‘s 7th and final instalment of the adventures of
                          the young wizard at a shopping mall on July 20th.
                          Unfortunately, the ceremony was cancelled due to a bomb
                          threat at the venue.

A new list of the World‘s seven wonders was announced based on a poll in which over a hundred million people
responded. The list included the Great Wall of China, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, Brazil‘s Christ the Redeemer
statue, Machhu Pichu in Peru, the Mayan City of Chichen Itza in Mexico, Rome‘s Colosseum and India‘s Taj Mahal.
Egypt‘s pyramids were unanimously decided for the place in the final list.

The 72-year old Pratibha Patil became the first female President of India after defeating Bhairon Shekhaw al, an
opposition candidate, on July 19. She was a lawyer before joining politics and was elected India‘s 13th president.

                                 Foot-long human footprints, believed to be over
                                 one million years old, preserved on sandstone at
                                 the Margalla Hills were discovered by national
                                 archaeologists in July. Dr Ahmad Hassan Dani,
                                 renowned archaeologist and historian led the
                                 group of Indusians Research Cell (IRC).

                                 In July, Live Earth Concert was organised in
                                 Sydney to begin a three year campaign to raise
                                 funds and create awareness to help counter
                                 environmental issues and global warming.

Indian superstar Sanjay Dutt, convicted of keeping arms during the 1993 communal violence, was sentenced to six years
in jail under the Indian Arms Act. He contended that the arms were meant to ‗protect his family during the violence.‘
Dawn news, the first English language TV channel was launched in July.

The launch ceremony of the controversial book, Military Inc., written by Ayesha Siddiqa did not take place due to a last
minute cancellation by a local hotel in which the ceremony was to take place. The book documented the phenomenon of
milbus (military business) and military assets.

In August, Quratulain Hyder, the most celebrated Urdu novelist and writer passed away in Noida, India. Her f amous
novels include Aag Ka Darya, Meray Bhi Sanam Khaney, The Nautch Girl, etc. She deftly incorporated history in her
novels. Her death has created a deep void in Urdu literature.

Indian actor Salman Khan was arrested at the Jaipur airport for poaching the chinkara, a rare deer found in Rajhasthan.
He was released on bail after a brief period.

After having bowed from the theatre scene in the country years ago, Zia Mohyeddin made a welcome comeback when he
directed the play Habib Mamoo, an adaptation of Anton Chekov‘s 1899 play, Uncle Vanya.

                                 The Pakistan High Commission in London organised the first open-air Pakistan Festival
                                 to commemorate the Pakistan Day on August 14. Hosted by Nadia Khan, singers at the
                                 event included Ali Zafar, Abrarul Haq, Najam Shiraz, etc.

                                 Organised by the Citizens Archives of Pakistan (CAP), a group of professionals
                                 committed to documenting personal accounts, artefacts, memoirs and belongings of
                                 people in the time of partition, theatre and other performances were held under the
                                 Pehchano Apni Shanakht and were well attended for four days from August 11 to 14.

                                 Forty-two year old Mohammad Faizan became the second climber in Pakistan to reach
                                 the Mount Everest last year. A yoga teacher by profession, he claims that he had no
                                 prior training in climbing mountains.

The Miss Pakistan World 2007 title, held in Toronto, Canada, was won by Mahley Sarkari. The pageant invites Pakistani
beauties from around the world to participate in the event.

As Karachi received a heavy downpour in September, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was deported to Saudi Arabia

from Islamabad airport. Sources said that he was convinced that the authorities were taking him to Karachi to be put in
Landhi jail but he soon found out that he was being flown back to Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian president Ahmedinejad visited the Untied States where he made
speeches and delivered lectures around the east coast which were helpful in clearing
up the misunderstandings about himself and his country. Poll results showed a raise
in the ratings in his favour.

Luciano Pavarotti, widely known as the ‗King of the High C‘, for the ‗high tenors of his
circumference, passed away in September. He was born in 1935.

The founder of the Bodyshop, Anita Roddick died in September. A popular chain of
cosmetics, the company has been known for promoting environment friendly
cosmetic items and discouraging animal testing.

October announced the Nobel Prize winners in various fields. For literature, 87-year-old Doris Lessing received the Prize
for her ‗timeless work focusing on society‘s ills and regeneration of feminism‘.

To the surprise of many, Al Gore, the former US Vice president, received the 2007 Peace Prize jointly with the UN‘s
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC came out with a detailed report on the threats humans face from
global warming and climate change.

Deborah Kerr, known as the ‗artist of impeccable beauty‘ and the heartthrob of millions, passed away this year. She
appeared in The King and I.

A big fire broke out at Radio Pakistan, razing 14 studios and destroying expensive and archival equipment and assets.
The fire apparently broke out from a short circuit. Fortunately, children who were recording in a studio nearby at the
station were rescued from the site. Radio Pakistan is said to have faced a loss of more than 20 million rupees.

Emergency was clamped on November 3 in the country, putting both national and international channels off air. Some
managed to come back on air, barring one that faced the greatest wrath of the government. Nawaz Sharif was allowed to
return and many politicians decided to boycott the upcoming elections.

Ex-minister Nilofar Bakhtiar launched an NGO called Bardasht, to promote peace and combat extremism. Imran Khan
may have been convinced of his lost wife‘s love when she took to the streets to protest against her ex-husband‘s
manhandling by a student political group, and his imprisonment.

News headlines made rounds over the case of a same-sex marriage between Shumail Taj, 31 and Shahzina Tariq 25,
who opted for court marriage in September 2007. On Shahzina‘s father‘s complaint the court
set up a medical board to examine Taj as the father had been harassing the couple. The
                                 couple was arrested and sparked cultural controversy.

                                   The famous actor Shafi Mohammad, who played
                                   unforgettable roles in many teleplays, died of a heart
                                   attack on November 17. He was 58 years old.

                                   A cyclone along the coast of Bangladesh killed more than
                                   3,000 people as the winds were estimated to be 240
                                   kilometres per hour.

                                   Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Dr Shamshad Akhtar
                                   was awarded the ‗Best Central Bank Governor for Asia
2007‘ in Washington.

The Kara Film Festival, a much looked forward event, was postponed due to uncertainty in the country while many other
events were also cancelled.

The country‘s icon painter and artist, Gulgee, his wife and a maid were found dead in their home after three days.

Izhar Qazi, a leading actor and hero in many films and tele-dramas, died of a heart attack in Karachi. He was 50 years

A terrible political blow for Pakistan was the assassination of former prime minister
Benazir Bhutto. Her death sparked off riots as people mourned her throughout the

On March 22, famous Pakistani music composer and director, Nisar Bazmi passed
away in Karachi, leaving behind a legacy of songs and compositions. He was born
in 1925 into a very religious family in India that considered music taboo. He
migrated from a small town, Naseerabad in Madhya Pradesh, India, to spend a
major part of his life in Karachi in 1962. His debut compositions were for the film
‗Jamana Paar‘ in 1946. Many of his songs were sung by Ahmed Rushdi and Nur
Jehan. Among some of his famous songs sung on Pakistan Television were
‗Phooli hai sarson‘ (Nayyara Noor), ‗Khayal rakhna‘ (Alamgir), ‗Zindagi raqs karti hai‘ (Mehnaz), ‗Ranjish hi sahi‘ (Mehdi
Hasan), etc.—S.N.

In April came the ‗Wedding of the millennium‘, as superstars Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwayra Rai tied the knot on April
20, amidst a select guest list of relatives and a handful of friends from the film world. Glimpses of the wedding as the

paparazzi chased the events were shown throughout the world. The Bachchan‘s concise guest list created a number of
controversies, one being that no Muslims were invited and a woman landed at the gates of the Bachchan‘s palatial house
claiming that Abhishek had promised to marry her.—S.N.

                              Some interesting researches and developments were
                              revealed this year.

                              Amnesiacs could not only not recall the past, they
                              also had difficulties imagining what the future would
                              be like, according to a research conducted by
                              scientists   of     Wellcome    Trust    Centre   for
                              Neuroimaging, University College of London.

                              The Waste and Resource Action Programme, a
                              British government initiative, found that Britons waste
                              a third of the food they buy. ‗Over-buying, improper
                              storage and choosy children were cited as some of the reasons for throwing away the food.‘
                              More than a third of humanity have very little to eat —S.N.

Back home, Shoaib Akhtar, a controversial cricketer, struck Mohammed Asif during the International Cricket Council‘s
Twenty20 Championship in Johannesburg in South Africa. This happened after an alleged heated argument over
‗something very personal‘ with Shahid Afridi. Shoaib offered to apologise to Asif but he apparently was not satisfied with
just an apology in public and he was thus recalled by PCB, denying him the privilege of playing in the Twenty20 series.
The Pakistani cricket team played well in the series, eventually losing to India by five runs in the final.
(By Sumera S. Naqvi, Dawn-The Review, 03/01/2008)

                            Students evicted from hostels struggle to survive
KARACHI, Jan 3: A large number foreign and local students who were evicted from the Sindh and Dow medical college
hostels after the closure of the two facilities over three months ago following group clashes at the Jinnah Postgraduate
Medical Centre are struggling for survival as the administration has not yet helped them hire accommodations.
While the administration has started the process to use these hostels for different university programmes, there are no
immediate plans to provide any support to these students, most of whom complain flat accommodations are increasingly
expensive. The two hostels had around 350 students.

―It‘s not that we lived in a home-like environment there. The hostel conditions were filthy and we arranged all repairs from
our own pockets. But with the hostels‘ closure life has become even more difficult for us. Most of the evicted students are
now sharing congested flats and bearing huge expenses on account of rent, food, utility bills and transport charges,‖ a
student, speaking on behalf of a group, told Dawn on the condition of anonymity.

Though the hostels were notorious for serving as safe havens for criminals, these students contend the hostels were also
home to many deserving students who had come from far-flung areas, even from abroad, to study at the institutions. ―It
was the negligence of the successive administrations that spoiled the hostel environment. Why had the present
administration kept silent for so many years before taking the extreme step? The anti-social elements could be rooted out
through stern security measures,‖ said another student.

Initially, all of them had great difficulties in finding suitable accommodations because of their being single and when they
found ones there were other problems in store for them. ―I am sharing a two-room flat with three boys in Gulistan-i-
Jauhar. The total expenses, including fares, come to around Rs9,000 per person per month and none of us is able to pay
that much without family support though we have started giving tuitions,‖ a student said.

With the hostels‘ closure, the economic woes of their families had compounded, the students said, while questioning why
the SMC‘s genuine students were made to bear the brunt of the incident that involved criminal elements. They also
asserted that the administration had ordered them to vacate the hostel on a day‘s notice. ―The Rangers came into the
SMC hostel on the pretext of security, but the next day they asked us to move out,‖ one of them said.

DMC students were more critical on the issue as they maintained that their eviction didn‘t make any sense as their hostel
was situated far away from the place of the violent incident and had nothing to do with it at all. ―We tried to approach the
principal and the vice-chancellor many times, but they denied us an audience and since the incident had occurred during
exam days, students preferred not to agitate the issue,‖ another student said, adding that the administration forced the
DMC students to vacate the hostel a day before the SMC hostel was vacated.
Students of both institutions allege that the university administration had asked them to vacate the hostel about a year
ago, much before the JPMC violence, but couldn‘t carry out any operation because of the strong resistance put up by
students. ―Finally, the administration used the JPMC incident as an excuse to implement its plan,‖ said a student.

Outsiders in hostel
Though the DMC hostel students were reluctant to admit that some anti -social elements lived in there, SMC students
admitted that there were more ‗outsiders‘ than students in the hostel. However, these students questioned the writ of the
administration and asked if the college officials were not responsible to rid the hostel premises of such elements and,
above all, why genuine students were made to pay for others‘ sins.

―The environment of the SMC is heavily politicised and students are forced to join one party or another on the very first
day of their joining the institution. The students are at the mercy of party activists. Most of us give in to avoid trouble a nd
the situation was no different in the hostel. There was no administrative interv ention whatsoever and one could find many
students, including foreign ones, who had been living in the hostel for more than 15 years,‖ a student said, adding that
the seniors led the juniors in every hostel matter.

Foreign students
About foreign students‘ problems at the SMC hostel, a Nepalese student said the strategy for survival they had adopted
was to keep away from the hostel all day and use it only at night. ―The administration‘s continued negligence had made
the hostel a safe haven for criminals. Arms and drugs used to be kept and transported from the SMC hostel in
connivance with the watchman, and at night firing into the air had become a norm on all occasions. The pitch darkness
made their work easier as there wasn‘t a single functioning tube-light in the hostel corridors or ground,‖ he revealed,
adding that street vendors were also terrorised by anti-social elements residing in the hostel.

Most of the students and teachers Dawn talked to about the closure of the hostels appeared favouring the
administration‘s decision and maintained that the deployment of Rangers after the hostels‘ closure had improved the
college environment, especially that of the SMC‘s. Some teachers also said there was no need for a boys‘ hostel since
quota seats had drastically decreased over the years.

The vice-chancellor of the Dow University of Health Sciences, Dr Masood Hameed Khan, said both hostels had been
completely in the control of rogue elements who were not giving a single penny to the administration but using all hostel
facilities. ―Despite the administration‘s best efforts, the hostel environment didn‘t improve. Every conceivable wrongdoing
was taking place in these hostels and we had no choice but to shut them after the JPMC‘s deadly incident,‖ he said,
adding that the decision was taken at a higher official level.

About the provision of any support to the evicted students, he said there were a handful of ‗genuine students‘ as many
had already left the hostels due to the highly-politicised environment and criminal activities. ―The foreign students should
have been assisted by their embassies while the locals have well accommodated themselves and are living in shared
flats,‖ he said.

Answering a question whether the university had any plans to open a hostel in the future, he said though there were no
such immediate plan, the administration would set up a boys‘ hostel in six months or so at the Ojha Institute. ―The
administration will ensure strict adherence to the university rules in that hostel, where a student will be admitted after his
parents‘ signed an undertaking that the university could rusticate him if he is found involved in any anti-social activities,‖
he said.
(By Faiza Ilyas, Dawn-17, 04/01/2008)

                               18 Karachi colleges to ‘go all English’ from April
The medium of instruction at 18 State-run colleges in Karachi will be English with effect from the new academic session
which starts from April 1, the provincial education department has announced.

The medium of instruction at all government colleges in Karachi has been Urdu for the past 20 years.

In order to bring students at these colleges at par with those at private institutions, however, the Sindh education
department has decided that in the initial phase, 18 government colleges, including nine girls‘ colleges, and an equal
number of boys‘ colleges, will now start imparting education in English.

Other State-run colleges in the city will follow suit if the trial at these 18 institutions is successful.

―The standard of education in Pakistan is low, when compared to institutions internationally,‖ the Sindh education minister
said, adding that the basic reason for this is Urdu as the medium of instruction at colleges in Pakistan. ―To compete with
the world, we have to introduce a language that is internationally recognised.‖ There are 119 government colleges and 33
higher secondary schools in Karachi.

Colleges that will convert to English
Girls Colleges
i PECHS Government Girls College
ii St Lawrence Girls College
iii Government Girls College, Gizri
iv Government College for Women, Shahrah-e-Liaquat
v Government Degree Science and Commerce College, Gulshan-e-Iqbal
vi Abdullah Girls College
vii Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls College
viii Sir Syed Government Girls College
ix Government College of Commerce and Economics

Boys colleges
i DJ Science College
ii Adamjee Science College
iii National College
iv Islamia Science College
v Degree College, Malir Cantt
vi Degree College, Stadium Road
vii Government College for Commerce
viii Government College for Men, Nazimabad
ix Delhi Science College, Nazimabad
(The News-14, 05/01/2008)

                                    Giving something back through images
Andre Gossick and Maciek, who are Polish by birth, are professional freelance photographers. Recently they were in
Karachi, for their work, which they displayed on one section of the Lyari Expressway which faced the small locality of
Iqbal Colony in Teen Hatti.

Andre and Maciek, are heavily inspired by street life. Their photographs capture the ordinary moments comprising of
people going on about their work, and their routine life, but for these two photographers, these moments are worthy of
being sealed forever in their photographs.

Besides some pictures which have been uploaded on their online web page called the Underfire Gallery,
[] the two photographers, have collected more than three thousand pictures from their
recent tour which they started from Poland, traveling on to Turkey, followed by Syria, Iraq, Iran, and finally Pakistan. In
Pakistan, they came to Quetta first from Iran, and then to Karachi.
―Our muse is to work with the common man on the road when we take pictures,‖ says Andre. ―When we go to a new city,
we walk on the streets, looking for a place, which we find good enough for our exhibition.‖

Unlike many other photo artists, Maciek and Andre have a ‗utopian‘ concept of having their photo galleries displayed for
people. They say they do not necessarily believe in holding an exhibition of their photos in the main city. Instead, they
find a small area, try and connect with the people who live there, and then display their pictures there, especially for
them. ―You can say that it is a source of inspiration for us to see the interest with which people come to see our pictures,‖
they say.

Teen Hatti‘s Iqbal Colony is a small slum locality, which falls exactly adjacent to the Lyari Expressway. Its people live in
harmony with each other, a mixed population of Urdu-speakers, Punjabis, Muslims, and Christians.
―When we were wandering in Karachi, we found ourselves here, and we made friends with the people here, too,‖ says
Maciek. ―When we connected with these people, we found them to be so hospitable, and so friendly, we immediately
made a connection. We even took their pictures, which we are going to display to other places in the world.‖

Maciek, who happens to have a very striking appearance, with his long dread-lock braid, and his large round ear studs,
almost automatically happened to attract attention to the residents of the place. A trigger -happy camera man, he first
displayed the prints on the wall of the Lyari Expressway, and then as the children, who were already over-excited by the
sight of two camera men, came rushing forwards, he began taking pictures of the people around in order to capture their
expressions and sentiments.

A large crowd hung around the ‗gallery‘, some expressing their curiosity at what the two foreigners were doing, the others
taking a more avid interest and actually coming up and staring blatantly at the pictures, asking which places they were

The pictures which were displayed were from Nepal, England, Poland, Brazil, and Germany. According to the photo
artists, the pictures they had taken from this recent tour had not yet been developed, so those would have to be displayed

―Our experience in Pakistan has been very strange,‖ says Andre, ―We have seen the mass slaughtering of goats and
cows on Eid, which we have never seen before, then we were caught here in Karachi after Benazir Bhutto was killed, and
then we experienced being imprisoned in our room while the city was undergoing riots. But the gallery that we displayed
made us forget everything that we went through, and it really lifted our spirits to see how much the children and the
people of Iqbal Colony appreciated our gesture. It was like they gave us, something, so we gave them something back.‖
(By Xari Jalil, The News-19, 06/01/2008)

                        The forgotten treasures of National Museum of Pakistan
The National Museum of Pakistan has been a part of this lively city since the last several years but is sadly deprived of
visitors. Surprisingly, the lush green lawns of the museum attract more people than the museum itself. These lawns are a
happening place for all types of people belonging to different age groups; where young boys play sports, families have
picnics, men sleep and women gossip.

Abdul Majeed, a banker by profession utilises his lunch break by walking for an hour in the museum lawns. Although he
comes here everyday, he hasn‘t been inside the museum even once as he doesn‘t have the ―time to see the objects on
display‖, depicting his lack of interest regarding historical objects. Two retired men who were sipping tea on the lawns
also had an unenthusiastic attitude towards the museum. One of them comment ed that the museum is unattractive as it
is not updated. ―People are tired of seeing the same old things as there is a limited variety of objects inside.‖ These men
visited the museum several years ago but have no intention of going there again. According to them, ―In today‘s world, no
one has the time to visit museums as life has become fast paced. People are more interested in entertainment rather
than educational activities. In this time of increasing inflation, people are frustrated and need other recreational activities
to cheer them up‖.

One of the museum‘s gardeners working in the museum for the last 22 years said that in the past, the museum had more
visitors. But with the passage of time, people now hardly come to the museum and it‘s only the lawns that appeal to them.
The museum, located in the Burns Garden, Dr Ziauddin Road, is divided into various halls includes each for different time
periods related to the country‘s history. The pre-historic hall consists of objects related to civilisations that were settled
along the rivers of the subcontinent. The Moenjodaro hall includes pots, seals, recreation objects, and jewellery and
goddess sculptures. Hindu sculptress of goddesses and their religious books are also on display. The ongoing Quaid‘s
exhibition includes clothes, pens, and portraits of the founder. A coin collection is a treat for all those interested in seeing
century old coins while the ethnology hall displays the lives of the rural people living in the four provinces.

While there are a variety of things that are exhibited, the museum‘s shabby and dull appearance and presentation turns
people off. Inclusion of no new stuff also seconds the reason for not being able to lure visitors. However, there are many
who are unaware of such places and once they visit them, feel extremely delighted by the sight of the objects.

Abdul Razzak is one of them. A graphic designer student, he had come to the museum for the first time and regretted not
coming there before. According to Razzak, ―I am thrilled to see the remarkable display of things that are present in the
museum.‖ He feels that schools should promote the importance of museums and create awareness and interest amongst
students for history and museums.

Nowadays art exhibitions, musical gatherings, theatres and other forms of art are being promoted in the city, whereas
museums are given a back seat. In other countries museums are given much importance and are famous tourist
landmarks. However, in our part of the world, these museums portray a deplorable picture and are just there for the sake
of being there.
(The News-20, 10/01/2008)

                                                   Death of a child
IF the death of 14-year-old Mudassar Aslam, the victim of corporal punishment at a school in Hyderabad, doesn‘t shake
the authorities out of their apathy to conduct a full and transparent inquiry into his case then one can assume that the
government remains indifferent to violence against children. Young Mudassar‘s case was particularly traumatic.
Physically punished last November, allegedly by his teacher Buland Iqbal, he died of the intestinal injuries he incurred.
Hailing from a poor family, Mudassar has not received the justice that was due to him. The inquiry in his case remains
incomplete on the flimsy pretext of his parents‘ statement not being available. It is quite likely that, if investigated
honestly, a darker truth will emerge. Unfortunately, the crucial issue of corporal punishment has been ignored for far too
long. Considering the number of such cases that occur across the country, in public and private schools, madressahs,
workplaces and homes, it is surprising that investigations should be so flawed and the conviction rate so low. By not
giving exemplary punishment to those who torment children, the government is encouraging violence as its perpetrators
remain confident that money and influence can buy off or restrain those tasked with probing such incidents. Suspension
from duty, as in the case of Mudassar‘s alleged torturer, is a small price to pay. Perhaps this is not surprising given the
absence of a comprehensive child protection law.

Society is also to blame for failing to recognise children‘s vulnerability to abuse and exploitation and to speak up in their
defence. Those who do have been unable to form a strong collective forum for the matter to be actively discussed in
parliament and legislated accordingly. If results can be achieved by raising a collective voice for women‘s rights, why
can‘t the same force of argument and action be applied in the case of our children to protect t hem from harm to their
bodies and emotions? Why are we continuing to prolong the wait for policies, laws and a change in attitude that would
transform the lives of Pakistan‘s child population? Unless we take timely action, generations of children will continue to
suffer and as adults many will perpetuate violence against children.
(Dawn-7, 13/01/2008)

                               New academic year from April 1: Meeting told
KARACHI, Jan 12: In a detailed meeting on Saturday, the stakeholders of the provincial education department discussed
the decision of the department‘s steering committee about the start of the new academic year four months in advance of
the schedule and decided to stick to the powerful committee‘s decision, insiders in the department told Dawn.

The consultative meeting, which continued for a couple of hours in the committee room of the education department on
Saturday, consisted of representatives from private schools, missionary schools, the board of intermediate education
Karachi, non-governmental organisations dealing with educational matters, educationists and senior government officials,
with caretaker Education Minister Shujaat Ali Baig in the chair.

The education department withheld notification of the rescheduling of the new academic session and decided to issue it
after a consensus decision in the meeting.

The sources said all the stakeholders discussed the confusion created about the rescheduling of the new academic year
on April 1 from this year threadbare until they reached a consensus decision to start the new academic year four months
in advance from this year as per the steering committee‘s decision.

The main hurdle, which is being conceived as the only obstacle in the rescheduling of the new academic year, was the
provision of schoolbooks on time. The meeting realized that textbooks could not be provided by April 1 due to limited time
and because of general elections next month. However, it was decided to provide used books to the students until new
ones were published and duly provided to them.

―The education department is responsible for providing textbooks to the students as soon as possible and if the books‘
printing gets delayed by a fortnight or a month, till then the students would be provided with used books to prevent any
possibility of their academic loss,‖ a source quoted the decision as taken by the participants of the meeting.

Trial and error
Earlier, sources said the meeting was informed about the background of the past changes in the academic year. The
schedule was first changed to August in 1992 due to the pressure of the World Bank, but a couple of years later it was
again rescheduled for April 1 given the hardships the new schedule had caused, specially to the students of areas with
sizzling summers. The steering committee again revised the academic year to August in Jan, 2006, but realizing its fault,
it yet again revised it this year.
―The academic year should start in April because it suits our demographic conditions,‖ asserted a participant of the

Sources said after a consensus decision, a formal notification for rescheduling of the new academic year would be issued
in a couple of days.

The steering committee, while deciding about advancing the new academic year, had said the decision was taken in the
larger interest of the students, teachers and parents. It also decided that the summer vacations would be reduced to two
months as had been the case two years ago, before a previous steering committee‘s decision stretched them to two -and-
a-half months.

The education department had decided to review its decision about the new academic year after it received reservations
from many stakeholders, including the publishers of textbooks, parents, students and most of the private schools.
Sources said the authorities had already cancelled their tender for the procurement of paper for publishing of textbooks
while printing of schoolbooks could not be possible owing to the fact that the bank accounts of the Sindh Textbook Board
(STB) had been seized while the authorities are yet to reach an agreement with the publishers.

The STB‘s accounts were seized after the board‘s building was ransacked by miscreants during the week-long violence
which started soon after the assassination of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto.
Sources said the publishers needed at least three months to publish textbooks for the next academic year, which was not
possible if the session starts on April 1 given the fact that February would be the month of elections, while cumbersome
formalities were bound to take ample time to be completed.

Mr Baig said he had asked the STB officials to submit a report about the actual state of affairs regarding its preparedness
for the new academic session.
(Dawn-19, 13/01/2008)

                  WAF moot holds Musharraf solely responsible for present crisis
At a two-day national convention of the Women‘s Action Forum (WAF) Pakistan that ended in Karachi on Saturday,
activists from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad held President Musharraf‘s regime‘s responsible for the current crisis and
deteriorating situation where smaller provinces are being exploited at the hands of the center.

Paying a tribute to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, politicians
condemned the interference of the centre in provincial affairs and demanded ―fuller provincial autonomy within a federal
structure‖ to address the grievances where the centre would ‗only facilitate the federation and provinces.

Members of the WAF stated that the collusion of global neo-liberal forces and the privatisation agenda, the economic
crisis has led to an acute shortage of wheat and severe energy crisis that is having adverse impacts on economic
productivity. They said that the situation could only be countered if the present regime immediately stepped down and
formed a neutral government of national consensus, allowing democracy to take root in its real form.

Speakers on the occasion lauded the efforts of Bhutto who brought back the hope of democracy after her return from
self-exile. ―Benazir‘s battle with dictatorships has been the worst of its kind. Her battle was against imperialists and the
neo-colonial agenda of the West. We have to continue her democratic legacy,‖ said politician Nafisa Shah of the PPP.
She disagreed with the state‘s view that the current war was against terrorism saying ‗it is nothing but an extension of the
US campaign against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan that it left off in the 1980s and is now using that Afghan Jihad to
build pressure on Pakistan. ―It is a strange contradiction that the U.S. labels us as a terrorist state and an ally on war
against terror at the same time.‖

To express their solidarity on the death of Bhutto, artiste Sheema Kirmani, Urdu poetess Fehmida Riaz, Irfana Mallah (of
WAF, Hyderabad) read their verses, while Sherry Rehman of PPP, Mehtab Akbar Rashidi and Amar Sindhu shared their
memories and experiences with Bhutto. The convention was followed by a candle light vigil by members of WAF.
Politicians Fauzia Wahab, Shazia Marri and Justice (Retd) Majida Rizvi, among others, were also present at the
(The News-14, 13/01/2008)

                                                  University reforms
TH Higher Education Commission (HEC) has, as expected, responded to my expose (Jan 2 ) of its unconscionable
squandering of public funds by trotting out its usual list of claimed achievements (Jan 10).
But this spiritless reply does not address the issues I raised, except distantly and peripherally.

Instead, it takes refuge in a 2006 World Bank report, issued by a WB team led by Benoit Millot, that lavi shes praise upon
the HEC for having effected "quality improvement of the higher education sub -sector", and for having revolutionised
Pakistan‘s universities. I find this fascinating and disturbing. This is a perfect example where two institutions are drive n by
shared needs — the WB to lend and the HEC to spend.

While the WB report is printed on glossy paper, is written in fine English, and has beautiful graphics, it is fundamentally
flawed because it contains no meaningful data on the quality of education in Pakistani universities.
Browsing though WB publications, I simply did not see any report that purports to be a scientifically performed survey on
this specific matter.

When and how, may I ask, did the WB check the quality of faculty or that of the student body across Pakistani

Has it surveyed library and laboratory facilities, the content of university courses, the standard of examination papers, the
presence (or lack thereof) of academic and seminars on campuses, etc?

Was any assessment made of the number of days in a year that the universities actually functioned, the suitability of
those appointed as vice-chancellors, employer satisfaction with university graduates, etc? These are crucial quality

Unless one has reasonably reliable data on such matters, the opinions expressed in the quoted WB report are simply

If the WB has indeed carried out a relevant survey, I would be most grateful to know the reference to such work and
apologise in advance for any hurt caused.

On the other hand, if there is no such work, then I would like to know what the WB‘s $1,500 a day education consultants
do in a Third World country beyond cutting and pasting from official reports. If other sections of the World Bank operate
similarly, then one fears for Pakistan.

The HEC has picked many numbers that suit its purposes but has not attempted to see if they are meaningful.
It is unfortunate that the HEC spokesperson accuses me of trivialising all 1,600 research papers published in recent
times. I did not. Instead, I merely showed that the interested reader — using the free Google. Scholar data base
mentioned in my article — can judge each one of these papers to see if anyone in the world has found them useful or
interesting. Unfortunately, all but a tiny fraction have zero citations.

To my mind, publishing even two dozen papers yearly — provided they are highly original and well-cited — would have a
far healthier impact on our universities than the hundreds of junk papers generated by the government's per-paper
reward scheme.

While the spokesperson lamely claims that "it is the HEC which has taken firm steps to control and eliminate plagiarism
by laying down a clear policy against it", no such thing is evident.
On the contrary, newspapers in Pakistan and abroad are full of stories about Pakistani academics who freely plagiarise
materials across the globe as they rush to grab the rewards.

Finally, I do believe that there is an alternative direction in which to improve and expand higher education, and which
could gainfully use the huge sums now allocated to the HEC. For this, the interested reader is referred to part-II of my
article (Jan 12).
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 15/01/2008)

                           Dow varsity starts MSc in diabetes, endocrinology
KARACHI, Jan 15: In a bid to contain diabetes and cater to the needs of nine million diabetics in Pakistan, the Dow
University of Health Sciences (DUHS) will soon start an online training programme designed specifically for family

This was announced by the DUHS vice-chancellor, Prof Masood Hameed Khan, here on Tuesday at a press conference
organised at the inauguration of an MSc programme at the National Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology at the Ojha
campus of the varsity. Briefing the newsmen about the MSc programme, he said that this two-year master degree course
comprising four semesters, two in diabetes and two in endocrinology, was the first of its kind in Pakistan.

The vice-chancellor said that the faculty selected for the course included senior teachers of the DUHS and renowned
endocrinologists and diabetologists of the country and collaboration with foreign institutions was also in progress.
Candidates would also be trained at the orthopaedics, medical ICU, paediatrics and gynae and obstetrics departments of
the DUHS, he said.

Prof Khan also informed the audience that a diabetic educator programme would also be started for paramedics this
year. He announced mobile van services for healthcare delivery system in the suburbs.

The vice-chancellor also spoke about the future development plans of the university including Jinnah Genome Centre
and the Institute of Liver Diseases and a research diagnostic laboratory at Ojha campus.

Prof Khan said that the Dow University of Health Sciences had constituted a research advisory board where 10
candidates had been enrolled for PhD.

The director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Prof M. Zaman Shaikh, said that in 2003, the
International Diabetes Federation (IDF) had estimated that there were 194 million people with diabetes around the world
and predicted that by 2005, it would rise to 350 million.
He said every ten seconds a person died of diabetes while two people developed diabetes. Eighty per cent of people with
diabetes belonged to the middle and lower socio-income countries of the world.

It is estimated that in Pakistan 6.2 million people have diabetes, representing 8.5 per cent of the adult population in
Pakistan. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the figure is expected to reach 11.6 million by 2025.

Prof Shaikh said that the mortality rate from diabetes was expected to increase by 51 per cent in Pakistan over the next
10 years. He also stressed the need for educating the masses to eliminate wrong cultural beliefs about diabetics to
effectively check the menace.

Earlier, introducing the National Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Prof Shaikh said that the institute had entered its
second phase of outdoor patients where consultation was free and facility for laser therapy to prevent blindness in
diabetics was also available at discounted rates.

Giving details of the newly-introduced programme, he said that the under-training postgraduates would prove to be an
asset to the healthcare services in the field of diabetes and endocrinology in Pakistan.

The director of the Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases, Prof Zeenat Ayub, said that a modern hospital had been established
at the campus for patients with tuberculosis and chest diseases.
Due to increasing environmental pollution, the number of people with chest infections was increasing rapidly, she said,
adding that a masters programme would also soon be started in TB and chest diseases under the Dow University of
Health Sciences.
(Dawn-18, 16/01/2008)

                              Funds for minority welfare – Yes? No? Maybe?
A review board for tackling ‗minority‘ issues is yet to be formed, three months after the initial directives were issued by
Sindh governor, Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan. A number of related complaints are therefore still pending, ostensibly because
officials concerned are dragging their feet, The News learnt.

A meeting had been held on October 7, 2007, where a delegation of the Pakistan Hindu Council had appealed for funds
for the welfare of the ‗minority,‘ and to cater to the growing needs of the religious community. The funds had been
requested from the budget set aside for minority affairs for the fiscal year 2007 -08. The council, however, has not heard
back from the government yet.

Some common problems discussed by Dr Ramesh Kumar, who was leading the delegation, were forced conversions
through kidnappings and forced marriages, the absence of equal opportunities in health, education and employment,
vulnerability of the Hindu places of worship to vandalism, and encroachment of the historic Hindu gymkhana.

Dr Kumar, who is a patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council and a former PML-Q MPA, told The News about discrimination
against Hindus, particularly in the health sector, where deserving members of the minority community are unable to
benefit from the Zakat fund in government hospitals since it is restricted for Muslims only. Council members therefore
appealed for an alternate programme in the form of a social relief fund that could provide financial assistance to the
underprivileged in the Hindu community.

Dr Kumar also requested for improved parking facilities outside the Luxmi Narain Temple at Native Jetty and the Shri
Ratneswar Mahadev Temple in Clifton. The Sindh governor had then issued directives to the Karachi Port Trust (KPT)
and City Nazim Mustafa Kamal to solve the parking issues. He has, however, apparently been too busy to follow up on
the progress of the review board.

Minority Affairs Additional Secretary Lubna Salahuddin, who was also present during the October 7 meeting, told The
News that the funds in question were at the disposal of Kishanchand Parwani, former adviser to chief minister on minority
affairs. He is currently heading the provincial distribution council of the minority commit tee. The provincial committee is
further divided into five regional committees across the province. ―Father Reverend Joseph Paul is heading the Karachi
regional committee and it is his responsibility to allocate money to those who require financial help,‖ Salahuddin said.
Rs 20 million have been allocated for repair and maintenance of places of worship for minorities and an additional Rs 100
million for marriages within the religious minorities has been allocated from the annual Sindh budget. A proper procedure
has to be followed, however, to verify the utilization of the money.

While Dr Kumar believes that part of the reason for the delay has been the appointment of new ministers in the caretaker
political set-up, Kishinchand Parwani clarified that verification was necessary since the Pakistan Hindu Council has no
direct reach to the underprivileged in the community (contrary to the council‘s claims). ―They do not have a proper office
or staff and the members have to pay a fee of Rs 25,000 to be a part of the council which proves that the people from the
lower strata of the community do not have access to the council.
The verification therefore, has to be done by us,‖ Parwani has been elected as an MPA from the minority seat in NA -227
Mirpurkhas since 1988, said.

The objective of the fund is to uplift the educational and social status of the underprivileged across the province, he
explained. ―Its purpose is not to fill the pockets of the rich. The committee therefore will only distribute funds after
verification,‖ Parwani said.
(By Aroosa Masroor, The News-14, 16/01/2008)

                                                  Beyond penalties
We as a nation have become so accustomed to daily shocks of greater proportion than corporal punishment in schools
that such trivial incidences fail to shake us anymore. A cursory look at the editorials and letters published after 14-year-
old Mudassar Aslam‘s death would reveal that they focus more on the issues of penalties and punishments for the
teachers to stop the curse of corporal punishment. This however would be more like killing the shadow instead of finding
ways to systematically and strategically deal with the problem of corporal punishment. For this to happen we have to ask
two questions and then find the answers to them for a long-term solution of this problem. The first question is: Why do
teachers resort to corporal punishment? And the second: How to eradicate this menace?

First let us try to find an answer to the first question. Punishment is considered as one of the traditional and time -tested
techniques that teachers use to influence a child‘s behaviour in a desired direction. However, most modern educationists
especially in the West are of the view that punishment of any sort, and particularly corporal punishment, is a very
negative way of influencing student behaviour and should be discarded and replaced with more positive and constructive
methods of behavioural change/control. Keeping all of this in mind, teacher-training programmes provide for enough
material to train teachers how to avoid using corporal punishment and how to apply modern techniques for bringing
discipline in the classroom.

As a result of this, there is an ever-increasing disapproval of corporal punishment thus whenever any incidence of
corporal punishment occurs, there is a sharp reaction against it from different quarters. The incident gets media coverage
and is talked about. The authorities come down heavily on the teacher. He or she is suspended, transferred, or handed
other punitive measures besides being threatened by the parents and relatives of the victim.

But despite all these measures, the problem persists and quite often we come across reports about severe physical
punishment meted out to a child by his or her teacher. It is to be noted here that a majority of cases of corporal
punishment do not get reported and only those incidences get media attention where there has been some big physical
damage to the child. But it looks that punitive steps against the teacher to stop him or her from using corporal punishment
do not produce desirable results and that despite being aware of the repercussions, some teachers resort do it time and
again. On the basis of close observation and personal experience both as a student and a teacher at public schools, one
is of the view that beside others, some factors that lead to corporal punishment to enforce discipline in the class may
include the following: overcrowded classes, dull textbooks, the principal‘s behaviour, parents‘ lack of cooperation with the
teacher, teachers socio-economic conditions, etc.

An overcrowded classroom (a common phenomenon in most public-sector schools in Pakistan) can be quite an
impediment in the way of an effective teaching-learning process. It is also the main reason behind disturbance or lack of
order and discipline in a class. In our government schools the average number of students in a classroom at the
secondary level ranges somewhere between 70 and 100. For example, most public -sector high schools in Peshawar
have an average of 70 to 90 students per class. How can a teacher be expected to engage such a huge crowd called a
class, without resorting to some strict disciplinary action including corporal punishment?

It is in such circumstances that a teacher is constrained to abandon all the golden rules and techniques of teaching
taught to him during training programmes and tries measures that kill the very spirit of education. All training programmes
teach the trainee teachers to pay individual attention to each and every student because that is what modern educatio nal
theories claim is best for the students. But how is individual attention possible when a teacher has to deal with, say, a
class of 70 to 90 (even more) students assembled in a small (many times dark) room absolutely without any audio -visual
aides or anything else.

On a recent visit to a government high school, one found most classrooms dark without light or any other facilities and
highly overcrowded. The only duty that the teacher seemed to perform was to keep this crowd silent during his period of
40 minutes. The result is usually frustration and consequently an outburst in the form of corporal punishment inflicted on
one or more students.

The next problem that creates boredom, distraction and hence indiscipline is that the whole education process in our
schools revolve around the textbooks which mostly are badly written and poorly presented. They are boring for the
students as well as the teachers who use them. They seldom arouse any interest among students and appeal very little
to their aesthetic sense. As a result the teaching-learning process becomes monotonous and lacks any active
involvement of the students. Students are regarded as empty vessels to be filled with facts and to be forced to memorise
those facts to be reproduced in exams. A failure on this count is taken as a failure of competence on the part of the
teacher, which is most often the case. This leads to frustration on the part of the teacher and the end result can be
physical punishment to force students to take interest (to memorise things that they do not understand) in what is taught
in the class.

Then there is this culture of taking ‗order‘ for discipline in our public schools. A good number of school principals are
traditional ‗disciplinarians‘ who want a kind of military discipline on the campus of the schools. Such principals believe in
strict order (by which they seem to mean complete silence) in the classroom. They appreciate those teachers who are
authoritarian since to them a silent classroom indicates a teacher who is more accomplished at achieving discipline and
class control. Such a teacher, regardless of the method of his teaching or whether his students actually enjoy his class or
are able to learn from him, is thought of as a good teacher, worthy of praise and emulatio n. Such an attitude from
principals induces teachers to do the same and they go about enforcing this military -style discipline using all kinds of
extreme punishments, including corporal punishment.

Then there is this problem of lack of cooperation from the parents. A harmonious relationship between the school and the
home can have a very positive impact on discipline in schools. However, in public -sector schools, a majority of the
students come from low-income backgrounds where parents are often illiterate and poor and are unable to take part in
the educational process of their children. Such students tend not to do their homework regularly and perform poorly in
exams. As a result of the absence of cooperation and coordination on the part of the parents, the teacher sometimes
feels constrained to take matters in his own hand. This often results in the use of corporal punishment. Also many
children from poor and illiterate families are physically beaten at home and hence they become de -sensitized to such
measures. Some students also do not respond in any other way as they are used to corporal punishment at home, which
leads to the same phenomenon in the school.

Another very important factor that plays a significant role in this phenomenon is the poor socio -economic status of most
school teachers. Most, with their meagre salaries, can hardly make both ends meet. Consequently they have to work
after school as well. One often comes across taxi drivers who reveal that they are school teachers but have to run a taxi
after duty hours to meet the harsh economic challenges. This becomes an extra tax on their energies and results in both
physical exhaustion and emotional annoyance, which often results in negligence of duties and retaliation in the form of
corporal punishment meted out to the hapless students at their disposal.

How to eradicate this menace? Well, the answer lies in dealing with the problems discussed as a response to the first
question. Unless steps are taken to deal with these problems, systematically and strategically, no amount of laws and
penalties aimed at stopping corporal punishment will be instrumental in solving the problem. But all this does not in any
way absolve teachers of their role in eradicating this menace, for who should know better than a teacher as to what does
it mean to be called a ‗Teacher‘.
(By Muhammad Ilyas Khan, Dawn-19 Education, 20/01/2008)

                         Monday holiday was not needed, say parents, students
An unscheduled holiday in the schools of the province on Monday proved to be an utt er surprise for those concerned;
officials, too, were clueless about the holiday.

Some educational institutions had closed their campuses since Friday (Muharram 8) on account of Muharram -ul-Haram,
though officially only two holidays were announced - for Saturday and Sunday (8th and 9th Muharram). With the
announcement for Monday‘s closure, schools remained closed for full four days, thus ultimately affecting studies during
the exams period.

First, the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) circulated news through the media of the closure of schools on
Monday. Later in the night, the Governor House also declared that all schools in the province would remain closed on

However, Sunday being a holiday, no officials concerned were available to issue a proper notification, which created
immense confusion. Inside sources, however, disclosed to The News that on the request of a senator of a political party,
who is also a religious leader, the Governor Sindh announced a holiday for Monday.
Fortunately, both 9th and 10th of Muharram passed peacefully, inspite of wide-ranging apprehension from the concerned
quarters. Hence, the announcement of a holiday on Monday was received with great surprise.

When this correspondent contacted the provincial Caretaker Education Minister Shujaat Ali Baig, the Press Secretary
(PS) said that, as a matter of fact, the holiday was announced by the governor, and that he was the right person to talk to
about the decision.

After this reply from the relevant ministry, this correspondent contacted the governor house, where the PS was not
available to comment on the topic. It is also to be noted here that the educational institutions in other provinces remained
open on Monday. Most schools in the city affiliated with the Cambridge system were also open.
It should be mentioned that schools remained closed for an indefinite period after the violence that erupted after the
return of PPP‘s Chairperson, Benazir Bhutto, after eight years, on October 18, that left several dead and hundreds

Keeping in view the continuous closure of schools, most private school managements issued an internal circular that from
now onwards schools would remain open on Saturdays, too, as growing violence and unforseen holidays had disrupted
the study schedule as a result of which the completion of the syllabus was under threat. The Monday holiday, parents
and students said, was not needed as they had already suffered a lot in terms of studies. The late night announcement of
closure of schools created a lot of confusion; most students were witnessed waiting for schools vans on Monday... most
being unaware of the holiday.
(The News-19, 22/01/2008)

                                                Student calls in bomb?
KARACHI: More than 500 students, school staff and security personnel were in a panic Monday after they received a
‗threat‘ from an unknown caller, who police suspect could have been a student taking advantage of the fact that it was
supposed to be a holiday on Monday.

