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Private schools VS government schools

Any school acceptable to parents, as long as it is private
Karachi, Jan 12: Parents have a good reason to prefer even a two-room private school to a government school spread over acres. Records obtained from the Board of Secondary Education, Karachi (BSEK) reveal that the last time a government school bagged one of the top three positions was in 1996.

It was the Government Delhi School. Almost 16 years have gone by since that particular milestone. Enrolment at government schools has been waning ever since.

Of the 147,836 students who appeared for their matriculation exams this year, only 23.9 percent were from government schools. The rest belonged to the private sector.

Education department statistics show that there are over 4,000 government schools in the city. Even if 15 students from each school had appeared in the matriculation exams, the representation would have gone up to 40 percent.

The alarming figure of 23.9 percent suggests that enrolment in government schools is at an all-time low.

Moreover, the presence of ghost schools, teacher absenteeism and school truancy further compound the problem.

Time and again, the print and electronic media have reported the closure of schools in conflict-hit areas including Qasba Colony, Manghopir and SITE due to ethnic violence.

It has been two years since these cases were reported, but despite repeated notifications and inquiries, the status quo remains.

Important questions arise on the issue. On November 28, Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq had announced that tests would be held to appoint 19,000 teachers in the province. Who will these teachers teach when government schools students are dropping out?

Last year, the education minister had allowed 353 teachers to work part-time in the media.

It was said back then that there were loopholes in the law which allowed teachers to work part-time. But sources in the education department revealed that the minister was pressured by the teachers into accepting their demands.

A year down the line, the issue of teacher absenteeism arose. The teachers who were busy with their jobs in the media were now absent from schools.

Moreover, the education department issued a handout against the teachers. It alleged that the teachers were busy "publishing baseless stories" about the department.

They were instructed by the minister to remain "dedicated to their teaching duties", but could continue working part-time.

Last year's BSEK results reveal that while 77.8 percent students from private schools passed their matriculation exams, the pass percentage of government schools remained as low as 55.62 percent.

Only 299 government school students managed an A1-grade in comparison with 1,883 A1-grade students of private schools.

The only area where government school students fared better was the E-grade; despite having a lower overall representation, there were 197 E-grade students to the government schools' credit against the private schools' 72 E-grade students.

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KU to award gold medals to position holders
Karachi: The University of Karachi (KU) will now award gold medals to the first position holders of the evening programme in the upcoming convocation, its registrar announced on Friday.

All students who have secured First Position in Master /B.S/Hons (Morning and Evening Programme) in their departments and have not submitted their Convocation Registration form (with prescribed fees) and Gold Medal Forms are advised to contact D.R. (A) Office, first floor, Administration Building, University of Karachi immediately to complete the requirements of registration. Candidates can also visit the Karachi University website: www.uok.edu.pk for detail. No forms will be accepted / entertained after one week i.e. till January 18.

Admission forms date
As per announcement of the Directorate of Evening Programme, University of Karachi, date for submission of admission form/fees (2013) for admission in BS/Hons/MBA/MCS/BLIS/PHARM-D (Deficiency Course) has been extended up to January 18.

Scrutiny forms available
The Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi (BIEK) has announced the date for scrutiny forms of first year commerce (regular and private) 2012.

The forms can be submitted from January 15 till February 14 in the bank within the premises of the BIEK.

PBC recognises Fuuast

The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), approving the application of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (Fuuast) recognised the varsity for law education under the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973.

The varsity recently upgraded its law department as faculty of law and appointed Justice (retd) Dr Ghous Muhammad as its dean.

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Private schools minting money: court
Lahore: The Lahore High Court on Friday remarked that private schools had turned into money minting industry instead of imparting quality education as they are looting the masses with heavy fees.

Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan made these remarks while dismissing a writ petition, challenging collection of additional examination fee of Rs50 from students of private education institutions.

Petitioner Nazir Ahmad, through his counsel Muhammad Immad Qamar, submitted that the Lahore Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) had announced that additional examination fee of Rs150 would be collected from students of private schools while the students of public schools would pay Rs100. He said the educational boards were acting discriminately against the private schools and the constitution did not allow such discrimination. He requested the court to direct the education board to collect examination fee equally from the students of private and government schools. He also requested the court to set aside additional Rs50.

