Govt to Close All Public and Private Schools in Lahore on 28 September

Punjab Minister for School Education, Dr. Murad Raas announced on Monday that all public and private schools in Lahore will be closed on Tuesday, 28 September on account of the annual Urs (death anniversary) of Hazrat Data Gunj Baksh (R.A).“All public …

Punjab Minister for School Education, Dr. Murad Raas announced on Monday that all public and private schools in Lahore will be closed on Tuesday, 28 September on account of the annual Urs (death anniversary) of Hazrat Data Gunj Baksh (R.A).

“All public and private schools of Lahore to remain closed tomorrow 28th September 2021 for the Annual Urs Mubarak of Hazrat Data Gunj Baksh. This is only for Lahore,” the minister said on Twitter.

He also shared a notification issued in this regard, which says that the decision is applicable for schools in Lahore, including District and Tehsil education offices. The educational institutions in the rest of the districts will remain open as usual, barring the Rawalpindi district where schools are closed due to the processions of Chehlum.

Provincial Minister for Auqaf and Religious Affairs, Saeedul Hasan Shah inaugurated the three-day celebrations of the 978th annual Urs of Hazrat Ali bin Usman Hajveri popularly known as Data Ganj Bakhsh on Sunday.

Every year, thousands of devotees from all parts of the country come to celebrate the Urs of Data Ganj Bakhsh in Lahore. They light candles and pay homage to one of the great Sufi scholars of South Asia.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship application portal to be reopened from Thursday

Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship application portal will be reopened from Thursday for the period of two months to allow maximum deserving students to apply for the scholarship and continue higher studies.All under-graduate students studying in public …

Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship application portal will be reopened from Thursday for the period of two months to allow maximum deserving students to apply for the scholarship and continue higher studies.

All under-graduate students studying in public sector universities with monthly family income of less than 45,000 are eligible to apply.

Source: Radio Pakistan

HEC Launches Cohort II of National Faculty Development Program 2021

The National Academy of Higher Education, HEC, has launched the training of Cohort-II of the Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs Program fellows under the National Faculty Development Programme 2021.As many as 177 freshly qualified PhDs of Cohort I have su…

The National Academy of Higher Education, HEC, has launched the training of Cohort-II of the Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs Program fellows under the National Faculty Development Programme 2021.

As many as 177 freshly qualified PhDs of Cohort I have successfully completed their training.

The National Faculty Development Program (NFDP) 2021 is a four-week online learning program to accelerate the transfer of essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes in three dimensions of a successful career as a faculty member, namely teaching and learning, applied research, and professional practice.

It is designed for pre-placement training of the Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs Program (IPFP) fellows and will be delivered online mode. International and national experts will lead the delivery to ensure that the program is on par with international standards.

The Rector of the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE), Dr. Shaheen Sardar Ali, inaugurated the ceremony for the launch of the Cohort II of NFDP 2021.

In her opening remarks, she highlighted the NAHE ‘s efforts in running the IPFP, the NFDP, and other training programs and initiatives, and reaffirmed her commitment to delivering the best possible within the limited available resources.

Dr. Shaheen also emphasized the significance and need for skillful and well-equipped teachers to raise the quality and standards of higher education in the country.

She advised the participants to gain maximum benefits from the opportunity for which the NAHE has engaged renowned national and international resource persons.

The participants were given an online orientation about the selected IT tools and other techniques being used or to be adopted throughout the online learning program.

A number of different activities and technologies will be utilized to achieve its learning objectives, which include daily live webinars using Microsoft Teams, Reading Boot Camps, Writing Boot Camps, Group Projects, Juries, Panels, and Mentoring.

The participants’ success is based on their assessments in all these activities and assignments. The learning assessment will both be formative and summative.

The third and last Cohort of the NFDP 2021 is scheduled to be held between mid-November and mid-December 2021.

Source: Pro Pakistani

KP Govt to Recheck Papers of Girl Who Obtained 100 Percent Marks

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has decided to reassess the examination copies of a brilliant female student from Mardan who created a record by obtaining 100 percent marks in the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) examinations…

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has decided to reassess the examination copies of a brilliant female student from Mardan who created a record by obtaining 100 percent marks in the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) examinations.

Qandeel Khan, an orphan child, had shocked everyone by attaining 11000 out of 1100 marks in intermediate examinations. BISE Mardan held a special ceremony on Tuesday in the honor of position-holder students. That was when Qandeel, the girl who topped the intermediate board exams, was introduced.

Taking notice of the unusual development, the provincial minister for Elementary and Secondary Education, Shahram Khan Tarakai, set up an assessment committee on Wednesday to recheck Qandeel’s and other students’ copies who obtained nearly 100 percent marks.

A notification in this regard said that the committee will recheck and verify the copies of individual students securing above 1090 marks out of the total of 1100 in the matriculation and intermediate examinations.

The committee will also verify the academic track record of these students and the history of their present marks and those obtained in previous examinations.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Students Protest Against Fee Hike by Quaid-e-Azam University

The students of the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) on Monday protested the fee hike by the administration.They boycotted classes and held a protest outside the administration block, holding placards and chanting slogans against the management.The protes…

The students of the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) on Monday protested the fee hike by the administration.

They boycotted classes and held a protest outside the administration block, holding placards and chanting slogans against the management.

The protesters maintained that the fee had been increased by 5 percent once again in the middle of a pandemic.

“We just joined, and they have increased our fees by 5%,” one of the protesting students said. “What have we done? Why do we have to suffer this injustice in the middle of a pandemic?”

Another protester said that freedom of speech was their right, yet, there was no communication between the university management and students.

“We need a students’ union or a group that can diminish this gap between the students and varsity management.”

They warned that if the administration did not withdraw the fee hike, the agitation would continue.