Kiran, the operator of a three-storey [...] School located at Khayaban-e-Hilal, Phase V, DHA, received a call around 8:20
a.m. ―I had just reached the school and the phone started ringing so I attended the call,‖ said Kiran. ―You did not do well
by opening the school today. Let‘s close it now or you will be responsible,‖ s aid the voice on the other end. Kiran
immediately informed the management. ―I couldn‘t understand what to do,‖ said administrator Habib. ―I thought it would
be best to evacuate the students safely outside school. We couldn‘t take any chance and this was the first time
something like this happened. We evacuated the school before the police got there and we didn‘t tell the students why.‖

They formed lines and the teachers guided them outside. ―If we had told the students about the threat they would panic
and it would‘ve been hard to control them,‖ said Habib. He said that he found out about the holiday very late. ―If I had
known before I wouldn‘t have even opened the school,‖ he said.

After a while the police got there and also started evacuating people. ―I think about half the students had been evacuated
when we got there,‖ said Gizri Police Station SHO Sajjad Hassan. ―We later cordoned off the school and its surrounding

The SHO said that he instructed some policemen to stay with the students because it was difficult to maintain discipline
among the students, since most of the student knew about the threat by then.
―The caller didn‘t actually use the word ‗bomb‘, he just gave a warning,‖ said Hassan. ―I don‘t think it was terrorist activi ty.
I think it was a joke from a student because of the holiday. We‘re investigating nonetheless.‖

When the school was evacuated the bomb disposal squad (BDS) staff got there and started work. ―Me and my team
inspected the whole school,‖ said Khizar, a BDS member who inspected the school. ―But, after checking continuously for
two hours we did not find anything and we gave the clear to the police.‖
(DailyTimes-B1, 22/01/2008)

                                    Child survival record poor, says Unicef
ISLAMABAD, Jan 22: Despite heavy government spending, there is no tangible improvement in Pakistan‘s child mortality
figures and the latest report of the United Nations Children‘s Fund (Unicef) – State of World Children 2008 – shows that
the country‘s ranking in a critical category, under-5 mortality, has deteriorated.

Pakistan dedicates over 0.5 per cent of its GDP to different programmes being run by various ministries for reducing child
and maternal mortality. The spending is almost as much as the entire health budget, which is 0.67 per cent of GDP, but
experts fail to understand why all this money is not producing results.

According to the report launched here on Wednesday, under-5 mortality figures remained at 97 per thousand births,
bettering the previous year‘s record by just 0.2 per cent, implying that more than 400,000 children continue to die
annually in Pakistan from preventable causes before their fifth birthday and many of them do not survive past their first

The grim outlook on child survival proves that Pakistan has a long way to go to meet the United Nations Millennium
Development goals, including that of reducing child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015, to fewer than 43 per
thousand births. Going by these standards, Pakistan would have to scale up the annual rate of reduction by 6-7 per cent.
In overall child healthcare ranking, Pakistan fell behind five countries, sliding to 42nd spot.

Only Afghanistan and a handful of mostly African countries have a poorer record of child survival than that of Pakistan.
Averages for other countries in the South Asian region are much better. Poor pre-natal care, more specifically unattended
births, is the leading reason for children‘s deaths, accounting for almost one-thirds of all their deaths. Respiratory
infections, malnutrition, measles and diarrhoea are the other main killers that no longer afflict children in rich countries.
Simple, affordable measures could dramatically reduce child deaths, said the report.
―Ensuring a ‗continuum of health care‘ for mothers, newborns and young children, extending from the household to the
local clinic and beyond, is key to survival,‖ it said.

Federal Health Secretary Khushnood Lashari defended Pakistan‘s performance, saying the average figures did not depict
the reality. The under-5 mortality figures for areas covered by Lady Health Workers (LHW) programme were much lower
than areas without it.
The LHW programme covers about 62 per cent of the country.
(By Baqir Sajjad Syed, Dawn-3, 23/01/2008)

                                   Christians protest against sale of YMCA
The government should prevent the YMCA board of directors from misusing their administrative powers and selling the
community‘s property against the orders of the Sindh High Court (SHC), members of the YMCA Karachi action committee
said Tuesday during a protest outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC).

The protestors comprised Christians from social, religious and political committees and demanded that the illegal
construction work by a tenant Chaudhry Mohammad Amin within the sports ground of YMCA Karachi be stopped. They
said that necessary legal action should be taken against the board of directors who are allegedly involved in the illegal
agreement of tenancy with Amin following which the illegal construction work has started on the YMCA sports ground.
The board of directors include Farrukh Harrison, Henry Pilay, Alvin Minhas, William John, Kashif Malik, and Lalla Peter
Qadir, among others.

The protestors said that the unlawful activity is not only disturbing for the Christian community but is also a violation of the
Sindh High Court that had passed orders in December 2005 against ―the sale of any property of the YMCA or any illegal
construction on the YMCA site.‖ The property under question is School Wealth Center (YMCA Urban) at Korangi,
Kashmir Colony and Main YMCA ground on Aiwan-e-Saddar Road.

Chaudhry Patras, President Churches Save Property Welfare Association, told The News that the board of directors are
trying to misuse their power and violating the by-laws of Karachi YMCA which states that the YMCA ground is only for the
purpose of sports and religious activities. He alleged that as part of an ―illegal tenancy agreement‖, the tenant Chaudhry
Muhammad Amin of the YMCA is using the ground for commercial purposes ―without any prior permission with the
concerned government departments.‖
(The News-14, 23/01/2008)

                                    18 colleges declared ‘English medium’
Eighteen colleges of the city would be made ―Model English Medium Colleges,‖ declared caretaker Minister for Education
Shujaat Ali Beg at an inaugural ceremony held at PECHS College on Thursday.
These colleges, he said, will be made to adopt English as the medium of instruction. Of the 18 colleges, 10 are for men.

A crash course for principals and senior professors of the government colleges, aimed at brushing up their English
language skills, will commence from January 28. All the subjects at the college, except Urdu and Islamiyat, will be taught
in English.

In this connection, a notification has already been issued by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), according to which
an English proficiency test would be made mandatory for all students and those failing to qualify would not be awarded
degrees by colleges.

Speaking on the occasion, Beg said that English is spoken all over the world and, in order to compete, Pakistan would
have to introduce the extensive usage of the language in all its colleges. He said that, in the initial phase of its effort i n
this regard, the government has decided to declare 18 colleges as English medium and, with the passage of time, this
practice would be adopted in other colleges, too.

The caretaker minister of education said that this practice would be followed in government schools of the province.
He also announced the setting of some rules in the colleges, such as making unifo rms compulsory. Academic calendars
and teaching diaries should be prepared by the teachers, he felt.

He also said that courses and syllabi should be completed before the examination, and stressed said that the attendance
record of the students and staff should be properly maintained.
He instructed that all graffiti, flags and banners be immediately removed from college buildings.
(The News-13, 25/01/2008)

                                        DUHS to prepare artificial limbs
In order to provide artificial limbs to disabled persons on permanent basis, the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS)
has set up ‗School of Prosthesis and Orthosis‘ recently. It is the first such school in Sindh and second in the country
where students would be trained for four years to prepare artificial limbs, said Vice Chancellor, DUHS, Prof. Masood
Hameed Khan on Thursday.

Dow University Artificial Limbs centre (Dual) set up in August 2007 has provided artificial limbs to 466 people so far, while
250 more are in process of getting the same. While talking to The News at his office, Khan said that the DUHS was in the
planning stage for setting up such a centre, when Jaipur Foot Society along with the Rotary Club, Karachi and HASWA
Foundation extended their support for this purpose.

The school set up on January 14 will train 25 students in its first batch, said Director Institute of Physical Medicines and
Rehabilitation, Dr Nabila Soomro. She said as it is a ―new field‖, therefore around 50 per cent students of the first batch
would be trained by Canadian experts to make artificial limbs of an international standard while the rest would be trained
by experts from Pakistan Institute of Prosthesis and Orthosis Sciences, Peshawar, which is the first such centre in the
country set up with the assistance of Germany 25 years back.

Soomro further said that the Jaipur society voluntarily made limbs and wanted to transfer this technology here but after
visiting Peshawar, ―we realised that we have better technology than India.‖ She pointed out that a Canadian expert
recently visited the centre in this regard as well.

Moreover, she said that the DUHS has also started to train occupational therapists (OT) while Malaysian Prof. Nathan
Vytialiangam was already here to develop the curriculum. Vytialiangam, former vice president of the ‗World Federation of
Occupational Therapists‘ told The News that it would be a four-year course in which students would be trained to make
special people ―functionally independent.‖ He said as there is not enough teaching and chemical material, he would train
students for three weeks. He also suggested that there is a ―big need‖ to set up such institutes as not only physical but
mental disability among children, adults and old people is on the rise. Furthermore, economic problems have also made
lives of people stressful, which would ultimately affect the social structure. Besides this, natural disasters such as the
earthquakes in Pakistan also enhance the importance of establishing rehabilitation centres.

Dr Imran Ahmed, first male physiotherapist in the city said that around 10 to 11 disabled people visit Dual daily and
approximately 380 people have applied for artificial limbs. Quoting a few examples of the patients, Ahmed said that
recently a two-year old boy who was disabled by birth was brought there. ―Being a very difficult case, we suggested the
parents bring him back when he a gets little older.‖ Another patient was an 11-year-old disabled seminary student whose
legs were amputated when a container overturned and fell on him in the city while he was on his way to the madrassa.
(By Imtiaz Ali, The News-20, 25/01/2008)

                              Decision to change academic calendar sparks controversy

KARACHI: In an unexpected development, the Sindh Education Department recently announced that the provincial
school academic year is to be altered so that it starts in April instead of August, despite the fact that the August-start
schedule was decided upon last year after much deliberation.

A Jan 12 meeting of the department‘s steering committee, which was attended by stakeholders from all over the
province, announced that schools had reached a consensus on the proposed April to March academic calendar.
A week later, however, this newspaper received and published a charged letter written by the owner of a private school
who challenged the announcement for having been based on an ―imaginary consensus‖ and said that in fact, many
schools opposed the change to the academic calendar. This was followed by some other, similar letters, one of which
stated that dissenting voices at the steering committee‘s meeting had been drowned out by ―an overwhelming majority‖
that banged on desks and shouted.

The real motives behind the sudden change in the academic schedule, and that too during a caretaker government, may
remain available to only a select few. The Sindh Education Department, however, cites the miseries of summer faced by
school children across the province as the reason behind the decision. In favour of the April start is the fact that early
examinations, held before the onset of the March heat-wave, would save children from having to sweat through the final
examinations, particularly in view of a likely future of heavy load-shedding.

―I showed a survey of schools, mostly in interior Sindh, that want the academic calendar to start in April,‖ said Khalid
Shah, a private school owner who also heads the All Private Schools Association of institutions that charge a monthly fee
of less than Rs1,500.

Though feeling for the plight of hapless school children, the provincial education depar tment is also attempting to
establish strictly-implemented ground rules that must be followed by private schools. ―We want to streamline the process
of education all over the province, implement the laws and make sure they are observed,‖ said Mansub Siddiq ui, Director
Private Schools. ―Although April has been the start of the academic calendar for years, many private schools flout the law
by starting their school year in August.‖

It is true that for many years, schools in the province began their academic year in April. After much deliberation,
however, it was decided last year that the academic year would henceforth start from August.

Teaching days reduced
The proponents of the August to May calendar cannot understand why last year‘s decision has been overturned so
suddenly merely because of high temperatures. They point out that it took many consultative meetings with education
officials and a former minister to have the authorities recognise the wisdom of an August start.

Their view is that the August to May academic calendar is more realistic and is recognised all almost over the world. It
has comparatively more teaching days (the Ministry of Education requires a maximum count of 180 teaching days on an
academic calendar) while children begin the new session after a refreshing summer break from textbook learning. The
summer vacations should be free of homework and compulsion of any kind, they maintain, and children should return to
school prepared for the roughly 10-month session ahead.

The proponents of the August to May schedule further point out that in this schedule, teachers and school committees get
ample time to mark copies and develop plans for the next year. Meanwhile, as a mother of three children told Dawn, ―An
April start means that parents take a financial hit since they will have to account for the June and July school fees,
syllabus requirements and school books. This is an expense they usually space out during the summer holidays when
the academic year starts in August.‖

Delays in provision of textbooks
The Sindh Education Department‘s announcement regarding an April start must also be viewed in light of the rising but
troubling trend of delays in textbooks reaching the students. The Sindh Textbook Board has already hinted at a delay in
the distribution of books this year; if students don‘t receive books in time, perhaps the decision for an April or August start
becomes irrelevant.

In education circles, however, the issue has become controversial.
―Such interference is quite regrettable,‖ said Mrs Nargis Alavi, a seasoned educationist and the principal of Habib Public
School. ―An April to March session leaves fewer teaching days, almost two months less during April and May.‖

On the other hand, private schools in favour of an April start refer to the stated advantages of an August start as evidence
of ―a colonial mindset.‖ Although some of these schools concede that there may be a fewer number of teaching days in
an April to March session, most stand convinced by the argument that Sindh faces a peculiar weather situation and
soaring temperatures. Representatives of these schools argue that once children take their examinations and are
promoted to higher classes in March, they can look forward to a two-month summer break after having familiarised
themselves with the new syllabus for two weeks and some homework.

Abuse of power
The strained relationship between private schools and the education department takes a heavy toll on quality education.
On their part, private schools claim that they filled the void left after public schools were nationalised by the Bhutto
government during the 1970s. And while the Ministry of Education wants some sanity is terms of quality education, it
remains embroiled in successive controversies: last year‘s news, for example, concerned a rift between the former chief
minister and the education minister which resulted in the delay of placement orders for textbooks.

―Officers in the ministry show commitment in all honesty on the table but under the table, massive abuses of power are
taking place,‖ said the owner of a private school on the condition of anonymity. According to this owner, favours extracted
from private schools include pressure to take admissions and fee reductions.

There is also the issue that the recent decision was taken during a caretaker set-up.
―How can an interim minister take a decision on any matter when he is only supposed to supervise the smooth sailing of
the state of affairs and then take a bow after the elections?‖ asked Professor Anita Ghulam Ali, former education minister
and now the managing director of the Sindh Education Foundation. Furthermore, she said that having worked with
schools in Sindh for years, she cannot understand why the summer heat necessitates a change in the academic

Sources also pointed out that the interim education minister‘s wife runs a private school and is also contesting the
upcoming elections. Critics raised the possibility that many votes had been promised for an April-start decision since it
benefits invigilators/teachers who are employed during the SSC examinations almost throughout the summer vacations.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education awaits the final decision regarding an April or August start in the province‘s schools
after an inter-provincial meeting scheduled for Feb 4. The issue hinges on whether the ministry feels the heat.

Holidays for private schools in Sindh during 2007
Holiday                               Number of days taken off

Summer holidays                           75
Winter vacations                          10 (extended to 18 days last year)
Exams/result preparation                  20
Total:                                              105 (= 15 weeks)
2-day weekends (Saturday & Sunday)        74

Religious holidays:
Ashura                                               2
Chehlum                                              1
Eid milad-un-nabi                                    1
Shab-e-Barat                                         1
Shab-e-Mairaj                                        1
Eid-ul fitr                                          3
Eid-ul-Azha                                          3
Total:                                               13

Other gazetted holidays:
Kashmir day (Feb 5)                                  1
Pakistan Resolution Day (March 23)                   1
Labour Day (May 1)                                   1
Independence Day (August 14)                         1
Quaid death anniversary (Sept 11)                    1
Iqbal‘s death anniversary (Nov 9)                    1
Total:                                               6

Provincial/local holidays:
Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai‘s Urs                       1
Abdullah Shah Ghazi‘s Urs                            2
Total:                                               3

Unscheduled holidays: 10 (average per year)

Total holidays per year 211 (= approximately 30 weeks)

— Courtesy: Teachers Resource Centre
(By Sumera S. Naqvi, Dawn-17, 31/01/2008)

                                     Lyari libraries: an affair to remember
Though Lyari is home to people mostly belonging to the low-income groups, these people are generous, politically
conscious and vociferous readers.

Rahim Bux Azad, a Balochi folklore writer and activist, said: ―There are probably more than 1,000 people, out of a
population of 0.6 million, who have libraries at homes in Lyari.‖ The town is subdivided into 11 Union Councils (UCs).
―When President General Ayub Khan started Basic Democracy, he directed all heads of the local bodies institutions to set
up reading rooms in their offices so that the area people could use it for their benefit. Initially, the authorities provided a
small number of books for the reading rooms but then asked the chairmen to arrange for more books for the purpose,‖
added Azad.

Gul Hassan Kalmati, in his book Karachi, Sindh Jee Marvi writes: ―There were 28 libraries in [the] different areas of Lyari.‖
However, Azad said that this figure could be well above 40.

Azad himself has a good collection of more than 3,000 books of literature, history, culture and art, in Sindhi, Balochi, Urdu
and English languages. According to him he has donated 5,000 books to Syed Hashmi Library in Malir and 1,000 books
to Imam Bux Library, Siddiq Village, Malir, to educate the political cadre.

The Pakistan Hall library, located near Jhatpat Market, Chakiwara, was the oldest library of the town, established by
Abdullah Haroon before Partition. In fact, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah also visited the library, Azad said.
―There was a little group of writers and activists, who mobilised the people to raise their voices for access to libraries in
their neighbourhoods during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto‘s government. It was because of this activism that more libraries were set
up in the area,‖ said Saeed Baloch, another activist and an avid reader.

The Lyari Textbook Library — also known as the Mulla Fazil Hall Library –was quite popular among the readers. It
consisted of textbooks, especially for students of engineering, medicine and science and was quite useful because those
students who could not afford to buy books borrowed these books from the library.

While talking about the benefits of such libraries, Saeed Baloch added that ―these libraries also had the leading
magazines of the world for the readers of this low-income area. We started reading Time Magazine, Newsweek, Reader
Digest, The Economist, etc, in these libraries 15 years ago.‖
It is sad to note that these libraries have lost their appeal now. The managements do not have the funds to purchase
enough newspapers, periodicals and new books for the people. Furthermore, the prices of books and newspapers have
increased manifold, but the funds allocated seem to be stuck in a time warp – the amount is the same as what it was 15
years ago.

Abdul Sattar, an educationist, says that the area people do not like visiting these libraries now which is why the
management is reluctant to purchase new books and dailies.

The Meeran Naka Municipal Library has been shut for the last few years. Similarly, S. Muhamaduddin Library near
Moulamadad is not functioning properly. Though the staff is available, still the library receives no newspapers or books
because of the shortage of funds.

Some activists believe that readers have changed their habits because of the depoliticisation of the society. Reading
books and newspapers, and seeking knowledge is not a priority now.
The Mujahid Park Library was the second largest library of the area, which had a good co llection of books, ranging from
Yoga to Science, literature and history. Now hardly a small number of people visit it daily.

Satellite Library Singulane always remained open from morning to midnights but now its management shuts the door in
the afternoon.

All concerned institutions, including union councils, towns, city government and the provincial government are not
interested in providing more funds to promote reading habits among the residents, activists said.

Apart from these, other major libraries in the areas include Faiz-e-Aam Library, Hungorabad Library, Iqbal Shaheed
Library, Behar Colony, Iqra Library, New Kumhar Wara, Lyari Municipal Library, Old Slaughter House, Moosa Lane
Reading Room Library, Moulana Hasrat Mohani Library, Usmanabad, Nawa Lane Library, Gabol Park, Noorani Welfare
Library, Ranchore Line, Sardar Abdul Rab Nishtar Library near Lyari General Hospital, Shuhada-e-Pakistan Library,
Usmanabad, Syed Mehmood Shah Library, Lea Market, Umer Lane Library, Umer Lane and the Dar-ul-Mutaleh Central
Fire-Brigade Library.

The area activists added that several people used to run tiny libraries in their mohallahs a couple of decades ago which
was a good source of income generation for them. Thousands of people, who could not afford to buy boo ks and
periodicals, would visit the libraries of their area and borrow them on nominal daily rentals. These libraries would normally
open in the afternoon till midnight. Most of them offered a wide range of Urdu books and periodicals, fiction, digests and
showbiz magazines in particular, while poetry and religious books were also in great demand.
(By Jan Khaskheli, The News-20, 04/02/2008)

                                        Academic session from August
KARACHI, Feb 4: Caretaker Federal Education Minister Shamsh Kassim-Lakha has said that the decision on when to
begin the new academic year has been left to the coming elected government and as such there will be no change in the
current academic session, which will begin in August.

Mr Lakha, who presided over the 12th inter-provincial conference held here on Monday at the new Sindh Secretariat, was
briefing newsmen about the decisions taken at the meeting. Present on the occasion were all the four caretaker provincial
education ministers, the secretaries concerned and other high officials.
He said the conference had ―very fruitful, positive and detailed discussions‖ on the question whether to begin the new
academic session in August or at the end of March.

During the discussion, representatives of the textbook and examination boards, Fata, Jammu and Kashmir and provincial
governments raised many points, and ―very effective arguments were put forward in support of the change‖.
However, there was a consensus that being caretaker governments they did not enjoy the authority to make changes in
the academic session, and decided to leave it to an elected government, which would be there after two weeks.
It was also observed that before taking a decision to change the academic session, there was a need to have proper
studies to take into account how many days would be left for education, the weather conditions and genuine complaints
as were put forward.

The conference decided to give four weeks to carry out a scientific study and prepare a report to present to the new
elected government, which would have the privilege of taking a final decision in the light of the report.
He said there were two major considerations in continuing with the current academic year. One, if at this stage the
academic year was changed, there would be a loss of 47 days, which would affect students badly. And that even the
textbooks would not be available so soon.

The minister also said that under the new scheme of studies, there was a complete agreement among all the four
provinces to begin it in 2008-09.
(By Habib Khan Ghori, Dawn-17, 05/02/2008)

                        ‘Academic session change to be decided by new govt’
The current educational session (starting August 1) will continue for the time being, and the decision to alter it would be
left up to the new elected government that comes in after the February 18 general elections, caretaker Federal Minister
for Education Shams Qasim Lakha said.

The decision was taken Monday at the 12th Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) that held at the
Sindh Secretariat after a lapse of three years. The last IPEMC was held December 2005.
At a press conference held later, Lakha said that a host of issues were discussed during the IPMEC, and representatives
of all four provinces presented concrete arguments. The caretaker government, however, has no legal powers to change
the academic session, Lakha said, adding that the existing academic session would continue and the new session for the
year 2008 would start on August 1 and September 1 across the country.

Meanwhile, provincial education departments would prepare an in-depth study of the outcome of the meeting and would
submit it to the next elected government. ―We have only 14 days left before the next government comes in,‖ Lakha said,
―If we announce a change in the academic calendar now, 47 days of study would be lost and books approved in the new
scheme of study would not be ready for students.‖

The new academic syllabus, the federal minister said, had been prepared via consensus from all four provinces, and
would be implemented in the year 2009.

Books would be published on time, and will be available in the market before the start of the new academic session,
Punjab Education Minister Mira Phailbus said, while Lakha maintained that publishing books was a provincial matter and
directives had been issued to the departments concerned.

Also, he said, education is not purely a provincial matter and there has been consensus in Monday‘s session. All
stakeholders, including FATA, FANA, provincial education departments, examination boards, the N ational Institute of
Science and Technology, and education officials of Azad Kashmir, have been taken into confidence.

‗O‘ and ‗A‘ levels cannot be done away with immediately, and are needed till the country‘s local system of education
comes up to that level, Federal Secretary Education Jehnagir Bashar said.

Meanwhile, caretaker Sindh Education Minister Shujaat Ali Beg denied allegations relating to commission being
demanded from publishers.
He also spoke about 8,000 non-functional schools, and said that a deadline has been issued to EDOs concerned and
they have been asked to make these schools functional. Around 1,000 schools had started functioning again after the
interference of education department officials, Beg said, adding that no transfers and postings have been made in the
Sindh education department.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-14, 05/02/2008)

                        ‘Academic session change to be decided by new govt’
The current educational session (starting August 1) will continue for the time being, and the decision to alter it would be
left up to the new elected government that comes in after the February 18 general elections, caretaker Federal Minister
for Education Shams Qasim Lakha said.

The decision was taken Monday at the 12th Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) that held at the
Sindh Secretariat after a lapse of three years. The last IPEMC was held December 2005.
At a press conference held later, Lakha said that a host of issues were discussed during the IPMEC, and representatives
of all four provinces presented concrete arguments. The caretaker government, however, has no legal powers to change
the academic session, Lakha said, adding that the existing academic session would continue and the new session for the
year 2008 would start on August 1 and September 1 across the country.

Meanwhile, provincial education departments would prepare an in-depth study of the outcome of the meeting and would
submit it to the next elected government. ―We have only 14 days left before the next government co mes in,‖ Lakha said,
―If we announce a change in the academic calendar now, 47 days of study would be lost and books approved in the new
scheme of study would not be ready for students.‖

The new academic syllabus, the federal minister said, had been prepared via consensus from all four provinces, and
would be implemented in the year 2009.

Books would be published on time, and will be available in the market before the start of the new academic session,
Punjab Education Minister Mira Phailbus said, while Lakha maintained that publishing books was a provincial matter and
directives had been issued to the departments concerned.

Also, he said, education is not purely a provincial matter and there has been consensus in Monday‘s session. All
stakeholders, including FATA, FANA, provincial education departments, examination boards, the National Institute of
Science and Technology, and education officials of Azad Kashmir, have been taken into confidence.

‗O‘ and ‗A‘ levels cannot be done away with immediately, and are needed till the country‘s local system of education
comes up to that level, Federal Secretary Education Jehnagir Bashar said.

Meanwhile, caretaker Sindh Education Minister Shujaat Ali Beg denied allegations relating to commission being
demanded from publishers.
He also spoke about 8,000 non-functional schools, and said that a deadline has been issued to EDOs concerned and
they have been asked to make these schools functional. Around 1,000 schools had started functioning again after the
interference of education department officials, Beg said, adding that no transfers and postings have been made in the
Sindh education department.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-14, 05/02/2008)

                          Lack of day care facilities impedes women’s careers
KARACHI, Feb 5: Finding proper childcare during the workday has become one of the major issues that forces many
working women to give up their careers, even though the number of women in the job market is increasing and a lot of
careers are opening up for them.

A majority of women abandon their careers when they have children owing to a lack of family and workplace support.
With less than five day care centres in the city and the rise of the nuclear family, the situation has attained serious

Amina, a mother of two, who is employed at a key post in a private firm and has been working for more than 20 years,
talked about how difficult it was for her to balance both her family and work when she had children.

―I used to go home every two hours from work and then return after tending to my children since my in-laws refused to
take care of them,‖ she said. Her two children were entirely her responsibility and since she was not willing to give up her
job, looking after both aspects of her life was a Herculean task. ―I would of ten bring them to work and let them play near
me until they reached school-going age,‖ she said. Her husband stayed out of the equation while she had to deal with her
in-laws. While Amina managed to continue working, Marium, a journalist, opted for a day care centre for a year and
eventually quit her job. ―I used to drop my son at the day care centre in the morning and pick him up in the evening,‖ she
said. However, after having two more sons, she left the profession and stayed home for almost 18 years.

Women from lower-income groups, such as Beenish, a housemaid, find life all the more taxing. She works round the
clock in both her own home and in others‘, while her five young children are her responsibility. Her husband, a helper at a
general store in the area, does little to ease her burden. ―He comes home quite late. I have nothing to complain about,
though I would certainly appreciate it if he could help me in taking care of our children rather than just idling with his
friends during his free time,‖ she told Dawn.

Beenish argued that there is a general concept in society that women have to take care of the children while the men are
the breadwinners. ―Men have liberty to go out and socialise while women are burdened with so many tasks that at the
end of the day, they barely have time for themselves,‖ she pointed out.

Interestingly enough, however, working women are not the only ones dependent on day care centres. Visiting one of the
centres, this reporter spotted a housewife who leaves her child, almost one and a half years old, at the place. ―There are
no children at home for my son to play with, so we drop him here for two to three hours,‖ she said. She added that her
child not only plays at the centre but also learns the alphabet and other things.

Day care hazards
Psychiatrist Dr Ali Wasif, however, warned against this practice. ―Women generally send children who are hyperactive or
uncontrollable to day care centres in order to have peace of mind for a while, which is totally unfair to the child,‖ he s aid.
He believes that it is the parents‘ choice to have children, so they should take care of them too.

When it comes to working women, he said ―unfortunately, though the day care centres are a compromise on the child‘s
development, when it comes to working women it is somewhat justifiable due to the socio-economic set-up prevalent
here.‖ But Dr Wasif was highly critical of the day care centres set up in various areas of the city.
―They wrap the child up in a sheet in order to make the infant feel secure a nd whenever the child cries, they give him/her
a feeder or a pacifier, which quietens the child,‖ he said. He argued that the majority of day care centres do not pay much
attention to hygiene and give products to children without sterilising them. Under such circumstances, he suggested, it
would be better if organisations were to come up with day care within offices; and if that was not possible, then the
mothers should either rely on the family to take care of the child or find someone capable and reliable enough in the area
who could manage the job.

Talking about the effects on the child after spending its formative years in day care with no professional to help, he said
that ―the child either becomes withdrawn or overly aggressive. The infant becomes res tless and insecurity about the
parents not being with them (separation anxiety) seeps into their personality, which stays and becomes a hurdle in their
academic life later on.‖

Laying down the law
Though the government raves about its policy for empowering women, hardly any steps have been taken to assure that
proper childcare facilities are established to facilitate working women.

Surprisingly enough, the country does have a law for day care requirements but it applies only to women employed in
factories. Called the Factories Act, it is applicable to all places registered as factories. Karamat Ali of the Pakistan
Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) explained that ―under this law, Section 33Q-2 states that if there are
more than 50 female workers employed in a factory, a suitable room should be set up for the children of these women
who are under the age of six.‖

However, Mr Ali maintained that this room is not referred to as a day care but a ―room for children,‖ and according to the
law, the provincial government is supposed to appoint an officer for its supervision.
―But I have never come across such facilities for women working in factories. These facilities may exist at the head offices
of certain multinational companies, but not for labourers,‖ he added. However, he did express the belief that it was time
the problem was addressed since ―the commercial sector is offering a lot of jobs to women and there is a need for a law
for that sector as well.‖

He also pointed out that the majority of workers of both genders are hired by contractors and not the factories
themselves, so the employers absolve themselves of their responsibility by saying that the contractors are supposed to
take care of the workers‘ issues and not the factory itself.

Requesting anonymity, an official of the American Business Council of Pakistan, an organisation of US businesses
investing in the country, revealed that there is no company or factory whatsoever that offers day care facilitates for the
benefit of its female employees.
―There have been one or two instances where workers challenged the employers in court over this issue. But you know
how the system works,‖ he said. ―It is believed that even the sub-contracted employees (hired through any employment
agency) of the company are entitled to the same rights as others, therefore the absence of day care centres is beyond
comprehension,‖ he added.

Women legislators’ role
The last provincial and national governments had the highest numbers of female legislators ever seen in Pakistan, yet
neither was the law regarding day care centres taken up, nor were new measures taken to make sure it was
implemented. Gul-i-Farkhanda, a National Assembly member during the previous government, was asked why this issue
was never raised in the assembly.

―For one and a half years the opposition preferred to thump benches than join us for legislation. Secondly, I agree that
this time the assemblies had many female members but it will take time to introduce things and to run the system
smoothly,‖ she told Dawn.

―Problems are not solved overnight; it takes years. For 56 years, the parliament was a largely male domain and never
before was so much work done on women‘s issues than during the last six years,‖ she claimed. However, she believes i t
will take at least 10 more years for the results to materialise.
(By Meera Jamal, Dawn-15, 06/02/2008)

                                Victims of silence: Violence against children
Kishore had been working at Kanya Lal's residence for 20 days when he was accused of stealing gold ornam ents worth
half a million rupees. The 14-year-old says he was tortured into admitting to this supposed misdeed. To punish him,
Kanya Lal, his wife Sarla and nephew Deepak tortured the young boy with a metal rod and locked him in a room for three

The police raided Kanya Lal's residence on a complaint registered by
Kishore's uncle. Kishore's initial medical reports confirmed marks of torture on
his body. He was however discharged from Liaquat National Hospital for
reasons best known to the administration. Kishore and his father along with
supporters held a protest demonstration demanding justice, but he is currently
being forced to withdraw his case by the landlord whose family he was

It is a depressing thought, that something could infuriate people into physically
harming another human being. It is more depressing a thought though, that
anyone could attack a child, who is just physically not capable of taking on
one, let alone three adults. But for some reason, these thoughts are the least
melancholy ones. For when one compares Kishore to Muddasir Arain, who
passed away in January after being subjected to corporal punishment at school, Kishore seems lucky to have not lost his

Both cases occurred in Hyderabad literally within a month of each other and point to the fact that while certain cases get
reported and highlighted in the media, there must be several which never get reported and victims suffer, or even die in

Unfortunately, even when a case is reported, the perpetrator of the crime often walks free, as with Buland Iqbal, the
teacher who Muddasir's parents believe caused their son's death.
Many civil society organizations are working on bringing child labuor to an end, as child labour is the main cause behind
violence against children at workplaces and streets.

According to data compiled by Madadgaar, Pakistan's first helpline for children and women suffering from violence, abuse
and exploitation based on a compilation report after monitoring 26 newspapers; 5268 children were victimized across
Pakistan from January to December 2007. From the total figure, 3012 were male and 2256 were female children.
The report cites lack of awareness, hesitation because of stigmatization, discrimination, patriarchal structure of society,
lack of avenues for redress and many barriers in accessing justice as basic reasons for people hesitating to report cases
of child abuse.

It is clarified in the report that reported numbers of cases are merely a suggestion of the actual magnitude of violence
against children in Pakistan. 45 per cent of Pakistan's population consists of
children, who are indeed the country's future and ill-treating them not only
harms them, but will have a negative impact on the future of Pakistan.

Mohammed Hassan Mangi, Director of National Commission for Child Welfare
and Development (NCCWD) of Ministry of Social Welfare Islamabad in reveals
to Kolachi that the draft bill of the child protection policy has been forwarded to
provinces and 90 per cent work in this regard has been completed.
"There was a positive response and after completion of the remaining 10 per
cent work on the draft bill it will be sent to the prime minister for approval from
the cabinet, which should be soon," he says.

Mangi says that the media is playing an important role in highlighting violence against children cases which prompts
authorities to take quick action. The fact that these cases are being reported, according to Mangi, should be taken as an
encouraging sign.
"NCCWD takes notice of cases after they appear in newspapers or on television," says Mangi, "and asks the concerned
home department to prepare a report." "Of course," says Mangi, "the commission will be able to work more effectively
after gaining status as an autonomous body."

"Child domestic labour should also be brought to an end and the ministry of labour should come up with banning such
practices and amending relevant laws," Mangi observes.
While Mangi's views are commendable and offer comfort that action is being taken at top
level, matters at the grass-root level remain more or less unchanged.

Two separate committees formed to ascertain the cause of Muddasir's death have cleared
the doctors of charges of negligence and Buland Iqbal, the teacher, of the charge of
subjecting Muddasir to corporal punishment.

Federal Caretaker Minister, Ansar Burney, who visited Muddasir's family after his death,
has failed to establish contact with the family and form another committee to look into the
case as promised.

Mussarat Pervez, a human rights activist associated with Lawyer for Human Rights and
Legal Aid (LHRLA) as Deputy Program Coordinator of Madadgaar tells Kolachi that
violence against children is increasing as fresh cases of corporal punishment and domestic
violence are surfacing.

Mussarat says that cases of violence against children get covered up easily because mostly, the victim's family doesn't
want to pursue the case and secondly there are various flaws in existing laws.
"The culprit benefits due to medico-legal reports which are based on physical injuries; cases of mental abuse do not fall
under this category," Mussarat tells Kolachi adding that mental torture at home or the workplace can destroy the
personality of a child forever.
Mussarat feels that a lot of things are not dealt with correctly by the police, especially cases of violence against children.
Victims are further harassed at police stations. The police mostly only seems to spring to action after a murder takes

"Awareness is key if we are to curb violence against children," says Mussarat, "along with bringing changes in laws
especially those regarding domestic violence,"

The child protection bill that is waiting for the approval from government also deliberates the formation of Commission for
the Protection of Children (CPC). The CPC will act as a focal point for effective supervision and coordination of child
rights at national and international level and devise a national policy and plan of action.
The child protection bill says that child protection bureaus should also be established and recommends for establishment
of a child protection court.

Dr Hameed Memon, a psychiatrist, tells Kolachi that, "those who subject children to torture can be defined as abnormal

Dr Memon says that most abusers don't feel guilty of their crime. "Once they enter this cycle of violence," he says "they
become incapable of reestablishing relationships and need psychiatric help."

Salam Dharejo, Regional Promotion Manager of Society for the Protection of the Rights o f the Child (SPARC) tells
Kolachi that there has been a sharp increase in sexual violence against children in Sindh.
Facts and figures collected through newspapers and child rights committees reveal that 216
cases of sexual abuse have been reported in 2007 alone. Part of the reason for this increase,
according to Dharejo, is the apathetic role of society and child rights commissions.

"Violence against children is easily covered up because children cannot decide or negotiate to
defend themselves," says Dharejo, "their grievances are addressed by adults whether they
are parents or persons belonging to state institutions. Children do not have a voice."

Dharejo does not limit civil society just to NGOs. He uses it as a broad term to include all
members of society, including those with political affiliations.
Apart from implementation of international laws and protocol, there is also a need for an
independent judiciary to take up cases of violence against children. Free legal aid facilities
should be made available to those who need them. All forms of child labour, be it industrial,
domestic or others, must be discouraged.

Last but not the least, the child protection bill must be passed and implemented without
further delay, lest more children suffer as Kishore and Muddasir did.

The statistics of violence
The provincial breakup of statistics collected in 2007 show that 225 child abuse cases were reported from Balochistan,
549 from NWFP, 3051 from Punjab and 1443 from Sindh.
Among major cities, Multan remains on top of the list as 997 cases happened there while in Karachi the number of
reported cases was 416. Other noteworthy cities in the context of violence against children include Gujranwala with 745
cases, Lahore with 679 cases, Sialkoat with 654 cases, Rawalpindi with 597 cases, Faisalabad with 507 cases,
Peshawar with 467 cases, Larkana with 415 cases, Hyderabad with 345 cases and Sukkur with 279 cases.
In 2006 the numbers of child abuse cases remained 4386, which is comparatively less than last year's f igures.
During last eight years, as per statistics of Madadgaar, from January 2000 to December 2007, 32298 children became
victims of violence. Out of total; 1612 cases were reported in in 2000, 2901 in 2001, 3864 in 2002, 4384 in 2003, 4647 in
2004, 5236 in 2005, 4386 in 2006 and 5268 in 2007.
(By Adeel Pathan, The News-43, 10/02/2008)

                                              Minor girl burnt to death
A minor disabled girl, two years in age, was burnt to death in Sharea Noor Jehan police limits. However the police said
that the reason behind the fire was not ascertained.

Bina, mother of the deceased girl, said that she was a tenant in the house of Aroosa situated in Block-I, North
Nazimabad. She said that, due to load-shedding in her house, she lit a candle and put it on the iron stand.

After offering prayers, she said that she went to purchase some household items along with two of her children and had
left her disabled daughter at home.

When she returned, she heard area residents shouting that a fire had erupted. With entire house engulfed with fire, she
failed to save her disabled daughter.

After the rescue operation by the police and the fire office, the burnt body of the minor girl was recovered. She was
rushed to the hospital where doctors pronounced her dead.

The police said that Bina was a widow and teaches the children of the area to earn her livelihood.
(The News-13, 11/02/2008)

                                   No support system for battered women
At a time when five-year old Rohan Aslam and three-year-old Reva Aslam should be going to school, they are instead
watching TV at the home of their grandparents, locked inside a room with a maid to watch over them. Like thousands of
other children across Pakistan, Rohan and Reva are the real sufferers of a marriage gone wrong.
Their mother, Aneela Parveen, is a victim of domestic violence, for which, under the law, she has currently no recourse. A
bill on domestic violence which could have guaranteed her protection but it continues to be delayed with the result that
women suffer endlessly.

While the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, says that ―a divorced mother is entitled to custody of her children, until seven
years for males and puberty for females‖, 35-year-old Aneela Parveen cannot take custody because in the eyes of the
law, she has no case.

After being viciously beaten up by her husband, she has made the rounds of different courts narrating her ordeal over
and over again just to prove her case. The police refuse to lodge an FIR citing legal loopholes and have, to date, been
unable to give her any protection or help.

Aneela is one of the several victims of domestic violence who are made to suffer every day as the police refuse to
cooperate since there is no law to protect them. The amended Protection of Women (Criminals Laws Amendment) Act,
2006 only provides ‗relief‘ and protection to women against misuse and abuse of laws relating to Zina and Qazf
(Enforcement of Hudood Ordinance 1979), and the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939. However, the issue of
domestic violence under this law remains unaddressed. Numerous cases are reported every day but the police officials
refuse to intervene terming it as a ‗private affair‘ of the complainant.

An effort to address the issue was, however, made by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Women
Development on April 26, 2007 when a bill called ‗Domestic Violence Against Women and Children (Prevention and
Protection) Bill, 2007‘ was submitted to the cabinet for approval. However, despite the passage of seven months, there
was no progress and the then government‘s tenure ended in November 2007.

Today, Aneela Parveen stays with her parents in Gulistan-e-Jauhar away from her children. Her husband, Farhan Aslam,
an AVP at a reputed private bank, is understood to have physically tortured her for refusing to give him consent to
remarry. What added insult to injury was that he was intent on marrying Aneela‘s best friend.
After several failed attempts to reconcile with her husband and save their marriage despite the beatings, Aneela has now
decided to part with her husband and has recently filed a lawsuit to gain custody of her children.

Aneela, who comes from a well-educated Sindhi family, says she is particularly disappointed with the justice system that
does not guarantee protection to the victims of domestic violence.
The police, in her case too, refused to intervene because it is supposedly a ‗domestic affair‘. However, Justice (retd)
Majida Rizvi, who is also an advocate for human rights, argues that ―once the matter is reported to the police, it no longer
‗private‘ and it is their duty to register an FIR against the concerned family member.

But the opposite has been the case with Aneela. According to her family, on the night of January 15, 2008 after being
subjected to severe physical abuse by Farhan Aslam at their residence in Defence Phase 6, Aneela attempted to register
an FIR against her husband. But the police refused and instead sent her to the Women‘s Police Station located near the
PIDC roundabout.

When the battered woman went to register her case there at around 2.00 a.m. along with her brother, the female police
constable, who was the only one present at that time, also refused to register the case. She advised her to go back to
Defence Police Station as ―it was not their jurisdiction.‖

When Aneela returned to the Defence Police Station, the SHO advised her to report the matter to the Medico -legal
Officer (MLO) of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) first and only on the basis of that medical report would they
register her case. ―My sister was bleeding and her injuries and torn clothes did not require ‗medical‘ proof, but she was
made to run from one place to another for two days just to register her complaint,‖ lamented Aneela‘s elder brother Dr
Muhammad Ali.

Aneela‘s tragedy, however, did not end at the MLO office where there was no female MLO to examine her. ―They asked
us to return later, but after my brother persisted that at least a report be prepared based on the external injuries, he
agreed to do so,‖ adds Aneela. She appeared more shocked at the attitude of the police and ML officials than that of her
abusive husband.

Dr Ali added that the police and ML officials refused to prepare a report in her case ―as there was no reported fracture nor
were Aneela‘s wounds deep enough to expose the bone‖ and the law does not permit them to prepare a report in case of
domestic violence unless the torture is severe. However, after much ado, a report was prepared.

But Dr Rohina Hasan, a female MLO at Civil Hospital denied the presence of any such law. ―There is no such law and the
officials have to prepare a report regardless of the reason of violence,‖ she says. The legal procedure, explains Dr
Hasan, is to register a police report first. ―However, there are times when the female victim does not ha ve a male to
accompany her to the police station and is hesitant to go alone. In such a case, we call the police officials of the
concerned area to the MLO office so he can report her case at the hospital itself based on which we prepare a medico
legal report,‖ she explains.

Aneela said that she later sought help of a few human rights organisations for legal aid but was turned down too following
which her family decided to register a case with the lower court. Her four-month-old son Rohain Aslam was also with the
Farhan after the incident. However, Aneela took custody of the minor on January 22, 2008 and is hopeful of the same for
her other two children. Aneela and thousands of women like her suffer in silence as the government delays the bill
despite the fact that it has been signed and sealed by the parliament.
(By Aroosa Masroor, The News-13, 11/02/2008)

                            Consumer rights body toothless without tribunal
KARACHI, Feb 12: As the inflation rate increases with each passing month and the quality of products co ntinues to
deteriorate, consumer rights figure so low on the Sindh government‘s list of priorities that it has failed to constitute a
tribunal despite the establishment of a Consumer Rights Council (CRC) over a year ago.

Similarly, sources and people engaged with the project said the 11-member CRC itself remained almost a non-functional
body, raising questions about its effectiveness.

