Historical school of Larkana completes 100 years

LARKANA: The historical Government Pilot Higher Secondary School in Larkana completed 100 years of functioning here on Wednesday.

To celebrate the memorable event, students and teachers of the school took out a large rally, marching through various roads and concluded the march at Jinnah Bagh.

Principal Allah Bux Soomro told newsmen that over one hundred thousand students have so far obtained education from this historical school who are now serving the country in various capacities in Pakistan and abroad.

He said that Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh, first woman deputy speaker of the National Assembly (NA) Dr Begum Ashraf Abbasi, Senator Khalid Mahmood Soomro, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Additional Chief Secretary Roshan Ali Shaikh, World Bank Director Ali Nawaz Memon, former MNA Khalid Iqbal Memon, former Senator Dr Safdar Abbasi, ex-BISE chairman Mahboob Shaikh, Secretary Ghulam Abbas Detho, Haji Munawar Abbasi, Gilgit-Baltistan IGP Sanaullah Abbasi were also educated at this school.

He said that previously co-education was in effect here but later separate girls’ schools were established.

He said that 6,300 students are enrolled from class VI to XII at the moment for whom only 140 teachers are working to impart education in 43 classes while 27 non-teaching staff is also posted here.

He claimed that the school is one of those schools of Sindh which has the best enrollment in the province.

He further said that a 100-years festival will be organised which will be held from February 11 to February 16 during which students will participate in various stalls, exhibitions, quizzes, speech competitions while informative educational programmes will also be arranged.

“A musical night will also be held in the end in which renowned Sufi singers will perform,” he said.

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30 million children out of school in Pakistan: PEN CEO

Lahore – Pakistan is in the midst of an unparalleled education crisis. There are 22.6 million out-of-school children in Pakistan which accounts for 44 percent of all children in the country. According to Alif Ailaan, children who are enrolled in schools receive a poor quality of education, especially students enrolled in government schools. Government schools’ students lag behind their private school counterparts regarding reading and arithmetic skills. Progressive Education Network (PEN) is a non-profit organisation that is working to address the education crisis in Pakistan. Presently, PEN is providing quality education to 50,436 students through a network of 227 public schools across Pakistan.

We sat down with Dr Muhammad Najeeb Khan in PEN’s head office in Lahore to ask him about PEN’s work. Dr Najeeb has recently joined PEN as its Chief Executive and wants to see it grow across the country.

PEN CEO is a former civil servant – who previously headed different development programs, including the Benazir Income Support Program. Dr Najeeb is a medical professional with specialization in Community Medicine, but he has also spent a significant time managing human development projects in civil service.

He has had a long-term interest in primary education and brings private sector business experience and international fundraising exposure, also, his passion and vigor to this venture.
Question: What was the rationale behind the founding of PEN?

ANSWER: Progressive Education Network was founded by seven close friends; who are educationists, bankers, professionals, and people in the business.

Pakistan has the worst indicators regarding infant mortality rate, infant health, child stunting, and early childhood education in the world. There are nearly 30 million children out of school in Pakistan which has a total population of 220 million and ranks 6th in the world by population.

With an impending youth bulge in Pakistan’s population, our failure to act now can lead to grave consequences: poverty trap, sheer illiteracy, extremism, and high crime. Eighty-eight percent of the marginalized families send their children to government schools – where students lag 2.5 years behind their private school counterparts regarding basic literacy and numeracy skills.
PEN was established as a non-person centric, transparent organization that works to address the education crisis in Pakistan. We believe that given the extent of the problem, it is no longer just the government’s responsibility. The private sector will have to play an integral role in addressing these problems.

Therefore, we work under a public-private partnership model. PEN adopts underserved government schools for a minimum period of 10 years. This allows PEN to build on government’s existing infrastructure and implement reforms focusing on student enrollment, retention, drop-out, and international academic standards.

PEN model focuses on the provision and training of teachers, student learning and assessment, and character-building in addition to providing vital missing facilities.

By improving education delivery in government schools, we are able to reach the underprivileged children given that Government schools cater to low-income families.
Can you tell me how you reform government schools?

In addition to operating 227 public schools nationwide, PEN is also launching PEN Academy – an online portal with learning resources in Urdu for Pakistani children.

Our goal is to reach 1 million children through PEN-adopted schools by 2025 and have 5 million children benefiting from our learning resources through PEN Academy.

Let me explain how we transform under-performing public schools after adopting them. Before adopting a school, we conduct a baseline survey of the school. This survey includes assessing a school’s physical facilities, community engagement, net and gross enrollment, student achievement, and teachers’ evaluation. Based on this, we develop an intervention plan that addresses the shortcomings of each school. After a lot of internal debates and brainstorming sessions, we have evolved a model for a PEN school. This model lays out the number of classrooms in each school, student-teacher ratio, number of washrooms per student, etc. We compare the surveyed school to this model and devise an intervention plan.