The judge heard his initial arguments and refused to set aside the additional fee. The judge remarked that private schools had become an industry instead of becoming educational institutes. He went on to say that they were looting billions of rupees from students' parents in the name of fees and in return providing no facilities to them.

The owners of private schools were running the 'educational institutes' in two-room houses while they were charging Rs1,200 to Rs5,000 from a student. If a student could pay monthly fee of Rs5,000 there was no harm to pay additional Rs50 to education board, the judge added and dismissed the petition.

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PhDs awarded at PU
Lahore: Punjab University (PU) awarded PhD degrees to five scholars on Friday.

Humera Kausar d/o Sharafat Ali has been awarded a PhD degree in the subject of Molecular Biology after the approval of her thesis titled "Comparative Expression Analysis of Erythropoietin in CHO and Huh-7 Cell Line", Shahid Bashir s/o Bashir Ahmed Awan in the subject of Physics after the approval of his thesis titled "Advancements in Interstitial Brachytherapy'', Mobeen-ul-Islam s/o Muhammad Rafi-ud-Din in the subject of Education after the approval of his thesis titled "Impact of Students' Perceptions about Teacher Interaction and Classroom Learning Environment on Attitude Towards Mathematics and Achievement", Kausar Parveen d/o Muhammad Rafiq Ahmed in the subject of Zoology after the approval of her thesis titled "Teratogenic Effects of Cypermethrin: A Synthetic Pyrethroid Insecticide in Mice" and Farkhanda Jabeen d/o Muhammad Ashraf Qureshi in the subject of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics after the approval of her thesis titled "Characterisation of Pesticide Degrading Bacteria".

Meanwhile, Government College University (GCU) awarded PhD degrees to three scholars in the subject of Chemistry on Friday.

Muhammad Waseem Mumtaz and Khadija Shabbiri did their research on "Optimisation of Reaction Parameters for Biodiesel Production by Chemical and Ensymatic Transesterification" and "Proteomics of Brevibacterium Linens-An Investigation into Secretory and Membrane Bound Respiratory Proteins" respectively under the supervision of Dr Ahmad Adnan. Naeem Ahmad completed his research on the topic of "Study of Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitory Potential of Natural Products Extracted from Medicinal Plants.

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Laptop ceremony postponed
Lahore: Punjab government's laptops distribution ceremony scheduled to be held at University of Education on Saturday (today) has been postponed. University of Education's spokesperson said the ceremony had been postponed due to the death of Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif's brother. The new date will be announced later.

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Moot on language sciences opens at LCWU
Lahore: A two-day international conference on 'Language Sciences and the Developing World' opened at The Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) Friday in collaboration with the University of Sydney.

The LCWU Vice Chancellor Sabiha Mansoor in her inaugural speech, said the university's English department alone has 50 faculty members. There are 12,000 students in the university with more than 8,000 in undergrad programme. "Four hundred students and faculty are attending this conference. Language is the medium of instruction anyway, so it is important to learn how to teach languages," she said and thanked the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the British Council (BC) for their support. The two have funded the conference.

The HEC Executive Director Imtiaz Hussain Gillani had sent his message which was read out by Saima Riaz from the Department of Languages and Culture. Appreciating the initiative to hold a conference on language sciences, it said: "Language generates thoughts and language creates culture."

The British Council Director said, "Teaching of English language has always been a priority of British Council and it will keep promoting the language." He quoted two reports; one of Euromonitor International that said that in countries such as Cameron, Rwanda, Uganda and Pakistan, English is learnt to seek jobs and advance careers. Another report, he said, called for taking into consideration the rural-urban divide and gender issues in Pakistan in view of which English is not a sensible medium of instruction. "But the Education Policy 2009 aspires to turn the whole education medium to English in Punjab," he said.

"British Council can't comment on which policy is right or wrong and but it is ready to support the education system and English language teaching. We have a collective responsibility to ensure best education to all children," he said.

Governor Punjab Syed Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood also sent his message which was read out by a faculty member in the inaugural session. He also hosted a dinner in honour of the delegates attending the conference.

Delegates from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the UK and Australia are attending the conference apart from experts from the national talent pool. The news

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