The body was supposed to initiate an awareness campaign among consumers of their rights at the grass roots level. The
authorities admit to the lack of effort on their part but argue that their powers are limited.
―It‘s true, we have not moved as fast as required,‖ said Sharfuddin Memon, the CRC chief. ―But we don‘t have regulatory
powers, as we can only inform people about their rights concerning products, their quality and prices. We can‘t regulate
prices but encourage people to come up with complaints if they have grievances against any product so that we can
process these with the authorities concerned,‖ he said.

Over the last year and more, the CRC has managed to establish only two complaint centres in the city – in Gulberg Town
and New Sabzi Mandi – and that too in the recent months. The number of complaints registered by the centres remains
untraced and even if they are compiled, they cannot be processed due to the lack of any court for the protection of
consumer rights.

Though the Sindh governor promulgated the Sindh Consumer Protection Ordinance, 2007, last February, not a single
tribunal has been set up by the provincial authorities, which may take up such complaints.
―If any businessman, company, firm, person, manufacturer or trader, supplies or attempts to supply any defective goods
or deficient services or practices; or attempts any unfair trade practices; or makes or attempts to make any false or
misleading representation or violates any provision of this ordinance, such businessman, company, firm, person,
manufacturer or trader shall be liable to pay compensation to the complainant as the consumer tribunal may direct,‖
states the ordinance.

However, the aforementioned tribunal has not been set up so far, with no reason in sight both for the consumers and the
CRC officials.

Ineffective without tribunal
―We don‘t know why such courts have not been set up,‖ said Mr Memon. ―The tribunal does not fall in our area. But we
believe that without it, our target to bring awareness among the consumers and examine their complaints is not
achieved,‖ he added.

Along with the courts not being set up, there has been no advantage for the consumers on the ground, as not a single
case of consumer complaints has been forwarded to any competent authority, despite the Rs2 million annual grant to the

―To take such actions as it thinks justified by results of such research/surveys, i nformation and complaints in its
possession by advising and educating the consumers to make informed/rational decisions, forwarding the information to
the concerned public officials/special judicial magistrate/tribunals for redress and submitting recommendations to the
government to promote and protect consumer rights,‖ a Sindh government notification says, describing the CRC‘s ambit
of authority.

On one hand, the Sindh government‘s lethargic approach towards the consumer tribunals remains a question, while on
the other the CRC members‘ ignorance about the council‘s mandate and their responsibility make materialization of the
project a distant dream. ―I attended CRC meetings only twice in 2006,‖ said one of the 11 CRC members. ―It is not worth
mentioning what happened in these meetings but I can say with confidence that the CRC is not supposed to do what its
members have taken up as issues of concern in those two meetings.‖

However, the CRC chief believes the council is moving ahead with the mandate it has been assigned and has
undertaken several awareness programmes as a first step.
―We have arranged a few seminars and some awareness programmes for schoolchildren, while advertisements in the
print media have also been placed with consumer rights messages,‖ he added. ―We have also managed to arrange some
talk shows on television channels on the same line. We are slow, but we are not at a standstill.‖
(By Imran Ayub, Dawn-17, 13/02/2008)

                        PML-N has set highest education targets: shows report
Although major political parties have made many encouraging commitments about the education sector in their election
manifestos of 2008, substantive commitments on certain controversies in the sector have been skipped by most, noted
an analytical report on ―Election Manifestos of Political Parties on Education‖ published by the Centre for Peace and
Development Initiatives (CPDI).

The report covers the manifestos of the Pakistan People‘s Party Parliamentarians (PPP-P), Muttahida Qaumi Movement
(MQM), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Awami National Party
(ANP), among which the PML-N has set the highest targets. However, the parties failed to explain how they intend to
achieve their ―ambitious plans‖ and where the required resources to achieve the set targets will come from.

Ambiguities in the party manifestos were highlighted in a report that was shared at a press conference on Wednesday at
the Karachi Press Club. The report states that the issue of providing ―education for all‖ has been addressed rather
generally as certain controversies in relation to medium of instruction, privatisation of schools and colleges and multiple
education systems have not been specifically addressed nor have effective strategies been presented.

In a comparative analysis, researchers at CPDI pointed out that the PPP-P has committed to achieve a universal
enrollment of children at primary level by the year 2015, whereas the PML-Q has committed to achieve mass literacy
within ten years i.e. by 2018. The PML-N has set its target of achieving 100 per cent enrollment in middle school by 2012
and in secondary school by 2015. The MQM and ANP, on the other hand, have only made general commitments for
―compulsory education for all and ending illiteracy‖ and not set a specific target.

The PML-Q and ANP have also made special mention, although very briefly, of education for women. However, in view of
additional constraints faced by girls in accessing educational facilities, effective strategies have not been discussed to
address the issue, said Mukhtar Ali, Executive Director, CPDI, while addressing the conference. The PML-Q and ANP
are also the only parties that have not said anything about private sector education.

The MQM, on the other hand, has gone a step further and talks of abolishing what is calls the ‗dual system of education‘
by raising the standards of Urdu medium and government schools. ―They have suggested bringing the government
system of education at par with the so-called elitist schools but have not talked about abolishing the Cambridge system of
education,‖ states the report. On the medium of instruction, the ANP is the only party that has suggested that the ‗mother
tongue would be made the medium of instruction‘. The other parties remain silent on the issue.

In relation to higher education, only the PML-N has made a clear and specific commitment that it will guarantee by 2010
that all students who get first division in matriculation and intermediate examination will get an admission in a public
sector college in their Tehsil/ Taluka/ sub-division. ―The other parties talk about the quality of existing colleges, increasing
the number of higher educational institutions, merit and autonomy of the Higher Education Commission, but make no
clear time-bound commitments.‖ The PPP-P, PML-Q and ANP also make no reference to the need to improve the
syllabus and curriculum. However, the PPP-P, MQM and ANP have committed to lift the ban on students‘ unions, while
the remaining parties have not.

Ali stressed that no party has made any specific commitments for improving governance and promoting accountability in
the education system nor have they talked about the utilisation of the development budget. ―Only the MQM and PML-N
talk a bit about how the education sector will be financed. The MQM has committed to increase tax expenditures from the
current 2.2 per cent to 5 per cent of GDP. The PML-N has not set a target in terms of percentage but has committed that
the Federal Government will fund 50 per cent of the public sector education programme, up to the higher secondary level,
through grants to all provinces,‖ says the report.

Utilisation of Budget: Out of Rs6,560 million allocated in the Financial Year 2006-07, the education sector spent only
Rs2,193 million by the end of June 2007; that is, only 33 per cent of the original total allocation was spent on the sector.
For the financial year 2007-08, the federal government has allocated Rs6,509 million under the education division. Out of
this amount, Rs936 million was allocated for the first quarter (July to September 2007), but the Education Division could
spend only Rs498 million, that is only 7.6 per cent of the total allocation. This indicates that serious problems continue to
exist in the system in terms of ensuring the timely release and utilisation of the education budget, says a Budget Watch

Issue Party Commitments
1. Universal PPP-P, PML-Q, literacy/adult MQM, PML-N, literacy ANP
2. Emphasis on PML-Q, ANP girls‘ education/remote or disadvantaged districts
3. Annual budget MQM, PML-N allocation/financing of development programmes
4. Science and PML-Q, PML-N vocational education
5. Multiple systems MQM, ANP of education/Medium of instruction/teaching methods
6. Teachers‘ PML-Q, MQM, emoluments PML-N, ANP and status/Teachers training
7. Higher education PPP-P, PML-Q, MQM, PML-N
8. Syllabus and curriculum MQM, PML-N
9. Incentives for poor students/ PPP-PML-Q, scholarships/incentives PML-N, ANP for education
10. Civic education/ PPP-P, MQM, democracy/student PML-N, ANP unions/Peace education
11. Governance/ PPP-P, PML-Q, monitoring and MQM, PML-N, accountability/merit based ANP transparent recruitment
of teachers
12. Basic PPP-P, PML-Q, necessities at MQM,PML,N schools/libraries
13. Examination MQM system/Merit based admissions
14. Private schools PPP-P, MQM, and universities
15. Madrassa PPP-P, PML-Q, education MQM
16. Medium of ANP Instruction

(The News-13, 14/02/2008)

                              Women should be involved in decision-making
Civil society activists and women politicians have called for going beyond token representation of women in politics and
institutions and advocated for creating sufficient space for women in the decision-making process.

They expressed these views at a dialogue, titled: ―Space for women participation in polls‖, jointly organized by Free and
Fair Election Network (Fafen), Centre for Peace and Civil Society (CPCS) and Cavish Development Foundation (CDF)
here on Friday.

Jami Chandio of the CPCS said that the purpose of elections and democracy would not be served until women were
given equal participation in political affairs. He said that political parties had often given ―token representation‖ to wome n
but in decision-making they were largely ignored. He suggested that women should be given guarantee of equal
participation under the party‘s constitution.

SZABIST research fellow Nusrat Lashari said that Benazir Bhutto had set precedent for women‘s participation in politics.
She, however, feared that her assassination might lead to further limitations for women in the political process.

Seemi Malik of PML-N said that male leaders of political parties had not formulated the policies that ultimately benefit
women members.

Former legislator Nasrin Chandio said that discriminatory attitude towards women was discouraging them morally and
socially from taking part in almost every field of society.

Humaira Khaleeq, a writer, said that women were being presented in ―cosmetic way‖ in politics, literature and art.

Salma Murad of PML-Q suggested that women politicians belonging to all political parties should strive jointly for attaining
their rights irrespective of their affiliations.

Humaira Alwani of PPP-P said that she belonged to apolitical family but she joined politics after being inspired by Benazir
(The News-13, 16/02/2008)

                                  Construction of $200m IT complex starts
KARACHI: The agreement for the construction of Pakistan‘s tallest information technology (IT) tower was finalized in a
ceremony in Kuala Lumpur. The tower, adjacent to Civic Center, is being constructed at a cost of 200 million dollars.

City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal signed the agreement on behalf of the city government while IM Technologies Director,
Datuk Goh Chye Koon, represented IM Technologies, a consortium of IJM Investment, Jebel Ali Limited and Malpak Ltd.
The tower, expected to be completed in 24 months, will comprise three shopping malls, a 12,000 seat call centre, a 240 -
room 5-Star hotel, business centres and parking for 2,100 vehicles.

Around 5,000 people will be employed in the construction work and recycled water will be used. The tower will offer
employment opportunities to 50,000 people.

The signing ceremony in Malaysia was attended by Pakistan High Commissioner to Malaysia Lt Gen. (retd) Tahir
Mahmood Qazi, District Coordination Officer Karachi Javed Hanif, Executive District Officer Enterprise Dr Shahab Imam,
Chief Controller of Buildings Rauf Akhtar Farooqui, IJM Corporation Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Datuk
Krishnan Tan and IM Technologies Pakistan Director Sarfraz H. Rizvi.

Addressing the ceremony, Mustafa Kamal said that the cooperation and investment by Malaysian companies in Pakistan
will help in strengthening ties between the two countries. Paper work for the project commenced a year ago and with the
signing of the agreement, construction will also start.
―The importance of the project can be judged from the fact that 4,000 call centre seats have been pre-booked,‖ Kamal
said. He was confident that the project could be completed before the stipulated time frame.
He thanked the Malaysian investors for the confidence they have shown in the government of Karachi by investing in
projects like the Elevated Expressway and the IT Complex. He said that the complex is a unique project in the region,
and will give a huge boost to the BPO industry of Pakistan.

Earlier, CEO and MD IJM Corporation Datuk Krishnan Tan welcomed the city nazim and his team in Malaysia. Tan said
that an investment of 197 million dollars was being made in the project and that it will be a modern and unique complex.
(DailyTimes-B1, 17/02/2008)

                             21 Karachi students excel in Cambridge exams
KARACHI, Feb 26: As many as 21 students from Karachi have scored highest marks around the world in the Cambridge
O Level, AS Level and International A Level June 2007 exams.

In this connection, Cambridge University‘s International Examinations‘ High Achievers Award ceremony for brilliant
students was held on Tuesday at Antrim Garden under the aegis of the British Deputy High Commissio n.The British
Deputy High Commissioner, Robert Gibson, was the guest of honour at the ceremony which was attended, by the high -
scoring students, their parents and teachers.

The regional manager for South Asia, Cambridge International Examinations, William Bickerdike, said that the most
impressive thing about the performance of students in Pakistan was that it was consistently brilliant and reflected that the
levels of preparation and endeavour were as high as ever.

The audience was informed that in all 15 students from across Pakistan had achieved top positions in the world in their
subjects and of them, six were from the Lahore region, eight from the Islamabad region and one student belonged to the
Karachi region.

Mohammad Emaad Hassan, of city‘s Beaconlight Academy, who has secured the highest marks in mathematics, was
given the Edexcel medallion by the Global relations manager, Dr David Davies.
It was further stated that of the total 432 students who had graduated from the December 2006 and June 2007
examinations, apart from 64 students who received recognition for achieving excellence at the national level, 13 students
had also received awards for obtaining the highest marks at the global level.

The British Council‘s director of examinations, John Glides, and the head of the Association of Chartered Certified
Accountants (ACCA), Pakistan, Arif Masud Mirza, were also present while the British Council‘s Director, Mashood Rizvi,
conducted the ceremony.
(Dawn-19, 27/02/2008)

                                         Karachi students shine brightly
Of the 52 students from Pakistan that achieved the best results in the world in the June 2007 sessions of the Cambridge
O, A and AS levels exams, 23 students are from Karachi.
This was disclosed by Regional Manager, South Asia, University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), William
Bickerdike, at a press conference at the British Deputy High Commission (BDHC) on Tuesday.

Last year‘s high achieving students from Pakistan were presented with gold medals by Robert Gibson, British Deputy
High Commissioner, at an impressive ceremony at the BDHC
The students and their parents attended the ceremony

Of these 23 students, 18 achieved ‗Brilliance in Pakistan Awards‘ in the O level, while three bagged this award for the A
level and two for the AS level.

Bickerdike said: ‗What is so impressive about the performance of students in Pakistan is that it is consistently brilliant,
year after year. This year is no exception, reflecting the fact that the level of preparation and endeavours are as high as

Director, Examination Services, Pakistan, of the British Council, John Gildea; Provincial Director, British Council, Sindh
and Balochistan, Syed Mashood Rizvi; and Director, Examinations, Karachi, of the British Council, Asim Saeed Khar;
were also present on the occasion.

Mashood told The News that Pakistan is second on the list of the British Council‘s enrolment, while China is on the top.
―I have always been impressed by the high standards they achieve in their examinations,‖ Bickerdike added.
―It has become almost a tradition for Pakistani students to attain the highest possible marks in their syllabus, but the point
needs to be made is that these students are in competition with a very large global cohort. To achieve the highest global
mark in the face of so much competition from the rest of the world is all the more commendable,‖ said Bickerdike.

Citing the reasons behind the high level of performance by students in Pakistan, he said that, firstly, some of the best
teachers were trained in this country and added that there was immense support from teachers and parents to the
students. He also cited the training option to be a contributing factor to the performance.
With regard to the training option, he also said that online courses were available and students in Pakistan had access to
these. He also informed that the BC is introducing Video Conferencing for the first time in Pakistan through which
students would be trained simultaneously along with other international students.

Mashood Rizvi, while praising the performance of the students, said that, under the prevailing circumstances, the
students performed the best. These students, he said, even appeared in the exam when Karachi was bleeding - on May
12 and October 18, which saw violence erupt in the entire city.

Akash Ahmed Shaikh from Karachi Grammar School achieved the top marks in the world for O Level Additional
Mathematics. Speaking on the occasion, Akash said that education was not only a tool for personal improvement but also
the foundation of social progress and well being. ―When I heard that I had scored a distinction I was ecstatic and
overjoyed and felt that my hard work and enthusiasm had paid off,‖ said Akash.

Amjad Mohammed Khan, who bagged the top marks in the world in A level Accounting and Mathematics said, ―Every one
has a different perspective; give every one a chance. Listen to every one‘s view. But, in the end, do what you want to do.‖

Rabia Rafique who topped Karachi in O level Commerce said that, ―Believe in God, trust your strength, enjoy your work
and study wholeheartedly to accomplish your aims; curb violence and frauds, rather unite and work hard to make the
world a better place to live.‖

Rafiq Ahmed Rahman Lightwala, the only son of his parents, topped Karachi i n Economics. He said that the subject was
his strong suit and while he hoped that he would proceed abroad for further studies, in the end he said he would back
home to serve his country.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-14, 27/02/2008)

                                             Protecting working women
GENDER discrimination and harassment at workplaces is common in almost every sector perceived as achievement
activity. Women have to face a series of physical and verbal abuses every single day on their way to and from their
institutions and workplaces. The rowdy attitude of the bus conductors, and the frequent pushings and shovings end up
instilling a fear of going to the college or workplace.

Harassment at the workplace is a more frightful story: flirtatious attitude of male colleagues, frequent invitations to
lunches and unwelcome interferences in their jobs. Gender harassment is a form of sexual harassment that consists
primarily of repeated comments, jokes, and hints directed at persons because of their gender or sexual orientation. This
may contaminate learning and working environments.
Gender discrimination at the workplace is a form of violence that violates the fundamental rights of women workers
which, in turn, affects employees, the employer and society as a whole.
Every mode of production has thrown up specific forms of gender harassment. Working men and women in fields and
mines are often exploited by landlords and contractors. Women industrial workers also face gender discrimination from
factory owners, supervisors and even from their male colleagues. While women employed in the service sector face
harassment from their office colleagues, bosses and clients.

Gender harassment at workplace is a human rights issue and a serious deterrent to development. Given the fact that a
substantial number of women need a secure workplace where they can put in their efforts and skills for the country‘s and
self upliftment, there is a need to restrict inappropriate male behaviour.

Gender justice thus includes the concept of equal employment opportunities and appropriate work conditions for both
genders. Today one finds women in a wide range of occupations. Surveys reveal that 40 to 70 per cent working women
are harassed. Even there are cases when they are treated so in an elected assembly.
It is time laws are made and implemented to stop women‘s harassment at workplaces and in the public. As a legislator I
had submitted/proposed a law, ‗The Sindh Prevention of Gender Harassment at Workplace 2006‘, in the Sindh Assembly,
but it was not taken up for discussion because of the government‘s non-serious attitude. I insist it is the need of the hour
that we:

1. Should struggle for harassment-free society where women can work in a respectable and safe atmosphere so that they
can play their vital role in society and improve the economy of the country.
2. Should have specific laws to protect women at their workplaces, etc.
3. Conduct a countrywide campaign to bring together all the organisations that are willing to work for the gender justice at
4. Should hold awareness, promotion and counselling programmes to initiate women trade unions. This can serve the
interests of the women in a better way.
5. Should plan to work collectively for ensuring gender justice in society where men and women bo th can do work in a
respectable and safe environment.

Ex-MPA, Thatta
(Dawn-6, 01/03/2008)

                                  Special courts for women in the works: CJ
KARACHI, March 1: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar on Saturday said that separate courts and
prisons for women would be set up, along with similar facilities for juveniles, across the country.
He was speaking at the third Annual Judicial Conference (Sindh), 2007, held here at a local hotel. An online court
proceedings project and monthly law journal of the Sindh High Court was also launched which, the organizers said, would
provide important information to lawyers, litigants, students of law and the public regarding cases and judgments.

Justice Dogar said access to justice was now widely recognized as a fundamental human right; however, the path
leading to the attainment of this right was full of difficulties for the common man and the existing process of obtaining
justice was also time-consuming and expensive.
―Though litigation continues to rise basically on account of the disputant nature of human beings coupled with the
increasing population, uncountable controversies do not reach courts for lack of resources and the necessary means to
avail legal remedies,‖ he said, adding that there was a lack of awareness amongst litigants.
―In fact, they are forced to spend their hard-earned resources to pursue the legal course of action and to achieve their
legal right, which has been denied to them,‖ he said.

Terming the role of related agencies such as the police, jail authorities and forensic science laboratories as pivotal, the
chief justice stated that unless the courts got proper assistance from these agencies, the progress and disposal of cases
could not be meaningful while prolonged investigations, delay in submission of challans, non-production of undertrial
prisoners before the courts and the absence of the requisite chemical and forensic lab reports caused delays in the
disposal of cases and the consequential backlog.

―Unfortunately, litigation in its present form goes through a protracted process as a criminal case takes several years to
reach its finalisation, while a civil case goes on for decades and for generations, while nobody knows who will be its
ultimate beneficiary,‖ he added. He underlined the need to establish a social order where the time and resources of the
people were utilised in positive activities leading to the development and prosperity of society.

The chief justice also urged all the judges and judicial officers to dispose of old cases on a priority basis.

Inaccessible justice
Justice Dogar further said that a few years ago, the government, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank, had
launched the Access to Justice Programme, which envisaged the construction of new court buildings, the provision of
necessary equipment to courts and improvements in the police and jail departments in order to improve the judicial
system of the country.

However, he said, the programme suffered from the usual red-tapism, its implementation has remained lopsided and not
cohesive to address and resolve the issues of the agencies concerned, adding that there have been complaints of
inadequate consultation with the relevant stakeholders, particularly the judiciary, while the bar had also expressed

―The programme was conceived in 2000 and reached the execution stage in 2002. Since then, different schemes under
the programme have been processed and work on different projects has started, but only a few could be completed while
most of these are still under way. We hope that the execution of the projects is expedited on a priority basis so that the
programme achieves the aims for which it was launched,‖ he said.
(By Ishaq Tanoli, Dawn-17, 02/03/2008)

                                                  The tuition culture
Tuition centres have a high prominence in present Pakistani society. Every next student, whether gifted or average, rich
or poor, is taking tuitions, which has made this culture take root in the present educational system.
The scenario is completely reversed from the past when availing tuitions meant that you were a weak or bad student.
Tuitions today are a significant need of every student. Thus you see small groups of students gathered at teachers‘
homes or well-furnished coaching centres just about everywhere. The fees too varies according to vicinities, further
adding to parents‘ burdens. However, if one would like to evaluate the causes of this scenario, there may be plenty of

The biggest cause of the increasing demand for tuitions is the large munber of pupils in school classrooms. Each class is
full of varied talents with areas in need of improvement. The ratio of teacher to student is usually 1:50 and they have
short periods (around 30-45 minutes) to teach, which makes it difficult for the teachers to pay individual attention
especially to the class‘s average or slow learners. A teacher may find it difficult to identify each student‘s need in order to
help him cope with his studies. That is why a student is compelled to undertake tuitions in order to successfully complete
the examination requirement.

The present teachers‘ status in society and lesser monitory benefits in the teaching profession also contribute to an
increased demand for tuitions. Many teachers who run private tuition centres on the side see to it that their students
attend those instead of benefitting from what is taught in the classroom. It is the tuition centres where they teach what
was to be taught in the classroom with complete determination and sincerity.
Another important thing leading to the tuition culture is the present examination system in Pakistan. The students are
expected to develop knowledge-level understanding of their subject rather than indulge in the self -investigation of
different phenomenon which leads them into the trap of rote learning and solving hundreds of old examination papers
before sitting for an exam.

Tuition centres encourage students to take shortcuts. Rather than studying the respective subjects in depth, they provide
them with old examination papers to solve in a given time period and just like that studying becomes the training of the
mind to work mechanically rather than think objectivly.

The parents‘ education level or the time they can give to their children also contributes to the demand for tui tions.
Research has proved that the parents‘ level of education has a high positive relation with students‘ educational
achievement (Hodgkinson, 2004).

Even today in Pakistan many of the parents, especially mothers who are considered responsible for the child‘s education,
are illiterate. This enhances the need of arranging tuitions for children in order to provide them with an opportunity to
improve their educational outcome. In addition, the concept of both working parents has led to parents spending half or
sometimes even a whole day outside the house. This makes it difficult for them to pay due attention to their children. How
many working parents in this day and age find the time to sit and do homework with their children in the evening? Tuitions
are a solution for this problem as well.
These causes have made a huge impact on the social and educational system of our society. The quality of classroom
teaching has been affected. Teachers are usually cognizant of the fact that 90 per cent of their students take tuitions
making them fulfill their responsibility in class half-heartedly. The tutors are expected to pay special attention to the
students instead. On the other hand, students also pay less attention in the classroom as they feel that their tutors wi ll do
the needful later. The level of respect for school teachers in the eyes of the pupil has gone down considerably due to this

The self-directed learning capacity of students has been affected. Students have become dependent on tuitions and
tutors for understanding concepts rather than making an effort on their own to investigate a subject and develop their own
understanding. There goes the inquisitive nature and analytical and reflective thinking of the students. Where is the need
for all that when you are getting readymade material from the tuitions centres to study for an examination? (Jones, 1999).

Children these days are spending most of their time in studies. First they attend school and then they go for tuitions.
Remember the saying: ―All work and no play‖? This scenario causes a mental burden on students and restricts them from
giving their minds a break and indulging in fun activities such as sports and other hobbies. Thus a child‘s social
development is also under threat.

The parent-child relationship is also affected. Helping children with their studies at home is an important way for parents
to bond with them and aquaint themselves with the habits, studying style, areas in need of improvement and strengths of
their offspring (Marion, 2001). However, tuitions reduce the opportunity for parents to know their child better.

The negative aspects outweigh the positive ones. This existing situation lays an important responsibility on school
authorities as well as parents. School authorities need to ensure that teachers fulfill their responsibility to the students. An
effective monitoring mechanism needs to be devised to ensure the quality of teaching in the classroom. The parents too
should try to pay more attention to their children as they are the first and most important teachers in their children‘s lives.
(By Bilqees I. Patel, Dawn-21 Education, 02/03/2008)

                    Separate courts to decide juvenile’s,women’s cases soon: CJ
The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJ) Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar emphasised t he need for a ―just social order‖ where the
time and resources of the people are utilised in positive activities leading to the peace, progress, and prosperity of the

Regarding family disputes, the CJ, while addressing the third Sindh Annual Judicial Conference at local hotel on
Saturday, said that the law required posting of women judges in every district to handle woman-related litigation.
Replying to the problems raised during the discussion, he informed that soon all juvenile and women‘s matt ers would be
heard and decided in separate courts and there would be separate juvenile and women jails in every district.
―The attainment of fundamental rights is full of difficulties for the common man, particularly a man with meagre resources
or none at all,‖ he said,

―There are financial constraints and there are taboos. The fact is that most of the litigants are forced by circumstances to
resort to legal proceedings. They are forced to spend their hard earned resources to pursue the legal course. They are
forced to spend their precious time for attainment of their legal rights which have been denied to them,‖ the CJ observed.
He said the Bar and related agencies, such as police, jail authorities, forensic science laboratories, also played a pivotal
role and unless courts get proper assistance from these agencies, the progress and disposal of cases could not be

―Prolonged investigations, delayed submission of challans, non-production of accused before the courts, and absence of
requisite chemical and forensic laboratory reports are the major causes of delays in the disposal of the cases and
consequential piling up of blockage,‖ he said, adding that these agencies needed to be strengthened and activated.
Pointing to the delay in litigation, he said that a criminal case took several years to reach a conclusion while a civil case
went on for decades and for generations and, in fact, nobody knew who will be its ultimate beneficiary.

Dogar also expressed concern over the delay in pending appeals of condemned prisoners in the province and asked the
chief justice of the Sindh High Court to constitute special division benches for speedy disposal of convicts‘ appeals.

On the Access To Justice (ACJ) programme, Justice Dogar said that the AJP envisaged the construction of new courts‘
buildings and provision of necessary equipment to the courts and a part of the programme related to the improvements in
the police service, jail department and it should also improve the system of administration of justice.
However, the CJ said that ACJ suffered from the usual red-tapism and its execution had been lopsided, adding that there
have been complaints of non-consultation with the concerned stakeholders

Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court Justice Mohammad Afzal Soomro said that a number of advance innovative
initiatives had been taken, including computerisation of court records in the District and High Courts, to meet the need of
time and to provide speedy justice to litigants.

Justice Khalid Ali Z Kazi presented a research paper on the Juvenile Justice System in Pakistan and Abdul Ghani
Soomro, Member Inspection Team, and DJ Fahim Ahmed Siddiqui presented research papers on the role of the District
and Sessions Judge in the District Court administration and case management system in Pakistan.
(The News-14, 02/03/2008)

                          Students clash at Saifi College over IJT, APMSO feud
KARACHI: A student was injured after an exchange of fire between activists of the All Pakistan Muttahida Student
Organization (APMSO) and the Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) at Saifi College within the jurisdiction of the Hyderi Police Post,

Following the event, the management took a decision to declare Tuesday a holiday.
According to Hyderi Police Post Incharge, Manzar Imam, when the police reached the scene, IJT activists were burning
the motorcycles of students at the college, Imran and Rashid. After dispersing the activists, the police found Imran and
Rashid who were tortured and left packed in sacks by the IJT activists.

Talking to Daily Times IJT spokesman, Mohammad Obaid, denied any violence by their workers and claimed that a case
against the APMSO has already been registered prior to the elections. He said that on Monday some IJT workers
encountered workers from the APMSO. The APMSO workers did not do anything there but later came to Saifi College
and started firing that left an IJT worker, Riaz Ahmed injured. Ahmad was rushed to the Abbasi Shaheed hospital.

Javed Kazmi, an inquiry officer, for the case said that Ahmed had stated that he was standing along with his associates
when activists from APMSO came and opened fire. He also said that this was an ongoing process, ―when they hit us, we
hit them.‖

On the contrary, APMSO spokesman Abdul Raheem denied the IJT claims and repeated what the police said. He added
that Imran and Hameed were not associated with the APMSO and were tortured by mistake. ―I think that they thought
they were APMSO workers after checking their national identity cards (NICs),‖ he said.
Both parties were sitting at the police station to register a case against each other prior to the filing of this report.
(DailyTimes-B1, 04/03/2008)

                                           Islamabad’s education city
AN education city, comprising academic institutions and a markaz, is being planned in a new sector of Islamabad away
from the city centre. Meanwhile, funds for the development of another sector, also devoted to educational institutions on
the pattern of several similar existing institutional sectors, has recently been approved. The two new sectors are locat ed
in the proximity of the existing sectors housing mainly private educational institutions and some public universities and
colleges. Those private schools which are currently scattered in numerous residential sectors creating a traffic nuisance
in their neighbourhoods, while serving the convenience of their students living nearby, are supposed to be relocated in
one of the two new educational sectors. While it appears to make sense to concentrate most educational institutions in
the same locality, it is another matter that many parents and students might prefer a more decentralised location for these
institutions. After all, public schools and colleges in Islamabad are dispersed in various residential sectors, most of them
having admission policies that give priority to residents living in the vicinity.

In the development of the proposed education city and the other new educational sector, it might be a good idea to
consider the current problems being faced by students, parents and staff in the existing sectors where educational
institutions are concentrated. One major problem is traffic congestion on the roads along which the institutions are
located, particularly during student drop-off and pick-up times. This congestion is particularly acute where several schools
are clustered together. Another major deficiency in the existing educational sectors is the lack of support facilities and
services, such as common hostels, libraries, technology parks, sports and games centres, student counselling centres,
bookshops and stationery shops. Until these deficiencies are addressed the establishment of another education city will
not fully serve the purpose that it is meant to.
(Dawn-7, 06/03/2008)

                          CDGK to seek return of control over private schools
The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) is planning to move a summary to the education department asking for the
control of private schools to be handed over to the local government again, officials in the education department told The

A draft of the summary, which carries the signature of the City Nazim, Mustafa Kamal, is already prepared and will be
submitted to the department at the ‗appropriate time,‘ said the source, adding that, since the federal and provincial
government was going through the process of transfer of power, the move might take time.

Under the Sindh Local Government Ordinance (SLGO), 2001, control of all the educational institutions, both public and
private, up to class 12, was given to the local governments - in this the CDGK.
Inside sources, however, revealed that, at an initial phase, the CDGK had decided to move the summary at an
administrative level and, if the summary was rejected, they could move the court as, legally, the SLGO is under
constitutional protection through the 17th amendment. The city government, sources said, by exercising its power, could
move the court through its law department.

However, the former government, by repealing the Private School Management Act 1962, passed administrative orders
in 2004 which formed the Directorate of Colleges and Directorate Technical Education. Under this, the government took
charge of the colleges and technical education.
Through another order the same year, the Provincial Director, Schools, was formed and control of the private schools
was ‗snatched‘ from the local government, leaving only public schools with it, sources said. With the creation of the post
of Provincial Director, Schools, the management of schools was centralised with all other cities of the province being
bound to approach the head office situated in Karachi for all their management and administrative functions.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-13, 06/03/2008)

                                 Ex-headmaster gets Rs 19.6m in pension?
KARACHI: A retired headmaster, alleged to be a member of a gang of officials who stripped the government of millions of
rupees, was admitted to bail against a solvent surety of two million rupees and a personal bond in the same amount after
it was discovered he received nearly Rs 19.6 million in his retirement fund. Earlier, the counsel for applicant Abdul Karim
Malano submitted before the appellate bench of the High Court of Sindh (SHC) for Accountability Courts that his client
was innocent and falsely implicated. He submitted that the accused only secure a GP fund of 561,762 rupees when he
retired in October 2001. The counsel for NAB (National Accountability Bureau) submitted before the bench that the
accused got his GP fund six times and defrauded the national exchequer of 3,413,452 rupees. When asked to show this
from documents, it came to the fore that the accused got 455,589 rupees on Sept 2, 2002, 385,856 rupees on Nov 15,
2002 and 1,122,503 rupees on June 26, 2003. It was found that the money was transferred to his account and was
withdrawn through cheques signed by him. After hearing both sides and considering the age of the accused, the bench
admitted him to bail against a solvent surety of two million rupees.
(DailyTimes-B1, 08/03/2008)

                                     Cadet colleges to register with GHQ
KARACHI: The Board of Intermediate Education (BIE) Karachi has ordered two cadet colleges in Karachi to register with
the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army. The deadline for the registration is March 31, failing which the
colleges will be disaffiliated with the BIEK. According to sources, the BIEK has issued these notices under the directives
of the Directorate of Army schools (DAS). A meeting of the Inter-Boards Committee of Chairmen (IBCC), comprising 27
member boards, will be held in Sukkur on March 18 and 19. In future, any new Cadet College will first obtain permission
from the GHQ, without which, the use of the title ‗Cadet‘ will not be allowed. None of the colleges have responded so far
to the BIEK‘s notice.

Inter Boards in Sindh will also follow the same procedure with cadet colleges falling in Sindh. There are six cadet colleges
in Sindh, including Sanghar Cadet College in district Sanghar, Petaro Cadet College in district Jamshoro, Larkana Cadet
College in district Larkana and Baqai Cadet College, Steel Mills Cadet College and Bahria Cadet College in district
Karachi. Sanghar, Petaro and Bahria cadet colleges are under the management of the Pakistan Navy, while the Baqai
Cadet College and Steel Mills Cadet College are managed independently.
(By Irfan Aligi, DailyTimes-B1, 11/03/2008)

                                   8,000 ‘ghost schools’ in Sindh: minister
KARACHI, March 11: The Sindh caretaker Minister for Education, Shujaat Ali Baig, on Tuesday disclosed that of the total
57,000 government schools across the province, over 8,000 were ‗ghost schools‘, and in some cases feudal lords were
using them as their ‗Autaqs‘.
He made these remarks while speaking at the launching of a book, a compilation of the poems of 380 poets rendered
during 16 annual Mushairas held under the aegis of Sakinan Shehr-i-Quaid Mushaira Committee.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad was scheduled to launch the book and inaugurate the ground floor of the primary section
of Majlis-i-Ilmi School Project, but could not make it due to his engagements.
The caretaker minister said that the standard of education in government schools throughout the province had declined to
such an extent that there was no room left for further deterioration.

Referring to the education department‘s plan of setting up English medium schools in all the 18 town of the city , he said
that teachers of these schools would be provided with sufficient training so that they could impart quality education to
students. He said that keeping in view the outcome of this experiment, similar schools would be opened in the interior of

Lauding the efforts of the office-bearers of the Sakinan Shehr-i-Quaid Mushaira committee and Majlis-e-Ilmi School
project for compiling the poetry of over 380 poets and opening a school, he said that the spirit with which they were
working would definitely help them realize their dream of creating a society where moral values and tolerance would
prevail over other worldly things.

The secretary of Majlis-i-Ilmi School, Azhar Abbas Hashmi, said that the primary section of the school would start
functioning from August 1 provided the school got a proper water connection.
Highlighting the salient features of the school, he said that admissions to the school would be granted purely on merit and
the top 10 students in the order of merit would be given free scholarships for the entire academic year.

Besides, hobbies clubs of the school would provide a number of facilities to students, he said.
In this regard, he pointed out that the ground floor of the building had already been completed on an amenity plot
measuring 3,000 square yards in Gulistan-i-Jauhar‘s Block 1, while a huge park and a playground for the students would
be developed on an adjacent 3,000 square-yard plot which City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal had allotted to the school

Renowned writer Fatima Surraiya Bajia and Karachi University‘s vice-chancellor, Dr Pirzada Qasim, lauded the efforts
being made by all those associated with the Sakinan Shehr-i-Quaid‘s Mushaira Committee, its Majlis-e-Ilmi School
Project and its trust for their projects for the welfare of poets, writers and teachers.
(Dawn-18, 12/03/2008)

                                                Education for the poor
ONE can safely offer three propositions about education. First, education is among the most important sources of
progress, no matter how it is defined. Second, good education can be a big leveller (equaliser) in a society.

Third, in Pakistan, access to basic education is woefully deficient, particularly for children from poor households. It is we ll
reflected in the low levels of enrolment and high dropout rates.
In this respect, differences between boys and girls should not be underrated, nor should the differences between the
urban and rural areas. The issue then is: how does one enhance opportunities for and access to decent basic education
for children from poor households?

It is well known that even when schooling is available it may be too costly for the poor. Therefore, on the demand side,
the need is to create incentives for poor parents to enrol their children in schools because the direct and indirect costs of
education are quite high. At the same time, on the supply side, there is need to improve the quality of education by
investing in infrastructure and supplies, making the school curriculum relevant, and hiring and retaining good (well-trained
and motivated) teachers.

Let us focus here on the demand side. In the present system the cost of education must be borne by parents from their
current income and meagre assets. In addition, for these parents to put children in school means foregoing the use of
their time for labour to augment the household‘s low income and consumption.

In this context, the experience of some Latin American countries, particularly Brazil, may have both relevance and merit
for Pakistan to consider. In these countries, governments have done two things. First, they give cash to low-income
(poor) parents in return for enrolment of their children; it is called ‗conditional cash transfer‘ (CCT). Second, each enroll ed
child from these households receives free nutrition and health care, including periodic check-ups, vaccinations, etc. The
results show that the programme increases school enrolment, reduces the drop-out rate, and improves health of children.

Why can‘t policymakers in Pakistan try this approach in some form? Let me attempt a very tentative outline of the
programme comprising four components.

First, the programme package should include (i) a conditional cash transfer to the family and (ii) some nutrition and basic
health care for children. The amount of cash transfer to the family for each child enrolled in school should be large
enough to change behaviour. The nutrition component may include a healthy early breakfast at school and basic health
care to include regular check-ups, vaccinations, etc.

Targeting of households and children is the second component. All households below the poverty level of income or
consumption — however that is determined or estimated — should be eligible for a monthly cash transfer in return for
each child enrolled in school. Parents will not receive cash if the child drops out of school. The children to be covered for
school enrolment and cash transfer should be between the ages of five and 15 years. However, all children below the
age of five from targeted households should be eligible for free health care as available to the enrolled children.
The third component of the programme is its decentralised implementation. The elected officials at the local level and
representatives of parents at the neighbourhood level, assisted by public officials, sho uld be engaged to implement the
programme. Their responsibilities should include: identifying target households and children for enrolment; transferring
cash on a regular basis for the enrolled children; managing schools; and giving health care through the school system.

An effective administrative and financial monitoring system is the fourth component. To assure accountability, the
programme should be monitored (including audits) on a regular basis, without compromise, by a third party in
collaboration with those involved in the transfer of cash and management of schools, nutrition and health care.
This demand-driven programme can work well — it will have anticipated outcomes and impact — only if the issues on the
supply side are addressed adequately at the same time. You need to provide decent school structures, with appropriate
infrastructure and supplies, good (motivated) teachers (well trained and well paid), a performance-based reward structure
for managers, teachers and pupils, and an effective monitoring system for both inputs and outcomes. You can‘t expect
children and their parents to benefit from a school system that doesn‘t have these essential ingredients.
The federal and provincial governments will have to give adequate resources and technical and administrative support to
make education a satisfying experience for children and its outcome valuable for the poor households. They will have to
mobilise financial resources for the proposed programme by switching expenditure, reducing waste and leaka ges, and
perhaps changing the tax structure.

The resource requirements can be estimated once basic information has been collected at the local level and agreement
is reached on the basic parameters of the programme: families and children to be targeted; basic amount of conditional
cash transfer for each child enrolled in school; school structures, infrastructure, supplies, and teachers; form of nutrition
(say breakfast at school) and its amount; health-care supplies and staff; school management and monitoring. Of course,
the designed programme must be affordable and doable to achieve its objectives in a cost -effective way.
If all of this makes sense, then the first step would be to review and study carefully the experience — look at the
information, evidence and data — in a country like Brazil where the CCT programme for basic education and health care
of children from poor households seems to have worked quite well since the mid-1990s.
(By Mahmood Hasan Khan, Dawn-7, 12/03/2008)

                         WB withholds education dept loan sanctioned in 2005
In a major development here, the World Bank has stopped a US$100 million loan to the Sindh government‘s education
sector, The News learnt on Tuesday.

The loan was sanctioned in the year 2005 after a meeting between the then-Sindh education minister Hamida Khuro,
Sindh education secretary Ghulam Ali Pasha, additional secretary education (schools) Iqbal Durrani and a World Bank
mission, including the South-Asia Human Development Unit director, Julian Schweitzer, South-Asia Human Development
Unit education manager, Michelle Ribound, and World Bank Pakistan senior social sector specialist, Tahseen Sayed.

The funding agency officials had agreed to provide a loan of around US$300 million for the construction of schools and
other academic facilities in the province, as well as the recruitment of teaching staff at educational institutions. The loan
was to be provided in instalments over a period of three years, and the first instalment had been handed over
immediately to the Sindh education department.
The three-year plan for the promotion of education in Sindh was stalled however, after the loans were stopped by the
World Bank, ostensibly because the department concerned had failed to utilise the funds in transparent manner.

The WB reportedly found that funds were misappropriated while teaching staff were being recruited to the educational
institutions. Furthermore, it did not see any improvement in education sector; rather, the situation seemed to deteriorate
further. It may be mentioned here that the former Sindh government had announced the recruitment of teachers last year
without lifting the ban on the recruitment policy. Tests were conducted, and letters were reportedly issued to teachers
who did not even appear in the exams.

The WB delegation had already expressed reservations based on their experience pertaining to a couple of educational
plans initiated in the 1990s. An agreement was signed between the Sindh government and the WB under which the
former was subject to function under terms and conditions implemented by the latter.
Meanwhile, Sindh Education Secretary Shafiq Khoso denied reports about the stoppage of the loan, and said that the
second instalment was to be issued this year. It had been delayed due to some technical problems, Khoso said.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-13, 12/03/2008)

                                     Plagiarism going unpunished at KU
Plagiarism, which has plagued various universities of the country, has now spread its tentacles to the University of
Karachi (KU), that too in the most unexpected of quarters – the Faculty of Islamic Studies.
The person who has allegedly committed the act is no other than Dr Jalaluddin Noori, professor and the dean of faculty.
While Dr Noori denies the charges, documents present incriminating evidence. Even his colleagues and high-ups in the
university do not doubt the allegation.

Chambers Dictionary defines a plagiarist as a kind of thief – ―one who steals the thoughts or writings of others and gives
them out as his own.‖ When this is also used for gain – in a University, to gain credits for a module or modules – then an
additional dimension of dishonesty is added.

The News contacted Dr Noori on Wednesday to find out what he has to say in his defence. According to him, the affair
was so old that it had simply gotten ‗stale‘ and hence had no importance. He reminded The News in a subdued but
defiant tone that, ―one should offer some proof for such allegations.‖

Prof. Pirzada Qasim, the Vice Chancellor, was adamant that the university had zero tolerance against plagiarism and that
he will take quick action to weed out any teacher committing this criminal act. He said that Dr Abdul Rashid, Noori‘s PhD
supervisor, had reservations about the thesis that was submitted by Noori. He sent the thesis to Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, who
was the dean of faculty at the time, informing him that there were indications and a possibility of plagiarism. Dr Ahmed,
however, played down the matter and sent the thesis to the Board of Advanced Studies and Research (BASR) anyway.
Dr Manzooruddin Ahmed was the Vice Chancellor at that time and Noori received the PhD degree. Dr Ahmed retired in
1993 and is currently teaching in Brunei Darussalam.
Sources in the university informed The News that Prof. Pirzada Qasim considered Dr Akhtar Saeed, a senior professor at
the faculty, a far better candidate for the deanship; however, Noori‘s manoeuvring, pressure and lobbying paved the way
for him becoming the dean.

Dr Naseer Ahmed Akhtar, an associate professor in the department of Islamic Learning, sent a p arcel that contained the
plagiarised PhD thesis and a letter to Prof. Atta ur Rahman, chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC) informing
him about Noori‘s lifted thesis, the trail of fake Madressah degrees from Pakistan and Baghdad, and the gross
discrepancies in them. The thesis that Noori submitted to BASR was actually an Urdu translation of the research of Dr
Qahtan Abdur Rahman Aldauri, associate professor at the University of Baghdad.