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Our academic interventions in adopted schools include the addition of teachers to reduce student-teacher ratio, teachers’ training, student assessment, student and teacher incentives, etc. It also involves imparting leadership skills to head teachers.

Under-performing government schools usually have poor physical facilities. While our focus is on academics, we also want to create an environment that is conducive to learning. Hence, PEN builds classrooms and washrooms where needed, provides clean and cold drinking water, and furniture for all students and teachers. We also appoint a maid in the school who cleans the premises twice daily.

PEN has a rigorous monitoring and evaluation mechanism. Our staff members visit schools daily and record their observations through a mobile app which relays this geo-tagged data to the head office. This information helps us to determine our performance on a regular basis.

We at PEN are passionate about life-skills training to the students and computer education. We have established computer labs in our elementary-level schools and launched a pilot project of digital learning. As part of life-skills training, we have included co-curricular activities in the curriculum. PEN students participate in sports competitions, debates, creative writing and summer camps. We organize Student Week every academic year which is a week-long event featuring inter-school competitions.
What is your core competency?

Teachers’ training. We have a very comprehensive teacher training program which is held throughout the academic year. During the summer and winter holidays, we organize longer training sessions. Internal and external trainers deliver training; external trainers come from LUMS, GCU, University of Education, etc. We have a very high attendance rate at our training programs which focus on classroom management, child psychology and improve teachers’ subject competency. We also cover interactive learning and encourage a participatory approach to learning among students.

What are your goals?

We are driven by our goal to provide quality education to a million children by the year 2025 and have 5 million children benefiting from the learning resources on PEN Academy.
What are some of the challenges you are facing?

Our biggest challenges are funding and reforming Government teachers. We are revamping our website, frequent updates on social media and better donor stewardship.

One of our continuing challenges is student retention. We see that that in Government schools you have 100 students in KG but only a third stay in school until Class 5. Most of these children drop out and start working in the fields or at small shops. The drop out ratio is even worse among girls because of child marriage in rural areas. We are addressing these issues by increasing our contact with the parents. We’ve increased the frequency of the parent-teacher meetings and are now using these meetings to highlight the benefits of education.

What do you, personally, spend most of your time on?
I am an avid reader and conduct a fair amount of research on educational initiatives around the world to learn what may work in our scenario. My interests are philosophy and comparative religion.

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Education system

In our Balochistan, the illiteracy rates going to high because of no proper schooling for the children. Most of the schools are without or lesser teachers and most of the schools have not building. Children are deprived of their basic needs.
Government should concentrate on existent education system which is the curse and most of teacher and staff are not being paid regularly. Why Balochistan is so neglected?

ZAINAB BATOOL

Karachi

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Board of Secondary Education Karachi’s website hacked

A group of hackers hacked on Saturday evening the website of the Board of Secondary Education Karachi.

The group behind the hacking of the website (www.bsek.edu.pk) identified itself as ‘SMOG’.

Students use the website for exam results and details about admissions in Karachi’s educational institutions.

In January 2018, another group of hackers had taken over the website of the PTI.

The text on the hacked page stated that whether or not change comes in the PTI, change has come on the party’s website.
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Knowledge economy

Pakistan’s overall economic outlook undergoes various loopholes. Its GDP growth rate is around 5.8 per cent. Its per capita income is $1,600 and about 40pc of the country’s population lives below the poverty line. In this backdrop, fostering knowledge economy is extremely important. Knowledge economy means to value knowledge, ideas and promote innovations, talent and technology and also respect prosperity and diversity.

Despite the fact that education is the backbone of a knowledge-based economy, the state of education though portrays depressing look. Literacy rate is nearly 58pc.About 22 million children are out of school. It’s rare to find quality education in the country. From primary to university level education system is outdated and outlying to compete with global learning teaching standard outcomes. Teaching staff is not fully trained on pedagogy methods. Thesis and research papers produced by universities are of low quality. The education system instead of producing intellectual human capital is creating a mob of illiterates and fundamentalists.

At the time of its creation, Pakistan had only one public institute that is Punjab University, but these days there are about 114 public and 78 private universities and colleges, some of which are recognised by the HEC. It is a matter of fact that institutions of higher learning contribute to prosperity and progress, which further leads to knowledge-based economy. There are not any hotbeds where intellectual arguments need to be refined into concrete realities. An educationist says, “Pakistan does not have even a single public sector university in the country that has an appropriate fully functional ‘Learning Management System’ and ‘University Governance’ aligning with global needs.”

This is the age of information technology, which is incredibly a worthy source of knowledge economy. It consumes and produces on the basis of intellectual capital, where technology and rapid information access play a key role in economic development and growth taking superiority over traditional drivers of growth; for example, low skilled labour and humancapital.

