Transgender: A myth!

According to the 2009 Supreme Court of Pakistan decision that the transgenders are normal citizen of Pakistan and they have right to get their national identity card. Thus decision includes their equality in everything; such as, their right in inheritance after death of parents, job opportunities, opportunity to education etc. However, the decision is only confined in papers not in practice.

It may be due to a myth which evolved in our society since decades that they cannot do anything. They can be only singer, dancer or prostitute. But in reality the picture is different.

In fact, most of the transgenders never get a chance to acquire education in the regular schools due to discriminatory treatment. They have no job opportunities, health and financial security in our society. Hence, they are forced to make their lives as a prostitute, singer or dancer. Additionally, transgenders are also not usually encouraged to live in our neighborhood (mohalla). They are compelled to establish their colonies outside of regular communities. It means, these people are not still accepted by our society as a human being.

Nonetheless, Punjab has the most transgender population and second is Sindh, according to the 6th census of country. But there is no any welfare programme for them at government level in these provinces. First time, the KP government has extended Sehat insurance programme to transgenders. Secondly, the BISP has also taken the initiative recently to introduce transgender as a beneficiary in the programme.

In nutshell, transgenders have also the right to ambitions. There should be quota for their jobs in private and government sector. The government also needs to pay a heed about their rights, seriously. They can live a respectful and prosperous life if we all cooperate and encourage them by considering them equal to us.

WAJID ALI BROHI,
Hyderabad

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Citizen reporting mobile app launched

While governments obfuscate the provision of essential services behind pages upon pages of data, real or fudged, a service was launched to empower those directly affected by the lack of services. Alif Ailaan, an education campaign which has been working for the last five years to make sure that Pakistan’s leaders understand the urgency of the education crisis, launched on Wednesday “Taleem Do!”, a citizen reporting application and an online platform in Islamabad. “Every Pakistani child deserves to be in school, and have a quality education. Do government schools provide that chance to every Pakistani child?” asked Alif Ailaan’s campaign director Mosharraf Zaidi during the launch of the application. “Voice of the people of Pakistan can change this,” he stressed. Talking about the vision behind the app, Alif Ailaan’s Head of Digital Media Imran Ghazali said that they had developed the app “to enable and empower the citizens.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2018

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AIOU to open institute in Kyrgyzstan

ISLAMABAD: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) got the approval of the federal cabinet to set up its distance learning institute in Kyrgyzstan.

The cabinet on Tuesday approved the proposal for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Educational Scientific Productive Complex International of Kyrgyzstan (ESPC) and the AIOU in the field of distance education.

The University has sought the approval of the cabinet through the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for signing the MoU. Vice Chancellor Dr Shahid Siddiqui on Wednesday termed the cabinet’s approval a major step forward towards the establishment of its centre in Kyrgyzstan.
HEC provides free online access to AIOU

As per the proposed MoU, International University of Kyrgyzstan (IUK) and AIOU will establish a joint distance learning institute for the benefit of their students and academic staff. The proposed institute will be set up in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyz Republic, in support of government of Pakistan and HEC. Faculty members of AIOU will be engaged for the purpose.
Kyrgyz-Pak Institute of Distance Education will undertake academic research, publications, academic information, computational science and optimisation of applications performance on HPC systems.

AIOU will provide the technical expertise and academic support and ESPC will arrange space, equipment, and staff to run the institute.

There will be joint delivery of programs in various disciplines through online or blended learning facilities.

The two sides will also collaborate in online offering Arabic, Urdu, Russian, Kyrgyz and English, linguistics courses or other programs and to establish linguistics studies centre;AIOU will train the master trainers in Arabic and English languages to cascade the same in ESPC.

They will also explore mutually interested fields and conduct cooperative research projects, such as ICT and e-Learning programmes applications in general education and science, technical and vocational education.

AIOU’s international collaboration and exchange office in-charge Dr Zahid Majeed said the necessary process for setting up the institute will be started soon, in light of the cabinet’s approval.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2018.

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