The letter also informed Prof. Atta ur Rahman that the degree ‗Shahadat-al-Faragh‘ (equivalent to an MA in Arabic and
Islamic Studies) has been obtained from Tanzeemul Madaaris, Lahore without taking the examination. The mark sheet
does not mention the name of the student or his father. It has a photograph pasted on i t and has the signature and stamp
of Nazim-e-Aala of the Tanzeemul Madaaris and the same is on the degree.
He obtained the B.A. degree from the University of Baghdad and it has name of the student but the paternity is not
mentioned. While the degree was issued on June 30, 1977, it has the signature of a VC who did not assume charge till
October 18, 1977, and continued up to March 1, 1978.

Jamia Qadria Rizvia Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) issued a degree to him on 12 Shawwal, 1389 AH, which corresponds to
October 24, 1969. A certificate of successfully passing the examination was issued claiming that the degree is given to
the students after the completion of eight years of studies. However, the degree mentions the admission date as 13
Shawwal, 1388, which meant that Noori completed the course in 10 months. The same degree was obtained from Jamia
Alia Ahle Sunnat WA Aljamaat Dar Al Uloom Amjadia Karachi in the same year.

If Noori was enrolled in a Madressah in Lyallpur from 1961 to 1969, he completed his 16-year Dars-e-Nizami course at
the age of 13 years or he did it from Karachi where he studied up to 1969 in Jamia Alia Qadria Rizvia Malir.

Prof. Ali Mohsin Siddiqui, ex chairman Department of Islamic Learning and Islamic History, has also accused Noori of
plagiarism. According to him, Noori copied his thesis on ‗Imam Busairi and Qaseed-e-Burda‘ and got it published in his
name in a Karachi magazine. Siddiqui says that his book was published in 1971 and Noori stole the preface of the book
that is included in MA Islamic studies of KU.

Some quarters are perplexed as to why the university isn‘t taking any action against Noori. Some senior professors of the
university confided that Prof. Qasim is a gentle person who wants Noori to leave the university with dignity whereas Noori
is adamant not to resign. Well-informed sources are also pointing a finger towards a political party that is firmly behind
him. Now it is up to the university to investigate and decide on some sort of action in order to prevent the name of KU
appearing in the list of universities whose academics have been caught plagiarising, and shamed on the HEC website.

Dr Abid Hasnain, Secretary, Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) informed The News that KUTS also had a
policy of zero tolerance in the matter pertaining to plagiarism. ―We do not support anyone who is involved in any type of
irregularity,‖ he said.
(By Perwez Abdullah, The News-13, 13/03/2008)

                  Parallel education systems creating chaos, churning confusion
One of the biggest puzzles in Pakistan‘s education system is that three parallel systems are being run simultaneously
and each is producing its own set of graduates with competing values.
Educationists say that the government should not shirk from its duties. Article 38(d) of the Constitution of the Islamic
Republic of Pakistan explicitly says that the State is responsible ―…to provide basic necessities of life, such as food,
clothing, housing, education and medical relief for all citizens irrespective of sex, caste, creed or race.‖

But sadly enough, the major chunk of Pakistan‘s budget is devoured by defence and debt servicing and extremely low
allocations are made in the domain of education. On the top of that over 95 per cent of education budget at the provincial
level is spent on recurrent heads, particularly on salaries of teaching staff.

The bigger problem is the three parallel education systems functioning simultaneously, namely madrassah, public and
private sector systems, besides a Cambridge system, depicting a growing class divide that is growing uglier with the
passage of time.

―The State is absolving itself from its responsibility to provide education that is a fundamental right,‖ said Dr A.H. Nayyar,
a leading educationist and visiting fellow, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), an independent think-tank
based in Islamabad. What is significant is that the three education systems are churning out different types of products.

―General education does not provide job opportunities whereas children studying i n technical schools do get jobs in
information technology, computer-related fields etc,‖ said Prof. S.M. Naseer, a leading educationist in Karachi. He said
that the madrassah system is a ―total failure‖ since it only produces ‗pesh imams.‘

―Madrassahs should be converted into high schools where children should be taught computer science, social studies
and other subjects,‖ he said, adding ―Our education system is not job-oriented and only the middle and upper middle
classes have chances of upward mobility.‖

In Karachi, 3,800 schools are functioning under the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) while the number of private
schools is 3,500. But sadly enough, the ratio between public sector schools and private schools is increasing on the
national plane with the passage of time. It was 70:30 last year and is 60:40 today, indicating the aloofness of the State
towards education.

Dr Nayyar believes that while madrassahs are producing youth with ―divisive thought,‖ public sector schools lack
adequate funding that makes it impossible for them to impart quality education. ―Private schools are relatively in a better
position since they cater to the needs of the market and are result-oriented,‖ he said. ―But only the middle class have
access to these schools,‖ he hastened to add.
He said private English medium schools perpetuate elite schools and admit children at a very early age that is not good
for children. In these English medium, non-elite schools, children do not get proper chances of personality development
because they need to be taught through games but instead books are thrust upon them at a tender age.

Though teachers are relatively well paid in English medium schools there is no authority to monitor them. In fact, these
schools resist monitoring from the government. ―There should be a credible, independent authority to monitor them,‖ said
Dr Nayyar.

Prof. Naseer not only endorsed this view but said all schools should function under one board and Cambridge system
should be abolished as has been done in India. Since provision of primary and secondary education is the responsibility
of provincial government, the federal government finds it convenient to shy away from its responsibilities, he commented.

The failure of the system could be gauged from the fact that the drop out rate after class five is as high as 30 per cent
due to a host of factors, including poverty and an erroneous method of teaching, according to Dr Nayyar. In sharp
contrast to public sector schools, madrassahs are becoming increasingly attractive to the poor, especially the rural folk
because they instill discipline, provide boarding and lodging besides religious education desired by parents, he opined.
―A big chunk of the poor is also attracted to alternate system and send their chi ldren to acquire informal education as a
mechanic, carpenter, tailor, mason etc. More so because children become independent at a much early age in this
system,‖ Dr Nayyar said. Prof. Naseer said it was essential to abolish feudalism to pave the way for a better education
system. ―Unlike Sindh, the middle class in the Punjab is coming up in a great way because it has not a strong feudal
system,‖ he said.
(By Shahid Husain, The News-19, 19/03/2008)

                                               Education, not degrees
WHILE the whole nation is focused on the subject of democracy and public discourse is awash with setting things right by
restoring the original Constitution of 1973, it is pertinent to raise the issue of the educational qualification for becoming a
member of the National Assembly.

The condition that a person must have a bachelor‘s degree for becoming a public representative is undemocratic and
indefensible for a number of reasons.

Firstly, disqualifications based on education, and the possession of private property, belong to a distant past when
citizenship was not equally available to all members of society. People were excluded on the basis of sex (women were
not allowed to vote), possession of property (the poor and dispossessed were excluded) and education which is a
privilege of those who can afford to pay for it.
Over time, as liberal ideas, freedoms and values were extended to include larger numbers of people in the government of
the country the liberal state also became a democratic state.

Ultimately, citizenship came to be based on the principle of universal adult franchise. All citizens above a certain age
level could vote and stand for public office. The only condition was age based on levels of psychological, mental and
emotional development and maturity.

All other bars on exercising citizenship rights were abolished so that common people could have a say in the affairs of
government. The abolition of slavery and suffragette movements, along with other social movements, fought hard for the
right of every citizen to participate in matters that affect them.
The condition that only a graduate can contest elections flies in the face of one of the most fundamental principles of
democracy, that is equality of all citizens irrespective of class, caste, ethnicity, sect, race or gender. It abrogates the
widely accepted notion of universal adult franchise and leads to the exclusion of vast swathes of people from the right to
represent their constituents in elected assemblies and stand for public office.

Secondly, it is a form of double discrimination, in particular against the background of the recent thrust towards privatising
education. First our government is unable to provide universal primary education for all and then imposes the possession
of education as a condition for entering elected assemblies. A very large number of Pakistan‘s children are unable to
reach even the primary levels of education given the dismal state of government educational institutions and/or the
unavailability of schools in the remote rural areas of all the provinces.

The dropout rate for girls at puberty is extremely high when parents fear for their security due to the distance of schools,
and they are withdrawn also to help with housework. The dropout rate for boys is also fairly high as they see no
relevance of the school curriculum to their lives. Teacher absenteeism combined with dull and boring curricula, harsh

punishments and absence of any returns on educational investment have made schools an unattractive option in a large
number of remote areas.

Poverty further forces many parents to withdraw children from schools so that they may help earn a living for the family.
With an increasing emphasis on private education which is expensive and accessible to only those with some means, a
large part of the poorest of the poor may never even reach primary or middle levels, let alone intermediate or graduate
levels of education.

Given these conditions the BA qualification for election becomes a tool of discrimination against those with lesser means,
especially women. The National Assembly thus becomes a house for only those who have the means to educate their
children. In other words, it becomes an assembly of those from the better-off classes and those residing primarily in
urban areas.

It also becomes a means of discrimination against women who are not allowed to attend school in certain parts of
Pakistan due to cultural, religious or traditional practices. In some parts of the NWFP, for example, girls‘ schools are
bombed from time to time to discourage women‘s education. Given our sociocultural and socio-economic realities, it is an
injustice to institutionalise the exclusion of such a large number of citizens from political processes.

The graduate condition is flawed for another reason which has become obvious from an examination of the decisions
made by the outgoing graduate assembly. By some of its actions, the previous assembly proved itself to be an ignorant
and ill-informed mass of chattering opportunists. One would have thought that the degrees which became their passports
for entering the august house would have at least educated them about the Constitution and fundamental principles of
democratic functioning.

However, their decisions indicate that they probably did not even bother to read the Constitutio n or understand its basics.
A large number of them voted for a Grade-22 officer in the presidential election despite the fact that the Constitution
expressly prohibits this and requires a civil or military officer to resign and a period of two years to elapse before standing
for a political office. This is designed to create the necessary separation between the state which represents everyone,
and parties which represent their political constituencies.
Some members of the ‗educated‘ assembly proudly announced that they would elect the president in uniform ten times

A large number of the members of this so-called educated house never uttered a word against the dismissal of the
supreme judiciary and the promulgation of ‗emergency‘ by a COAS who was constitutionally not authorised to do so. The
examples of being politically illiterate are too numerous to be recounted here. Suffice it to say that the graduate assembly
proved itself to be uneducated.

Educationists have for long pointed out that schooling and degree-holding cannot be equated with being educated.
Education, in the wider and more accepted sense of the term, means having an understanding, wisdom and critical
awareness of social and political issues.

There are many people who do not possess BA degrees but exhibit a far greater understanding, knowledge and political
acumen and awareness than the illiterate graduate assembly we witnessed in our recent past.
The only condition that needs to be added is that each and every potential lawmaker should acquaint him/herself with the
fundamentals of our Constitution and express respect for its institutions such as the judiciary, parliament and above all
the will of the people who are the fount of sovereignty.
(By Dr Rubina Saigol, Dawn-7, 26/03/2008)

                   Only 7% of our medical students want to become psychiatrists
KARACHI: Only 7.6 percent of third-year medical students from four medical colleges, including two from Karachi, have
reported psychiatry to be either their chosen career or a highly likely choice, a survey has revealed.
The findings of the survey have appeared in an article, ‗Attitudes of Pakistani Medical Students Towards Psychiatry as a
Prospective Career: A Survey‘ published in the April issue of the journal Academic Psychiatry.

These numbers are alarming, the researchers wrote. Pakistan is facing a shortage of psychiatrists; there are about 350
psychiatrists in a country of 150 million. The WHO Mental Health Atlas 2005 gives an estimated number of psychiatrists
of 4.15 per 100,000 globally. There are about 2.8 psychiatrists per 100,000 people in Pakistan.

Relatively small numbers of students have identified psychiatry as their specialty of choice in other studies. Experts have
earlier reported that out of 223 freshmen surveyed from three medical schools, only one student identified psychiatry as
the career of choice in the US.

A total of 381 students in their third year in four medical colleges were approached to participate in the survey: Aga Khan
University Medical College and Karachi Medical and Dental College, Punjab medical college, Faisalabad, and Ayub
Medical College, Abbotabad. Sixty percent of the students responded and their average age was 21 years with a little
over half women.

In Pakistan, third-year students go through general internal medicine and general surgery rotations, which bring some
clinical perspective to their medical education. In all but one medical college (AKU), teaching of behavioral sciences and
psychiatry is restricted to the fourth year and beyond. At AKU, behavioral sciences are taught from the first year. A
psychiatry rotation is part of the fourth-year clinical schedule in which the students spend 2–4 weeks in the inpatient unit
as well as outpatient clinics. There is great variation in the quality of these rotations; in some places (e.g., AKU), there is
a structured rotation with end-of-term exams while at other places it may not be more than an observership.
There was also a significant difference between genders for the reason to choose medicine as a care er. More females
cited personal interest while males cited family pressure as the reason for choosing their career path. More males
considered careers other than medicine prior to entering medical school.

Among those who rated psychiatry as their career choice, significantly more rated it very attractive or attractive in relation
to lifestyle, interesting subject matter, intellectual challenge, rapid advances in understanding, having a bright future, and
association with other psychiatrists. Significantly lower numbers of students who rated psychiatry as their first choice
thought it to be financially very rewarding or attractive with respect to the degree to which this specialty draws upon all
aspects of medical training.

More people in the group rated psychiatry as a chosen career as compared to the US but fewer as compared to Israel. A
large number (over 60%) of the students had a negative view of psychiatry. At 7.6% the findings are close to the US
figure of 7.7%, but far less then Australia (15.1%) and Israel (32.8%). This is not very encouraging. The situation
becomes even bleaker when seen in the context of the already very low number of psychiatrists in Pakistan.

Perhaps Pakistani medical students in their early clinical years carry the biases toward psychiatry that exist in our society.
They may also be reflecting the attitudes of their supervisors from medicine and surgery. One assumption is that the
societal influence may decrease as the students progress in their career. Exposure to a psychiatric clerkship could also
influence attitudes positively or negatively. Assessment of their attitude at year three therefore may have important
implications and could be a weakness of the study.

The average age of entry to medical colleges is lower in Pakistan than in North America. Many of the students choose
the medical profession to fulfill the wishes of their parents. It is not known how much the maturity level of students and
attitude of parents would affect students‘ attitude toward psychiatry.
Similarly, increasing numbers of students are interested in studying abroad. This observation is based on discussions
with our colleagues at different medical colleges. We do know, however, that a significant proportion of medical students
pursue psychiatry in developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, and they later practice in
those countries. In the United States alone there are about 10,000 Pakistani physicians training or practicing, and this
number includes many psychiatrists.

Another relevant issue influencing the opinions of medical students could be the availability and quality of postgraduate
training slots in Pakistan. At present, 17 institutions are recognized for training in psychiatry, having 100 trainees at lev els
1–4. On average, only five trainees out of about 25 qualify each year in the exit level examination to practice as
psychiatrists. The numbers of approved training posts are limited. Low passing rates and a shortage of approved training
posts might discourage the interested candidates even further. Pakistan cannot even meet its needs for general health
care given the current levels of production. The situation is worse for mental health.
A low number of locally trained and a tiny number of foreign trained psychi atrists leave the system with a dearth of role
models for our students to look up to, thus maintaining a status quo in the areas of service and training.
(DailyTimes-B1, 29/03/2008)

                                           Karachi 2020: a citizen’s view
LOOKING at the 200-page-thick Karachi 2020 Master Development Plan, one is struck by two very uneasy realisations.
First that the document is not a ‗plan‘ as such, and thus would have a next to negligible chance of achieving its ambitions.
A plan must define precisely what needs to be done and who will carry the responsibility and authority to carry it out. It
must offer a timeline, list the resources required and identify the indicators that will measure progress and
accomplishment. By not defining these basic parameters, one can only create a well-meaning ‗wish list‘ which may just
as well be reprinted in 2020 as a new master plan called Karachi 2040.

The second concern relates to an inadequate focus on the needs and conveniences of those who constitute the core of
any city — its inhabitants. A city is a place where people live, work and interact with each other and their surroundings.
Humans, we are told, were not designed around cities. It is the cities that need to be designed around humans. A city
needs to be people-friendly and people-centric. It does not need to be designed around creating endless opportunities for
land-grabbers, construction mafias, cushy contracts, elitist country clubs, Acacia golf courses, Emaar projects, overnight
Altaf Nagars and shady Sugarland waterfronts.

Karachi can be made into a clean, peaceful, pollution-free and pedestrian-friendly city. This can be done through political
will, legal provisions, institutional development, scientific solutions and sharing of responsibility between stakeholders. It
needs to shed its reputation as a city of extortionists and phone snatchers. It could start by providing simple facilities to its
citizens. Every road could have walkways for pedestrians (with ramps for wheelchairs) and pathways for cyclists. People
should be able to walk or cycle short distances in a comfortable and safe manner.
We could learn from Paris which in a 36-hour weekend in July 2007 placed over 10,000 bicycles on its streets, launching
an ambitious bike-sharing system that is meant to ―lead a revolution in the way Parisians move around the city‖. The
programme aims to help reduce pollution and keep the people of Paris physically fit.

Cars could be disallowed from the centre of the town. Dozens of ‗park and ride‘ centres could be opened where people
could park their cars and then walk, cycle or climb aboard CNG buses to travel within the city. A robust, people -friendly,
comfortable and respectable CNG public transport system needs to be developed, so as to encourage all citizens to
travel by public buses instead of those obscene fuel-guzzling status icons called Pajeros and Prados.

The Master Development Plan is also silent on the need to make Karachi a beggar-free city, and the humane and
innovative solutions that could help achieve this objective.
It seems that in 2020 the children of Karachi will continue to block streets to enjoy a game of cricket. Well-maintained
public parks, playgrounds and toilets must be developed as an integral part of each locality. Karachi 2020 is silent on the
need to build a large number of clean and well-maintained public toilets, perhaps assuming that this primary biological
function will not be exercised in the years to come. The figures given for parks and playgrounds are also grossly
A city needs to have its own ambulance service, beyond what may be provided by good souls like Edhi and Chippa. The
city must aim for its ambulances to reach the scene of accident in, say, 15 minutes when called on a well-advertised
emergency number such as 999. Likewise the city fire brigade department needs to be upgraded to ensure that fire
services can reach any location of the city within five to ten minutes.

A city needs to have a well-integrated disaster management system that can undertake rescue, recovery and mitigation
measures in quick time. The city needs to introduce a solid waste separation system that is operative at the source of the
waste, that is individual households. Animal slaughtering could be stopped at the household level and shifted to well -
organised and hygienic slaughterhouses. Spilling blood and flesh on the streets and then claiming credit for an excellent
clean-up job is neither public-spirited nor wise.

The 2020 plan is silent on another key issue as well. It makes no mention of alternate energy‘s share in the city‘s future
power requirements or the extent to which solar energy use will be made compulsory for new homes and other buildings.

Citizens would want to see a tanker-free Karachi in 2020. The 12,000 water tankers that make 100,000 trips each day
pollute the city, clog the roads and enrich a consortium of greedy tanker owners, operators and their patrons. In the
meantime, the city needs to sort out its intertwined water and sewage pipelines and pinpoint what needs to be done to
prevent the theft of 270 MGD of water from the bulk distribution network. A plan, however brilliant, can be easily
destroyed by mismanagement and the water crisis is a case in point.

One hopes that the 2020 plan will transform Karachi into a model for other Pakistani cities. That it will strengthen urban
development institutions. That the politicians will rise above their narrow affiliations and learn to respect scientific inputs.
That citizens and professional civic bodies will participate massively in the entire planning and e xecution process. That
there will be an effective legal and institutional framework allowing all sectors to work in an integrated, coordinated and
cohesive manner.

Finally, the 2020 plan needs to see the safety of citizens as a key indicator of Karachi‘s development. It may be best to
begin the 2020 programme by targeting peace as the first priority. Will Karachi be the first weapon-free city in Pakistan by
(By Naeem Sadiq, Dawn-7, 31/03/2008)

                                              Unlawful fees, charges
                                       Private schools defy govt directive
KARACHI, March 30: Flouting all rules and regulations, a large number of private schools are fleecing parents by
charging fees under different heads such as annual charges, examination fee and annual festival or sports day charges.
Apart from this, most of the private schools in the city are also extorting much higher admission fee that the approved one
month‘s tuition fee despite the fact that the schools‘ registration rules permit them to charge an admission fee equivalent
to a month‘s tuition fee.

Senior officials in the directorate of private schools told Dawn that keeping in view the situation, a number of private
schools had been issued notices asking them to desist from demanding the unlawful ‗annual charges‘ and admission fee
higher than their existing one month‘s tuition fee, otherwise they would be putting their schools‘ registrations at stake.
They also requested parents to bring such irregularities in the notice of the directorate in writing so that notices could be
issued to such schools for initiating action against them for violating schools‘ registration rules.

When told that some parents might not be willing to lodge their written complaints about the irregularities being committed
by the private schools of their wards to avoid any possible reaction from the management of such schools, the officials
said that in such a case the directorate would ensure the parents that their identities would not be disclosed. However,
parents while submitting their written complaints about the irregularities would be required to deposit the copies of the
circulars or notices whereby unauthorised charges were being demanded by the schools, they added.

Vacation fee
Another problem being faced by parents is the lump sump payment of summer vacation‘s tuition fees (June and July),
which the private schools are currently charging from their students along with the tuition fee of March and May as it
proves to be an additional burden on the pockets of people already perturbed by the sky -rocketing prices of essential

When the attention of the authorities was drawn to this issue, they said that schools could charge the tuition fee for these
months as they would have to pay the salaries of the teaching and non-teaching staff.
However, they said that to facilitate people, private schools could allow them to pay tuition fees pertaining to the months
of June and July in the same months as offices of most of the schools remained open during the summer vacations.

They also informed that all those students appearing in their Class-X annual examination were exempted from paying
summer vacation‘s two months fee, besides all those students who were willing to change their schools from the next
academic session could not be charged summer vacation‘s tuition fee provided their parents informed the school
concerned in writing about their wards‘ plan of switching over to some other school.
(Dawn-15, 31/03/2008)

                                       Religious schools: boon or bane?
                                               By Zofeen Ebrahim
KARACHI, March 30: Mehboob Ilahi, 15, cannot wait for the next two weeks to get over to leave Pakistan and the Jamia
Binoria for good.

Ilahi was brought in by his father, a Pakistan-born US citizen, a little over three years ago at the age of 11 to get enrolled
in a madressah for religious education and has not gone back to the US since then.

When Ilahi does return, it will be as a Hafiz, having memorised the Quran in Arabic, no mean feat, but with almost no
understanding of what he has memorised. But this is just the beginning for most students (aged between 6 and 15)
entering madressah education. ―This is just the beginning,‖ says Maulana Abdul Majeed, who is in-charge of the foreign
students, ―after this there are as many as 20 subjects that they must master to become a religious scholar.‖

―When I first came I cried a lot,‖ Ilahi admits in his heavily-accented American English. ―It was difficult to get used to the
pattern of living and the dust bothered me a lot.‘‘ ―I hate everything about Pakistan,‖ he says without any hesitation or
fear. But what he hates most is the ―madressah food and being stuck here‖. The teenager is like any boarder who is
missing home, likening the US to a ―colourful world‖ and terming Pakistan ―a black and white TV‖.

Illahi, with all his complaints, is among the 600 international students (both girls and boys) studying at the Jamia Binoria.

Hussain Abdul Momin, 28, from Niger, already a Hafiz, has been at the Jamia Binoria for eight years. He wants to
become a religious teacher when he goes back after finishing the six-year scholar‘s course that he is doing. He came to
Pakistan because ―the madressah education here is renowned in the Islamic world for its excellence‘‘.

The same reason is given by 32-year-old Asri Abdel Aziz, a Thai national, who has been there for just under a year. Both
boys and girls, with their impeccable manners and soft demeanour, seem far from the popular notion of religious students
as intolerant and bigoted.

―It‘s a misconception spread by the government itself,‖ says Mufti Mohammad Naeem, the principal and founder of the
Jamia Binoria, which began in 1978 and now has six branches across the metropolis. He dismisses the idea that
madressahs had become breeding grounds for radicalism.

―Radicalism should not be seen in isolation. It is a reaction to various factors. The phenomenon of what you call
globalisation is actually western imperialism, the consumerist and hedonistic culture that we have emulated from the
west, the untold collateral damage caused by the US war on terror… and the state‘s role pe rceived as American lackey
have compounded it,‖ he says.

―It is the government‘s dangerous U-turn policy that is causing so much disenchantment and the crises we are in right
now,‖ he goes on, referring to the increase in suicide attacks and bomb blasts. ―The same jihadis spawned by the
government have gone against their creators,‖ he said pointing to a spate of attacks over the past year on the police and
security forces‘ personnel.

There are some 20,000 to 25,000 big and small madressahs, providing educ ation, boarding and meals to 1.6 million
children which accounts for about eight per cent of all Pakistani children of school-going age, says Mufti Naeem.
And most of these students are, unlike Ilahi and other foreigners, in the madressahs because they hav e nowhere else to
turn to for an education.

Mufti Naeem was of the view that these religious schools also provided an escape from feudal oppression. He thinks
social exclusion and economic deprivation are the reasons why many youngsters are drawn towards religious militancy.
―There are reasons why the poor send their children to madressahs... the state does not provide them educational
support,‖ says Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst. At the same time, he says, madressahs have direct as well as
indirect links with terrorism.

―The issue of terrorism is not with madressahs themselves but the ideology being taught by some segments of the
Deobandi school of thought,‖ says Zaid Hamid, head of an Islamabad-based think tank.
He, however, said that not all Deobandi madressahs subscribed to this ideology of violence.
―Our sect has been singled out, because our madressahs are in the majority,‖ justifies Mufti Naeem, who does not deny
that there may be some miscreants defaming this particular school of thought.

In the Pashtun belt bordering Afghanistan especially, say analysts, there is neither agriculture nor industry. Most male
members have migrated to the cities and send home remittances. For these families madressahs provide a measure of
social security. Children are assured of not just regular meals but a semblance of education and dignity.

Hundreds of madressahs were established in and around the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan in the 1980s and these
had direct links with the anti-Soviet resistance in Afghanistan.
―A good number of Pakistani madressahs, even from the provinces of Punjab and Sindh, sent their students to help the
Taliban in their war against the Afghanistan‘s Northern Alliance,‖ claims Rizvi.

Enrolment in madressahs dropped in the aftermath of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the US, and many foreign students
left, but the negative propaganda against Islam later helped ―ignite among young Muslims, a thirst to know more about
their religion with more and more getting enrolled now,‖ says Mufti Abdullah Hazarvi, who has been associated with the
Jamia for over 18 years.

Following the attack, much money and effort went into the madressah reform programmes but with limited success.
In 2005, under extreme pressure from the US, the government began a crackdown on the seminaries to combat home-
grown extremism that bred fanaticism.

The military government of Pakistan took many measures, including a clampdown on banned militant Islamic
organisations, conducting raids and the confiscation of ―inflammatory‖ material. But the government seemed to stumble
over the question of madressah reforms. As first steps, the government wanted all faith schools to get registered,
modernise their curriculum and reveal their financiers.

Till last year 14,656 of the 20,000 or so such schools registered voluntarily with the Ministry of Religious Affairs and all of
them have, willy-nilly, modernised their syllabi, or at least they say so.
Mufti Hazarvi is not happy with such interference. ―By demanding that we teach other subjects, they are diverting our
students from religious studies,‖ he says. ―Most madressah, back in 2005, were ready to register and many, like ours had

already revised our curriculum. The issue came up when most madressahs, including us, resisted our accounts being
audited,‖ says Mufti Naeem.

He recalled last year‘s army operation against the Lal Masjid people in Islamabad. ―Just when the Ulema had succeeded
in negotiating and convincing the mosque administration to surrender, the government attacked them ki lling many
innocent boys and girls in the process.‖

At that time, Jamia Binoria was among the many schools that had condemned the radical stance taken by Lal Masjid of
enforcing the Sharia on their own. He suggests forming a committee of Ulema, ―but only those who are apolitical.‖
―Eradicating extremism and terrorism is our common cause,‖ he says.
He said that if the government was really willing to come up with a solution to this problem, it should support us.
―It‘s not too late even now. We need to start a dialogue, listen to their woes and address them. But it may mean
curtailment of the American aid and I wonder if our politicians are willing to make the sacrifice.‖
(By Zofeen T. Ebrahim, Dawn-13, 31/03/2008)

                                DCET students develop car-location device
KARACHI: Atif Faseeh, a student at the Dawood College of Engineering and Technology (DCET), has been working with
other students on a project called ‗Car-positioning using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Global System for Mobile
communication (GSM)‘ in a bid to allow people to use their cell phones to track their valuables, especially cars.
A team of five students, including Zain, Zehra Asif and Tafseer, has worked on this project with DCET Department of
Electronics Chairman Prof. Ashfaque Wali. The project uses GPS and GSM technology to allow users to find the exact
location of their vehicles using the Short Messaging Service (SMS) to display the location data on the screen of a cell

For example, Jail Chowrangi is identified via satellite as 23.04 degrees East and 25.04 degrees North, which the average
person cannot understand but the device adds names of locations to make this information easily accessible.
To make this possible, the device must be connected to at least four satellites at a time, explained Faseeh. A GPS
receiver will be installed inside the car while the subscriber carries a cell phone. When they dial a code on the cell phone,
the user receives an SMS from the GPS receiver telling him the exact location of the car. The cell phone will be able to
store the data received for further use and archiving.

The project will be presented to the DCET jury in April. It is being completed at a cost of Rs 30,000 and is expected to be
marketed in two months. The objectives are to develop a vehicle-tracking application with the following features: acquire
vehicle position using GPS, send to and receive data in the control room, display this geo -spatial data (longitude, latitude,
speed, time, etc) on a digital map.

Prof. Ashfaque Wali told Daily Times that DCET expects every student to generate innovative ideas, especially those that
serve people. Final-year students are divided into groups of five and are assigned a project, which they have to complete
within a year. In 2008, students are engaged in 32 projects, half of which have been sponsored by national and
multinational enterprises. These projects are approved, evaluated and supervised by a panel of six dedicated professors.
He said that a non-conducive environment and a lack of research facilities in Pakistan force many intelligent students to
settle in western countries.

While the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has allowed the purchase of equipment necessary for research
projects, students are not offered any stipend. Neither the federal nor the provincial governments allocate funds for
talented students, DCET students told Daily Times.
(By Irfan Aligi, DailyTimes-B1, 31/03/2008)

                                           Rangers beat up KU teacher
KARACHI, March 31: A professor of the applied chemistry department at the University of Karachi was severely beaten
up by Rangers personnel on the campus on Monday afternoon, university officials told Dawn.
The incident took place following the tightening of security by university authorities after a clash between two rival groups
of students.

KU campus adviser Dr Majeedullah Qadri told Dawn that Prof (Dr) Riaz Ahmed of the applied chemistry department was
beaten up by the Rangers. ―Security was tightened and the campus gates were closed to outsiders after two student
groups clashed with each other at around 1.30pm,‖ he said.

A few hours later, Prof Ahmed was stopped by Rangers personnel when he was leaving the campus through what is
known as the Silver Jubilee Gate, Dr Qadri said. ―He tried to explain that he should not be stopped as he is a teacher. At
this, the Rangers personnel misbehaved and started beating him up.‖

He said when he reached the spot he found Rangers Commandant Colonel Iftikhar present there and Dr Ahmed had
been beaten up ―quite badly‖.

KU Vice-Chancellor Dr Pirzada Qasim also reached the place of incident and later called the Rangers‘ commandant to
his office. The VC reportedly told the commandant to take immediate action against those involved and said that the
university administration would not tolerate misconduct with teachers.

Colonel Iftikhar told Dawn that he could not comment on the issue as he was conducting an inquiry. However, the
campus security adviser said that four Rangers personnel involved in the incident had been suspended. T hey had been
put in the ‗campus jail‘, he added.

Meanwhile, university teachers announced a boycott of classes on Tuesday in protest against the incident. ―Karachi
University Teachers Society has called an emergency meeting on Tuesday in which the future line of action will be
decided,‖ said a KUTS spokesman.
(By Meera Jamal, Dawn-17, 01/04/2008)

                                     KU professor beaten up by Rangers
A professor of the University of Karachi (KU) was beaten up by the personnel of the Rangers at the gate of the varsity for
not showing his identity. The Rangers personnel were quarter guards at their head quarters.

On Monday, soon after a clash between the two student political groups, it was reported that some Rangers personnel
misbehaved and manhandled a University teacher, Professor Riaz Ahmed. The professor, who teaches Applied Physics
at the KU, was seriously injured and has been admitted to the hospital with severe head injuries.

On receiving information of the incident, KU‘s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqi, brought the incident
to the notice of the Rangers‘ high ups and personally visited the spot along with the Deans and some other senior

The Vice-Chancellor strongly condemned the unfortunate incident and called the Rangers‘ commandant in his office and
asked him to take immediate action against those responsible for manhandling the teacher and to ensure that such
incidents do not recur. He made it clear that he and the University Administration would not tolerate any incident of
misbehaviour with any teacher. He also ordered a detailed inquiry into the incident.

The Vice-Chancellor also met the President, Secretary and other office-bearers of the Karachi University Teachers
Society (KUTS) and assured them that exemplary punishment would be awarded to those responsible.
The wife of Professor Riaz said that her husband was stopped at the main gate of the KU which was closed. She says
the Rangers misbehaved with her husband and thrashed him using a baton causing him serious head injuries.

The KUTS has announced to boycott classes on Tuesday (today) and has convened a general body meeting of the
teachers to devise a future line of action. Captain Fazal of Rangers Sindh, commenting on the incident, said that a clash
occurred between two student political organisations at the KU. As a result of that clash, the KU Administration directed
the Rangers personnel to take strict measures at the University gates in order to preempt the entry of armed gangsters
into the KU premises.

He added that the Rangers immediately took measures at the gate. In the meantime, a person driving a car came near
the gate and tried to forcibly rush in. The Rangers personnel tried to stop him, but the person sitting in a car was bent
upon crossing the barricades. Capt. Fazl maintained that he did not reveal his identity as a professor but kept on insisting
that he would cross the gate at all cost.

He further stated that, at this moment, a minor scuffle occurred upon which the Rangers‘ officials rushed to the site and
controlled the situation. However, the Rangers authorities have taken strict notice of the incident and constituted a high
level committee that will look into the matter and take strict action against those responsible.
(By Salis bin Perwaiz, The News-14, 01/04/2008)

               Resumption of students’ union activities may quell campus violence
KARACHI, April 1: Calls for lifting the ban on students‘ unions have been echoing for close to two -and-a-half decades,
ever since General Ziaul Haq enforced the prohibition in 1984. However, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani‘s
announcement on the floor of the National Assembly on March 29, withdrawing the proscription on students‘ union
activities (among other ‗people friendly‘ policies) has been hailed across the board.

Dawn spoke to several academics, politicians and activists belonging to political parties‘ student wings to gauge what
effect the announcement and the eventual resumption of students‘ unions will have on the city‘s campuses.

The resounding consensus is that the decision will help create a more tolerant atmosphere conducive to learning on
campuses and that hopefully, the vicious fits of violence that the city‘s colleges and universities have witnessed for over
two decades, involving feuding student political groups, will become a thing of the past.

―We‘ve always wanted the ban to be lifted so that students can be given their rights. There are unions in every
profession, so why should students be deprived? This will allow students to realize their potential. It will create a
democratic culture on campus and will create leadership for the future. A large portion of the current crop of leaders
belonging to political and religious parties participated in student union activities.

―If one recalls, Benazir Bhutto had also announced the lifting of the ban in 1988. However, for some reason elections
were only held in Punjab. The prime minister‘s pronouncement should be implemented in letter and spirit. There should

be elections countrywide,‖ said Arshad Shah, a spokesman for the All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organization, the
student wing of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

Arshad Naqvi, Karachi head of the Pakistan People‘s Party-allied People‘s Student Federation, was equally upbeat.
―It‘s a great decision. The ban was placed by a military dictator. It totally deprived students of their rights. The credit goes
to Benazir Bhutto, for it was her government that initiated efforts to re-establish the unions in 1988. But some vested
interests botched that effort as there was bloodshed during elections in the Punjab. This time it was included in the PPP‘s
manifesto and thanks to Mr Zardari and Mr Gilani‘s efforts, it is being implemented.‖

Syed Munawar Hasan, Secretary-General of the Jamaat-i-Islami, who actively participated in union activities during his
student days, was highly critical of the time it took to re-establish the unions.

―It has taken 25 years to take this step. A quarter century has been wasted. People have been deprived of leadership as
the unions used to be training grounds for future leaders. The vice-chancellors should help implement this decision and a
code of conduct should definitely be formed. There should be a genuine effort to help establish the system of student
unions,‖ he said.

Asked how he thought the students of today would adapt to a system they largely have no clue about, Mr Hasan said the
current generation would catch on in due time.

‘The students will adapt’
―The students will adapt very quickly. This generation has a great knack for picking things up quickly. The only thing is
that in the past, students had an ideological orientation, whether it was towards the left, right or Islam. This is missing
today and the result may be that activities will be a bit bland. But I think in due time the unio ns will meet the students‘
academic and extra-curricular needs.‖

Kazi Saleem, spokesman of the University of Karachi, said that as long as there was no political interference and
discipline was maintained, the situation looked extremely conducive.
―There has been a leadership void. However, it is a great decision. It is a great responsibility on the students. There are
great young minds out there and if there is no political interference, a lot is possible. Activities like debates will bring forth
the leaders of tomorrow. The vice-chancellor has told the student adviser to sort out the logistics (of establishing union
activities). It will take time in character building and instilling discipline, but change is definitely in the air,‖ he said , citing
the example of Aligarh Muslim University as a training ground for outstanding, well-rounded leaders that excelled in their

Controlling violence
Student leaders were also sure that the resumption of union activities would help control the monstrous violence
Karachi‘s campuses have seen.
―There has been violence in the past. However, in the last few years I feel there‘s been a drop. Student unions will further
reduce violence. Student parties should get together and form a code of ethics to ensure peace on campuses, as well as
create an atmosphere conducive to learning and extra-curricular activities,‖ said Mr Shah.

―Violence spiked after the ban was enforced in 1984. Violence has become part of the system. Even now some people
are trying to sabotage efforts to re-establish the unions. But we are hopeful. If relatively peaceful elections can be
organised on the national level, then I don‘t see why peaceful elections cannot be held on campus,‖ observed Mr Naqvi.
(By Qasim A. Moini, Dawn-17, 02/04/2008)

                                            He attacked us, claim Rangers
The Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) held Dr Riaz Ahmed responsible for the unfortunate incident that took place on March 31
at the Karachi University.

The Rangers claim that, as a result of a campus clash that day, the KU administration directed their personnel to take
strict measures at the University gates in order to pre-empt the entry of armed gangsters into the University campus.

A Rangers press release states that, on the same day, Dr Riaz Ahmed tried to to forcibly rush in through the Silver
Jubilee gate. The Rangers personnel tried to stop him, telling him that the gate had been closed on the directives of the
KU administration in the wake of the students‘ clash.
However, according to the Rangers press release, Professor Riaz refused to leave the place and insisted that he would
cross the gate at all costs and ―started using abusive language against the Rangers and other security forces‖. The
Rangers personnel informed their senior officials about the conduct of the said professor.

In the meanwhile, according to the Rangers‘ version, the professor got into scuffle with the Rangers personnel and
pushed a sepoy, Anwar-ul-Haq, who fell to the ground and had his fingers fractured. The Rangers said they would be
taking legal action against the professor for injuring a sepoy.

The force has constituted a high-powered inquiry in order to ascertain facts and bring the guilty to book.

The Rangers alleged that it was unfortunate that Dr Riaz was projecting a wrong picture of the incident to the media by
leveling baseless allegations that he was subjected to manhandling, which was a ―total fabrication‖.

The Rangers press release insists, had they not resorted to strict vigilance of the exit and entry routes, armed gangsters
from the outside the university would have intervened which would have resulted in mayhem on the campus.
The Rangers allege that, way back in 1998, the professor was embroiled in a similar dispute with the their personnel at
the KU gate when he tried to enter the campus without the authorised car sticker issued by the KU administration. On
that occasion, the press release says, he also resorted to abusive language but that the Rangers exercised restraint.
(The News-14, 02/04/2008)

                Only one in 13 students in higher education is from the rural areas
The rural-urban prosperity gap is likely to further widen with the former‘s population being deprived of higher education.
For every 12 students from the urban areas joining degree classes in the country, only one comes from the rural areas.

According to the federal education department, out of 325,000 students enrolled in degree classes, in both the public and
private sector, in 2005, only 25,000 came from the rural areas.
There are several factors, including poverty, nepotism, lack of infrastructure and professional teachers in rural colleges,
which have kept students away from the benefits of higher education.

Syed Shafiq Moosvi, Chairman, Institute of Modern Sciences and Arts (IMSA), Hyderabad, says that, since jobs are not
provided on merit, people in the rural areas have lost faith in higher education.
With public sector jobs remaining unfilled for more than a decade, people look for employment shelter in the private
sector. However, nepotism also prevails, to some levels, in the private sector as well.

As a consequence, people in the rural areas, after being confronted by a close-to-hopeless situation, usually end up
working at the local level or run their own business. However, the rural economy, which is mostly made up of agriculture,
continues to be plagued by issues such as the increased usage of pesticides and, of course, the lack of irrigation water.
Linked closely to the aforementioned problem, Moosvi cites poverty in the rural areas as another major hurdle for rural
education. At the public universities, students from the rural areas cannot afford hostel expenses, while, at the private
institutes, there are higher fees.

Moosvi says that, when provided more funding and scholarships, more students are enrolled in his institute.

Prof. Liaqat Aziz, Central Secretary, Sindh Professors and Lectures Association (SPLA), and Secretary, Sindh
Employees Alliance, points to the lack of skilled professionals and infrastructure at the colleges as one of the reasons
behind the lack of interest of students.

In the three districts of Thatta, Badin and Tando Mohammad Khan, there are girls‘ colleges, but no teacher available for
science subjects such as biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics. ―If there are no teachers, how will the students
come?‖ questions Aziz.

While lots of donations from the World Bank and other institutions are available for the development of education in the
rural areas, the lack of proper utilisation has affected such efforts adversely.

After independence in 1947, as many as 11 education policies were introduced by various governments, but not a single
one was passed by the parliament and no policy was given a constitutional guarantee.

Aziz says that the head of the education department and the secretary should both be from the education sector, as civil
bureaucrats, he claims, do not take much interest in the education sector and do not have the expertise needed to deal
with the department in a proper and effective manner. Calling education a national duty, he also opposes the quotas
given to elected representatives to appoint teachers.

Sindhi intellectual Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo says that the collapse of education at the primary level is a major reason
behind the state in which rural education in general finds itself in today. He adds that the directorate of education had
failed in its duties, including the training of the primary teachers, who lack discipline.

An added hurdle is that of the language barrier. Every rural child has to learn at least three languages at the outset. Urdu
and English are taught to students at the primary level in addition to their respective mother tongues.
When a child is taught a third language as their mother tongue at the very first level of schooling, which is the case in the
rural areas, it can confuse the minor. ―Quality learning suffers with the alien languages from the very first years,‖ he says .
Thus, the transition from primary schools in the rural to secondary schools and colleges remains poor. ―This is a tragic
matter,‖ says Joyo.

Riaz Bhutto, Secretary, Sindh, of the Liberal Forum, sees the remoteness of education in the rural areas and social
apathy as big barriers keeping rural students from going on to degree classes. Bhutto, who has personally worked on
child enrollment at the primary level, says that, due to various reasons, nearly 75 per cent of the students leave education
at the primary level alone.
(By Shahid Shah, The News-13, 02/04/2008)

                             Mama Parsi School celebrates 90 glorious years
Educating girls was a priority of the progressive Zoroastrian community of the city and it has been proved by the 90
glorious years of the school that has chartered the educational course in a magnificent way.

Ms Z T Mavalvala, Principal of Mama Parsi School, proudly claimed the distinction on Tuesday — the occasion of the
celebration for completing 90 years of its existence. The school was founded on April 1, 1918 to cater to the needs of
Parsi girls of Karachi. She was proud of the fact that her school had struggled hard to maintain its high standards and
produced students who were asset to the country and pride to their parents. She acknowledged the contribution of her
devoted staff and the students who were keen to acquire the knowledge.

They had a boys‘ school, the BVS Parsi School, which was founded in 1870, but since there wasn‘t a separate school for
girls, the founding fathers of The Mama School decided to open a girls‘ only school. Initially, classes for girls started in
1918 in BVS School, but after a year the girls‘ school moved to Mama Mansion opposite Zainab Market. This building is
nowadays known as the Haq Building. The school was shifted to the present location on M.A. Jinnah Road on April 1,

1925 with 70 girls on its roll. Quaid-e-Azam requested the school management to open the gates of the school for
Muslims too. From that time onwards, the school has been educating girls of all faiths without any bias or prejudice.