The global economy has got various transitions from agricultural economy to industrial economy to post-industrial economy and now to knowledge economy. The latest age has been marked by the upheavals in technological innovations and the globally competitive need for innovation with new products and process that develop from research community. Six modern technologies are considered highly important such as computers, micro-electronics, human-made materials, telecommunications, biotechnology and robotics. These technologies will make paradigm shift in businesses throughout world.

Pakistan is a youthful country. It consists of about 64% of young people below 30. Now the government is advised to build a knowledge-based economy through fostering new information technological universities. Universities and technical institutes need to be connected with hi-tech industries. Knowledge and innovation should be encouraged and rewarded. The government should increase the education budget up to 4pc of GDP and also increase the research and development budget. To build a pool of intellectuals and human capital need to have significant public policies. Brain drain should also be stopped. Pakistan also needs to thrive in socio-political and socio-economic institutions. It is time Pakistan needed an intellectual revolution than anything else to boost the economy and to compete with the changing global economic trends.

Knowledge economy will make Pakistan lead globally and to become 10th economic power in the world in coming three decades. Therefore, knowledge is our intellectual heritage; it needs to be utilised for nation-building.

By Murtaza Talpur
(The writer is a socioeconomic development professional with eight years’ experience in development and humanitarian sector).

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Education emergency

The crisis of our school education system is much deeper than is appreciated by state authorities in Islamabad. The good news is that there is realization of the extent of the crisis in concerned quarters, i.e. education bureaucracies in the Centre and provinces. Towards the end of 2018, a very well drafted policy framework was presented to the nation by the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) government. It detailed the urgent task of enrolling 22.84 million out of school children across the country, the bulk of whom should attend middle and secondary schools but cannot because there aren’t enough such schools in the country to begin with. The framework also recognised the need to bring up the net-enrolment rates which are among the lowest in the South Asian region.

Another aspect, not stressed enough in the framework, is the gradual withdrawal of the state from provision of this key public good. A report compiled by Alif Ailaan has documented that almost 40 percent of the school-going children are enrolled in private schools. Only a fraction of this percentage attends schools that cater to the elites and the upwardly mobile middle classes, whose tuition fees have been a subject of concern for the executive and judicial authorities of the state for quite some time. After having ordered a flat 20 percent reduction in tuition fees of such schools in December last year, the apex court has now sought a report on the implementation status of its ruling.

While judicial activism of this sort can provide a temporary relief to the vocal elites and upper-middle classes, the underlying problem that has caused the mushrooming of private schools remains unaddressed. That has to do with the state’s complete abdication of its responsibility to provide a good quality education to Pakistan’s children. The role of the state in provision of education cannot be stressed enough given the public nature of the good. By surrendering this responsibility to the market, the state has become complicit in an apartheid of sorts where those with means can afford quality education for their children who get an advantage over children from poor and lower-middle class households for no achievements of their own. This means that there are next to no chances opportunities for upward social mobility available to children born into poor households or those born away from cities, and that our society has become deeply fragmented along the lines of economic class.

Therefore, the authorities in Islamabad will be best advised to be sincere to the Pakistani children and initiate a dialogue for ending this education apartheid. Temporary and ad hoc measures to cut down on tuition fees charged by private education institutes will address only the symptoms of the deeper crisis of school education. To address the crisis itself, the authorities will have to do some introspection, meaning they will need redo the public education system. Educating our children is too serious a task to be handed over to the whims of the market. *

Published in Daily Times, January 11th 2019.

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The plight of a CA student

Chartered Accountancy (CA) students are normally not included in discussions on the problems of Pakistan’s education system. CA education is divided into four stages and to clear the first two levels (AFC and CAF), which secure students’ professional career to a great extent, students have to pass 13 papers. The Education and Training Scheme 2013 that was issued on March 15, 2014 allows six attempts for each paper of the CAF stage and two additional attempts for those who are left with two papers. Following the implementation of the scheme, students who were unable to pass only one or two exams within the stipulated number of attempts were disqualified, which in other words meant that officially they are now only high school graduates. Many affected students sent an application to the Supreme Court, but received no response. Students who have passed 11 or 12 out of 13 CAF papers deserve to continue further and must be given a chance to complete their studies. In addition, the three-and-a-half-year-long mandatory articleship also brings a lot of problems for students. A CAF qualified student receives only Rs11,000 a month from an audit firm and has to work for long hours (from 9am to 9pm or late). Students are now demanding that the Institute of Chartered Accountancy Pakistan (ICAP) review its policy regarding disqualification rules and trainee remunerations.
Mudabbir Ali

Lahore

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Tutors’ selection system to be revised this year: AIOU

LAHORE – AIOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zia-Ul Qayyum Tuesday said tutors’ selection system of the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) would be revised from this year to enhance credibility and efficiency of the distance learning.