A ‗Mehfil-e-Milad‘ was organised for the Muslim staff and students of the school, while the Parsis attended a ‗Jashan‘ (a
religious ceremony to celebrate an auspicious occasion.) The Jashan was attended by the Chairperson of the School, Dr
Banoo Mama, the Principal, Ms Z T Mavalvala, the members of the School‘s Managing Committee, the Parsi staff and
students and the guests. A documentary on the achievements of The Mama School was shown to everyone present at
the celebrations. Gifts were given to every student, and the guests were served with refreshments.

The guests included the Chairperson of the School, Mrs Banoo Mama; Mrs Dinoo Mistry, ex-Principal of the B V S Parsi
School, Mr Behram D. Avari, Chairman of the Parsi Anjuman Society, Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee, the renowned columnist
and Mrs Kermeen Parakh, Principal of The BVS Parsi School. Members of the Parsi Banu Mandal Society were also
present to witness the celebrations.
(The News-20, 02/04/2008)

               Private varsities harbour fears about lifting of ban on student unions
The announcement to lift the ban on student unions is being strongly resisted by the managements of private universities
and colleges who feel that it will interfere in the running of the institutions, The News has learnt.
After the formation of the new government, the ban on both student and labour unions, imposed during the then military
regime of General Zia-ul-Haq, has been lifted. The annoucement to this effect was made by the new Prime Minister Syed
Yousuf Raza Gilani.

While the lifting of the ban is construed as a positive development in the government-run institutions, the privately-run
educations institutions are perturbed by the order, said a source in one such institution. They feel that it will interfere i n
their affairs, specifically those relating to the admission policy and other administrative matters.
With the election of student unions, the administration of the private institutions would come under pressure from these
bodies, said the source, adding that this was certainly something undesirable.

Elaborating on this, the source maintained that the mounting fee structures in private institutions, which have, in some
cases, provided a convenient segway for large-scale corruption, would also come under fire, thereby affecting the
administrations‘ monopoly in this regard.

Private institutions have been free to increase fees, at times arbitrarily, which caused an immense burden on the middle -
class that had no choice but to get their wards admitted to these institutions keeping in mind the ‗lower‘ educational
standards in the public sector educational institutions.
The irony is that a reason most often cited for the lower educational standards in public sector universities was that
students, instead of concentrating in their studies, indulged in politics, which had severely hampered the teaching

On the other hand, however, it is also believed that student unions would provide a much-needed counter weight to the
unchallenged rule of the administration of private institutions, where mismanagement and malpractice go largely

The private colleges and universities, said an offical associated with one such varisty, were minting money in the name of
education. Student unions could help maintain a check and balance on all affairs that most managements had taken
pains to keep secret.

Under the law, educational institutions are allowed to raise fees after the passage of three years - that too after the
approval of education board. However, while universities and colleges defy rules and regulations such as these drafted
by the education board, there is no check and balance from the concerned quarters. Such problems in privately-run
educational institutions is a ―hard nut to crack‖, said a senior educationist.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-14, 04/04/2008)

                               Rangers hawaldar lodges FIR against KU prof
KARACHI: A Rangers Hawaldar has lodged an FIR against Dr Professor Riaz Ahmed who was beaten up by sepoys at
the main gate of the University of Karachi (KU) on March 31.

Rangers Hawaldar Anwarul Haq registered the FIR with the Mobina Town police statio n against the professor under
P.P.C sections 337, 353, 332 and 186.

Following the FIR, University of Karachi Teachers Society (KUTS) held a general body meeting on Thursday at the Arts
Auditorium to organize a protest. KUTS has announced a black day today, Friday, in all universities nationwide. The
teachers of KU strongly condemn the Rangers‘ hostile attitude and the registration of the FIR. A delegation has also met
and asked KU VC Dr Pirzada Qasim to help the faculty member.

―Our delegation comprising Dr Aqeel, Dr Shaeel Farooqi, Dr Aneela Amber and myself have met the VC and asked him
to do something to seize the FIR,‖ said KUTS Secretary, Dr Abid Hasnain talking to Daily Times. He stated that the
Rangers were confusing the situation as they initially said they would take action against the sepoy who was responsible.

―I have contacted my counsel and will seek bail-before-arrest from the court. I have not been contacted by the KU
administration but the teachers are with me and have arranged a protest,‖ said Ahmed while talking to Daily Times. He
said that there were many eyewitnesses to the incident, including the VC.

KU Registrar Dr Raees Alvi spoke of a meeting between the VC and the DG Rangers on Tuesday. In reply to a question,
the registrar said, ―I can not say if the Rangers would withdraw the FIR but we can hope for positive results.‖

KU Campus Security Advisor to the VC Dr Khalid Iraqi said that they were in contact with the Rangers. He also clarified
that the FIR‘s registration was an individual‘s decision and that the directives were not issued from the Rangers
(DailyTimes-B1, 04/04/2008)

                                       Harassment of KU teacher alleged
KARACHI, April 4: Even as a coalition of people pressed for an investigation into the violence suffered by Dr Riaz Ahmed
allegedly at the hands of Rangers personnel at the University of Karachi on March 31, teachers close to the associate
professor of applied chemistry claimed that he was being harassed by the police who, they said, are being pressurised by
the Rangers to pursue the case.

―On Thursday, his [Dr Ahmed‘s] residence was visited by the police but he was not at home,‖ they told Dawn.

Dr Ahmed was reportedly beaten by two Rangers officials as he tried to enter the KU campus through the Silver Jubilee
Gate on March 31. On April 2, Havaldar Anwarul Haq of the Sindh Rangers lodged FIR No 73/2008 under Sections 337 -
F(iv) (intentionally causing injury which leaves a bone exposed, a non-bailable offence punishable by up to five years‘
imprisonment), 353 (assault or using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty), 332 (causing hurt,
including pain, injury, disability or dismemberment of an organ) and 186 (obstructing a public servant in the discharge of
public functions)of the Pakistan Penal Code against the professor at the Mobina Town police station.

The general secretary of the Karachi University Teachers Society (Kuts), Dr Abid Hasnain, told Dawn that after the
incident, the Rangers had stated that they had detained the two officials involved in the violence. ―The next day, however,
they twisted the facts around and the Rangers‘ spokesperson denied any wrongdoing altogether,‖ he said, demanding
the immediate withdrawal of the FIR lodged by the Rangers.

Asked about his stance over the FIR lodged against Dr Ahmed, SSP Investigations East Dr Amir Shaikh said that he had
issued instruction to the policemen under him to refrain from pursuing the case. When his attention was drawn towards
the visit made to Dr Ahmed‘s house by the police on Thursday night, the SSP checked whether his orders had been
followed and then told Dawn that none of his men, who belong to the investigation wing, had been involved. ―Those
policemen could have been from the operations wing of the police,‖ said SSP Shaikh. ―I would not go after a university
professor in such a case.‖

Probe into incident demanded
Meanwhile, an open letter by a coalition of people was sent to various offices, including newspapers. It pointed out that
the use of force to settle disputes of any kind must be condemned by all members of civil society. ―The use of armed
guards may be understandable in a bank or a defence establishment,‖ noted the letter, ―but the use of such guards in the
fount of civil society, that is the academia, somehow indicated a basic flaw in society. The sooner it is remedied, the

Dr. Khurshid Ahmad (UK), Mrs Nasreen Saeedi (US), Dr Yasmin A. Zaim (US), Dr Nikhat Siddiqui (Pakistan), Dr Irfan
Ahmed (Indonesia), and Dr A‘amir Ahmed (England) stated in their letter out that Dr Riaz Ahmed took an active decision
to serve his country and his university. ―After receiving his doctorate from the University of Cambridge in the mid-1990s,
he – if he [had] wanted to – could have worked for multinationals and universities elsewhere in the world. He is
passionate about his work and the broader socio-political environment he lives in. One may not necessarily agree with
him but there is no denying his commitment to his students and fellow citizens,‖ they pointed out.
―We write, in great sorrow and considerable personal anguish, about the use of force against our brother, Riaz Ahmed,‖
said the letter. ―We would like to ask the civil authorities in Karachi, especially the University of Karachi‘s administratio n
and the incoming provincial government, together with the national authorities, including the Pakistan Ministry of Higher
Education, to investigate the matter thoroughly.‖

Black day announced
On Friday, Kuts issued a statement saying that all government universities in Sindh would observe Saturday [today] as a
black day in protest against the treatment meted out to Dr Ahmed by Rangers at the University of Karachi.

Teachers will wear black armbands throughout the province‘s universities and, according to the statement, universities in
other provinces observed a black day on Friday when teachers wore black armbands to their classes.
The statement called for an end to what it termed a ‗harassment campaign‘ against teachers, while Kuts reiterated its
earlier demand for a judicial inquiry into the incident.
(Dawn-17, 05/04/2008)

                              What example are you setting, Governor Ebad?
Thousands of school children and students of various schools, colleges are universities were told on Friday morning that
a holiday had been declared by the Sindh Governor on account of the death anniversary of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto. The announcement, we are told, was made on Thursday evening which begs a number of questions that one
needs to ask our honourable Governor.

First of all, did the Sindh government get to know on Thursday evening that it was the death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto? Why could the announcement not have been made earlier in the day or week? Why is it that our education
department and government have this callous style in which holidays are declared late in the evening on the assumption
that everyone watches TV and will catch the news.

For those who govern this province, it may come as news to them, school going children and usually their parents go to
bed early because their weekdays start at 6AM or so. Therefore, sometimes through no fault of their own, they miss out
on these late night announcements.

The more important question is why do we have to declare a holiday in the first place? If Governor Ebad was kind e nough
to note, the past few Fridays have already been victims of unannounced holidays. One Friday was when religious parties
protested the caricatures. Another Friday the transporters went on strike.

Why should we declare a holiday at the drop of a hat? We win a cricket match and there is a holiday. There is a political
rally and there is a holiday. Its some politician‘s birthday and there is a holiday. This is both frustrating and unfair to
students. Dr Ebad‘s holidays are then compensated for by the schools who reduce the number of days given to summer
vacations or children have to come in on weekends to make up for lost time.
Why cant we be serious about education for once? Why do we have to punish the educational system when we want to
make a point. Why doesn‘t the Governor announce something sensible in which the country will benefit? One can only
wonder and pray for better sense for our rulers.
(The News-13, 05/04/2008)

                                        Rangers keep low profile in KU
KARACHI, April 5: While faculty members of the University of Karachi are generally standing their ground on the recent
manhandling of Dr Riaz Ahmed by Rangers on university premises, the Rangers on campus have disengaged
themselves from vigilance duties, sources at the KU premises informed Dawn.

Contrary to their usual practice, Rangers personnel did not take up positions at least half a dozen strategic points,
including the main entrances to the university, and remained in their on-campus residential areas. According to a source,
―the Rangers have practically been off since 7:30am on Friday.‖
Meanwhile, KU Vice Chancellor Dr Pirzada Qasim – who has been in touch with Rangers‘ superiors since Thursday –
has reportedly written again to the DG Rangers Sindh asking him to arrange the immediate withdrawal of the FIR lodged
against Dr Ahmed, and help the university diffuse the unrest amongst the teachers.

Dr Riaz Ahmed, associate professor of applied chemistry at the university, was beaten by Rangers‘ personnel on March
31. Following the incident, the Karachi University Teachers‘ Association (Kuts) has held continued protests with the
demand that a comprehensive inquiry be conducted into the matter and the Rangers withdraw from campus.

The Kuts general secretary, Dr Abid Hasnain, said on Saturday that teachers were at no cost prepared to tolerate the
insult of any of their colleagues, and that the Rangers and the KU administration ―should sort things out once and for all.‖
He maintained that he was unaware of any action so far taken against any of the Rangers‘ personnel involved in the
incident, since neither the university administration nor the Rangers had taken Kuts office bearers on board. He added
that a general body meeting would be held on Monday [April 7] to review the situation and decide upon a future course of

Fact-finding committee?
According to another source on campus the university‘s vice chancellor, who condemned the manhandling of his staff
member, believes that any proceedings taken on the FIR filed by a havaldar against Dr Ahmed would aggravate the
situation further. The source added that the VC had already formed a high-powered fact-finding committee and
suspended a couple of watch and ward staff members. ―It is now time for the Rangers to do something,‖ he said. When
contacted by Dawn, the advisor to the vice chancellor on security affairs, Dr Khalid M. Iraqi, said that the Rangers had
withdrawn from the campus entry points without having given prior information but the university‘s own security staff was
vigilant against any untoward incident.

According to a source in the VC‘s office, some Rangers‘ high-ups told the vice chancellor on Saturday that the Rangers
had been withdrawn from certain areas and main gates in order to minimise direct contact with teachers, students or any
of the university staff. However, until alternatives were found, the Rangers would reportedly be available to the university
administration in case support was needed in an emergency or law and order situation.

A senior professor at the university told Dawn that the deployment of Rangers in educational institutions had frequently
been resented but they could be replaced only when KU built up for the purpose sufficient and trained manpower that
was sensitive to the sentiments and problems of the campus population. ―Even after the deployment of a full-fledged
university watch or security group,‖ he added, ―the law enforcers‘ role will remain since they would have to be called in to
deal with any law and order situation, just as they are in other parts of the city.‖
Other quarters take the decline in the Rangers‘ duties, at a time when students are in an up -beat mood over the revival of
student unions, as a move designed to press home the point that the KU administration and teachers would need the
Rangers again.
(Dawn-19, 06/04/2008)

                                  Making the campus a violence-free zone
                                           By Dr Noman Ahmeda
The historic announcement of restoring student unions in Pakistan has been received well by stakeholders across the
country. However, there may be certain downsides to this issue.
A few ugly incidences of violence erupted at the Punjab University last month where several students were allegedly
thrashed and brutalised by goons of the student wing of a major religio-political party. It was reported that the vice
chancellor of the varsity was also a witness to this avoidable episode but no firm action regarding the matter was taken
by the administration. This reflects the tight grip exercised by the student factions of political parties at major campuses
all over the country.

There have been similar episodes at the Federal Urdu University and the Sindh Medical College and it is at times like this
that the depoliticisation of campuses along with a total ban on student politics is
seen as the only solution. The matter, however, asks to be seen objectively if
rational options are to be reached.

Campus violence ruptures usual academic life. Besides losing precious
academic time, the situation causes a terror-laden milieu, fears of re-lapse of
violence and a sense of helplessness among the academic staff as well as the
students. The perpetual support of political parties to their student wings,
availability of arms, inability of varsity administrations to institute discipline and
the connivance of some academic staff with student wings for their own ulterior
motives are the obvious factors leading to the problem.

A small but powerful minority is able to hold hostage the entire campus for
prolonged periods of time. Neither are the perpetrators of these criminal deeds
rounded up nor are the clandestine hands that support them ever tied although
some campuses, through the strict resolve of their administrations, have been
able to develop some worth emulating examples of enforcing discipline while extending a congenial environment for
carrying on with the academics.

No academic pursuit can be realised without peace. The University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore and the
NED University of Engineering & Technology in Karachi have successfully maintained peace on their campuses by
rooting out all external and internal miscreants from their jurisdiction.

The penetration of armed elements and their supporters in the campus thoughout the country is a direct outcome of the
dictatorial policies of the Zia regime since 1978-79. It was a time when fire arms were used freely to settle union matters
in universities. Afraid of pro-democracy movements, the regime, imposed a ban on the unions, leading to a strong
rudderless reaction. New fascist-style student wings were created, many of which had the support of the regime.
Sectarian, ethnic and factional groups planted their student agents in the campuses. This tide soon entered the colleges

Successive regimes with a limited administrative capacity at their disposal, have failed to curb this me nace and the trend
continues. Disgusted with this convoluted backdrop, many quarters consider the institution of student unions as the cause
of the problem, which may not be so true.

It must be understood that the participation in student union activities are very healthy for the campus population. But
these unions must be allowed to evolve from within the institution itself.

Participation in union management enables the students to learn and practice leadership skills. It also extends
opportunities in the organisation of co-curricular activities that help in personality development. Student weeks, literary
circles, dramatic societies, environmental campaigns, debating clubs and sports are just a few of the pursuits managed
by student unions. Other functions include social work, activism, support to pro-literacy initiatives, coordination with
alumni and professional groups.

Competence in the future generation in this century can only be enhanced by stretching out the options of self
development. All the institutions of higher learning in the developed world have very active and performing unions. It is
high time that university managements here too take cognizance of the situation to carry out appropriate measures that
will ensure peace, enabling an environment for healthy student activities.
(By Dr. Noman Ahmed, Dawn-21 Education, 06/04/2008)

                                           Education: challenges ahead
AS a result of the 2008 election, the newly elected government in Pakistan is beginning to start its journey on the
treacherous road of uncertainties. There are challenges in the domains of security, economy, development and

Education, in an interesting way, is linked with the security issues in the 9/11 commission report where it is observed that
some madressahs in Pakistan ‗have been used as incubators for violent extremism‖. The report recommends that the US
should give funds to Pakistan for ―better education‖.

This increase in funds in the education sector was a new phenomenon which was in sharp contrast to the pre 9/11 period
when Pakistan was at the bottom of the table of allocation to education in South Asia — in 1997 this sector received only
2.2 per cent of GDP. The post 9/11 scenario saw a large flow of money to the education sector for ‗better education‘ in

Consequently the budget for education was increased. But we need to look at this increase in relation to the allocations
for defence as well. In the federal and provincial budgets 2005-06, Rs127.3bn was allocated to education whereas
Rs151.3bn was set aside for defence. This wide gap reflects our priorities. But the allocation of money is not the only
problem. In my recent book, Rethinking Education in Pakistan, I have discussed in detail how in various five-year plan
periods 50 per cent of allocated funds remained unspent. One major reason was the bureaucratic process for the release
of the funds. The appropriateness of the 50 per cent spent money was also questionable.

The post 9/11 increased inflow of money led to a barrage of generously funded but poorly planned projects where the
emphasis seemed to be on two points: (a) demonstrating quantitative results and (2) spending maximum funds in a
stipulated period of time. Instead of using money in a sensible manner to achieve certain educational objectives, the
whole emphasis was laid on turning these initiatives into political slogans. Take the example of Parah Likha Punjab
(literate Punjab) where millions of rupees were spent on ads to underline the exploits of some government personalities.

The post 9/11 scenario saw an ironic twist in the situation. In the pursuit of quick results, the education minister — a lady
from Balochistan — was replaced by a retired general to implement the agenda with the required ‗toughness‘. This
appointment suggested that education in Pakistan is quite wantonly treated by military governments. In the mid of much-
trumpeted ‗quality in education initiatives‘, search committees were set up to select the most appropriate and qualified
candidates to be named as vice chancellors of universities. But nobody would ever know why a retired brigadier was
appointed as vice chancellor of the university of Balochistan.

Pakistan, even after 61 years of its independence, is still facing the problem of access in education. A large number of
students cannot get to the schools either because there are no schools available or because they cannot afford to go to
school. According to the National Education Policy (1998-2010) ―it is estimated that out of a total 19.22 million primary
school age (5-9) population, only 13.72 million are in school and 5.5 million are left out who are never enrolled‖. The new
government needs to address this issue.

A related issue is the large percentage of dropouts from our schools. According to National Education Census Highlights
2006, 31.3 per cent of children drop out between grades 1 and 5. This tremendous loss can be averted through proper

One of the major problems faced by the Pakistani system of education is the issue of quality. Since independence we
have expanded in terms of educational institutions but in terms of quality certain question marks remain. In most of our
mainstream educational institutions, the prevalent teaching approach is that of transmission where the teacher is not
concerned with the transformation of students‘ lives but only with transmission of existing knowledge.

This kind of pedagogy, according to Paulo Freire, emanates from a ‗banking concept of knowledge‘. As a result the
students produced in the mainstream educational institutions of Pakistan do not develop themselves into independent
thinkers and tend to conform to the existing stereotypes of society. This approach to education does not encourage
research that could construct new knowledge. In Pakistan there seems to be no expo sure to research at school and
college levels. Consequently, in the recent past, when the university faculty was engaged or asked to engage in
research, its research was not relevant to the needs of Pakistan and was generally of poor quality.

This wide chasm between school, college and university needs to be bridged. On the contrary we see a constant tension
between the HEC and the ministry of education. This rift between the two organisations proved counter -productive to any
and all initiatives in the domain of education. School education, college education, and university education are part of a
continuum. If we bring mega changes at the university level but our school- and college-level education is neglected, we
cannot expect a sound system in the country. We need to have a balanced focus at all levels. A sound education at the
school and college levels would pave the way for a sound university education. Keeping in view the significance of school
and college education, we need to set up commissions for school and college education.

One favourite move of every government is to offer a new curriculum. The new government, instead of just making new
currricula, should also focus on practical aspects of the curriculum; i.e., classroom teaching. In the past we have seen
some teacher-training crash programmes which could only satisfy the political interests of the ruling party by showing an
inflated number of ‗trained teachers‘. Such ‗crash programmes‘ cannot bring about a sustainable, meaningful change in
the classroom and consequently at the societal level.

Teacher education needs to be given top priority if the new government is serious about bringing a qualitative change in
the educational system of Pakistan. The result is the growing number of ‗trained teachers‘ who find it difficult to think
independently, reflect on their practices, and improve their teaching. There is a real need to set up quality teacher
education institutes in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and the NWFP along the lines of the Institute for Educational
Development of the Aga Khan University in Karachi. To make such institutes work, it is important to establish them in new
buildings with newly hired, committed and dedicated teams. Just changes in names will not serve the purpose.

Another area that needs the attention of the new government is the assessment system. Assessment plays an important
role in the process of teaching and learning. Our age-old assessment system is entirely memory-based that has a
negative wash-back effect on teaching. The existing assessment system taps only lower-order thinking skills. In other
words this system focuses only on ‗what‘ type of questions and ignores ‗how and why‘ thinking. The assessment system
needs to be totally revamped if we are serious about producing thinking citizens.
(By Shahid Siddiqui, Dawn-6, 07/04/2008)

                               Body formed to probe KU teacher ‘thrashing’
KARACHI, April 7: The Sindh government has constituted a committee to probe into the incident of manhandling of a
faculty member of the University of Karachi by Rangers personnel on the campus.
The body to be headed by the Sindh home secretary will comprise DIG Police (Operations) East Karachi Salman Syed,
Deputy Director-General Rangers Karachi Brig Mohammad Latif, KU Registrar Mohammad Rais Alvi a nd Karachi
University Teachers‘ Society General Secretary Dr Abid Hasnain, says a notification issued here on Monday.

The committee has been directed to complete its investigation into causes of the incident and to fix responsibility and
submit its reports within three days.

The chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr Attaur Rehman, also contacted the KU vice-chancellor, Dr
Pirzada Qasim, and inquired about the incident.
When asked if the performance of the committee formed by the government would be satisfactory, the HEC chairman
said: ―Yes, that is good enough. What we expect from the university administration is to take appropriate action later on.‖

However, he did not make any comment on the overall situation saying that any comment in t his regard would be
appropriate only after the submission of a report by the fact-finding committee.
He stressed the need for an independent inquiry as the University of Karachi was an autonomous body.
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) chief also offered to extend all-out assistance to the KU in this regard.

Condemning the incident, he said that teaching was one of the highly respected professions in the world and therefore
teachers must not be treated in such a manner.

No classes today
Keeping in view the recent incidents, the KU vice-chancellor in a meeting with deans of various faculties and advisers has
decided to suspend academic activities at the KU on Tuesday as well.

However, offices at the KU will remain open. The meeting had been called to review the recent law and order situation
after a clash between two students‘ groups on April 5.

SHO asked to register FIR
The additional district and sessions judge, East, Abdul Rahman Bhatti, on Monday directed the Station House Officer of
Mobina Town police station to register an FIR on the complaint of Dr Riaz Ahmed in accordance with the law.

Dr Raiz Ahmed, an associate professor at the Applied Chemistry Department, Karachi University, was reportedly
manhandled and beaten up by Rangers personnel on the premises of the university on March 31.
He, through his counsel, had submitted an application under Section 22-A of the Criminal Procedure Code requesting the
court to direct the relevant police station to register a case against the Rangers‘ personnel.

Degree classes
The University of Karachi has extended the date for admissions to the first and second years of BA (pass), BSc (pass)
and BCom classes up to April 19 with a late fee of Rs1,000.

However, according to the KU Registrar, Prof Mohammad Rais Alvi, the students seeking admissions to the degree
classes at this stage will be required to complete the requisite attendance by the end of the current academic session
under the university rules.

Principals of all the affiliated degree colleges have been requested to forward the admission lists to the registrar and pay
orders of late fee in favour of the University of Karachi latest by April 24.
Besides, a list of the admissions should also be sent to the KU‘s enrolment section.
(By Meera Jamal, Dawn-18, 08/04/2008)

                        Karachi University to remain closed for two more days
KARACHI, April 8: The University of Karachi announced on Tuesday that classes would remain suspended for two more
days and said that the rationale behind the closure decision was that without a law-enforcement agency available to
guard the campus, it would be unwise to put the lives of students at risk.

The KU Campus Adviser, Dr Khalid Iraqi, told Dawn that the university had received no notification by the Sindh
government or the governor on a decision over the deployment or withdrawal of paramilitary forces in the university.
―The commandant of the Rangers informed the VC on Saturday about the Rangers being removed from the campus
gates,‖ he said. Karachi University has already been closed for two days.

He also said that the student advisory committee had a meeting on Tuesday with the VC in which they told him about the
emerging situation. According to him, the student advisory council had been in touch with both student groups that had a
clash on Saturday and was trying to sort things out. ―However, keeping in mind the way both student groups went about
showing weapons with no law-enforcement agency around, it is not appropriate to endanger the lives of so many
students in such circumstances,‖ he said.

Rangers may return
Dr Iraqi also said the VC had called the chancellor, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, and asked for the immediate
deployment of a law-enforcement agency. However, some inside sources revealed that a top officer of Rangers had a
meeting with the VC before the withdrawal of the force and informed him about it. The sources also claimed that the
Rangers high-ups had called the university administration and the VC would have a meeting with the officers in which the
whole issue would be settled.

―Though the Rangers are answerable to the Sindh government and the governor, who decides about their deployment in
educational institutes, here they just refused to perform their job assigned to them by the government on the pretext that
the teachers demanded that they vacate the university. However, the issue has been resolved to a great extent and
Rangers will resume their security job at the university on Friday,‖ said the source.

A professor, seeking anonymity, said: ―When we proposed an alternative security plan, we did not mean it to happen
overnight. A teacher would not wish to sit idle at home while the university remains closed owing to the law and order
situation. We called for some reforms and it was not such a Herculean task as it has been made out to be.‖

The Rangers PRO when contacted for a comment said he could not issue a statement unless he had instructions from
his bosses.

Protest against FIR
―We demand that the FIR registered against Prof Dr Riaz Ahmed be withdrawn by the Rangers,‖ said an NGO, the
People‘s Resistance, while staging a sit-in at the Silver Jubilee Gate of the university on Tuesday.

Scores of protesters, carrying placards and banners, chanted slogans against Rangers and the VC for not taking any
action against it. They also demanded the Rangers withdraw their FIR.
―We demand the removal of military personnel from educational institutions as part of a larger demilitarization process in
Pakistani society. Personnel of the Rangers para-military are force posted at the university, whereas the Dr Riaz incident
adds to their list of things that they shouldn‘t have done,‖ they said.Citizens, students, teachers, the Human Rights

Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Roots fo r Equity, International Socialists,
the Network for Women‘s Rights, the Labour Party of Pakistan and the Communist Mazdoor-Kissan Party took part in the

―There was no reason for the Rangers officers to beat up Dr Riaz Ahmed since the eyewitness t hat we talked to revealed
that the Silver Jubilee Gate was closed neither for students nor for teachers,‖ said Abdul Hai, a member of the council
formed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan to investigate the incident of a teacher being beaten up by
Rangers. The HRCP Fact-Finding Report would be made public on April 12, said Mr Hai. The council comprises Asad
Iqbal Butt, Syed Shamsuddin and Abdul Hai.
According to Mr Hai, the council had talked to Rangers PRO Capt Fazal, who blamed Dr Ahmed for the incident.
(By Meera Jamal, Dawn-17, 09/04/2008)

                                 Protest against thrashing of KU professor
KARACHI: Over a hundred people attended a sit-in demonstration on Tuesday at the University of Karachi (KU) Silver
Jubilee Gate to protest the mistreatment of Prof. Riaz Ahmed by the Rangers on March 31.

The protest was organized by Peoples‘ Resistance, a coalition of students, teachers, doctors, journalists, young
professionals, human rights organizations and regular citizens.
They demanded the immediate withdrawal of the false non-bailable FIR registered against Dr Riaz by the rangers that
had confronted him. They also demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident and the removal of military personnel from
educational institutions in the city.

The protest was attended by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Pakistan Institute of Labour Education
and Research (PILER), Roots for Equity, International Socialists, Network for Women‘s Rights (NWR), Labour Party of
Pakistan (LPP) and the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) as well as non-affiliated citizens, students and
teachers. Classes at the university will remain suspended April 9 and 10.
(DailyTimes-B1, 09/04/2008)

                               Schools warned against charging ‘illegal’ fee
KARACHI, April 10: At a time when the Secondary School Certificate (Class IX and X) annual examinations are only four
days away, a number of private schools have threatened to withhold admit cards of their Class X students if they fail to
deposit July‘s tuition fee, an act the Sindh education department‘s directorate of private schools has described as ‗unjust‘
and ‗unlawful‘.

A number of parents rang up Dawn to complain that the schools where their wards were studying in Class X were
compelling them to deposit July‘s tuition fee or else they would not be issued admit cards.
They said they feared their children would lose their precious academic year if admit cards were not issued.

When the parents‘ concern was brought to the notice of the provincial education department‘s private schools/institutions
director, Mansoob Hussain Siddiqui, he not only described the demand for July‘s tuition fee from Class X students as
‗illegal‘ and ‗unjust‘, but also warned such schools that their registration might be cancelled.

Admitting that he, too, had received complaints that some private schools were forcing Class X students to pay July‘s
tuition fee, he said he had already issued show-cause notices to a number of private schools, asking them not to charge
July‘s tuition fee from students appearing in their forthcoming annual matriculation examinations.
He said he had already formed a three-member committee to look into such complaints and take stern action against
schools threatening to withhold admit cards of their Class X students merely because they were not paying July‘s fee.

Mr Siddiqui asked parents whose wards were not being issued admit cards to lodge complaints about such schools at the
private schools directorate on telephone 2776416 or bring the issue to the notice of the members of the committee
formed to deal with such issues.

The directorate of private schools on receiving such complaints will not only issue show-cause notices to such schools
but will even cancel registrations of schools found guilty of harassing and fleecing parents on one p retext or another, he

Asked what action would be taken against those private schools which had already charged July‘s tuition fee, he said that
in such a case ―we will get the fee refunded to the students‖. Answering another question, he said the directorate had
recently issued show-cause notices to a number of schools for charging illegal fees.
(By Azizullah Sharif, Dawn-18, 11/04/2008)

                      Punjab CM house to be converted into IT institute: Khosa
LAHORE, April 12: The newly elected Chief Minister of Punjab, Dost Mohammad Khosa, on Saturday announced that the
new Chief Minister‘s House built by his predecessor Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi would be converted into an information
technology institute for women.
He accused the former chief minister of spending huge public money in the construction of the new CM Secretariat. ―The
Rs353 million building was a wastage of taxpayers‘ money,‖ he said.

Speaking at a press conference after taking the oath of office, Mr Khosa said the total strength of CM Secretariat‘s staff
was 894, but currently 827 officials were working.

He said that the amount spent on salaries and allowances of the staff stood at Rs49.4 million in the current financial year.
He said the official document suggested the CM Secretariat owned a total o f 137 vehicles, including nine bullet-proof
vehicles. One of the bullet-proof vehicles was still under the use of Pervaiz Elahi, he added.
He alleged that the CM Secretariat had spent over Rs977 million over the past four years. He announced that the
secretariat‘s annual budget would be reduced by 70 per cent.
―The VIP culture has officially ended. I am, and shall remain, God willing, a servant of people.‖

Mr Khosa said that in future no-one would get any entitlement beyond the remit of the law.

Earlier, Governor Khalid Maqbool administered the oath to Mr Khosa at the Governor‘s House amid slogans of ―Go
Musharraf go‖ and ―Nawaz Sharif zindabad‖.

No PML-N leader, except Punjab president Sardar Zulfikar Khosa, father of the new chief minister, attended the oath-
taking ceremony.
(By Issam Ahmed, Dawn-1, 13/04/2008)

              Rangers at educational institutions to be replaced by alternative force
The Sindh cabinet meeting held on Sunday decided that the Pakistan Rangers would be withdrawn from all educational
institutions of Karachi soon after the establishment of an alternative force.

The Rangers had been deployed in major educational institutions to maintain the law and order situation, especially in the
wake of clashes between student groups, which had claimed the lives of several students.
As decided by the meeting, the Rangers will be pulled out soon after an alternative force is put in place; until then, the
Rangers will continue to perform their duty.

The more than 1,200 Rangers personnel stationed in and around the educational institutions across the city would be
withdrawn when the new force is established. The highest number of Rangers is deployed at the University of Karachi
(KU) where approximately over 700 personnel of the force are stationed.

The Scahal Wing of the Pakistan Rangers was established at the KU campus to look after the security affairs of the
varsity after violent student clashes in the late 80s.
The Scahal Wing is also looking after the security affairs of the NED University.
It is worth mentioning here that the Rangers have already seemingly withdrawn from duties at the KU following the
beating up of a professor at the enterance of the university some days back.

Around 20 or more Rangers personnel are deployed at the Sindh Medical College and Dow Medical College each to
control the law and order situation there. They have been asked to stay put until further notification by the authorities

Some 100 Rangers will continue to perform their duty at and around the premises of the Federal Urdu University of Arts,
Science and Commerce until they, too, are replaced by the alternative force. Similarly, the over 100 Rangers personnel at
the Dawood College for Engineering would vacate their positions soon after the formation of the new f orce.
(By M Zeeshan Azmat, The News-13, 14/04/2008)

                                      VC decides to bring back Rangers
The University of Karachi (KU) has decided to keep the Rangers on campus for the ―maintenance of an atmosphere of
peace and fraternity and law and order‖.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by the KU Vice Chancellor Professor Pirzada Qasim and attended by the
Registrar, the Deans of all faculties, representatives of the Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS), Advisor Campus
Security Affairs and the Student Advisor.

The decision, though not unexpected, was not received well by a majority of students and academics. The News talked to
a number of such students and teachers, who were outraged by the decision. ―It was the same University of Karachi. The
grounds, departments, roads, teachers and students were all the same. The difference lay in the peace and tranquility
that existed when there were no Rangers. The students were walking without encountering the piercing eyes of the
Rangers, who weren‘t found anywhere,‖ a Professor at the Arts Faculty narrated his experience of coming to KU on
Monday as well as the previous Friday and Saturday.

A group of female students, walking down the Arts Faculty, said they were quite happy to not have the Rangers on
campus. ―We felt so free walking in the university. It was an ordeal while going past the Rangers seated in the Arts
Lobby. We usually avoided eye contacts but we knew that they were ogling anyway,‖ they explained.

The atmosphere on campus changed after the decision to retain the Rangers on campus was announced. Farzana
Waheed, an M.A. Final Year student in the Arts Faculty said that ―our university administration and senior academics,
who are his (the VC‘s) comrades, are spineless people more interested in making money than training young minds.
They are making decisions without taking the students in confidence.‖ Another student concurred with this view: ―They
think we do not exist. It is shameful.‖

The News tried to talk to the VC regarding the situation but various calls to his cellphone remained unanswered. Another
high-ranking official, who was in the meeting, admitted that the decision was hasty. He said that the decision had nothing
to do with the wishes of the major stakeholders: ―the students who should have been taken in confidence‖.

Meanwhile, observers say that enforcing discipline on campus is the responsibility of the teachers as well as a campus
security force. The law-and-order situations, on the other hand, should be handled by the police. However, the university
administration has failed to achieve this in the 19 years that the Rangers have been present on campus as no trained
campus security force exists to date.
(By Perwez Abdullah, The News-19, 15/04/2008)

                           SPLA wants end to commercialization of education
KARACHI: The Sindh Professors and Lecturers‘ Association (SPLA) demanded Sunday the new government end the
commercialization of education in order to provide opportunities to the poor sections of the population.

SPLA leaders Prof. Syed Riaz Ahsan, Prof. Manzoor Hussain Chisti, Prof. Liaquat Aziz Solangi, Prof. Ayub Marri, Prof.
Yaqoob Chandio, Prof. Athar Mirza and Prof. Iftikhar Muhammad Azami in welcomed the newly elected government and
hoped it would work for the cause of education in Pakistan.
They criticized the previous government for the commercialization of education, privatization of schools and colleges,
changing the academic session in the province, bungling in the Sindh Textbook Board, financial misappropriation in the
three colleges of education in the province, banning teacher associations and other steps they took.
They said that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) raised a strong voice for the rights of teachers, adding that the teacher
community in Sindh has always appreciated the PPP.
(DailyTimes-B1, 21/04/2008)

                  Massive increase in private schools between 2001-5: WB report
Within a span of five years, the number of private schools in the country has increased from 32,000 to 47,000, while the
overall enrolment has increased by 10 per cent between 2001 and 2005. Meanwhile, only one-third of children at the
primary level study at private schools, according to a recent report released by the World Bank (WB).

The WB report calls for reevaluation of education polices in the context of a dramatic increase in private schools for
primary education in Pakistan. The report says that the quality of education at public schools is lacking, and children at
private schools score significantly higher than those at public schools, even if they are from the same village.
The WB report presents facts and figures from a survey of public and private schools in 112 villages in Pakistan, and lays
out important policy options to facilitate evidence-based policymaking. For-profit private schools have become a
widespread presence in both urban and rural areas, and provide parents with an alternative option for investing in their
children‘s education, the report says.

It advances a modified role of the government for discussion and debate. This would focus on policies complementary to,
rather than in competition with, the private sector. One strand of this modified role would be for the government to provide

The report suggests, for instance, that information on the quality of every school, public or private, would enable
households to make informed decisions and increase beneficial competition between schools. It also proposed that the
government correct imbalances arising from unequal geographical access to private schools, and ensure that all children
acquire a set of basic competencies. Lastly it urges the government to become an innovator willing to experiment with
and evaluate ‗out-of-the-box‘ reforms such public-private partnerships where financial support is given to children
regardless of the school chosen.

The report further says that improving quality in government schools requires rethinking teacher hiring and compensation
in a fundamental manner. It presents a number of different options for teacher reform ñ from decentralizing teacher hiring
to decreasing additional duties such as attending workshops and administering polio vaccinations to performance based
pay. The report clarifies that each option has its won strength and weaknesses and debate and discussion are required to
inform the way forward.

Finally, the report says educational policies need to recognize that there are weaknesses and strengths in both sectors.
The relative strengths of the government sector are a better educated and trained workforce that is equitably distributed.
The relative strengths of the private sector are the ability to cut costs by paying teachers according to local conditions and
performance and eliciting higher levels of efforts from their teachers.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-19, 21/04/2008)

                                         Politics of educational reforms
THE post-9/11 educational reforms are a significant reference point in the educational history of Pakistan in terms of their
scale, the amount of money invested in them, the order of their urgency and their official/politica l ownership.
The reforms are also important as their need was felt by the donor country (the US), and the contours of the
implementation process were drawn up by consultants who came as part of the grant package.

Before we look at the politics of these educational reforms we need to understand that historically dominant groups have
always used terms like ‗reforms‘, ‗development‘, ‗civilisation‘, ‗emancipation‘, and ‗peace‘ for their hegemonic purpose.
Many imperialist powers annexed other countries ostensibly to civilise them, to develop them, to liberate their people, and
to bring peace to the colonies.

The important point to note here is that hegemonic powers first turn development into ‗undevelopment‘ and then offer
reforms for their own version of development. For instance, when the British came to India the country was doing fine
economically. Michael Parenti in Against Empire writes, ―In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than

England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to
shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and
military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centres of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns.‖

This rather long quote refers to a typical pattern of hegemonic designs of development, ‗undevelopment‘ and one‘s own
version of development. In India, after turning development into ‗undevelopment‘, the Briti sh claimed to bring
development through the construction of roads, railway tracks, buildings etc.

This view of development is purely physical. This interesting pattern is also shared by military governments. It is claimed
that most developmental works were carried out by military dictators like Ayub, Zia, and Musharraf.
We can also equate this pattern with ‗form‘, ‗deform‘, and ‗reform‘. Military governments first dissolve parliament and
then, after ruling for a long time, promise to give back democracy (their own version of it) as a token of favour. In other
words, the dominant group first deforms the existing practice and then embarks on reforming the process.

Let us now look at the rationale of the post-9/11 reforms. Ironically the need for such reforms was not felt by the local
government but by the US. In the 9/11 Commission report, the US is urged to ―support Pakistan‘s government in its
struggle against extremists with a comprehensive effort that extends from military aid to support for better education, so
long as Pakistan‘s leaders remain willing to make difficult choices of their own.‖

Following this commitment, a large sum of money was given to Pakistan for educational reforms. According to USAID,
―From 2002 through 2006, USAID provided a total of $449m to address the most pressing needs: education, health,
economic growth, and good governance.‖ One of the major reforms was to purge the curriculum of hate material. It is
important to note that most of this hate material was in fact included during the period of the Afghan war.

Besides help in the shape of weapons, money, training etc, a large sum of money was also allocated by the superpower
for designing such primers and books that would excite the youth for jihad. This jihad was a political need of the
superpower to settle scores with the Soviet Union. For this purpose a centre was established in Peshawar to design such
books. Tariq Ali (quoted in Mamdani) referred to primers that stated that the Urdu letter tay stood for tope (cannon), kaff
for Kalashnikov, khay for khoon (blood) and jeem for jihad.

It is interesting that money is now being squandered on taking out the hate material which was once inserted with
consent. This should not come as a surprise as education has always been used by hege monic forces as a potent tool to
realise their vested interests by moulding marginalised groups. Having looked at the upper level of politics in educational
reforms now let us see political manoeuvring at the national level.

Pakistan has always suffered from the problem of poor allocation of funds for education. Here was a very good
opportunity to make appropriate use of money to bring a qualitative change to the educational system of Pakistan. But on
the contrary, the government used this money for its own image-building. To do wonders, a retired general was appointed
as minister for education. At the local level, slogans of self-praise, such as ‗Parah Likha Punjab‘ were coined to create the
illusion of development.

On the top, political appointments were made, some of them quite controversial. A sizeable amount of funds was
allocated to print and electronic advertisements for the image-building of the provincial leadership. In the books published
by the Punjab Text Board a message from the chief minister was also inserted.

A typical practice in most research projects, initiated in the name of educational reforms, was to focus on the
enhancement of numbers. Showing increased numbers at the end of a research project would satisfy the donors, and the
salaries of the employees and consultants would be justified. What do we find as a result of such lucrative projects? We
should expect a typical number-crunching game without any sustainable qualitative change.
It is important to realise that for real improvement in education, money is important. But money alone cannot bring about
any meaningful change unless the desire for reform comes from within, appointments are made on the basis of pure
merit, planning is done carefully, an effective monitoring system is in place and goals are not limited to demonstrating
expansion in numbers.

Quoting the number of enrolled students, trained teachers and an inflated literacy rate is a typical view of development.
But real development in education comes with qualitative improvement in our lives. Amartya Sen suggests that ―the
assessment of progress has to be done primarily in terms of whether the freedoms that people have are enhanced‖.
Applying this criterion to assess our development, we realise that the much-trumpeted ‗development‘ is no more than an
illusion. The writer is director of the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore School of Economics and
author of ―Rethinking Education in Pakistan‖.
(By Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, Dawn-6, 21/04/2008)

                                           Improving education sector
THE reason for the progress of developed countries is attributed to their sustainable policies in the education sector.
They spend much more in the education sector than in any other sector.

In our country the most backward sector is education owing to negligence by almost all previous governments, barring
Pervez Musharraf‘s government, since independence.
I am not an admirer of the Musharraf regime, but there is no denying the fact that the education sector has improved
greatly through the launch of new programmes in his regime.

The initiation of the HEC and the start of NIP are remarkable programmes of his government. In a short period of six
years, the HEC has awarded more than 2,000 foreign PhD scholarships to Pakistani students. These students are
receiving higher education in more than 15 highly technically developed countries. Moreover, the HEC has been
conducting seminars and workshops of highly learned scholars for the teachers and students of Pakistani universities.

Through the HEC, all the public universities of Pakistan have access to thousands of international books and journals
free of cost.

The second programme of his government was National Internship Programme (NIP) for 16-year-old graduates. This was
beneficial for thousands of unemployed graduates of Pakistan for a year, but it is disheartening to all fresh graduates that
the new government has terminated this programme.

The education sector is considered the backbone of a country. Hence, this government must take measures to improve
and sustain the education sector reforms.

Education can be improved in Pakistan by taking the following measures.
*NIP programme should be resumed to reduce frustration among the fresh graduates.
*Education should be free for all males and females up to the college level in the four provinces of Pakistan, and there
should be monthly stipends for female candidates.
*All the government schools should be English-medium, for this purpose the teachers should be given special training in
getting command over the English language.
*There should be job security for all those who complete their university degree.
*In rural areas, separate schools and colleges should be established for girls.
*Computers must be provided to all the schools and colleges of Pakistan.
*There must be laws that impose fines over parents if they evade admitting their children to a school.

(Dawn-6, 23/04/2008)

                              Colleges short of Lab equipment, staff, teachers
Mismanagement and the lack of a proper policy at educational institutions in general, and colleges in particular, have
badly affected the functioning of the science departments at these institutes. The problems range from the standard of
teaching and faulty laboratory equipment, all the way to other facilities prescribed in the syllabi.

A random visit to various colleges in the city, including the DJ Science College, PECHS Girls College, Sir Syed Girls
College, Karachi College for Women, Adamjee Science College and Islamia Science College, showed that almost all
these institutes were short of science teachers, lab attendants, lab assistants, instruments and chemicals required for lab
work. Most of the equipment used in the laboratories was around 40 years old, and hence, outdated.

Interestingly enough, new techniques, such as DNA tests, were introduced in these colleges. The corresponding lab
equipment was not provided, however, because it was ―too expensive.‖

Moreover, a majority of the colleges in the city have been facing a shortage of teachers fo r specific subjects, for the past
three to four years. Most state-run colleges in the city have hired co-operative teachers because subject teachers are
either unavailable or are waiting to be posted by the department concerned. Repeated complaints made by the
administration and the director colleges have not made the situation any better, primarily because qualified candidates
(those holding a Master‘s degree) are reluctant to take up these jobs owing to the low pay scale.

Twenty years ago, a budget of Rs0.1 million was allocated for each state-run college in the city (even though there were
fewer colleges at the time). This budget has been reduced to Rs5,000 per year, and many colleges are not getting even
this amount.

Under the Education Sector Reforms, a college needs science teachers and laboratories, while already-established
laboratories must be equipped as per the rules prescribed by the Directorate of Colleges. Moreover, if a college requires
a faculty of 100, for instance, the Directorate of Colleges is bound to fulfill this quota irrespective of the teacher‘s field of
expertise. One such example can be seen at the Government College for Women (GCW) Sharae Liaquat where a
teacher for Sindhi was appointed to teach Physics.

During a survey of the GCW, the head of the Chemistry Department, Fauzia Javed, presented a dismal picture with
regard to the lab apparatus. The microscope, she said, is out of order and is beyond repair. Javed has been serving the
department for the last 27 years. She was critical of the budget allocated, and said that Rs10,000 was given to the
department during the year 2007-2008. This, Javed said, was insufficient, because most chemicals in the lab could not
be reused. A bottle of chemical which previously cost Rs200 now costs Rs500. ―We are only able to give a pint of these
chemicals to a group of eight students. This ultimately affects how much students learn,‖ she said.

Dilshad Rafqi, head of the Zoology Department, had similar complaints. She said that they have been using t he same
microscope for the last 30 years. The microscope is currently out of order, and even slides are not available to the
students, she said. ―Although DNA tests were included in the syllabus, these require high-tech equipment which was not
provided. Students were, therefore, introduced to the new terminology in theory, but did not witness any practical
demonstrations in this regard,‖ she said.

Rafqi further said that frogs and cockroaches were needed for dissection — even these are not provided by the college.
―We have to pay for all this through our own pockets,‖ she said. Teachers from the Botany Department at the college also
complained of the microscope. Tasneem also said that the Bunsen burners in the laboratory leaked. ―We have to use
stoves for experiments because using a burner would mean torching the entire building,‖ she said.

The DJ College espouses similar problems. This year, the college received only Rs5,000 for its laboratories. The
administration collects Rs100 annually from students as ‗student welfare‘ charge. This amount is used for repairing and
buying lab instruments, but it is inadequate for fulfilling all the requirements.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-19, 26/04/2008)

                     Five CDGK model schools to be ready in next two months
KARACHI: The work to develop 40 schools into model schools has been accelerated as the provincial government has
started releasing the funds, allowing the CDGK to initiate work on 38 schools, five of which are expected to be ready in
the next two months.

Committee for Monitoring and Improvement of Schools (CMIS) Chairperson Farhana Iqbal said this Tuesday, adding that
the project was launched two years ago in collaboration with the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and
Industries (FPCCI), to develop schools under the city government and provide them with all the necessities to improve
the standard of education.

There are 3,757 schools under the CDGK in the 18 towns of Karachi, where 29,487 teachers cater to approximately
660,313 students. ―The model schools project was initiated by the city government after Karachi Nazim Mustafa Kamal
announced that the CDGK will develop two schools in each town, one for boys and one for girls, on its own funding. But
now the Sindh government‘s Annual Development Programme (ADP) is funding this project,‖ she said.

In the first phase, 36 schools were selected as model schools with consent from locally elected representation, and this
number was later increased to 40.

Iqbal told Daily Times that progress on all 38 schemes is going smooth, and five schools, one in each of Orangi, Bin
Qasim, Malir, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Shah Faisal, are nearing completion. She added that those schools that have been
the most neglected have been put highest on the priority list.

The CMIS comprises a board of advisers, including chairman Brigadier Muzaffar-ul-Hassan, vice-chairman Sardar
Muhammad Yasin Malir, general secretary Prof. Abdul Ghani Saeed and members Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid, Dr
Muhammad Memon, Ghulam Ahmed Bumbal, Mrs Stella Jaffery, Muhammad Siddiq Sheikh and Mrs Muneezeh Ali.
Members of the CMIS are vice-chairman Ahmed Chenoy, general secretary Capt. (Retd) Anwar-ul-Haq and nine others.

The committee has been supervising the whole project, in which all model schools are being developed to provide
potable water, neat and clean washrooms, first-aid facilities, computer and science laboratories, a playground for
students, well-ventilated classrooms, appropriate furniture and other facilities.
―Besides such facilities, model schools will have medical facilities for students and teachers, summer camps, well-
equipped libraries, trained teachers and other facilities,‖ she mentioned.

Iqbal mentioned that they are also working on 18 schools as pilot projects, one in each town, for which full funding is
being provided by the FPCCI. So far, the private sector has spent Rs 80 million on the improvement of schools.
―During the last two years, we have completed two schools as pilot projects, a town educational development center
(TEDC) in Landhi and Liaquatabad, where students are being provided all facilities free of cost. Besides this, work on
another TEDC in SITE Town will be started soon as a private firm is ready to provide all facilities and funding,‖ she

Responding to a question, she said that private funding is not the same as adopting schools, as adoption is being
avoided at all costs. ―During the last couple of years, more than 200 schools and colleges were adopted by private
bodies, of which hardly 60 institutions are working properly,‖ she said.

However, the CMIS has also chosen 356 schools (two in each of the 178 union councils) to provide electric fans, water
dispensers, furniture and tiles for washrooms. ―So far, 36 schools in three major towns, Landhi, Jamshed and
Liaquatabad, have been provided these facilities and it will be continued on a regular basis,‖ she stated.
She said that the committee chooses schools to receive these facilities after consultation with the UC nazims concerned,
and ensures the school management committees take active ownership of these facilities.
―We are not only strengthening and improving infrastructure, but are also creating a sense of ownership among the
students as well as the communities where these schools are being set up,‖ she said.
(By Jamil Khan, DailyTimes-B1, 30/04/2008)

                                            Education projects
                               Only 35pc funds utilised in nine months: NGO
ISLAMABAD, May 4: The federal government‘s education division was able to utilise only 35 per cent of the total
development funds in the first nine months of the current financial year, according to figures released by a non-
governmental organisation here on Sunday.
The government had allocated Rs6.5 billions in the budget 2007-08 for development projects to be implemented by the
education division. However, it was revised downward to Rs5.984 billions during the second quarter (September-
November 2007) review carried out by the Ministry of Education in January.

By the end of the third quarter (March 2008), the total utilisation of development allocations in the education sector was
Rs2.3billions — 35 per cent of the original allocation and 38 per cent of the revised allocation.
Total amount released in the first nine months was Rs3.742 billions, which means that 61 per cent of released funds was
utilised by the end of March.

The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, Pakistan (CPDI-Pakistan), which released the figures under its
Budget Watch Programme, termed the spending of the funds ―very slow‖ in a sector that needed development activities
very badly.

According to CPDI, the education division in 2006-07 was able to utilise only 20 per cent of the original allocation by the
end of third quarter in March 2007 and 33 per cent by the end of the financial year in June 2007.
The performance has improved this year as the utilisation rate has improved from 20 per cent last year to 35 per cent this
year during the first nine months. However, more effective measures needed to be taken on urgent basis to further
improve the performance to meet the challenges in the education sector, says the CPDI.
The reasons for low utilisation of funds include the late releases by the Ministry of Finance, inter -departmental
differences, non-availability of technical staff, failures in appointing full-time project directors, delayed consultant reports,
late issuance of work orders and late submission of reports or requests for release of funds by the related implementing

It was also noted that in many cases budgetary allocations were made without first completing the approval process,
which resulted in delays in the implementation of various project.
―It is a matter of serious concern that the education division and other related ministries or departments have been unable
to get these problems fixed over the past several years,‖ the CPDI observed.

Delays were particularly noticed in the implementation of those development projects which were implemented by the
provincial governments but through funding from the federal government.
It was partly because of significant delays in the transfer of funds from the federal government to the provincial authorities
and then to the relevant provincial ministry onward to the relevant district and the project.
It seems that the concerned authorities had failed to address these problems and, as a result, the long delays in transfer
of funds continued to undermine the efficient implementation of development projects, the CPDI said.

For the current financial year, the government had committed funds for 104 development schemes under the education
division. However, not even one rupee could be spent on 39 such schemes by the end of March.
The schemes with zero utilisation included, among others, establishment of colleges in Shangla, Tando Bagho,
Islamabad and Turbat. They also include programmes under the Education for All including programme for missing
facilities, pilot project on education for all in an inclusive setting (Norwegian government backed), and capacity building o f
teachers training institutions.

The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2007-08 included an allocation of Rs772 million for 24 cadet
colleges. However, the Ministry of Education has not been able to spend any amount on 13 of these cadet college
schemes by the end of March, the CPDI said.
(By Sher Baz Khan, Dawn-2, 05/05/2008)

                                 DJ College ordered to vacate sports ground
The Government of Sindh issued orders to the Government DJ Science College to immediately vacate the sports ground
and hand it over for the formation of an Education Complex, officials told The News.
The ground adjacent to the Government Commerce College is under the Rangers control for the last several years. It
was during the rule of General Zia-ul-Haq that most of the locations of education departments were handed over to the
Rangers. A little portion of the ground was, however, left vacant for the sports activity of the students of the DJ College.
The Rangers have established a regional office on some part of the ground.

The Technical Board near the Natio nal Institute of Public Adminisrtation (NIPA) is also being occupied by the Rangers
where they have set up residential quarters, forcing the technical board staff to work in only two to three rooms at a time.
In the same manner the bungalow of the chairman of the Hyderabad Board of Education is also being used by the

Sources said however, that the Sindh Government had issued directives to the Works Department Education to contact
the Principal of DJ College in order get the sports ground evacuated immediately, and start work on an educational

The previous caretaker government also issued similar orders to the principal of the college to get control for constructing
the education complex but was stopped due to the pressure of the students and teachers of the college.

The prestigious DJ (Dayaram Jethmull) Government Science College established in 1887 was the only college left where
the playground was not encroached upon, while other city colleges‘ playgrounds were either taken over by the r angers or
was trespassed upon by the settlers coming from different parts of the country.
It must be mentioned here that the DJ College has already been declared a cultural heritage by the Government of Sindh.

The Education Complex will house the office of Secretary Education, who already has two offices in his possession, one
at Tughlaq House, Sindh Secretariat and the other at the Sindh Textbook Board Office, Director College, Director Private
Schools and other education projects offices will be built in this complex.
Legally, a summary has to be moved for its annexation, though it‘s a property of DJ Science College but is controlled by
the Rangers.

Expressing grave concern for illegally occupying the DJ College playground, the management of the College and
Principal, Hakimullah Beg Chugtai, said that some external elements without mandatory approval required started
excavation work during caretaker government and was again eyeing on this prestigious ground which was highly

The principal alleged that the land grabbers illegally occupy playground of DJ Science College and wanted to use it for
commercial purposes depriving the students of recreational activities.
In the name of constructing Educational Complex on the ground, the entire playground of about more than 1000 yards
was sold out for different commercial purposes, the insider said. The basement of the ground was sold for parking lot,
while the top of the building was allocated for private office purposes.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-13, 05/05/2008)

                                              Child labourer drowns
A nine-year-old labourer, Fahim, drowned in a ditch on Tuesday, within the jurisdiction of the Haideri Police Post,
witnesses and co-workers said.

A duty officer, Sub-Inspector (SI) Razzak of the Hyderi Police Post said that many underage children used to wash cars
in the market in the ‗F‘ block of North Nazimabad. They brought water from a big manhole-shaped ditch near the Post

Sajjad, friend of deceased Fahim, said that every morning at about 09:00 a.m., both of them came to the area to earn
their livelihood by washing vehicles parked by office staff and shopkeepers. Around noon, Fahim went missing. Sajjad
searched at several places in the parking lot but failed to locate him. Later he found him lying dead in a water tank
situated opposite the Post Office. Sajjad then called to passers-by who retrieved Fahim‘s body. The people present there
said that Fahim probably slipped in while fetching water.

His family brought the body to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH), and told the police that the death was accidental.
According to Zahoor, a relative of the deceased boy, Fahim was the resident of house no-219, Kausar Niazi Colony.
He added that Fahim‘s father, Sabir Hussain, was alive and was working in Abu Dhabi. The children (a boy, Fahim, and
two daughters) lived with their mother in Karachi.

Fahim‘s mother fainted when she heard the news of her son‘s death. Zahoor said that they had informed Fahim‘s father
in Abu Dhabi. He was now on his way to Karachi. The police have filed a case in the meantime.
(The News-14, 07/05/2008)

                               75% of Sindhi girls never been to school: WB
KARACHI: A World Bank mission led by Reema Nayyar and Senior Minister for Education and Literacy Pir Mazharul Haq
disclosed on Wednesday that fifty percent of children aged five in the rural areas of Sindh are not attending school and
approximately seventy-five percent of girls have never attended one.

The meeting‘s main focus was on the Sindh Education Reform Programme (SERP). Haq assured the World Bank‘s
delegation that all transfers and postings in the education department will be made purely on merit and no political
pressure will be accepted. The WB was also assured that closed schools would be reopened.

The education minister was informed during the meeting that not a single school has been upgraded in his constituency
district Dadu over the past five years. In response to this, the education department will be sending a written complaint to
the Sindh chief minister for action against Zila Nazim Dadu Karim Ali Jatoi and than DCO Dadu Aijaz Mangi.
Although the De-centralized Elementary Education Programme (DEEP) has wound up, the Sindh government has made
other arrangements to continue providing scholarships to female students of Class 9 through intermediate.
(DailyTimes-B1, 08/05/2008)

                          6,000 union councils lack high schools, says Ahsan
ISLAMABAD, May 9: About 6,000 union councils in the country lack high schools for both boys and girls, and 70 per cent
of the high schools are without science laboratories and 95 per cent are without computer laboratories.
This was stated by Federal Minister for Education Ahsan Iqbal while talking to media persons after the 13th inter-
provincial education ministers‘ conference here Friday.

The conference discussed the current status of education in the country and was attended by the four provincial
education ministers, besides education minister for AJK and representatives from Fata.

―In the military led-government, expenditure on higher education was increased by 10 per cent, however, primary
education was ignored altogether that has created a big imbalance in the education sector,‖ Mr Ahsan said.
He said there was an urgent need to recreate the balance in the entire value chain of education and the government was
focusing on the pre-school learning, primary, middle, high school and college education, in addition to the university

In the phase-I, in every union council two high schools for both boys and girls would be established, besides providing
missing facilities to already established schools across the country, the minister said.

Moreover, science and computer laboratories will also be set up in every high school so that students could have access
to modern knowledge, he added. A project worth Rs7.6 billion for providing missing facilities to public schools has been
planed and work on it will be started from July this year by the provincial governments.

Talking about the issue of the timing of academic session, he said the previous time table would be restored and that
next year. It would be started from March-April as the existing practice, he added, was irking all the stakeholders
including students, parents and teachers.

Answering a question about student unions, he said an orientation workshop for students of degree colleges and
universities would be held next week to sensitise the students about the unions.
A code of conduct will also be developed for the representatives of student unions to prevent violence and anti- social
activities within the educational institutions, the minister said.
(Dawn-2, 10/05/2008)

                                                  Lessons to be learnt
Education is a necessary prerequisite for any nation's economic, social, political and cultural development. The lack of a
significant literate population has resulted in innumerable negative consequences for the Pakistani society, including
unawareness about one's own and other people's rights and responsibilities as a citizen, and apathy towards political and
social affairs. This has created an environment that is conducive to social ills, such as corruption.

Considering the importance of education, it is heartening to see that the new government is taking this sector seriously.
On April 23, the federal minister for education announced that the current National Education Policy would be revised and
also changed some educational targets. The most ambitious of the objectives of the proposed policy is the achievement
of 100 per cent literacy rate. Before the policy is finalised, it is necessary for the policy -makers to look into previous
national educational polices, to formulate achievable objectives and compatible strategies for enhancing the literacy rate.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index, in 2005 Pakistan's adult
literacy rate stood at 49.9 per cent and gross enrolment ratio (the number of students enrolled in a level of education
regardless of age as a percentage of the official school going population for that level) for primary, secondary and tertiary
education collectively stood at 40 per cent. This means that Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world.
What is even more shameful is the fact that the gap between male and female literacy rates has increased in recent
years. In 1990, according to the UN, 42.2 per cent of adult males and 20.2 per cent of adult females fell into the literate
category. By 2004, the gap had widened with 59.8 per cent of adult males and only 30.6 per cent of adult females falling
in the literate category.

The policy review process should ideally start with an assessment of whether the objectives that are being forwarded in
the latest education policy are rational, so as not to waste valuable financial and human resources. After all, one of the
major flaws in past educational policies has been the setting of impractical targets. For instance, in 1947, when
infrastructure for educational institutions had either been destroyed or was being used as refugee camps, the government
set universal primary education and adult literacy in its policy objectives.

Between 1947 and 1992, every government or regime attempted to achieve universal primary education, but remained
unsuccessful and the unrealised goals were added as objectives in the subsequent policy plans. Thus, the first step in
rational policy objective formulation for the government is to take into account existing infrastructure and resources and
past performances of policies, as well as the political, economic and social setup of target regions, before attempting to
once again attain objectives that none of the previous governments and regimes have been able to.
It is equally important to assess whether it is necessary to revise the current education policy in the first place. After al l, it
seems that successive governments have passed and implemented modified or completely new policies more on the
basis of a tradition that began with the First Plan and First Conference of 1947 than on the basis of need -assessment.
Between 1947 and 2006, eight different education policies were implemented and numerous education committees were

All these education policies forwarded two common goals among others: enhancement of the literacy rate and the
provision of universal primary education for both boys and girls. These objectives have manifested themselves once
again in the latest education policy. However, as the literacy rate in the country has remained more or less the same
since its inception despite consistent policy commitments by both democratic governments and milit ary regimes, it is
important to determine whether frequent policy revisions or renewals are of any worth.

The major explanation offered for the continuous failure of policy formulation process is the volatile nature of Pakistani
politics, which is characterised by frequent democratic government and military regime changes. This is harmful because
with each government or regime change, local and national literacy projects are terminated midway. This practice affects
the enrolled students as well as the teachers. Moreover, it is financially unviable, because any organisational setup
constructed for the implementation of policy is dismantled and attained assets are subsequently disposed of. Hence, it is
important for the current government not to abandon literacy projects that were initiated under the previous education
policy. It must also seriously consider doing away with the tradition of compulsively formulating new policies or revising
policies of preceding governments upon assuming power.

Another major flaw of past national education policies is that active efforts on behalf of the government, that are
necessary for successful policy implementation, were missing. Educational policies are formulated and complementary
strategies for policy implementation, and systematic monitoring and evaluation, exist at least on paper, but are not always
used to track the progress. Not only does this adversely effect the educational development of the country, but the lack of
persistent supervision has also provided opportunities for corruption, which by negating the merit-based system
discourages participation in education by those at the lower rung of the socio-economic ladder.
In this regard, the government must ensure that politicians make an honest effort to motivate illiterate people to enroll
themselves and their children in schools that are set up for the achievement of policy objectives, as they are being
commonly used as a facade for nepotism by local power-holders. When teachers are hired because of their connections
with these power-holders, rather than because of their motivation or competence to understand and meet the individual
needs of their students, policy implementation is further weakened.

Moreover, it is important for the government to realise that gender gap in the literacy rate exists not only because of
insufficient infrastructure for boy and girls, but because of traditional boundaries set by communities and/or rational
economic decisions made by parents of the children. Parents belonging to the poverty-stricken classes prefer their
children to work instead of study, as upward mobility is heavily restricted because of reasons explained earlier. Also, the
need to survive takes precedence over education. Even if there is enough economic scope for the children to go to
school, boys are usually given preference as they are culturally defined as the 'breadwinners' of the family; whereas girls
are to be married off.

In addition to this, in tribal and rural areas, the population explosion has further reinforced the role of females as
housekeepers, and necessitated their need to stay at home and cater to the family's needs. Also, the larger number of
boys' school in a given district has seemingly substantiated the notion that male children must be given preference in
education. Hence, it must be ensured that the illiterate and poverty-stricken masses, especially in the rural and tribal
regions, first understand the value of education for both boys and girls, and the consequences of illiteracy on the quality
of their lives.

To achieve this, a national awareness campaign must be undertaken before one girls' school is set up in each union
council -- as has been proposed in the latest educational policy. Further, it is high time that the government
acknowledges and deals with the feudal lords who obstruct the goal of national literacy, especially female literacy,
through various legal and illegal means in order to maintain the status quo. Finally, the government must recognise that
the existing dependence on international aid flows for the sustenance of national educational development must be
decreased and, ideally, done away with.

Though the increasing amount of international aid, which has been flowing into the country for the education sector since
the 1960s, has played an important role, it has also resulted in dependence on foreign donors for the sustenance of the
educational system. The problem has been further compounded by the politicisation of international aid flows (most of
them depend on the donor country's terms) that render them prone to abrupt termination if Pakistan does not meet the
donor country's demands in the political sphere. Hence, it is necessary to depoliticise international aid for educational
development, to ensure that sanctions due to a country's political stance do not adversely affect its education sector.
(By Wajeeha Bajwa, The News-Policy II, 11/05/2008)

                                                The ‘Kunda’ college
The Government Boys Degree College for Science and Commerce, Gulistan-e-Jauhar is one such college that does not
have any electricity, gas or water connection. The college established in 2004 and located on the main University Road
still remains without the basic amenities required for a functional institute. Prof. Syed Mujtaba Hussain Zaidi, Principal of
the college since 2006 expressed his despair and frustration while talking to The News about the pathetic state of affairs
in the college.

The college is powered through ‗kunda‘ system, uses gas cylinders and ‗borrows‘ water from the main line. ―We have
about 900 students and nine teachers, most of them on detailment – sent from other colleges. We do not have Scheduled
New Expenditures (SNE), nor do we have the money to pay salaries to the teachers, which is why we hardly have
teachers except a few on detailment. Zaidi showed no emotion but a sense of resignation and pain was evident when he
divulged that he had not been paid his salary from the day he joined the college (in 2006) because the college had not
been given the SNE. ―I am not getting even the meagre Rs500 ‗Principal‘s allowance‘ and would not have been able to
support my family if my two sons were not working‖
The fate of the college hasn‘t changed though. Prof. Zaidi has written to Secretary Education, Director General Colleges
and Regional Director of Colleges several times, requesting regularisation of the college and removal of uncertainty and
chaos prevailing in the college. So far, he has not received any reply from them. Zaidi contacted the same high-ups on
telephone and was told that the Education Department will ‗do the needful‘ soon. However, the promises remain

The college uses spirit lamps that contain Methylated Spirit in the laboratories instead of Bunsen Burners. Spirit lamps
are expensive besides being dangerous because of their inflammable characteristic. Ahmer Iqbal, a pre-medical
Intermediate student expressed his annoyance on the condition of the college. ―We are sorry to see the inadequate
facilities in the labs, and shortage of teachers. Sometimes we sit in the classroom waiting for the teacher but nobody
comes. There are not enough teachers to cater to the need of nearly 1000 students. Who is responsible for such a
pathetic condition here?‖ he said.

Prof. Syed Muhammad Iqbal, Physics teacher at the college said, ―We do not have lecturers of Chemistry, Mathematics,
Pak Studies and Urdu, while in Physics we need five teachers and we have two only. For Commerce and Islamiat we
have two teachers. We need more.‖
The News tried to contact Rizwan Memon, Secretary Education on his office number for the version of his department but
he was not available. His PA promised to call back but it did not materialise. Rafiq Siddiqui, Director General (Colleges) is
on a visit to Larkana and will not be in the office, The News was told.
(By Perwez Abdullah, The News-19, 17/05/2008)

                                   Need for an integrated education policy
Mixed signals have been received from the Federal Government regarding the educational policy making and
consequent budgetary allocations. The new regime, in one of its statements, vouched to undo whatever was done by the
previous government.

It is a lingering tragedy that each regime begins its work by undoing the legacies of the past flag bearers. A balanced
approach demands an objective and dispassionate assessment of the past and present challenges before embarking
upon future course of action. The education sector has suffered from countless experimentations which grossly drained
the capacity to respond to burgeoning needs. Common sense informs that a good policy aims to promote the tried bests
and attempt to regulate the disorders.

At present, the foremost matter is the low level of certified literacy. Billions of rupees have been spent through federal,
provincial and donor supported programmes without generating compatible results. The reason for slow progress on the
literacy front include non-recognition of literacy as a felt need with high priority, poor quality of teaching and instruction
service, disputed priority of literacy against employment and health care, resistance from local influential groups and
weak sustenance of literacy programmes.

The pilot experiments have generated many useful lessons. Cooperative arrangements for literacy enhancements have
proved to be most useful. In this approach, local educated youth have been hired to teach. Through basic social
mobilisation, a small group of respected elders from the community are entrusted the task of overseeing the performance
of the school. A very flexible arrangement is kept to attract the children. Timings, stationery, books, instruction methods
and learning environment are adjusted according to the inherent constraints of the target groups. It may be noted that
literacy on firm grounds is the first step towards good education. A baseline status of literacy is now available through the
National Education Census 2006. The present government can position itself by taking its cue from this exercise.
Wasteful expenditure in brick and mortar, untargeted distribution of educational supplies, unwanted reliance on foreign-
funded programmes and mass recruitment of teachers as a political subsidy are some disastrous undertakings that have
warped the performance of the education sector.

Vocational training is a core sub-sector in educational reforms. There is a visible demand of essential trades locally and
internationally. The country faces an acute shortage of trained carpenters, electricians, plumbers, pump operators, boiler
operators, welders, auto-mechanics, air-conditioning technicians, mechanical and electrical foremen, masons, mixer
machine operators, canal work operators and many other technical hands. Many dilemmas and short comings need to be
addressed and effectively solved to bring about an effective change.
At present, the existing colleges of technologies — that function under respective provincial governments — have
become grossly ineffective and redundant. Politicization of campuses, lack of experienced teaching staff, inadequate
facilities, obsolete curriculum/practical modules and disconnect with indus trial concerns are some soaring concerns.
Without wait, it is time to take corrective actions and evolve long-term strategies.

For academic upliftment, the technical/engineering universities may be entrusted the task of overseeing the curriculum,
teaching, training, and campus management and student induction criteria. The design of the programmes can be done
with assistance from the local and foreign industrial enterprises. A sizeable number of trained manpower is absorbed in
the overseas employment opportunities. Rigorous quality management in this sector alone can generate rapid results in
respect of economic and social upliftment.

At the school level, there is an acute shortage of trained teachers. This alone has become a constraint that affects the
proper running of schools. In the government of yesteryear, schools had well-motivated and knowledgeable teachers who
not only imparted quality education but also inspired their students. Many of our present senior bureaucrats,
professionals and technocrats obtained education from government schools.
The situation is in quandary at present. Pakistan has 163,000 primary schools under government control and ownership.
According to an independent analysis, only five per cent of these institutions have teachers who have received some
form of training. It contributes sub-standard teaching, uninspiring performance of teachers, disillusionment amongst
students and declining levels of attainment amongst recipient pupils.

The teacher training process includes apposite targeting of teachers, training module development according to local and
regional requirements, capacity building in English language teaching, knowledge enhancement and psychological
grooming. But it is sad to note that teacher training facilities are not even given the due importance they essentially
deserve. Creation of teacher training facilities at the district level, proper planning and design of teaching processes,
merit-based recruitments and allocation of adequate funds are some of the basic facets that must be given top priority.

Pakistan cannot make any sustainable progress if high-quality advanced education is not given importance.
Demographically, more than two-thirds of the population comprises people below the age of 31 years. This population
can be transformed into a beneficial resource by quality education at the university level.
There remain many areas where enormous potentials are still unmet. Engineering, medicine, information and computer
sciences, media studies, language skills, communications, technological disciplines and social sciences are beset with
new opportunities. A quiet social revolution can be caused by investing in higher education.
(By Dr. Noman Ahmed, Dawn-21, 18/05/2008)

                                               DEEP in the doldrums
After failing to achieve their targets, the Decentralised Elementary Education Project (DEEP), funded by Asian
Development Bank, has virtually been closed. Moreover, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has refused to grant further
extension to the decentralised DEEP due to its dismal performance and inadequate standard of education.
The ADB mission that recently visited the country submitted the minutes of its meeting which said that the project
launched to standardise education in the province of Sindh has failed to fulfil its requirements. DEEP, which was

launched by the Sindh government at a cost of six billion rupees in collaboration with the ADB, has been virtually shut

The six-year plan that was started in 2003 had to be completed in the year 2009, however, the project could not achieve
its target and faced a severe blow when its donor agency ADB stalled its further instalments with immediate effect.

Most of the education projects funded by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank face closure after the donor
agencies refused to grant further extension on the present loan due to poor performance and inadequate standard of

The recently posted Secretary Education, Rizwan Memon was the Project Director of DEEP whose objective was to
improve elementary education system throughout Sindh in order to lay a strong education foundation for future socio -
economic development and poverty reduction in the province.

The scheme to upgrade 1,200 primary schools in Sindh to elementary level was moving at a snail‘s pace, as none of the
schools got such status since the start of the project. The Education Department has so far proposed 260 primary
schools for up gradation, of which only 23 have been approved by the funding agency, while the approval of the
remaining ones was still anticipated as the authorities concerned did not follow the criteria set by the ADB.
The project worth six billion rupees also envisaged setting up 204 English-medium model schools, both for boys and girls,
in each Taluka, besides nursery sections were to be added to 1,000 primary schools; 980 girls schools were to be
provided with boundary walls, and 1,400 schools with lavatories.

The ADB officials have raised objections over the slow pace of the project, observing: ―It seemed that the officials working
on this project had not conceived even its basics‖. The project was meant to assist districts seeking assistance to
upgrade district education offices as well as providing training for better administration of schools.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-19, 20/05/2008)

                               Experts suggest changes to education policy
KARACHI, May 21: The draft of the federal government‘s new national education policy came under close scrutiny by
educationists at a roundtable discussion here on Wednesday, with speakers suggesting that though the framers of the
policy had played around with jargon, there was no major difference in the substance of the policy when compared to
previous plans.

A number of educators and educationists, as well as the executive district officers (e ducation) of Karachi and Thatta,
participated in the discussion, held at the Aga Khan University‘s Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) on
behalf of the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE), a network of individuals and organizations concerned with

In his introduction, Dr Mohammad Memon, Director of the AKU-IED, said ―radical plans were needed to help the
government come up with proper policies.‖ Praising official efforts, he said the public and private sectors must work
together for quality education and that there was a major paradigm shift where policy design is concerned as earlier, a
‗top-down‘ approach was applied.

Admitting there were ―gaps in the national education policy,‖ he said a framework based on sociological, socio -economic,
ideological and philosophical factors was missing, which should be reconsidered.
He said it was for the first time that the policy discussed the quality of education and access to it and that the government
had set itself a tall order by aiming for free primary and secondary education, adding that individuals, institutions and
thinkers needed to contribute to the debate.

Dr Memon said making policies was not enough without proper implementation. ―We cannot afford experimentation. Let
us learn from the experiments of other South Asian countries. The policy is full of rhetoric about quality, but only a few
strategies are mentioned. It‘s an action-oriented policy, but there cannot be action without commitment and vision,‖ he

Various topics related to the policy came under discussion, including the professional development of teachers and the
alignment between quality elements.

In the first session, moderated by Dr Anjum Halai, Head of Research and Policy Studies, AKU-IED, the discussion
centred round the vision of the policy. Speakers were of the opinion that the document is too wordy (62 pages) and at
times employs vague, loaded terms, for instance using the term ‗producing‘ in relation to students, as if people were

They also felt there are tensions within the document and that it plays it safe, whereas a bolder stance in certain areas
might be in order. Some felt there is too much of a focus on globalization, while others were of the view that the urban-
rural divide in relation to education needed to be addressed keeping the ground realities in mind.
They also felt the document talks about inclusion but certain areas denote exclusiveness. The participants were of the
opinion that the dichotomy between policy formulation and implementation must be done away with and that the
language issue must not be dealt with simplistically. They recommended that regional languages be promoted but
English should not be sacrificed as it is an international language and key to employment and econo mic betterment.

Recruitment and politics
In the second session, moderated by Rana Hussain, Head of Programmes at AKU-IED, the participants came to the
conclusion that improving the status of teachers and teacher recruitment was imperative, while the future aspirations of
educators should not be neglected. They said politics and political appointments should be de-linked from the teachers‘
recruitment process, while the quality of training and development should be improved.

Speakers also suggested that there should be an improvement in the teachers‘ working conditions, as high salaries alone
would not cut it if the working conditions were unsatisfactory. As for management of schools, it was felt that there needed
to be a system across the primary and secondary sectors, while educational managers should be properly trained for
their positions.

A speaker also suggested that a teachers‘ service commission along the lines of the Public Service Commission be set
up for recruitment, adding that the minimum number of school days in a year should be 180, while the countless holidays
should be done away with.

Similar consultative meetings have been held in Punjab, Balochistan and the NWFP and the combined feedback from the
discussions will be sent to the federal education ministry and other stakeholders.
A copy of the draft policy is available on the ministry‘s website and the ministry has invited comments.
(By Qasim A. Moini, Dawn-17, 22/05/2008)

                                            Why should students suffer?
LOAD-SHEDDING is here to stay for months, if not years, and people are trying hard to adapt as best as they can to a
situation which is quite beyond their control. Whether it involves candles, kerosene lamps and hand fans or rechargeable
lights/fans, uninterrupted power systems (UPS) and generators, families of all classes are digging deep into their pockets
to cope with the frequent power interruptions. They are trying their utmost to reduce compromising on the quality of life at
home when there is no electricity. But what about the quality of life at school? The report in this paper about the
conditions under which many FA and FSc students in Islamabad are taking their Federal Board examinations is
distressing to say the least. Seated in suffocating halls without fans or lights and dripping wit h sweat, how are these
young men and women supposed to concentrate on an examination whose results will determine their future?

With some imagination, a little consideration, foresight and coordination on the part of all concerned authorities, including
school and college administrations, the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, the ministries of
education and power and Iesco, it could have been possible to manage and reduce the impact of power outages during
crucial board examinations, if not during day-to-day teaching and learning. If it was not possible to suspend load-
shedding for the duration of the examinations without creating a city-wide power meltdown, since the examination halls
are scattered across the capital city in numerous schools and colleges, Iesco could perhaps have made special
arrangements to ensure that there were no daytime power interruptions in these schools during the examinations.
Alternatively, temporary arrangements involving other sources of power supply should have been made for the schools
for the duration of the examinations, such as generators powerful enough to run fans and lights in the examination halls.
It is bad enough that the power crisis is affecting the students‘ studies at home and in school. We sho uld at least ensure
that their future is not compromised further by the non-availability of power when they are sitting for their papers.
(Dawn-7, 25/05/2008)

                                                      A harsh reality
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) spells out the basic human
rights that children everywhere should have: the right to survival; to develop to
the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and
to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. The four core principles of
the CRC are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the
right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.
Pakistani being a signatory to the CRC is bound to work for the welfare of
children; street children also being part of them warrant special attention.

Street children are a worldwide phenomenon. They are found in poor as well
as in rich countries around the world. The number of children living on streets
worldwide is estimated between 100 million and 150 million, while it is forecast
that by 2020 the number will increase to 800 million. The Human Rights Watch
defines street children as children for whom the street, more than their family, has become their real home. It includes
children who might not necessarily be homeless or without families, but who live in situations where there is no
protection, supervision or direction from responsible adults. While the UNICEF divides street children into three
categories: 'Street Living Children', 'Street Working Children' and 'Children
from Street Families'.

Opinions differ on the exact definition of the term 'street children'. After going
through the various attempts to define the term, however, it can be said that
these essentially are out-of-school children. They include children who wander
about and live in the streets, because of either being homeless or having fled
their families if they have ones. Another category comprises children who work
in the streets and markets selling or begging, but who live with thei r families.

Regarding the first category of street children, SPARC, an NGO working on
the children's rights, informs that there are an estimated 70,000 street children
in Pakistan, with Karachi having about 25,000, followed by Faisalabad with
10,000, Lahore with 7,000, Peshawar with 5,000, Rawalpindi with 3,000 and
Quetta with 2,500. According to Ismail Khan, chairperson of STEP, a Mardan-based NGO working on street children,
there are 3,149 street children in Mardan, while 19.686 are at risk to become ones as per a survey conducted in 2005.
The actual number of street children may have gone up by now, he fears.

Having no one to supervise, guide or care for them, this category of children is exposed to critical dangers. They are
feared to become callous hardcore criminals, terrorists, suicide bombers, revolutionaries, drug addicts and abusers.
Knowledgeable sources say they are destined to become thieves, pickpockets or victims of child sexual abuse and
commercial sex exploitation of children, because of their poverty and ignorance. Murder, consistent abuse and inhumane
treatment are the norm for these children, whose ages range from six to 18, the sources inform.
They often resort to petty theft and even prostitution for survival. They are extremely vulnerable to sexually-transmitted
diseases, including HIV/AIDS. An estimated 90 per cent of them are addicted to inhalants, such as shoe glue and paint
thinner, which cause kidney failure, irreversible brain damage, and, in some cases, death. These may be or may become
the prime sources of street crimes if not tackled properly before it is too late.

In a 1993 report, the World Health Organisation (WHO) attributed the phenomenon of street children to a number of
factors, ranging from family breakdown, armed conflicts, poverty, natural and human-made disasters, famine, physical
and sexual abuse, exploitation by adults, dislocation through migration, and urbanisation and overcrowding. In Pakistan's
case, we may add to these illiteracy and negligence on part of the parents and elders of the family, broken families,
domestic violence, drug addiction, the flourishing business of video game outlets and internet cafes, the poor
governance, and the increasing apathy of the state and society.

Asad, 14, who was a street child till a couple of years ago but who was fortunate enough to get out of the quagmire with
the help of STEP and Dost Foundation, Peshawar, told 'The News on Sunday' that he fled home, but found the outside
world a very dirty and selfish place. "I was 'misused' by many. I became a drug addict, and developed various kinds of
diseases and skin problems," recalls Asad, adding that he was happy that he has now reintegrated with his family.
When this scribe asked one of the street children of the first category about the hazards he faced, he innocently said, "If I
get AIDS, I will pray to God and take some medicines, and I will be gone." Instances have revealed that they are also
more liable to be kidnapped for forced labour and beggary than their counterparts in homes. The second category of
street children is also flourishing in Pakistan. They are mostly working children, who main join the first category with the
passage of time.

Though the Employment of Children Act 1991 clearly states that no child below the age of 14 shall be permitted to work
or be employed in any establishment in the country, and Articles 11, 35 and 37 of the Pakistani Constitution also prohibit
child labour, these children number in millions countrywide. Unicef revealed in a report in 2003 that eight million children
are engaged as labourers in Pakistan. While 30 percent children of out-of-school in the country, the number of street
children will not be less than 20 million.

Many children work in the streets because their families need their earnings, saying their family heads give them daily
earning targets. TNS also interviewed some children falling in this category. Adnan, 15, says that because of the poverty
and illness of his father, he has been working for the last five years. He wished he could study. "I want to earn money to
cure my father and arrange for the marriages of my sisters," he adds, with tears in his eyes.
Muhammad Kamran, 13, left school four years ago, because his father was forced into bed following an accident. "I am
the eldest son and had to give up studies to support my family. I work along with my younger brother and earn Rs160 a
day," he informs. He also said he wanted to read but could not afford to do so. His eyes watered when he was asked
wasn't it hard to feed the entire family with his income. The rise in the number of street children of both the first and the
second categories is a testimony to the government's and society's failure to perform their duties. The problem has
worsened also because of the ignorance of duty-bearers -- including parents, teachers, religious teachers, employers,
community elders and police -- regarding these children.

Despite the presence of thousands of rehabilitation centres run by the government and countless NGOs working for the
reformation and reintegration of street children in society, the situation is deteriorating. Difficulties do exist. Efforts for the
recovery of street children sometimes relapse for various reasons -- from lack of funds to absence of support from the
society. Ismail Khan informs that STEP has four drop-in centres in different parts of Mardan, and is working on a three-
pronged strategy of detoxification, rehabilitation and reintegration of these children. As a result, many of these street
children are now living a normal life after undergoing counselling and treatment. "We badly need a full-fledged
rehabilitation centre in Mardan, but cannot do so for paucity of funds," Ismail adds.
When governments implement programmes to deal with street children, these generally involve placing them in
orphanages, juvenile homes or correctional institutes. However, the orphaned and abandoned children in the care of the
state and private institutions suffer neglect and cruelty, and live in deplorable conditions. When they are rounded up,
many a time on false charges, prisons serve to dehumanise them further. These children either are of school-going age
or have past that stage. In case they are young, street children require long-term as well as short-term strategies. The
state should ensure that education is free and accessible to all -- that no one like Kamran and Adnan have to give up
education in future for poverty.

Street children should be provided education on the state's expense. If it is too difficult a problem, the go vernment can
seek the help of philanthropists. The government must ensure that fully equipped 24 -hours rehabilitation centres for
street children are established, with a strict monitoring mechanism. The state cannot do everything on its own, so it has to
be a by the government, NGOs and the society as a whole. Juvenile laws must be adhered to regarding the children in
prisons. If street children have become adults, they need efforts on war footing for their rehabilitation and reintegration i n
society, through training in vocational skills and financial assistance. The problem of street children has the potential to
become a formidable issue in the times to come if it is not accorded due attention now.
(By Tahir Ali, The News-Policy 2, 25/05/2008)

                                            Why should students suffer?
LOAD-SHEDDING is here to stay for months, if not years, and people are trying hard to adapt as best as they can to a
situation which is quite beyond their control. Whether it involves candles, kerosene lamps and hand fans or rechargeable
lights/fans, uninterrupted power systems (UPS) and generators, families of all classes are digging deep into their pockets
to cope with the frequent power interruptions. They are trying their utmost to reduce compromising on the quality of life at
home when there is no electricity. But what about the quality of life at school? The report in this paper about the
conditions under which many FA and FSc students in Islamabad are taking their Federal Board examinations is

distressing to say the least. Seated in suffocating halls without fans or lights and dripping with sweat, how are these
young men and women supposed to concentrate on an examination whose results will determine their future?

With some imagination, a little consideration, foresight and coordination on the part of all concerned authorities, including
school and college administrations, the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, the ministries of
education and power and Iesco, it could have been possible to manage and reduce the impact of power outages during
crucial board examinations, if not during day-to-day teaching and learning. If it was not possible to suspend load-
shedding for the duration of the examinations without creating a city-wide power meltdown, since the examinatio n halls
are scattered across the capital city in numerous schools and colleges, Iesco could perhaps have made special
arrangements to ensure that there were no daytime power interruptions in these schools during the examinations.
Alternatively, temporary arrangements involving other sources of power supply should have been made for the schools
for the duration of the examinations, such as generators powerful enough to run fans and lights in the examination halls.
It is bad enough that the power crisis is affecting the students‘ studies at home and in school. We should at least ensure
that their future is not compromised further by the non-availability of power when they are sitting for their papers.
(Dawn-7, 26/05/2008)

                                              The art of ‘polito-graphy’
In a poor country like Pakistan where the access to the mainstream media has recently been opened up to the masses,
graffiti is the easiest and cheapest method of saying what‘s on one‘s mind, especially for those who are not very adept at
doing the latter.

Cave drawings were the first known forms of graffiti that the Neanderthals drew to share their experiences. Today, wall
chalking is being used as a form of communication between the masses and public.
One prominent incident in this regard happened nearly a year ago after the May 12, 2007, saga, when the people of
Karachi woke up to find the walls of the cosmopolitan smarting red with colourful words directed towards a certain cricket
World Cup champion.

However, graffiti was never as malicious as it is today. Haleem Sharar, a writer and a journalist says that in the 70s and
80s, the political parties and their activists, especially the students were quite active. They used to paint walls where they
most likely to capture the government, journalists and students.

For this purpose, wall chalking was mostly done close to government institutions, educational places, and outside the
Press Club. These were usually bitter diatribes against the government, its injustices and excesses.
Now, the innumerable political and religious factions just concentrate their energies on demeaning their rivals. Although
this paradigm shift can only be explained as a part of the evolution of Pakistani politics, the methods of these ‗artists‘ are
quite interesting.