Addressing the university’s tutors from the Rawalpindi region on the eve of autumn semester, 2018 here, he said the purpose of revision would be to improve the evaluation and assessment mechanism of the teaching process. There would be fresh tutors’ appointments and the credentials of the existing ones would be rechecked. Their appointment might be on basis of the academic session.

Dr Qayyum said the tutorial system would be transformed to make the contents’ delivery system best one and to achieve the target of quality education.

He said being the university’s backbone, the regional campuses would also be transformed with the induction of new technology and upgrading their infrastructure network.

There would be the smart use of online teaching and learning process, he said, adding manual and human intervention would be minimal so that the efficiency of evaluation and assessment could be ensured.

He assured that there would be a fair and transparent process in the registration of tutors. He hoped that the university’s tutors, which were around 90,000 across the country, would perform their duties with a sense commitment and dedication. It was way to pay back to the country, what had been spent on them, he added.

The tutors’ meeting and briefing session were also addressed by the University’s Registrar Dr Zaigham Qadeer, Director Regional Services Inamullah Sheikh and Director Rawalpindi region Dr Malik Tuqeer Ahmed.
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Education in Sindh

The dismal condition of Sindh’s educational institutions highlights the fact that the provincial government is not allotting sufficient funds to the province’s education. The culture of cheating is rampant in schools and colleges and despite the authorities effort to curb cheating, wrongdoers come up with ways to cheat in an exam.

The PPP has been ruling Sindh for more than a decade now. The party should work more towards the betterment of the education sector. It is true that without education, a country cannot walk on the path to progress. Sindh will continue to lag behind in all fields unless the government takes immediate steps to revive the education sector.

Shafique Hussain Wassan

Khairpur Mirs

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Govt to introduce single curriculum countrywide

Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood says the government has decided in principle to introduce a single curriculum throughout the country to improve our national education system as per international standards.

Addressing the first meeting of National Curriculum Council in Islamabad on Wednesday, he said for this purpose all the stakeholders will be taken on board to achieve a national consensus over this issue of vital importance.

The Minister said the current multiple curriculums based education system in the country has led to create injustices and imbalances in the society.

He said the elite class of the society prefers to send their children to English medium schools with manifolds extra expenditures while the middle and lower middle classes are unable to afford such a costly education.

Shafqat Mehmood said now it’s high time to replace this trend altogether with a single certification system to evolve a national cohesion among all segments of the society.

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Education termed best tool to curb extremism

TIMERGARA: Vice-chancellor of the University of Malakand, Prof Dr Gul Zaman, has said that modern education is the best tool to eradicate extremism in society.

He was addressing the annual prize distribution ceremony of the Smart School System, Timergara, the other day. Former finance minister Muzaffar Said and the institution’s MD Faridullah also spoke on the occasion. The students presented tableaus and speeches and got applause from the audience.

Prof Zaman said that private schools were playing an active role in imparting quality education and providing jobs. He termed close coordination between teachers and parents essential for elevating the standard of education.

He asked the parents to give time to their children for education at home. He said that the University of Malakand had planned to start MPhil and PhD programmes in Education and English subjects, which would help in building the teachers’ capacity of teaching at schools and colleges. He said that three buses from Timergara to the varsity would start service from Feb 1.

TRANSFER OPPOSED: The local sports associations have demanded of provincial minister for sports and tourism Mohammad Atif Khan to cancel the transfer orders of sports assistant Ibrar Ahmad.

The demand was made during a joint meeting of different sports bodies here the other day with Shah Nasim in the chair. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Nasim said that government employees, especially from education department, were being posted in Lower Dir sports’ department on deputation leaving no space for sports’ personnel.

The meeting demanded of the government to stop appointments on deputation in sports department and cancel the transfer orders of Mr Ahmad.

Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019

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AIOU Solved Assignment BA 439 Advertising and Sales Promotion Autumn 2018

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) solved assignment BA, Advertising and Sales Promotion, Book code 439, Autumn 2018 is available now according to AIOU pattern, please visit following links for more AIOU assignments available on the website. Contact for assignment delivery on Helpline number.
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AIOU Solved Assignment MS 8712 International Human Resource Change Management Autumn 2018

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) solved assignment MS (Management Sciences), International Human Resource Change Management, Book code 8712, Autumn 2018 is available now according to AIOU pattern, please visit following links for more AIOU assignments available on the website.
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AIOU Solved Assignment MS 8711 International Human Resource Management Autumn 2018

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) solved assignment MS (Management Sciences), International Human Resource Management, Book code 8711, Autumn 2018 is available now according to AIOU pattern, please visit following links for more AIOU assignments available on the website.

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