Sharar says that back in the day, students would take a stick, wrap cloth on one end, dip it into oil or paint and inscribe
the walls with their messages, which were sometimes left unfinished, a tell-tale sign of students fleeing the scene for fear
of an impending police patrol. He knows several students who have suffered at the hands of the authorities, bearing
tortures days at an end.

Salahuddin, a member of All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organisation (APMSO) reveals that ―we have become quite
lazy now. We just pay Rs1,000 to Rs 1,200 to professional painters and have it done. Some in our group have actually
learnt this art and paint the messages themselves. A cheaper alternative is to buy an eighty-rupee spray paint can and
write on the walls. The messages as well as the mo ney for the paint are provided by the central committee of course.‖
A spokesperson of Sunni Tehrik, who chose to remain anonymous, said that ―our workers are the ones who paint on the
walls whenever they get the time, before, after or during their jobs and pay for this graffiti themselves‖. He added that ―our
purpose for the wall chalking is to enable the common man to read himself, without any cost.‖

After the election, the City Nazim, Syed Mustafa Kamal, enforced Section 144, banning all kinds of wall chalking and
ordered the removal of all wall painted advertisements by political parties and their banners and buntings, once the
election was over. However, with the coming of 12th Rabi -ul-Awwal, pressure from the religious parties forced the Nazim
to defer any action for a few more days.

With the Nazim succumbing to mounting pressure by religious parties, political groups were only too aware of the failing
position of the Nazim whose party had fared poorly in the general elections and now had no backing f rom any quarter,
thus losing more power every day. As a last resort, the Nazim handed out contracts to companies for sections of public
spaces to paint their advertisements and create a cleaner cityscape.

However, not all the walls littered with graffiti were ‗jazzed‘ up by the companies in question and the political ‗calligraphy‘
or polito-graphy still remains an eyesore in various parts of the city.
When asked about their knowledge of the ban, the spokesman for the Sunni Tehrik was of the view that ―the law should
be equal for all. We see people belonging to the government painting graffiti openly in the day and no action is taken
against them. If the government enforces the ban universally, we will happily oblige‖.

Salahuddin a member of the APMSO said that the law should be implemented. Otherwise it is of no use. If something is
wrong, then measures should be taken to prevent it.

Tufail Ahmed of the Peoples Student Federation (PSF) says that his party has always been opposed to graffiti as it
destroys public property and has even suggested to the university administration to ban these activities within campus
premises. ―Whenever we resort to wall chalking, we pay for it through our own pockets since the party has not been in
power for the past 11 years. That position may have changed after February 18 but our policy is still pretty much against
wall chalking. We only practice it on very important occasions such as Independence Day, or the anniversaries of the
Bhuttos,‖ he explains.

However, the increasingly offensive and vulgar language being used in these public display messages appears more of a
ploy to gain the attention of the people. In these high-strung times, where opportunists fight for every iota of their
attention, the messages need to be as direct and hard-hitting to get their point across.
(By Gibran Ashraf, The News-19, 27/05/2008)

                                 Board of Intermediate Education of Karachi
                               Students abandoning medicine for business
KARACHI: In a radical new trend that has developed over the last year alone, over 50 percent of Intermediate students in
Karachi have chosen Commerce and turned away from pre-Medical, pre-Engineering and Arts subjects.
According to official data, this year 72,921 students appeared for the Commerce subjects up from last year‘s meager
22,000, registering a 230 percent increase.

Compared to this, the enrolment for pre-Med, pre-Engineering and Arts has increased only 30 percent. Last year, the
entire combined group of the three batches came to 60,000. This year, it increased to 77,662. However, the increase is
not significant as enrolment goes up each year. What is significant is that a major chunk of the new students went for

―Commerce provides more opportunities these days,‖ said Salman Tariq who just sat the Commerce i ntermediate
examinations. ―You can go into banks, join multinational companies. Commerce students earn more than medical or
engineering students. I think we have a strong future.‖

This trend has been noted by Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) Chairman Anwar Ahmedzai who told Daily
Times that this has prompted them to undertake statistical analysis of examination trends each year. Educationists can
then see which subjects students are gravitating to and why. He added that job market trends sho uld also be analyzed.
Why are students taking less interest in the pre-Medical, pre-Engineering and Arts subjects, which were once the most
popular choices?

All Sindh education boards have a research wing but they are mostly inactive. This kind of researc h was also once
conducted at the Board of Secondary Education by the then chairman M. I. Memon, who had given this responsibility to
Dr Parveen. After his assassination, the project was abandoned. Apparently, an Inter-board study of examinations in
Sindh has not been carried out in the last five years.

However, BIEK chairman Ahmedzai said that he has asked the board‘s directorate of educational research to
scientifically evaluate the examination papers for the last five years for each subject in the pre -Medical, pre-Engineering,
Home Economics, Commerce, General Science and Humanities groups. He is also interested in finding out why students
have been getting lower grades over the years.
The BIEK will be seeking assistance and guidance from senior professors in the research work.
(By Qazi Asif, DailyTimes-B1, 27/05/2008)

                                   4m children born in Pakistan every year
KARACHI: Four million children are born in Pakistan every year. This was pointed out at a seminar organized by the
Department of Population Sciences and Sociology, University of Karachi Tuesday.

Eight children are born in the country every minute. About 80 percent of the births are handled by traditional birth
attendants at home. Because of this a woman dies every 20 minutes. The maternal mortality rate is 25,000 to 30,000
every year mostly because of high blood pressure, infection and accidental abortion etc.

In India and Pakistan, the maternal mortality per 100,000 is over 500 and 350, in Bangladesh, 41 in Malaysia, 92 in Sri
Lanka and 76 in Iran. As many as 160,000 to 200,000 new born babies die every year in the country.
According to Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat, the main causes of the death of women at childbirth are high birthrate, anemia,
untrained traditional birth attendants, lack of health facilities, ignorance etc.
(DailyTimes-B1, 28/05/2008)

                                       Cheating rife at local universities
Cheating during examinations has become the norm in the current education system in Pakistan and the University of
Karachi (KU) and other varsities are not immune to this epidemic. The universities have adopted stringent measures such
as a fine of Rs5,000 and/or barring the offending students from appearing in any examination for three years. However,
the measures have failed to diminish the passion for cheating.

Cheating or using unfair means while writing the answer sheets, seems to be a huge business today. It can be anything
from buying copies of examinations to getting former lecturers write the essays for the prospective examinees.
Sometimes the lower cadre employees of various departments are engaged while more ambitious students hire the
services of invigilators.

KU with about 24,000 regular students and more than 100,000 external students for graduate and postgraduate
examinations faces a substantial number of such cases. An official in the examinations department revealed that
cheating was prevalent among the external students more than the students of semester system. ―The regular students
are engaged in some cheating but that is miniscule compared to the external students. The regular students are afraid to
do anything that will attract the attention of their course supervisors. They do not want to be in the bad books because

they (the supervisors) recognise them (the students).‖ The KU fines Rs5,000 to the students caught cheating, and
sometimes if the offence is accompanied by misbehaviour and threats to the invigilators, they are debarred from any
examination for three years. Another official of the same examination section, requesting anonymity, told The News that
from 2007 till date about 300 students were caught cheating in various departments of the university, of which most were
external students.

Meanwhile, the students have their own point of view regarding the norm of cheating in examinations. A ma jority of
regular students accepted that it is wrong but showed their reservations about the standard of marking in the
examination. ―I am not happy with markings by our teachers. Somehow, they favour their favourite students and mark
copies according to their own perception. Mostly it has nothing to do with the answer of the students but it is the mindset
of the teacher that decides the markings. It is deplorable. Unfortunately we cannot tell this anomaly to other teachers.
That will be disastrous for us,‖ said Ahmed Raza (not his real name) from the department of International Relations (IR),

However, the teachers had their own tales to tell. Dr Abid Hasnain, Secretary, Karachi University Teachers Society
(KUTS) lamented about the fast deteriorating standard of education because of the rowdy and intimidating attitude of the
students. ―Several teachers have been threatened by the students. We try to resolve the matter amicably but still give a
strong message to the students: you have to work hard for your degrees. There are no short cuts,‖ he said.

Another teacher who preferred anonymity, had resentment against the university administration that according to her are
‗tin pot soldiers‘. ―I am surprised about the impassive and detached attitude of the administration officials. On several
occasions the cheating is done with the connivance of these officials. They are traders who are eating away the standard
of education and putting the name of the university in mire,‖ she explained.
(By Pervez Abdullah, The News-19, 29/05/2008)

                                     Child abuse in public sector schools
Children are our most valuable resource and the best hope for the future. They need care, compassion and respect by
the older members of society. In an attempt to see the extent of the problem of child abuse in public sector schools, an
empirical study was conducted by this researcher, which examines the prevailing practices in public sector schools with
respect to child abuse.

A qualitative research paradigm has been adopted with a major thrust on phenomenology (a study of experience or
consciousness). Six primary schools have been observed in a longitudinal fashion and 30 primary school students have
been interviewed. The results indicate that children in public sector schools experience different forms of violence. They
are exposed to corporal punishment, cruel and humiliating forms of verbal and emotional abuse, psychological, sexual
and gender-based abuse.

Another critical incident that was very frequently observed was teachers using discriminatory practices against students
from poor families or marginalised groups, or those with particular personal characteristics or a disability. These prevalent
practices of violence have been repeatedly reported as reasons for absenteeism, droppi ng out and lack of motivation for
academic achievement.

Childcare is universal. In a modern school, a child is no longer thought to be a mere passive receiver to be filled like you
fill a sack. It has often been said, ―We learn what we live and in the degree that we accept it to live by‖. This involves the
whole person — how he feels, how he thinks. It involves a shift in educational emphasis from subject matter to the whole
child. The interests, needs and problems of the students are accepted as an import ant means of getting them to
understand the interests, needs and problems of their society.
The ability of the student to think (and where necessary to think as a member of a group) is recognised as a way to
develop self-discipline. On the other hand, when children‘s problems and needs are not understood and they are treated
with humiliation, they might learn to react in the same manner too. Child abuse no doubt is a major social problem and
can create conflicts at many levels.

November 20 is celebrated every year as the International Day of the Child as this was the day the UN General Assembly
first adopted the Declaration of the Right of the Child in 1959. The convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was first
formally registered in 1990 by the UN General Assembly.

Pakistan is also one of the signatories of the convention and believes in the dignity and integrity of every child. The
convention, which no doubt is the most universally-accepted human rights instruments in history, establishes an
international law that the state must ensure that all children — without discrimination in any form benefit from special
protective measures and assistance; have access to services such as education and health care; can develop their
personality, ability and talent to the fullest potential; grow up in a happy, caring environment; and are informed about and
participate in achieving their rights.
However, children are not accorded with the same respect in every society. The practices of child abuse are prevalent in
almost every society though they may take different forms and shapes.

Children are abused in families at times; criminals and other members around them abuse them but the school is a
formal agency responsible for the grooming and nurturing of the child, therefore it cannot afford to expose the child to
negative experiences.

This problem is seen in its severity in public sector schools as compared to the private schools. Since public sector
schools cater to the masses, the problem takes a graver dimension. A majority of our lower-middle class and lower-class
children go to public schools. Educating these children, eradicating illiteracy; preventing a high dropout rate and providing
universal primary education is one of the major challenges Pakistan is facing today. We need to carefully expose these
children to healthy experiences rather than discouraging ones. Three major types of child abuse frequently observed in
schools include corporal punishment, verbal or emotional abuse, and neglect.

Corporal punishment
It stands first as a very frequent occurrence. Most commonly it was observed that children were exposed to different
forms of physical punishment, irrespective of the fact that their classes or gender did not permit such treatment. Five-
year-olds (boys as well as girls) were seen exposed to beating and caning. Moreover, slaps on the face were commonly
observed with red marks on the cheeks. Children from the senior grades were seen standing on desks with their hands
up; standing outside the class (in the hot sun) for an indefinite period; kneeling outside the class; and standing in the
class while holding their ears. In addition to this, they were exposed to excessive spanking and slapping in front of the
other children.

This treatment was most commonly seen accorded to the male students by the male teachers as an attempt to maintain
discipline in class. A thin seven-year-old from class II was observed standing outside the class, holding his ears with
tears rolling down his cheeks; his body numb and shaken; he was meted out this treatment for not having brought his
homework copy.

Another harrowing experience was observing class-V girls (10-year-olds), standing with their hands up. Not only did they
paint a nasty picture; they also raised a pointing finger at our norms and cultural values. It is widely accepted that no
healthy purpose can be attained through physical punishment. Teachers should rather go for different forms of
reinforcements and behavior modification techniques rather than adhering to these tactics, as they are unlikely to bring
fruitful results. For many children, school is a great place to learn, socialise and build their self -esteem; for a child who is
bullied, school can be a house of terror.

Verbal and emotional abuse
This stands second in frequency as compared to corporal punishment. Verbal and emotional abuse also takes a toll on a
child‘s mental health. A child exposed to verbal abuse very often might not have the mental strength to care about his
grades; he might experience anger or violent outbursts at home or school, which would ultimately build up anger and
resentment within him. Victims of this kind of abuse are likely to become passive and overly cautious, have fear for free
expression of ideas and feelings, might become perpetrators of psychological violence and are less likely than other
children to internalise moral values. They are more inclined to engage in disorderly and aggressive conduct such as
hitting their siblings, parents and schoolmates. During the inquiry, teachers were seen using abusive language very
frequently, calling the children names and making fun of their distinctive features or any disability, if they suffered from

Recognising students‘ basic needs and problems, providing them with qualitative f eedback, listening to all their queries,
giving counseling, lending an ear to their problems, providing them with retrieval questions, reinforcement and
encouragement are some of the privileges of teaching. This element is seen missing in schools today.
The graph above shows the intensity and degree of different forms of physical punishment the children were seen
exposed to. The five different colours show five schools.

A highly-predictive validity is reflected. Schools have an important role in protecting children from abuse. On the contrary,
many educational settings expose children to abuse and may even teach them abuse. The interview sessions with the
young ones revealed that children value and respect kind and comforting teachers who explain things to them rather than
drill the facts into their head.

Research suggests that children who are victims of abuse, can go on to develop anti-social and criminal behaviour in the
future. Like the parents, the adults who oversee and manage staff schools, have a duty to provide a safe and nurturing
environment that supports and promotes children‘s education and development. They also have a duty to insure that the
children go on to become responsible adults who would care about gender equality, non-discrimination, tolerance and
mutual respect.

Child abuse can be prevented through two-facetted goals. The first one holds that the actions or situations that are
harmful for children should be controlled, while the second advocates promoting a healthy and nurturing environment.
Hence, decreasing risk factors and increasing protective buffers should be the foundations of all preventive efforts.
(By Dr. Zaira Wahab, Dawn-23, 01/06/2008)

                                  Disciplining: through punishment or talk?
While starting work on this piece, I am thinking of the few excellent school students whom I came across while
conducting my research. However, humans are heterogeneous and a thousand learning souls will have various
personalities. Unfortunately, seeing discipline in the length and breadth of our society is very rare these days. And the
students are no exception.

Discipline, also a part of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah‘s vision, is a very comprehensive term. Children of pre-
primary, primary and secondary/O-Level schools will be the subject of this discussion, the focus of which revolves around
the reasons behind poor discipline at a majority of our schools with suggestions for improvement.

The concept of discipline for a school teacher entering a classroom of 35 students can be very different from the idea
many of his pupils possess. He wants pin-drop silence, which he regards as a vital element of discipline while many
among those 35 very young heads reckon a one-minute moderate buzz their due right after 40-45 minutes of study.

So then what is discipline (for students at a school)? Is it sitting like ‗living statues‘ for six to seven hours every day? Or is
it filling out copies and then memorising all that stuff on time just to score high grades? Or making a queue during break
time just for the sake of impressing the teachers? Or speaking very decently only in front of the teachers and the going
back to their old ways the moment he or she leaves? Of course, none of these is anywhere near the real meaning of

Discipline entails one‘s ―controlled behaviour‖ regardless of the surroundings. In other words discipline involves ―adopting
a balanced attitude in all circumstances‖.

Studying in a classroom (reading in a group or individually, writing or attending teacher‘s lectures), talking among
themselves during free time, walking within the school premises, being tidy, wearing a clean uniform, attending the
morning assembly and participating in sports and other extra curricular activities at school or even outside. Each and
every action of a child is like a brick, becoming a part of the lot already organised together to shape a good-quality

The worth of discipline for every human being is unquestionable and what to talk of the significance of discipline in a
school, a place where tender minds are to receive academic and moral training for building their future along with their

It is a general observation these days that the discipline at a majority of our schools, where normally a child spends 10 to
12 years of his early life, does not reach an encouraging level — one of the fundamental reasons we see rowdy, and
sometimes aimless too, learners emerging from our high schools, colleges and even universities.
The end product: social chaos of every sort that we are witnessing today.

Causes of schools lacking discipline are many and varied. The overall decline in social attitudes, scarcity of ethical
training at schools, unsatisfactory coordination between teachers and the administration and (perhaps) to cap all these is
the very slim support schools usually get from guardians/parents with whom children spend around 16 to 17 hours daily.

Some teachers‘ eccentric demeanour has its own detriment in a school. Electronic media and the tempting gadgets for
children and teenagers available in the market these days also play a damaging role in some cases. Teachers and
section heads‘ extra strict management of affairs concerning discipline also leads the scenario to unexpected disorders.
Even a slip of the tongue by a student or a teacher creates a big mess.

If changing the approach of the entire society is not possible, the other factors mentioned above can surely be controlled.
The three sources that contribute in upgrading a child‘s discipline are parents, teachers and the environment minus
school and guardians.

Now due to various complex social and economical issues a child presently living in a big city like Karachi or Lahore
cannot form a healthy association outside his home or school.
And so the remaining two sources for children to gain life betterment — parents and teachers — have a greater
responsibility on their shoulders.

Let‘s first talk about teachers, who are honoured with the job of training other human beings — their respective pupils.
But how can the students (school children here) be disciplined? Practicality signals that compound theories do not work
in every case when an educator enters a class of 30 to 35 with a target to impart knowledge and insert discipline into the
juvenile minds. What works is the set of instantaneous reflex actions he needs to show in order to smoothly conduct the
class of diverse psyches for three quarters of an hour.

While dealing with different brains, a teacher needs to be a versatile personality, to put it briefly. Children cannot be de alt
with an iron hand all the time. There was a mixed response when 28 school teachers and section heads were asked how
a better level of discipline can be implemented at school — through punishment or through better student and teacher

Eleven said communication is the answer, seven deemed punishment can be the right tool while, as expected, nine
opined that they would use the talk-punishment combination to install discipline in schools.

An O-Levels teacher possessing the vast experience of 20 years, while considering the communication method as the
chief remedy, stated that the punishment mode creates a strange image of the teacher concerned in the minds of the
students. On the other hand, some teachers, emphasising the penalty methodology to be the right one, claimed that this
way is somehow needed to maintain order.

Those who backed the dual mode to preserve discipline, i.e., communication-and-punishment, had their opinions studded
with logic, with a young teacher precisely pointing out that punishment can be balanced against reward for the students
who carry out positive things.

Some teachers opted to portion out their opinion for very young and young children, with some saying the former mostly
need to be tackled with punishment and the latter through talk, while the rest stating vice versa.
But if a female teacher rips apart her student‘s copy, as happened with a girl of class III at a reputable school in Karachi,
only because her handwriting was not acceptable to the teacher, then what can we expect from our schools?
The ―apparently minor‖ occurrence upset the girl to an extent that she remained under stress for a few weeks while
resisting to go to school daily in the morning.

There might have been specific reasons for that particular teacher‘s sudden rage but again one needs to sit down and
think before doing anything beyond certain parameters. Patience — a vital component of discipline is missing. Even if
that little girl was at fault how can that teacher convince any sane person that tearing the copy of a child in a classroom
was the right or the only solution?

As regards the parents, the job of bringing up their kids can be scrutinised more as they are after all their children.

The father of a 15-year-old private school student when asked to choose between punishment or talk (for school
children), was quick to respond that having a talk with them would be his priority and that too in a refreshing atmosphere,
not at home.

Another father, along with the mother, staunchly rejected the notion of punishment, terming it the very last resort while
another mother of four children held an identical belief.

On inquiring which technique is more effective for a positive change in a student‘s discipline from an O-Levels student,
known for his minor disturbances in the classroom and who does not follow any proper regulation for study consistently,
the instant reply was ―talk‖. Whereas his friend and classmate gave 70 per cent to ―talk‖ and the remaining 30 to
punishment, plainly showing the pupils also think that the element of penalty should be retained for managing all the
possible situations. Suggestions? Well, there can be many — timely implementation of which at schools can do wonders.
The teachers first. They need to: remain as patient as possible; arrange a general class discussion every week on any
topic related to human interest (choose different subjects for variety) where every individual is given a chance to speak;
make pupils realise with sympathy that ―inside‖ every person there is a good human which needs to be discovered,
recognised and followed; give real-life examples to learners to keep them close to reality; arrange one-to-one counselling
sessions with students particularly with problematic ones; avoid discrimination among the students; try to build a bridge
between child and parents; get involved, at least occasionally with their (students‘) school-related matters; tell them to be
positive, or rather cautiously optimistic till the last breath of life — this step keeps them going; acceptance of mistakes by
a teacher in front of students will be a great virtue, as everybody makes errors, however, very few admit.

For parents/guardians, the foremost point is to remain in touch with their children in the modern busy life with regard to
studies and major life matters.

The standard of husband-wife association also helps in building their child‘s personality, and thus shapes his discipline,
not just in school but just about everywhere. Without getting ―naturally emotional‖ keep a moderate attachment with the
child when it comes to issues concerning discipline. Keep an eye on the child‘s daily activities (directly or indirectly) whi le
meeting him weekly or fortnightly with no one around, where matters can be discussed in a frank and cordial
environment. Honour and get promises. Trust your child because after all one needs to be trusted.

Finally, above all both teachers and parents/guardians are anticipated to set examples for young heads. For that they
need to embrace discipline. Remember, the heart and soul follows good examples.
(By S.M. Ibrahim Farooqi, Dawn-23, 01/06/2008)

                            SWD minister hands over Rs1.5m cheque to DWA
Sindh Social Welfare Departmemnt (SWD) Minister, Nargis ND Khan at last bowed down before the bureaucratic culture
and after withdrawing her earlier bold stance handed over a cheque of Rs1.5m (first installment) to Disabled Welfare
Association (DWA) in a hard-hitting press conference at her office on Wednesday.

Earlier, the minister had withheld the cheque of five million rupees and sent a team of department officials for the
appraisal of the project. The former provincial government approved budgetary allocation amounting five million rupees
for the organisation. The officials found a one-room office of the NGO, located in a government-quarter near Nursery
neighbourhood. There was no record to prove it functional as its (DWA) president Javed justifies.
The minister in the first stance during her press conference disclosed that she had learnt that the DWA was a ‗fake
organisation‘, manufacturing three-wheeler bike and selling it to disabled persons and running on purely commercial
basis. But later when media people asked volley of questions based on her earlier stance, the minister was found difficult
to face and went back to her chamber leaving the department Secretary, Shams Jafrani to face the media on her behalf.

Two-hour long press conference regarding handing over a cheque to a fake NGO itself has created questions for the
media. But, the minister later clarified that they have constituted a committee, which will keep a watch over the activities
of the NGO so that funds can be utilised for the well being of the disabled persons.

The minister said 7,000 NGOs, including 3,500 in Karachi, have been registered with the SWD in the province and 80 per
cent organisations either are fake or non-functional. She said that the department is trying to make a policy to keep strict
vigil over their functioning as the department has received negative information about several NGOs. She said not only
NGOs but even the institutions being run by the SWD do not exist. For instance, she said salaries are being drawn by
officials deputed at Darul Atfal (Child Centre) in Sukkur but when she visited the site there was no such centre. Similarl y,
she said a woman assistant director of Darul Aman, Larkana has been suspended after receiving allegations against her.
The reports said the suspended assistant director has been involved in alleged kidnapping of inmates from the
government-run shelter home.
In this regard, the minister said they are planning to establish new building for Darul Aman in Larkana so that women,
taking shelter there can be facilitated.

Minister Information Shazia Marri and adviser to Chief Minister, Rashid Rabbani were also present to help the SWD
minister to settle the issue. However, the SWD minister asked the department secretary to look into the matter regarding
the promotions, which allegedly have been made violating bylaws.
(The News-19, 05/06/2008)

                      DCET students block MA Jinnah Road against rash driving
The students of the Dawood College of Engineering and Technology (DCET) blocked the University Road (New MA
Jinnah Road) for three hours on Friday, to protest against road accidents that had injured three students of the college
The students boycotted the classes and held an impromptu protest demonstration in front of the college that was also
attended by the teachers and the staff to show unity with the students.

They demanded the construction of a pedestrian bridge near the college to save the students from the rash and unruly
drivers who had no consideration for the pedestrians.

In another development, a meeting of the United Students Front (USF) was held in the People‘s Secretariat to mourn the
death of a student, Wasif Aziz, who was gunned down by an activist of an ethnic party a year ago. The meeting was
attended by its President Hasan Hammad of IJT and Shaukat Ali Gilgiti of Imamia Students Organisation and
representatives of 10 other students‘ organisations.
(The News-14, 07/06/2008)

                                              Education and poverty
IT seems that learning may soon be relegated to a void. Where quality education is regarded the world over as the most
effective tool to break the poverty wheel as it provides skills and knowledge for employment, Pakistan‘s education is
getting poorer by the day. There are schools that don‘t operate and there are hundreds of posts of junior, primary and
secondary school staff that lie vacant. This is further aided by a rather unique ‗visa system‘ whereby teachers and other
employees contribute part of their salaries to relevant departments in collusion with their bigwigs as a trade -off for being
absent from duty. As a result, a number of teachers working abroad continue to rake it in here as well. School buil dings
are constructed in ‗selected‘ grounds for political reasons.

It hardly needs to be emphasised that the government is perhaps the only body that can rescue education from its current
state of abysmal decline. There is no reason for corruption in educ ation to be treated differently from that in other social
sectors. Accountability mechanisms in both private and public-sector school education have become a crying need of our
times and must include stringent, structured recruitment rules with adequate co mpensation. These have to be supported
by dire consequences for corrupt practices, and administrations must be made entirely independent and accountable with
an effective system of complaints for students, parents and teachers. This is possible only if the school management
committees are made effective to monitor the working of their institutions. This mechanism should help check corruption
which has emerged as the bane of the education sector. Nepotism and bribery are taken to be the only avenues to
success. Hence, we can expect rampant disregard for the law and for fellow humans in the future. Such a despicable
state of our educational infrastructure is particularly detrimental to the poor as it makes poverty almost entirely
(Dawn-7, 09/06/2008)

                             Power outages hampering research work at KU
KARACHI, June 8: Research activities in the science faculty of the University of Karachi are being severely hampered by
prolonged power outages caused by load-shedding as well as due to lack of an efficient and adequate electricity
distribution system within the KU.

Besides being a source of frustration, loss of precious time and energy, the electricity problem is also causing huge
monetary losses; costly imported chemicals are wasted as the system fails to keep them at a required temperature while
the increasing fuel expenses at the departments equipped with generators are an added burden to the cash-strapped

The KU‘s science faculty, regarded as the biggest scientific centre in the country with 23 departments and five research
institutes, has no arrangements to ensure uninterrupted power supply round-the-clock, as is the case with the entire
university. The exceptions, however, are the Dr A.Q. Khan Institute of Biotechnology and Genetics Engineering and the
International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences under which five units are working: the HEJ Research Institute
of Chemistry, Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicines and Drug Research, Third World Centre and LEJ digital

Giving a break-up of the duration of power outages at the university, a teacher living on campus said the KU daily
suffered four to six hours of load-shedding; one to two hours of forced power outage by the university‘s own electricity
system and unpredictable power breakdowns that last from half an hour to an hour, from the KESC and the university‘s
distribution system.

As a result, around 600 teachers and 2,000 staff and about 22,000 students face interruptions for at least two hours in
their work everyday. However, the problem is graver at the science faculty, particularly at departments of microbiology,
biochemistry, pharmacy, genetics, chemistry and applied chemistry, where research is being acutely affected.

―Most of the biological and chemical departments use thermo-labile reagents which are not only expensive but also not
readily available and are imported. These reagents have to be kept at either -20 or -80 degrees Celsius all the time.
Frequent power failures destroy these expensive reagents and hinder research progress. If power fails in the middle of
night, there is no staff at the departments to turn generators on or off. Consequently, expensive chemicals go bad,‖ said
Prof Dr Shakeel Farooqi, Vice-President of the Karachi University Teachers Society and member of the KU syndicate,
who has recently been inducted into a committee set up a year ago to address the electricity issue at the KU. Dr Farooqi
is currently working at the Department of Molecular Genetics.
He also said that last year‘s rains had played havoc with the varsity‘s power system and the institution remained deprived
of electricity for almost a week. ―KU‘s electricity problem has been lingering for many years. In 2003, over a dozen
generators were installed at various departments, but the problem remained unsolved.‖

The generators, it is said, could only be run in the morning as operators generally go home in the afternoon. Sometimes
there is no fuel to run them.

According to experts, the university‘s system needs immediate repairs and an upgrade apart from improved supplies from
the KESC. At present, the university has six power sub-stations, which, experts say, are inadequate and the university

needs at least four new ones due to the increasing load. One of them, located near the Centre of Excellence for Marine
Biology, has been non-functional for a year.
―A huge fire erupted in the sub-station supplying power to four departments and the entire structure was destroyed. A
new transformer had been installed a few months ago and the delay is now being caused by the university‘s maintenance
department, which has failed to repair the sub-station even after a year,‖ said a source.

Lack of planning?
Giving an insight into the problem, a source said the electricity problem became severe at the university following the
installation of hi-tech scientific equipment and air-conditioners after the release of a significant grant by the government in

―From 1979 to 1999, the university had received no development funds. That means a major c hunk of whatever the
university was getting at that time used to be spent on salaries. In 1999, a significant grant was released to the university
with the help of which many hi-tech gadgets were purchased. As a prerequisite for the proper functioning of the
equipment, it was deemed necessary to install air-conditioners.

―However, when all this was being done, no thought was given to developing infrastructure for uninterrupted power
supplies. Also, the generators installed in later years were without ATS (automatic transfer system) and UPS
(uninterruptible power supply system) support. An ATS system could have been installed by spending only two per cent
of the amount spent on the purchase of generators.‖

Talking about the solutions to the power crisis, a teacher said there could be no other solution but to equip the university
with a big, cost-efficient centralised power generation system. ―About two years ago, a feasibility report on such a project,
expected to costabout Rs220 million and meant to generate seven megawatts of electricity, had been submitted to the
HEC. The project did not materialize due to lack of funds.‖
(By Faiza Ilyas, Dawn-13, 09/06/2008)

                             More than 12,700 schools non-functional: survey
ISLAMABAD, June 10: The Economic Survey for 2007-08 released here on Tuesday revealed a staggering number of
12,737 non-functional public sector educational institutions out of a total of 231,289, with Sindh having the largest share
of 58 per cent (7,387) of them.

Of these 12,737 non-functioning institutions, 11,589 are public schools while 1,148 are other educational institutions.
Pakistan Education Statistics 2007 suggests that out of a total number of 231,289 educational institutions, 164,579 are in
the public sector while 81,103 are in the private sector. (The figure does not include technical professional, vocational,
polytechnic institutions, non-formal basic education schools and deeni madaris).

About 37.8 per cent schools in the public sector are without boundary walls, 32.3 per cent without drinking water, 56.4
without electricity, 40.5 per cent without latrines and 6.8 per cent without even buildings.

Considering higher percentage of population as majority of these institutions are in rural areas, the availability of basic
facilities are inadequate, the survey noted and called for providing the missing facilities to such institutions. It also
highlighted the need for reducing current imbalances of school facilities at various levels in different provinces.

About physical infrastructure of educational institutions, the survey said 83 per cent public schools are housed in
government buildings while 5.7 per cent in rent-free buildings. In contrast, private institutions are predominantly situated
either in rented buildings (43.1 per cent) or owned (42.8 per cent) buildings or 11.6 per cent in rent-free accommodations.

The survey revealed that 5.7 per cent buildings that housed educational institutions were in dangerous conditions with
most of them in Balochistan. Rest of the 51.6 per cent buildings are in satisfactory conditions but 42.7 per cent need
major or minor repairs. It said the role of public sector is more dominant in promoting education than the private sector.
The share of public schools is also higher in rural areas.

The survey highlighted the need for enhancing the role of the private sector by providing incentives and introducing
innovative schemes like education vouchers to encourage healthy competition between public and private sector to help
improve both the quantity and quality of education.

At the primary level, the public sector dominates with 86 per cent primary schools as compared to 14 per cent in the
private sector. At the middle level, only 37 per cent schools are in the public sector as compared to 63 per cent in the
private sector.

However, at the vocational or polytechnics level, the share of private sector is higher (70 per cent) than the public sector.
Almost all the deeni madaris (97 per cent) are in the private sector.

The survey said deeni madaris reform programme was initiated by the previous government with the introduction of
formal education in 8,000 seminaries to mainstream them through grants, salaries to teachers, cost of textbooks, teacher
training and equipment. According to the survey, literacy rate in Pakistan has improved in recent years at a moderate
pace and the overall literacy rate (10 years and above) has been increased to 55 per cent in 2006 -07 (67 per cent for
males and 42 per cent for females) as compared to 54 per cent in 2005-06. Literary remains higher in urban areas (72
per cent) than in rural areas (45 per cent) and more among men (67 per cent) compared to women (42 per cent).
(By Nasir Iqbal, Dawn-2, 11/06/2008)

                                    Education budget up by just Rs100m
ISLAMABAD, June 11: Finance Minister Syed Naveed Qamar has termed the Rs24.6 billion earmarked for education
sector for the new financial year � just Rs100 million more than last years, a very good allocation.
Documents released with the announcement of the federal budget for 2008-09 show that the HEC has not been favoured
with even a symbolic increase and its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) funds have been frozen at Rs18

Presenting the first budget of the PPP-led coalition government in the National Assembly, Naveed Qamar noted that of
the total federal PSDP for ministries, the funds allocated to education sector constituted about 10 per cent, adding it was
a very good allocation.

The larger expenditure on education and health was borne by provincial governments and federal government basically
does a supportive role in these areas, he said.

Under the PSDP, over Rs6.3 billio n have been earmarked for the education division while the budgetary allocations for
different development programmes initiated by the HEC remained at Rs18 billion like in the outgoing year recording a
slight increase of 0.37 per cent compared to the allocations in the outgoing year.
Of the total allocated amount, over Rs24 billion will be met from domestic resources while Rs28 million through foreign

In the education division, 16 new schemes worth Rs489.3 million out of a total of 90 developme nt programmes have
been initiated. Similarly, 33 new programmes have been added for this year in the budgetary allocations meant for the
HEC worth Rs534 million.

Significant projects among various schemes under the education division are the establishment of a Federal Government
College of Home Economics at Islamabad at a cost of Rs498 million, which will be met by the government through its
own resources. This year�s allocation for the project is Rs75 million.

All the 15 projects will be borne through its own resources though only one project will be supported with a foreign loan of
Rs11.9 million out of a total of Rs19.9 million earmarked for the promotion of Early Childhood Education Association.

A School Nutrition Programme has been added to the list of new projects with a total cost of Rs5.2 billion but this year �s
allocation would be Rs50 million.

A science and teachers training programme at NISTE (National Institute of Science and Technical Education) has also
been proposed with a fund of Rs24 million, while Rs29.8 million have been allocated for the development of camp site at
the National Training Centre of Pakistan Girls Guides.
A new cadet college will be established in Multan at a total cost of Rs410 million but this year�s allocation for the project
is Rs50 million. Cadet colleges will also be set up in Swat, Charsadda, Chitral and Lakki Marwat in NWFP for which Rs50
million each have been earmarked.

Likewise, cadet colleges will also be established in Pishin, Ziarat, Bolan, Gwadar and Shadur in Balochistan for which an
initial amount of Rs5 million each have been allocated.

Allocations of Rs50 million each have also been made in the budget for different schemes initiated by HEC namely
setting up of a school of science and engineering, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), establishment of
a university in Mardan and establishment of an Islamic university at Imam Dheri, Swat.
None of the new project will be supported by the foreign component as all the schemes will be met through local

For infrastructure and capacity enhancement in the Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management
Sciences, Quetta, Rs27.6 million have been allocated out of its total cost of Rs62.8 million.

Similarly, Rs30 million have been allocated out of a total of Rs144.7 million for the construction of a student hostel and
residential area at the Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences Quetta, Rs21 million
out of Rs58 million for the construction of a hostel for 200 female students at the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and
Applied Sciences (PIEAS) Islamabad, and Rs30 million for supporting facilities at Karakoram International University,
Gilgit, on the directives of President Pervez Musharraf.
One of the HEC project is to establish Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Campus of Virtual University in Dir Upper Swat with a
total cost of Rs35 million. This year‘s allocation is Rs10 million.
(By Nasir Iqbal, Dawn-5, 12/06/2008)

                            Rangers’ exit from educational institutes delayed
KARACHI, June 11: The Sindh cabinet‘s decision to get the city‘s educational institutions and hostels vacated by the
Rangers has been put in abeyance for the time being due to security considerations.
This decision was taken by the cabinet at its very first meeting held on April 13 and the federal government� Adviser on
Interior Affairs Rehman Malik, who was present at the meeting, had assured the cabinet that the matter would be
reviewed and with the availability of alternative options, the Rangers would be shifted from educational institutions under
their occupation.

‖The situation prevailing in the province including power outages, water scarcity, labour unrest due to increasing
unemployment, soaring prices, the transport problem, tribal clashes, tension in educational institutions with the revival of
students unions and political rivalries, amidst a shortage of over 10,000 men from the police force� sanctioned strength
may have added to the delay,‖ a government insider confided to Dawn.

The Sindh police at present has a strength of 87,453 personnel against its sanctioned force of 98,148. The shortage was
being met by deployment of the paramilitary Rangers, whose strength in the province is 21,806.
Out of this total, over 14,000 are being used for internal security while about 1,000 are being used for maintenance of
peace in educational institutions and over 1,600 for security and protection to oil a nd gas companies, foreign consulates
and diplomats residences.

The matter of getting educational institutions and hostels vacated from the possession of the Rangers was raised by
students, teachers and civil society even before the induction of the Pakistan People� Party government in the centre
and the province.

In its meeting held on April 1, the Karachi University Teachers Society through a unanimous resolution had also
demanded that the Rangers vacate all educational institutions.

But so far no progress has been made in this regard. The authorities feel uncomfortable with the very idea of urging the
Rangers to vacate the educational institutions and shifting them to peripheral areas of the metropolis.
They consider their presence in the city centre vital for maintenance of law and order in view of the increasing unrest
among the people over pressing issues.

According to an official report, about 50 educational institutions and hostel buildings are in the paramilitary force� use,
including 21 alone in Karachi. Some of the buildings are of historic importance such as the Jinnah Courts in Karachi and
Muslim Hostel, Hirabad in Hyderabad.

An official of the home department said it was not possible in the near future to vacate all these buildings until the police
forces strength was made adequate enough to meet the law and order situation.
However, he said it was possible that the Rangers� strength could be reduced from the educational institutions to make
more room available for holding classes and other purposes.
(By Habib Khan Ghori, Dawn-17, 12/06/2008)

                                   Student opens fire after caught cheating
KARACHI: An MA student drew a pistol and fired after an invigilator caught him cheating during an examination at the
University of Karachi (KU). According to the KU Public Relations Department, Candidate of MA pervious (International
Relations), Azim Ali, son of Mohammad Ali, role no. 12079, was busy cheating from his text book at an examination
center, Shaikh Zaid Islamic Research Center when the invigilator of the exam, Malik Abdul Qadir Ghouri, confronted him,
asking for his answer sheet and cheating material. Ali drew out a TT pistol and fled while firing in the air. The Controller of
examination, KU Maqsood Hussain, has ordered and enquiry into the incident. Witnesses say that the incident caused
chaos amongst the students, some of whom ran for cover leaving behind their papers. No case has been registered with
the police so far.
(DailyTimes-B1, 14/06/2008)

                    Disintegration of SMI expected with change in administration
Sindh Madrassatul-Islam (SMI), a national heritage of Pakistan and the alma mater of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali
Jinnah, may witness a downfall if its administration is left in the hands of the Sindh government.

The conversion of the SMI from a federal to a provincial government -run organisation may benefit some but will
eventually result in the ruin of this historic institution, say experts. The idea of handing over the administration of the S MI
to the Sindh government is already under consideration by the federal government and the decision is expected soon.
However, inside sources allege that faculty members as well as senior management of the SMI have serious reservations
over changing the current status of the institution. They believe that there are serious threats to the institution that may
result in its ruin and therefore the idea of changing its status is rubbish.

The point raised by the former education minister regarding the management shift lacks merit. T his is because a detailed
analysis of both the performance of the SMI and the present condition of the institutions under the Sindh government
make it crystal clear that changing the SMI‘s status will not yield positive results. Instead it will endanger the future of this
historic institution and of hundreds of students studying there.

The SMI, founded by Hasan Ali Effendi in 1885, holds great historical significance as the madrassa has served as an
alma mater to key figures in Pakistan. The madrassa was under the tutelage of the Sindh government from 1972 till 1974
until Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto declared it a national heritage and it was handed over to the federal government. Though it
received a semi-autonomous status later, it has nevertheless been declared a department of the federal government.
The idea was first floated in 2006 when a former minister for education, Sindh, Hameeda Khuhro wrote to the federal
government asking for the SMI to be handed over to the Sindh government. According to the sources, the reason Khuhro
had mentioned was that the people of Sindh have an emotional attachment with the SMI and therefore it should be given
to them.

Meanwhile, the faculty and management of the SMI have shown little support for the change in the administratio n. In this
regard, the opinions of stake holders were taken in two different meetings. In their first meeting, the senior management
i.e. the section heads, department heads, and the principal and the vice principal, unanimously expressed that the SMI
must remain under the federal government since it is functioning smoothly and efficiently. They were of the opinion that
the change might benefit the faculty members individually but will do great damage to the institution itself and may even
lead to its degeneration.

In the second meeting, which also included teachers, the same opinion was expressed as a majority of them agreed that
the well being of the SMI lies with the federal government.

Out of 15,000 government schools in Pakistan 7,700 alone are non-functioning in Sindh – that is more than 50 per cent.
In the Sindh government there is no check on teachers‘ activities – they don‘t attend the schools regularly; even if they
come they are not punctual and at times do not even take classes. In fact teachers appointed by the Sindh government
use their influence for transfers to their favourite venues, they also use their contact to do away with their misconducts.
Successive provincial governments have failed to address the problems of government teachers since many of them do
not get their salaries for as long as six months, if not more than that. Under such circumstances how could teachers give
attention to students when they would remain unpaid for long periods; also there is no guarantee that the Sindh
government will be able to pay the salaries of the SMI employees, let alone other operating expenses.

The government schools and colleges under the Sindh government along with other heritage institutions are in a pathetic
condition, for instance the NJV School, Tando Bagho, Noor Muhammad High School Hyderabad, Madrassa School
Noshehro Feroz and various others are striking examples of the failure of the provincial government to manage such

Instead of changing administrations, the government should consider upgrading the SMI to a university. Sir Syed Ahmed
Khan also proposed to make SMI a university during his visit of the SMI ten years after Aligarh College was established.
It may be worth mentioning here that a charter for making the SMI a university was passed by the Sindh Assembly when
Hakeem Muhammad Saeed was the Governor of Sindh. However, the charter was forgotten after several delays.
(By Farooq Baloch, The News-19, 15/06/2008)

                     Collaboration to open new vistas between France, Pakistan
French Consul-General Pierre Seillan has hopes that the recent collaboration between the Higher Education Commission
(HEC) and the French Embassy in Pakistan will open new vistas of educational and friendly relations between France
and Pakistan.

Seillan was speaking at a dinner party hosted Saturday by the Alliance FranÁaise in honour of the students who were
awarded the French Scholarships for higher studies at different French universities.
He was hopeful that the students will prove themselves to be good ambassadors of Pakistan and help in erasing the
negative image of their homeland. Seillan also distributed certificates of Special Courses for HEC to the students.

The students are selected by the HEC and interviewed by French Professors before beginning their six-month (January
to June) French language course at one of the four French Cultural Centres in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and
Faisalabad. After this course they go to France and undergo further two-month (July-August) training of French Language
Course in various institutes. The students then go to their respective universities for their higher studies and research.

The News spoke to some of the students to elicit their viewpoints. Twenty -three-year-old Arrij Mahmood is one of them.
He graduated from NUCES-FAST with a mahor in Computer Science, and intends continue with a Masters and a PhD in
the same subject. Replying to the question about the reason for choosing a French university, he said that German
universities wanted 18 years of education while he had only 16. The French universities accepted 16 years of education.

Mahmood speaks and understands some French and hopes to excel when he studies the language in France. He was of
the opinion that since Karachi was a large city it should have more representation from here. He was also wary of the
lack of publicity of the HEC scholarships and thought more news should be offered to the prospective students.

Raheel Rasool also 23 years old, and holds a bachelors degree in Space Engineering from NUST. He intends to do his
Masters in Aerodynamics from France and a PhD in a discipline that he would decide later. He has plans to teach at a
university when he returns from France.

Salma Hasan, 25, has Masters in Biotechnology from the University of Karachi (KU). ―I liked the French universities when
I was surfing the internet to decide my educational destination. So I went for it and here I am,‖ she says. Her MS and PhD
is to be in Biotechnology and hopes to join a university for teaching in KU or research, probably in Aga Khan University
(AKU), on her return. She will undergo her French language course in Vichy and higher education in Paris.

Sarwat Afridi, 27, has a Masters, also in Biotechnology, from Information Technology University (ITU), Quetta. She is a
lecturer in her alma mater and hopes to continue teaching and research in the university. Both her language courses and
higher education will be in Paris.
(By Perwez Abdullah, The News-13, 15/06/2008)

                                         How to educate child labourer
AMONGST the daily shower of ‗vows‘ taken at public forums and delivered to us hungry, anxious souls, the one that
shook me as being a disaster was the one about taking 20,000 (or two million) children out of the workforce. They would
be paid a stipend, the vow elaborated, and sent to schools.

No person in their right mind can look without sadness at the many films being made of children at work, especially if you
are one of the lucky few who have had a happy childhood, have a comfortable life, and are now in a position because of
which your children can enjoy all (and more) of what you had.

If somebody took time off to talk to child labourers and asked them why they worked and where their money went, it
would be evident that the government should also have to compensate the family (or part of it) that the child‘s income

These young boys and girls are aware of their responsibility and appreciative of the ‗slogging‘ that both parents and
siblings are involved in to keep body and soul together.

True, some of these kids indulge themselves by eating ‗gutka‘, pa‘an and smoking, but that is not the reason for them not
going to school. Political party youth groups need to interact closely with the other half.

Slums and kutchi abadis and government schools have miles between them. The school timings clash with work hours,
so even if there were really fired-up youth who wanted education at all costs, it would be impossible to find the right
school. (Perhaps one should not forget to pay tribute to the organsers of the Lyari Pavement Schools that function from
evening onwards.)

A decade ago, through an agreement between the government in its perpetual quest to entice donors and an almost
equal desire of our benevolent loaning friends, children were taken out of the football industry.
They were sent to school and stuck there with a stipend. Drums beat about this great achievement. Suddenly, due to
some reason (any will do), the stipends stopped and the children were left midstream, neither here nor there.

Pakistan lost its place in the export sports market. Perhaps that was part of the agenda! Consequently, the children, who
were now at a loose end, went into the surgical implement industry. If football making was hazardous, the next option
was lethal. There are many lessons to be learnt from that fiasco.
Let us admit that with millions living below the poverty line and a budget which is expected to order tightening of belts, the
programme to take children out of work, making them dependent on dole as an incentive to go to school is a sure
prescription for disaster.

Playing with human lives, especially during the most vital years, without meticulous planning and cast -iron guarantee that
support to families will continue, that there is constant monitoring and evaluation of the programme to assess what effect
the academic part is having on the attitude and aspiration levels of the ‗beneficiaries‘, is a big risk.
I am apprehensive about the results of this monstrous plan. From observations and lessons learnt from educating boys
and girls at a 9am to 9pm learning centre with cooperation of the employers, I believe the best way to educate is to
instruct and provide protection against occupational hazards, and give immunisation and health cover, while allowing
children above the age of eight to continue learning, a skill trade, hands on.

The families too, in the last five years, have participated in meetings and even ‗viewed‘ art exhibits and drama, which
students (some or around 16 to 17 years old) have organised.

More importantly, two of the five children who were at the centre are regulars at a properly registered vocational technical
institute, at the end of which course they will be certified welders etc. but have acquired a know-how of physics theories
vis-a-vis machines. This is an appeal for a second thought.
(Dawn-6, 16/06/2008)

                                       Revamping: setting priorities right
THERE is no harm in admitting that education has never been our national priority. This can be blamed on the fact that
Pakistan has experienced long periods of military rule. If we look at our budgetary allocation, defence was usually given
the lion‘s share.

According to the CIA‘s fact book, from 1958 to 1973, the defence budget accounted for nearly 60 per cent of the total
government expenditure.
This is indicative of the trend and tone set by our military rulers. This approach impacted on the subsequent budgets as
well. On the other hand, for a long period education was allotted less than two per cent of the GDP. This extreme
disparity suggests the harsh treatment education has been receiving in Pakistan. If we compare these figures with those
of other countries, we realise that the minimum possible allocation is being allocated to education. On the other hand,
relatively huge sums are set aside for military expenditures.

The most intriguing fact about the defence budget in Pakistan is that no break down was mentioned and only a certain
figure was quoted in a single line. In the 2008 budget it is promised that from this year onwards the defence budget would
be discussed in the parliament and a proper break down would be given of different categories of expenditure. Education,
on the other hand, would get relatively smaller chunks of funds. In the 2008 budget, Rs24.6bn has been allocated f or
education (at the federal level). The exact percentage of GDP will be available later when provincial budgets are

The former prime minister, Mr Shaukat Aziz promised that allocation for education would be ensured as four per cent of
the GDP. This promise was never realised as last year it was only 2.1 per cent of the GDP despite the fact that we got
huge foreign funding for education sector reforms. Low allocation is just one aspect of the problem. The real issue is that
in education we have been making cosmetic changes and quick fixes. The result is that no meaningful, sustainable
change could take place. Let us look at some of these strategies to inflate the figure of literacy and at the internationally
accepted definition of literacy — ‗reading with understanding‘.

A list of definitions of literacy adopted in different years is as follows.
1951: One who can read a clear print in any language.
1961: One who is able to read with understanding a simple letter in any language.
1972: One who is able to read and write in some language with understanding.
1981: One who can read the newspaper and write a simple letter.
1998: One who can read the newspaper and write a simple letter, in any language.

In 1951 we followed a literacy definition that did not include the condition of ‗understanding‘. The result was 17.9 per cent
literacy. But in 1961 the condition of ‗understanding‘ was added to the definition. This would mean that people who could
read the alphabets (the reading of Quran in some cases) without understanding could not be included in the list of
literates. From 1981 onwards, the condition of ‗understanding‘ was once again taken out which naturally inflated literacy
numbers. This leaves a question mark about the validity of figures of literacy in Pakistan.

Another aspect of measuring literacy is that internationally, it is measured at the level of age 15 and above. Quite
interestingly in Pakistan, the literacy figures, quoted in the Economic Survey of Pakistan, are at the level of age 10 and
above. What is the difference in measuring literacy at two levels? If we measure literacy at the level of age 10 and above,
the figure comes down to 55 per cent but if it is measured at age 15 and above (as is the international norm) it comes
down to 52 per cent. If we want to make these statistics more reliable, we should be reporting figures at age 15 and
above as is the practice in other countries.

The reported literacy rate of 55 per cent (age 10 and above) does not reflect some areas of very low literacy as a number
of high and low literacy areas are averaged to get a final figure. This does not reflect the literacy distribution in the
masses. This situation can be equated with the increase in figures of per capita income reported in the 2008 Economic
Survey of Pakistan where enhanced income of a few rich people helped in raising the per capita income creating a false
impression of distribution of income. Instead of making cosmetic changes, the government needs to face the challenge
upfront and do some serious planning for real improvement in literacy. This also means bringing about a qualitative
change. Education and development has a strong correlation but education per se is not development. It is quality
education, however, that equips a person to explore and enhance his/her chances of progress.

Gender disparity is another concern in the education system of Pakistan. In the Pakistan Economic Survey 2008, the
male literacy rate is reported at 65 per cent whereas the female literacy rate is only 42 per cent. This shows a gap of 23
percentage points between male and female literacy in Pakistan, which is too large. A gap of more than 10 per cent is
internationally considered a serious point of concern. Needless to say, some real concentrated efforts are re quired to
reduce it.

If the new government is serious about education they should not only enhance the allocation for it but also ensure
proper utilisation of funds. The past tells us that almost half of the allocated funds remain unspent for various reasons.
And even the 50 per cent that were spent were not used appropriately. What is needed is an effective monitoring system
and an accountability mechanism.

Education, the backbone of socio-economic development of society, needs to be dealt with more seriously and with a
certain political will. Unfortunately, the ministry of education has always been viewed as less important and unqualified
people have often been appointed at the helm. One such example is a retired general of the army who was asked to
bring a qualitative change in the educational system of Pakistan. Currently as well the ministry is not headed by a full -
time minister. It is time we realised the significant role of knowledge economy and human capital and instead of cosmetic
tinkering with the educational system, we should plan meaningful and sustainable changes in the qualitative improvement
of education in Pakistan.
(By Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, Dawn-6, 16/06/2008)

                                   Private school told to refund excess fee
KARACHI, June 17: A three-member team comprising officials of the private schools directorate, formed by Sindh
Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq to check irregularities allegedly being committed in private schools, has issued a
notice to the administration of Mama Parsi Girls School, asking it to get its second shift registered with the directorate and
refund the excess amount that has been allegedly charged from students under the head of admission fee within seven

A senior official of the education department told Dawn that the team during a surprise visit to the school found that its
administration had not got its second shift registered.

Under the Privately Managed Educational Institutions Regulations (Amended) Act-2000, it is mandatory upon all private
schools to get their each shift and every chapter registered separately with the directorate of private schools/institutions,
otherwise, an unregistered school is simply considered as a coaching centre.
Another irregularity noted by the minister‘s team, the official said, was that t he school was charging Rs20,000 under the
head of admission fee from each student, whereas the maximum admission fee a private school could charge must be
equivalent to a sum of three-month tuition fee of its highest grade. He said the school had not even got its fee structure
approved from the directorate of private schools.

The official said that the team had not only asked the school‘s administration to get its second shift registered and fee
structure approved from the provincial directorate of private schools but also directed it to refund the access amount that
had been collected from students under the head of admission fee.A detailed report containing irregularities detected at
the school had been submitted to the education minister and secretary for their perusal, the official added.

Education budget
The Sindh government, meanwhile, allocated Rs19.5 billion for the education sector in its budget for the financial year

Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who presented the budget in the asse mbly session on Monday, said that the
provincial share in the outgoing financial year‘s overall allocation of Rs47.9 billion for the education sector was Rs17
billion. It was increased by over 16 per cent to Rs19.5 billion, he said.
He said this financial year‘s allocation for the overall education budget also included Rs5.9 billion for the reforms
supported by the World Bank and the European Commission.

Under the reforms programme, he said, free textbooks would be provided to over five million school children. Besides,
Rs609 million was earmarked for scholarships for girl students; Rs2.7 billion for school rehabilitation and Rs500 million
for supporting low-cost private schools.

He described education as the only weapon with which poverty could be fought and said the provincial government gave
priority to the education sector as it could prove instrumental in bringing about a social change.

Moreover, two engineering colleges, one for arts and design and another of business administration would be set up i n
different cities, he said, adding that Rs240 million was earmarked to rehabilitate colleges.

About the education city project in Karachi, he said it was examined after which it was decided that a dedicated education
city authority would be established to carry out development works for facilitating an enclave of educational institutions of
high standards. Such a place was expected to house many institutions of higher learning, besides triggering greater
economic activities and creating jobs.

Other projects to be undertaken in each district include introduction of computer education in middle schools, provision of
additional class rooms in existing primary schools, construction of two-room buildings in existing primary schools,
upgrading primary and secondary schools, promotion of compulsory education, construction of labs and libraries in the
existing secondary and higher secondary schools, restoration of historical buildings of educational institutes, introduction
of post-graduate courses in the existing degree colleges, rehabilitation of the existing degree colleges, construction and
improvement of hostels, renovation of dinning halls and other facilities at cadet colleges.
(Dawn-18, 18/06/2008)

              Mama Parsi threatens to shut down after being ‘harassed’ by education deptt

The Mama Parsi School has threatened to shut operations after serving the educational sector for more than 90 years
due to what the school management termed ‗continuous harassment by the education department.‘
The school was established in 1918 in Karachi exclusively for Parsi students, while the admission of Muslim girls was
allowed only after 1947 at the request of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah. The school celebrated 90 years in April
this year. Shutting the institution down could potentially damage the academic futures of thousands of students.

The threat by the school administration came after a team from the Private Schools Directorate made a surprise
inspection Monday morning and found school records in disarray. Well-placed sources said that the inspection was
conducted during summer vacations and after the completion of the admission process so as to avoid any allegations
that the department inspection had been conducted for the department‘s own interests.
During the inspection, the team from the directorate discovered that the second shift of the school that catered to
students from class I to class VII was not registered with the Private Schools Directorate.

The principal of the school, Z.T. Mavawallah, was reportedly shocked to hear that the second shift of the school also had
to be registered. According to the rules and regulations framed in light of the Privately Managed Educational Institutions
Registration and Regulations Act 1962 as amended in 2001, each shift of the sc hool as well as the branch or chapter is
supposed to be registered with the education department.

Mavawallah said that the school had been serving the cause of education for the past 90 years and nobody had ever
asked for any registration. Despite this, if the government still needed such procedures to be completed, then the school
would have no problems in complying.

The inspection team of Private School Directorate, however, said that their visit to the school was not a surprise, but the
date was intimated to the school administration when two letters were dispatched there on Friday. The school
management claimed that they received the letter only on Monday morning, adding that their administration works from
Monday to Thursday.

The school management appealed to the department to change the date of inspection given that Friday was a non-
working day for the management, but the department turned down the request.
According to schedule of the visit of schools, the Directorate Private Schools inspection tea m intends to move to other
private schools as well. The list includes school such as Saint Joseph‘s Convent, the respective chains of City School
and Beacon House School System, sources within the education department told The News. The inspection team would
visit Saint Joseph‘s Convent on Thursday, the source confirmed.

During inspection, the investigative team also noticed that the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) did not contain the seal of
the Board of Education, which is invalid under prescribed rules.

It was also discovered that the school was taking thrice the admission fees thus violating rules and regulations of the
directorate. According to the prescribed rules, a school is supposed to charge admission fees equivalent to three
installments of the tuition fees. In this connection, the school is charging Rs 20,000 for admissions, while they were
supposed to charge Rs 6000 as per the rules.

The school management was given seven days to clear up all such issues, else its second shift registration would be
cancelled. The school administration said that no timeframe was given by the DPS. Instead senior officials of the school
assured officials that the matter would be cleared before the school re-opened in the month of August.

Secondly, the DPS has also asked the school to pay back extra money that was taken as admission fee to all students
who got admitted in the year 2006-07. The formula of payment for students from previous years is yet to be worked out.

Inside sources in the school however, said that it has been the regular feature of the education department to opt for a
policy of harassment, as the school is one of the few where admissions are based on open merit.

The management of the school has decided to contact Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, and would apprise
him of the threatening attitude posed by the Directorate Private School. The News tried to contact the provincial minister
for comment but his cell phone was switched off.

The school is allowed to charge Rs 1200 while they are charging Rs 2000 which too is another violation of the rules.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-13, 19/06/2008)

                                     Teachers-to-be still waiting for justice
Around 1,750 meritorious and deserving candidates for the posts of primary, secondary and high school teachers in the
Sindh government have been striving for justice for almost two years. Though they have passed written tests and qualify
to the merit requirements, no posting orders have been issued by the Sindh government to recruit them. Authorities
concerned seem to be least bothered about the problems of these teachers. They had put off the matter till the
announcement of the provincial budget which was recently presented in the Sindh Assembly.

These candidates have passed the written test and cleared the interviews in 2005 and 2006, conducted by College of
Business Management (CBM) and Institute of Business Administration (IBA) respectively. They were also issued offer
letters from the Sindh government, following which they submitted their documents and fulfilled all the formalities.
However, they were not issued posting orders. A group of these candidates have travelled across the province to seek
justice and protested in different cities but their voices remain unheard.

―It is the height of ignorance and injustice as we have been striving to get our rights but the government doesn‘t seem to
be serious,‖ said Azhar Ali Mughal, one of the candidates belonging to District Shikarpur. He adds, ―We also filed a
petition in the local court of our district, which announced its verdict in our favour. The case was then sent to the Sindh
High Court that has reserved the verdict in this regard and our issue remains unaddressed since then.‖

Mughal is the only candidate in the entire Shikarpur District who secured the first position and was issued an offer letter
for the post of a high school teacher. Mughal along with Ghulam Mustafa Soomro visited The News recently to seek the
help of the media with the hopes to get their problem highlighted. During an interview of about half an hour he did not
speak in Urdu – perhaps trying to justify that he was selected on merit. The highly talented youth with extreme
disappointment on his face narrated the drama as follows:

―The Sindh Education and Literacy Department invited applications for the posts of primary, secondary, high school and
junior school teachers in 2003. The written tests in this connection were conducted in 2004 by the CBM and results were
announced in 2005. According to the lists published in the local newspapers 2,050 candidates, including Mughal and
Soomro, were declared passed and issued offer letters in July 2006. However, the then Sindh government did not issue
posting orders to these candidates. It was learnt that some 300 candidates among them were suspected to have been
given favours based on that the issuance of posting orders were withheld and offer letters were cancelled.

Then an inquiry committee was formed to probe the matter and the same decided that excluding those 300 students all
the other candidates will be issued posting orders but that never happened. The Sindh government once again required
these candidates to take written tests, which were conducted by the IBA in 2007. Almost all the candidates passed the
test again including Mughal, who again got first position in the entire district. But no progress was made in this regard,
even the offer letters were not issued this time.

Later, these candidates filed petitions in their respective district courts. Mughal and others in the Shikarpur district too
filed a petition in their district court, which issued the verdict in their favour and directed the concerned authorities to issue
posting orders to these candidates. However, the judgement of the petition filed in the SHC was reserved but not
announced and the matter remained unaddressed.‖

These meritorious candidates who are fighting for their legitimate, constitutional and democratic right feared that the
growing population of unemployed youths can pose a serious threat to the future of the co untry. They have requested the
government to make sincere efforts to solve their problem for the welfare and betterment of the people of Sindh so that
the provision of quality education can be ensured in the province. Mughal also said that the Education Mi nister Sindh, Pir
Mazharul Haq during his visit to Shikarpur last month promised them to solve the problem within two weeks, which have
been well passed. When they contacted the sources in the Education Ministry in Karachi, they were asked to wait till the
announcement of Sindh budget, after which according to these sources the offer letter will be issued to these candidates
based on tests conducted by the IBA. However, it is yet to be seen if they get justice this time.
(By Farooq Baloch, The News-20, 19/06/2008)

                            KU and NED fight over 5 feet strip of deserted land
KARACHI: A small disagreement has developed between the University of Karachi and NED University of Engineering
and Technology over a strip of land that falls in KU‘s jurisdiction.

NED University needs a 30-foot wide road for its hostels towards Bhayani Heights but the problem is that KU is only
ready to give 25 feet. Sources said that the NED administration is in a hurry to make the road.

―NED has its own path from its residential colony towards Abul Hassan Ispahani road but they don‘t use it,‖ complained
said KU engineer Adeel A Siddiqui while talking to Daily Times. ―KU can‘t give [that much] as the hostel for IBA is
planned and if KU need lands for a pipeline or something else in the future there will be no land for development work.‖
He added, however, that he was not an official spokesman and the KU registrar would be better able to comment on the
situation. However, despite repeated attempts, Daily Times was unable to immediately reach KU Registrar Rais Alvi and
NED Registrar Javed Aziz Khan.

The assistant to the NED Register, Anees Ahmed, told Daily Times that they were not asking for the land for the students
at the hostels, but for the students who had to cross that deserted area to go to campus. ―Many students have been
robbed of mobile phones and other valuables,‖ he said. ―KU should not have any objection to it.‖

According to sources, on March 28, 2008 the governor wrote KU, saying that the matter should be settled for the
students. The KU Registrar wrote NED offering the 30 feet strip in return for 0.79 acres. However, this has not been
confirmed or denied.
(By Qazi Asif, DailyTimes-B1, 19/06/2008)

                                               Dysfunctional schools
EDUCATIONAL institutions: bastions of learning, knowledge and training? They should be, but are they? In Pakistan,
some schools, especially in the rural areas, present an entirely different picture. According to a report, in Fata schools
have emerged as hotbeds of corruption. Political authorities are said to hand out contracts for the construction of school
buildings to the tribal elders to win their support for government plans. It is then left at the discretion of these chiefs to
determine the fate of these buildings. Usually buildings are constructed but not all of them are run as schools. Some are
used as hujras — male guest houses. Directorate officials claim that the political turmoil, the worsening law and order
situation and burgeoning levels of poverty have raised the dropout rate. That may explain why some schools are not
functional. But what about the others?

It is disquieting that this trend is part of the larger phenomenon of dysfunctional schools all over the country. Thousands
of ghost schools exist in different provinces — they are shown in the records with a teaching staff that draws salaries but
no institution functions on the ground. This, along with widespread absenteeism and the ‗visa system‘ through which
teachers pay a portion of their salaries to high-ups in order to secure their absences, has contributed to impaired
functioning. It is a pity that education which is the harbinger of hope for the future is being thwarted so blatantly.
Dysfunctional schools put the entire system in disarray. They exacerbate the problem of the dearth of schools as the
ones that exist and consume funds do not serve the purpose they were meant for. There is a relentless demand for a rise
in the amount of funds that should be allocated to the education sector. But with existing resources being brazenly
misused for purposes which have nothing to do with education, is this demand valid? Given the low level of spending on
education in Pakistan no one would deny the need to enhance the education budget. But it is important that the focus
should be on capacity-building, monitoring and accountability.
(Dawn-7, 20/06/2008)

                                     Promoting school health in Pakistan
The notion of school health promotion is uncommon while debating the existing situation of schools in Pakistan. It is a
common belief that schools are a nursery for unhygienic food and that they barely provide first aid to the students within
the school setting. But school health promotion, in its true sense, goes beyond this restricted view.

Let us take a quick reconnaissance of health promotion in our schools. It
would be interesting to know the percentage of educational institutions here
with the facility of a doctor or a nurse within the premises. Is health education
is even a part of their school curriculum?

Many, if not all, schools today have become the target market for the corporate
world. Academic exercises that were the hallmark of school culture are now
being organised by these business groups under the heading of ―awareness
programmes‖. Visit any school, especially in the urban areas, and notice the
activities which were previously organised by students and teachers being
arranged by these marketers who may in actuality be least concerned about
the promotion of health among the children. Children for them are the
consumers with the schools as the shopping malls.

In his introduction to Noam Chomsky‘s Profit Over People, Robert W. Mc Chesney writes: ―Our time represents an era in
which business forces are stronger and the more aggressive faceless organised opposition than ever before.‖
Our schools truly represent these words. The idea that seems to run in these business companies is that they sell
anything and everything in schools.

Coming back to basic health resources in schools, most of the schools do not even have enough space to support a
healthy lifestyle. The bungalow schools do not even have enough space for proper seating arrangements for the students
let alone the open grounds for physical activities. A majority of the children here experience school life without actually
being involved in any sports. They remain ignorant of the bliss of happily running around the huge school grounds during
recess and participating in healthy sports competitions. It may sound like a faraway dream to the bungalow school
student. In comparison, the public sector schools may not fall under the issue of spaciousness but a bigger question for
them may be how to utilise their spacious grounds.

Besides loading up the children with heavy school bags, a by -product of the modern-educational system, children also
have to carry the additional load water bottles, no matter which school they go to. No one questions anyone and no one
is held accountable for it. It‘s just that the parents have lost faith in the drinking water made available at schools.

Food is another important aspect of a healthy school environment. Hardly any school here encourages the culture of
eating home-cooked meals. Children are rarely encouraged to bring home-made food to classroom or school parties. The
school canteens, not considered a part of school health promotion, offer all kinds of forbidden junk food usually
inaccessible to the children at home.

Similarly vendors stationed outside the school gates are allowed to play havoc with the health of our young ones. One
wonders whose responsibility it is to keep an eye on such enterprises outside the educational institutions.
A common complaint made by both students and parents alike is the amount of stress being put on them by the so -called
―modern education system‖. The children along with their parents have to run from pillar to post in order to acquire
knowledge. The unnecessary rush results in putting everyone under great stress, so much so that it becomes difficult for
children to grapple with the situation and the inability to manage stress causes sever da mage to their health which may
lead to other life-threatening illnesses later on in life.

If the teachers could be educated about the basic health issues, they can be the first ones to not only identify the high-
risk students but to also refer them to the right health professionals.

School health promotion calls for an integrative approach. The few schools that boast of having the services of nurses
and doctors think that health promotion is their responsibility alone. But in order to approach holistic health promotion, we
must realise that all school members, including the parents, need to get involved in making a school one that promotes
healthy practices. A school health nurse could play a vital role in achieving this goal.

According to the Alma-Ata declaration of 1978: ―Schools could indeed provide efficient means of educating young people
... to build in them a good understanding of what health means, how to achieve it, and how it contributes to the social and
economic development.‖

In Pakistan the prevalent notion of health is the absence of a clinically recognisable disease. However, WHO in 1947
defined health in terms of total wellbeing and discouraged the conceptualisation of health as simply the absence of
disease. A commonly accepted definition of health given by the noted epidemiologist Milton Terris is taken as the
beginning of the modern definition of health. ―Health,‖ according to him, ―is a state of physical, mental and social
wellbeing and the ability to function and not merely the absence of illness and infirmity.‖

Neither do we educate our children on health issues nor do we prioritise keep health promotion in our educational
institutions. There are many ways to bring about a change. It should not, however, be an issue of scarcity of resources
that may cause restrictions in initiating a change.

Organising health awareness programmes in school can also bring about a change in the teachers and students‘ attitude
about promoting health in school. Physical education, regular grooming, counseli ng and a friendly attitude in students and
teachers are all important ingredients of school health promotion.
A qualified as well as competent school health nurse can become a catalyst in promoting a healthy school lifestyle. There
is also a great need to keep a check over what is being sold in the school canteen and what is on offer outside the school
at chutti time.

We also need to revisit our school curriculum while keeping in mind how health friendly our schools have become in the
recent past. Schools in fact can become the nuclei of the public healthcare system through which primary prevention may
be achieved. If successful in inculcating healthy habits in our youth, we would eventually be educating a much larger
number of people in society who can go on to become the ambassadors of a healthy lifestyle. Hence a mass level
approach is achievable via child-to-child and child-to-parent health education models. Children brought up in a healthy
environment can contribute towards a stronger nation.
(By Saleema Gulzar, Dawn-23, 22/06/2008)

                                       Private sector to run govt schools
Sindh plans to put government schools and dispensaries under private sector management for improving quality of
education and health services in the province.
In his budget speech, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said that the provincial government intended to associate private
sector, civil society and reputed NGOs and private bodies with the running and managing government schools,
dispensaries and other organisations.

This year‘s Rs267.8 billion provincial budget has earmarked a PSDP of Rs77.31 billion. The education budget has been
raised by 16 per cent to Rs19.5 billion while the health budget is up by 25 per cent up to Rs10.85 billion.
―The children of our peela schools (yellow coloured government school buildings) wearing peela uniform will never be
able to compete with children of private schools‘‘, the chief minister said while admitting about the poor quality of
education in government schools in his budget speech before the provincial assembly.

In his post-budget press conference, he elaborated his strategy for running public sector schools efficiently saying: ‗‘We
will give money to run schools-salaries of teachers and other employees and on other counts-but we will ask members of
civil society, NGO‘s or reputed private organisations to manage the affairs. The management efficiency will be judged by
the results of examinations and the quality of education and of course, the number of children-boys and girls- enrolled in
the school.

‗‘Government departments are expected to set up rules for public-private partnership‘‘, a principal of a government school
said, expressing fears that eventually this concept may become bogged down under files on desks of bureaucrats.
After visiting two government hospitals in Karachi, the chief minister wondered as to how the hospitals would be running
in the remote areas. He announced upgrading district hospitals, making it compulsory for government teachers, doctors
and officers to serve at least for three years in remote areas of the province. For this, they will be given incentives in
salaries, residence and other facilities. He wants private sector to get associated in running of schools and dispensaries
and other government organisations in the remote rural areas.

Among other measures, the provincial government also plans to improve its monitoring of economic indicators by setting
up a Sindh Data Centre in the Sindh Bureau of Statistics.
‗‘We are in consultation with Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC), a Canadian aided private consultancy to
help us in gathering of relevant information to process and carry out analysis‘‘, a source in Sindh government said.

Two more centres-Urban Development Centre and Rural Development Centre-are being set up to monitor economic and
social indicators at the micro level in cities and villages. An allocation of Rs100 million has been made in the budget of
2008-09 for the purpose. The idea is to produce an annual economic survey of the province.

Officials say that some information on economic indicators has been gathered about the last ten months. Information for
two more months are needed to prepare a comprehensive economic survey report for 2007-08 which may be available
by October/November. Informal talk with some officials revealed that there is a realisation about capacity limitations in
planning, development and financial management. ‗‘The fundamental flaw is lack of credible information on ground
realities‘‘, a senior official admitted who did not hesitate to acknowledge that a portion of Rs200 billion amount invested in
the province‘s planning and development over the last five years was not so well spent.

For improving the resource position, the provincial government has revived the project for setting up a single revenue
collection authority and separating tax assessment and collection job from land management as is being done now by the
provincial Board of Revenue.

The present Rs267.7 billion budget has been drawn up for the third consecutive year on an interim order passed by
President Musharraf in July 2006. However, the chief minister has expressed the hope that eighth reconstituted National
Finance Corporation‘s award will, ‗‘come in weeks, not in months or years‘‘.

The chief minister‘s optimism was based on the fact that political alliance at the federal level and in all the four provinces
was gradually consolidating and apparently a substantial ground for working out an economic consensus has already
been achieved. At the post-budget press conference, the chief minister who also holds the portfolio of finance, planning
and development announced to take up the issue of sales tax on services with the federal government as informally
decided by ministers from all the four provinces on June 4 at Lahore.
He also felt confident that in the next NFC award, the population will not be made the only criterion for determining the
share in resources. Other factors like poverty, tax collection and such other universally accepted factors will also be given
due weight while allocating share of resources to the provinces.

On the fiscal side, the Sindh budget has taken two measures. The first is complete abolition of a stamp duty at rate of
0.01 per cent on face value of shares transacted electronically at the Karachi Stock Exchange. This innovative tax was
proposed in 1994 by then advisor on finance Syed Asad Ali Shah.

More than generating revenue, the purpose of collecting stamp duty at the rate of one paisa of Rs10 face value of share
on its electronic transfer transaction was documentation that could facilitate correct assessment of trade and business
incomes of the stock exchange investors. This stamp duty was kept in limbo till 2006 when it was made a part of Sindh
Finance Bill 2006. Its implementation was delayed again till the year 2008. ‗‘The management of Karachi Stock Exchange
had reservations on this levy, and in order to encourage further development of capital market, the government of Sindh
has decided to do away with this stamp duty‘‘, the chief minister announced in his budget speech.

Qaim Ali Shah also an increased the rate of infrastructure cess from 0.5 to 0.8 per cent of the C and F value of imported
cargo being brought into Sindh, another tax introduced in 1994. The business is already angry on levy on some aspects
of taxation in federal budget and this increase of 0.3 per cent on import may further sour government-business
(By Sabihuddin Ghausi, Dawn-Economic & Business Review, Page-1, 23/06/2008)

                                    ‘29,035 schools in Sindh without power’
KARACHI, June 23: Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul Haq has disclosed that 29,035 schools in the province are
still functioning without electricity though Rs2.3 billion were allocated to district governments in the outgoing financial y ear
for providing missing facilities to about 30,000 schools.

Of the total 49,028 schools in the province 7,572 were not functional, while among the rest 29,035 were running without
power and 5,037 without furniture, the minister said in reply to the questions asked by MPAs Humera Alwani and Dr
Muhammad Rafique Banbhan during the question hour in the assembly session on Monday.

He said the dilapidated condition of thousands of schools spoke volumes of corruption and mismanagement in the
utilisation of funds. A high-level inquiry was being carried out into the acts of corruption and mismanagement of the
previous government, he said, adding that if charges of corruption or inefficiency proved ―no one would be spared‖. He
said legal action would be taken against all the corrupt elements.

The minister explained that this government had planned to provide all missing facilities to the schools, including
electricity and furniture. In the outgoing fiscal year (2007-08) Rs2.3billion had been allocated, including Rs100 million
funds for each district, to provide such facilities, he said, adding that a similar amount would be provided in the financial
year 2008-09.

Elaborating the details of foreign funding provided to improve the education system and its standard during the period
from January 2006 to April 2008, he said the Asian Development Bank gave Rs397.047 million for the Decentralized
Elementary Education Project, Sindh. The Canadian International Development Agency gave Rs392 million for the Sindh
Elementary Teachers Training Project. The World Food Programme funded in the form of edible oil for assistance to girls‘
primary education in Sindh; the Aga Khan Foundation, USAID and the Royal Netherlands Embassy gave over Rs27.941
million for releasing confidence and creativity as well for early childhood development; the Toad Sector Development
Directorate/Asian Development Bank gave Rs10.2 million for the road safety education project, US consulate gave more
than Rs1.807 million for the project ‗Access to English Language Education For All‘; the Commonwealth Education Fund,
Save the Children gave Rs3.305 million; Unesco provided Rs602,326 for Education for All, Rs1.204 million for Teachers
Training Programme and Rs575,386 for Translation and Reproduction of Education Booklet; and the Asia Foundation
gave Rs4.692 million for literacy, health care, skill development and early childhood education.

In reply to another question, he said the Sindh government intended to put a check on the high fees being charged by
private schools in order to improve the overall education standard. He also said that the government would ensure that all
private schools teach Sindhi language to their students when the schools would reopen after summer vacation.

Explaining the functions and responsibilities of the directorate of privately managed institutions, Pir Mazharul Haq said
the directorate was fostering students success by facilitating, monitoring and evaluating the use of current, proven and
effective instructional practices to ensure that each student acquire knowledge, skills and core values necessary to
achieve personal success and enrich the country. Besides, he said, it‘s functioning to create a thriving, dynamic and
inspiring educational environment in the privately managed institutions in the province that produces self-directed lifelong
learners who can achieve full potentials in their academic, creative, personal, physical, moral and spiritual development.

He said the directorate was responsible to monitor and assist about 12,000 private institutions from secondary to
bachelor levels to improve the quality of education, registration and renewal of registration of private institutions and their
inspection through committees constituted for the purpose.

Replying to another question, he acknowledged that some big and reputed schools charged very high fee from students
and they raised the fee at their whim. However, he said, only those parents get their wards admitted to these schools who
can afford high fees.
(Dawn-19, 24/06/2008)

                                            NED clarifies report on land
KARACHI: NED University of Engineering and Technology has issued a clarification to news that appeared in Daily
Times on June 19 titled ‗KU and NED fight over 5 feet strip of deserted land‘.

NED University was established in 1977 by the government, taking 100 acres from the large surplus of land available
inside the 1,500-acre plot set aside earlier for the University of Karachi. Subsequently, more land was taken out from KU
for IBA.

The only present outlet from NED University for hostel students going towards Maskan is by one path leading to Abul
Hasan Ispahani Road through thick vegetation in the unoccupied part of KU. In view of the lack of any other outlet for
hostel students, KU was requested to allow NED to clear one 30-feet wide strip outside its staff colony boundary wall.
The area is unguarded and there have been several cases in which NED students have been robbed at gunpoint.
NED repeatedly requested KU to take action, following which the governor of Sindh directed KU to transfer the strip of
land on March 28. NED University is, now, taking over the strip of land as authorized and has said there is no dispute.
(DailyTimes-B1, 25/06/2008)

                                         KU hit hard by cut in HEC funds
KARACHI, June 27: The federal finance ministry‘s recent decision to stop the release of the Higher Education
Commission‘s (HEC) fourth quarterly instalment of development and recurring grant of over Rs8 billion has pushed the
University of Karachi into a grave financial crisis, Dawn has learnt.

Research work, which was already hampered by the power outages in recent months, has virtually ground to a halt while
a number of projects, particularly those relating to new infrastructural facilities, face an uncertain future.
Sources say that the recent announcement that contractual employees will be regularised, and the 20 per cent raise in
government employees‘ salaries announced in the budget, will add to the burden on the cash-strapped university, which
made many such appointments in recent years. It is being predicted that unless the HEC comes to the university‘s
rescue, KU will not be able to pay utility bills or staff salaries, and will fall into debt.

The public sector university runs over 50 departments and research institutes, and boasts about 700 fa culty members, a
large number of non-teaching staff and approximately 20,000 students. Inside sources say that the institution is barely
meeting its expenses these days and desperately awaiting relief from the HEC, which has not yet released the fourth
quarterly instalment of Rs25 million that was due in April.
―The HEC recently informed us that it is releasing some amount but I don‘t know how much,‖ said Syed Mohammed
Khalid, the university‘s director finance. ―It is believed that there will be a 25 to 30 per cent cut in the instalment due. The
meagre amount that will be sent falls under the funds worth Rs1.5 billion, which the prime minister recently announced for
over 50 public sector universities.‖

Referring to the situation as ―critical,‖ Mr Khalid said that the institution already faced a deficit of Rs27 million and a
reduction in its grant would amount to pushing the institution into debt. ―The HEC has been raising KU‘s grant every year
and the university has made a lot of progress,‖ he remarked. ―KU received Rs575 million in 2005-06, which was
increased to Rs790 million in 2007-08. However, we did not receive the amount for the raise due in staff salaries last year
and it was expected that the HEC would allocate Rs1,086 million for 2008-09.‖

‘The dark ages’
Mr Khalid believes that the recent developments have come as a rude shock to all public sector universities. ―It now
seems as though KU will not even get last year‘s amount and if that happens, staff salaries will not be able to be paid.
The 20 per cent increase in salaries announced in the recent budget cannot be met by the university in the current
situation,‖ he commented, pointing out that the institution‘s only source of income is student fees, which have not been
raised since last year.

―The university collected Rs379 million as fees in 2007-08. We have no immediate plans to raise fees this year, but if the
situation persists we will have to revise all our expenditures, which means that all ongoing works – developmental or
otherwise – will be affected.‖

The president of the Karachi University Teachers‘ Society (Kuts), Dr Aqeel Ahmed, told Dawn that it appeared as though
all the progress made in recent years would come to a halt and the university would regress to the time when it had only
enough money to pay salaries and the concept of research was alien.
―This situation will push our universities into the dark ages,‖ he warned. ―We are being asked to generate our own
revenue, which means the commercialisation of academic affairs. The faculty o f social sciences will suffer the most, and
it will also lead to a brain-drain where employees will be forced to work in poor conditions.‖

Dr Ahmed said that all universities were contemplating observing a black day as a mark of protest against the
government‘s decision. ―No doubt the country faces an economic slump,‖ he conceded, ―but education should not be
compromised at this critical juncture.‖

Lack of planning alleged
During the past seven years, KU has witnessed growth in infrastructural facilities a nd research institutes. Most of these
projects await completion and complete functionality due to the lack of basic facilities and funds.

Such projects include the department of food science and technology and the National Centre for Proteomics, whose
buildings were inaugurated a few months ago but whose facilities are not yet functional. The Umer Basha Institute of
Technology and Dr Feroz Ahmed Institute of Mass Communications are in a similar situation, while work on the
construction of the department of biotechnology is incomplete.

Asked about the matter, the director finance said that ―these projects will suffer, directly or indirectly, from the current
situation, but we are trying to sort the problems out using our own resources.‖
Sources say that all problems related to new infrastructure were mainly caused by a lack of planning and bad
management on part of the university administration. Most of these facilities, which were initiated under the Public Sector
Development Programme (PSDP), couldn‘t be completed within the allocated amount because the university failed to
start the projects on time.

How much the financial affairs of KU are transparent can be gauged from the fact that no audit report has ever been
presented in the meetings of the bodies concerned during the last few years, nor does the budget document contain the
details of the PSDP projects.

A significant lapse of time caused an increase in the construction cost of different projects and the university, instead of
asking for money from the HEC, diverted its own funds for their completion.

Sources add that this was done on the request of the building and utilisation committee in the hope that the amount
would be later reimbursed by the HEC.
However, this hope has not materialised so far. Also, there is a big question mark over the future smooth running of these
new facilities as they were developed without taking into account the chronic problem of electricity outages.
―Instead of spending money on the construction of new infrastructure, it would have been more appropriate to invest the
money on strengthening the existing departments and setting up a power generation and distribution system at the
university. Persistent power outages have become a major constraint in carrying out research i n recent years, besides
causing huge losses to the institution,‖ a teacher said.
(By Faiza Ilyas, Dawn-17, 28/06/2008)

                                            Schools without teachers
A FAMILY car driver, lucky enough to earn somewhat more than other drivers in a similar position, asked for a raise

At the top of the statement of expenses that he submitted to justify his demand was the school fee of Rs2000 which he
has to pay for his children.

Why doesn‘t he send them to a free government school? There is no education there, was his straight-faced reply. It was
hard for him to believe that his ‗sahib‘ was ‗educated‘ not in a government school in metropolitan Karachi but in a school
run by a town council in the dusty backyard of the country when it was a British colony. It may not have been the best of
education but at a fee of an anna a month, it was practically free and also good enough to win him a place, ten years
later, in independent Pakistan‘s best college at a monthly fee of Rs18. Another six years later, he entered its best service
cadre at a salary of Rs350 with a dearness allowance of Rs25 thrown in for good measure.

In any case there was no choice. Good and expensive schools were then to be found only in large cities. In a small-town,
the like of schoolmaster Dilip Singh made up for that handicap as far as a human being could by sweating his heart out
with pupils squatting on jute mats. He had to. The class IV passing-out examination was conducted by a visiting inspector
and Dilip Singh‘s career depended on the result.

We have made enormous gains since independence in some areas and in others have paid a heavy price. It is the
heaviest in education and that too, at the primary stage. The explanation is simple: children of ministers, planners and
administrators go to schools run by foreign missions and rich men‘s local foundations. Consequently, the public
expenditure on education as a percentage of the GDP in Pakistan is one of the lowest in the world and is still falling.
According to the United Nations Development Programme‘s latest Human Development Report, it was 2.6 per cent in
1991 and in 2005 it fell to 2.3 per cent. By contrast, in Bangladesh it has risen from 1.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent and in
India from 3.7 per cent to 3.8 per cent.

Universities and colleges have come up in large numbers to train managers in business and finance but there are hardly
any to train teachers. The havoc we have played with our basic education is well illustrated by the data placed before the
Sindh Assembly by the education minister. Out of a total of 49,028 schools in the province, 7,572 are inoperative or
abandoned but teachers continue to draw salaries to share with the relevant officials as bribes. Out of the schools that
are functioning, 34,000 have no electricity or desks. In this deplorable state, can a low-paid driver be blamed for staking
one-fourth of his salary to educate his children in a private school if he wishes them to do better in life than he has?

The position may be better in the other provinces but it is only marginally so. The only redeeming feature of the past
Punjab administration headed by Chaudhry Parvaiz Elahi is said to be the remarkable effort made to improve the
condition of schools in the province and to add to their number.

The vacant posts of teachers in Sindh, which run into thousands, have been repeatedly advertised but in the ensuing
tussle over personal and ethnic quotas, appointments were made only through the backdoor. Arbab Ghulam Rahim is
said to have taken away thousands of blank appointment letters for teachers before he vacated the chief minister‘s office
to contest the elections.

Promising selection on merit, the present government assures there will be no quotas but a ‗Benazir quota‘ for the poor. It
would be the bad luck of the meritorious if Benazir‘s poor outnumbered them, which they surely will. The prime minister in
fact proposes to make all appointments in the government — even in the corporations where this authority lies with the
board of directors — subject to this quota through a task force of his own. Equity and merit will become definite casualties
to this ingenious device. Those who do not expect to profit by it, thus, stand forewarned to question it in the court of law
or before the ombudsman.

The transfer of schools from the district councils to the provincial government, on which the Sindh education minister
seems to have set his mind, would in itself improve neither the standard of instruction nor the physical facilities. Only
control over funds and teachers will change hands. The scope for embezzlement and arbitrary appointments will remain
unchanged. A more radical remedy, thus, needs to be explored.

The primary and middle, if not the secondary, education staying with the local councils makes good sense but the
management of schools is best transferred to the voluntary organisations or philanthropic individuals. If charities like Edhi
and Chhipa have all but taken over the ambulance, disaster relief and burial services in Karachi, there is no reason why
similar organisations sho uld not come forth to help in managing schools if the government were to assist and encourage

In a collaborative arrangement the government could undertake to construct the buildings, provide lump sum recurring
grant and then leave the management of the schools to voluntary organisations. As the privately managed and directly
controlled schools get to work together, the community itself, and not the ministers, will decide whether the scheme
should be retained and expanded or abandoned altogether. There is no other hope for our school system to work for the
benefit of the urban poor and the rural population as a whole. The remarkable contribution made by The Citizens
Foundation encourages the extension of the idea to a wider area. The international donors, too, should welcome it.

The Asian Development Bank, which is believed to have withheld its grant for education because of ‗corruption and poor
delivery of services‘ in the public sector may also release the withheld millions. Under this arrangement t he schools will
be rehabilitated to the benefit of the community and of the government. The losers will be the nazims, the ministers and
the officials who use the posts of teachers for patronage or kickbacks.
(By Kunwar Idris, Dawn-7, 29/06/2008)


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