On the other hand, the QAU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Muhammad Ali, took notice of the demonstration and asked students to bring their demands to the management in written instead of protesting.

Source: Pro Pakistani

The Long Term Effects of Pakistan’s Education Crisis During the Pandemic [Opinion]

Just when schools and colleges in Pakistan reopened and life seemed to be returning to normalcy, the lockdown was extended, putting education at a greater risk than ever before.Pakistan was one of the first countries that announced the closure of educa…

Just when schools and colleges in Pakistan reopened and life seemed to be returning to normalcy, the lockdown was extended, putting education at a greater risk than ever before.

Pakistan was one of the first countries that announced the closure of educational institutes to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and is still subject to repeated temporary reopening and closings.

An analysis of a study by a large-scale education systems research program, called RISE, suggests that if the 14-week closure of schools after the earthquake in 2005 was detrimental for student learning, this 18-month pandemic-induced closure is likely to have long-lasting effects on Pakistan’s human capital.

The shortcomings faced by remote learning as a result of digital inequalities and technological inabilities have created a huge gap in learning among students. Not only are they unable to learn new concepts and skills but are at the risk of forgetting what they learned earlier.

Additionally, the constant postponing and foregoing of examinations has raised serious concerns about the inability to assess the standards of learning and student achievement. This lack of assessment will harm students’ current level of learning and adoptions of skills and will affect their participation in future remedial policies to recover the losses in learning.

Geven and Hassan’s World Bank report on learning losses in Pakistan due to pandemic-induced school closures showed that Pakistani children who have already accumulated only 5.1 years of learning due to low-quality schooling systems might eventually only accumulate between 4.8 and 4.3 years by the end of the closure of the schools. However, it is important to note that the detection of these losses can take longer than expected, and the consequences may even be worse than anticipated.

Students Engage to Disengage

Earlier this year, students staged massive protests across Sindh and Punjab following the Ministry of Education’s announcement that examinations will be conducted in-person and on-campus. Even though the call for the canceling or postponing of examinations originated from the genuine concern of being unprepared due to inadequate remote learning facilities and poor internet connectivity, it was also an example of students disengaging with the system of educational assessment that has been set in place for years. They refused to take such examinations and requested to be promoted in compensation for the hindrances in their educational experiences.

While the students who are struggling to maintain their academic standards may be empathized with, it must be noted that many students do not fully comprehend the consequences of the cancellation of examinations. The circulation of social media memes and jokes about not wanting to go to school and hoping for them to remain closed are adequate proof of this.

It is crucial for students to be kept engaged and made fully aware of the repercussions of the closure of schools on their learning and skills development so that they may participate responsibly in the future remedial strategies of the educational institutions to compensate for this huge learning gap.

Long Term Impact on Skills: Are Students Industry-ready?

Recent studies have focused primarily on the short-term economic losses caused by the closure of colleges and universities across the world but little has been done to assess the long-term issues affecting both the students as the economies.

The World Bank’s Human Development Project revealed that children in Pakistan can achieve only 39 percent of their full potential, given the current educational and health opportunities. However, with both their health and education in jeopardy during the pandemic, it is certain that students will continue to suffer from a loss of knowledge and skills development that will prevent them from gaining footholds in the job market. Reductions in overall incomes and huge lost earnings by the global economy are already being predicted by international organisations, and must not be ignored.

The suspension of assessments and certifications, the unavailability of adequate educational platforms, and a huge fall in student motivation have disrupted the flow of growth and skill development among young people. Pakistan’s human capital resources that are already limited in quantity and quality are at the greatest risk of further deterioration.

While recent college graduates are facing unemployment or even underemployment due to limited vacancies in the job market, current school students are bound to face the consequences of this educational crisis in the coming years. However, their reasons for unemployment may not be the lack of job openings but the lack of skills and training needed to be able to fit into various industries.

If necessary measures to mitigate these long-term effects are not taken into account now, it might become impossible to control the imminent damage in the future.

Road to Recovery

It is impossible to truly capture the scale of the impact of the closure of schools on human capital in the upcoming years, and suggesting a concrete set of recovery measures that is guaranteed to mitigate the losses is also not feasible. However, based on past and current experiences, there are certain steps that can be taken to facilitate the process of recovery:

• Schools and colleges must be prepared to employ various methods of assessing students’ progress and learning abilities to create accelerated programs once they reopen.

• Rigorous training of teachers and staff must be conducted to equip them with skills and resources to help students recover the academic losses.

• Students must be taught and encouraged to maintain efficient learning habits to easily catch up with their studies when their remedial classes begin.

• Various means of including extracurricular activities and playtime for students must also be considered because social isolation and restrictions in physical activities have affected students’ mental health and prevent many from performing well.

• EdTech companies and online learning platforms should offer innovative learning resources to complement student growth.

• The government must allocate a reasonable budget to expand digital connectivity for students and support teaching and learning resources for schools.

It is, therefore, harmful to assume that reopening schools will eliminate the ongoing educational crisis. The effects of this crisis may take time to appear but the need to prepare to fight them is urgent.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Education Transformation in Punjab – A Student’s Perspective

“Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” – Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)Islam lays a great emphasis on seeking knowledge. The first revelation of the Holy Quran begins with the word “Read”. Prophet Muhammad ? set free the prisoner…

“Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” – Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)

Islam lays a great emphasis on seeking knowledge. The first revelation of the Holy Quran begins with the word “Read”. Prophet Muhammad ? set free the prisoners of the Battle of Badr on the condition that they were to teach 10 Muslims how to read and write, and this teaching was to count as their ransom.

All the rightly guided caliphs of Islam made special arrangements for the education of Muslims during their respective regimes. Education is a key to a progressive nation. The world has witnessed that only those nations succeed who use education as a tool for progress and development.

PTI Government’s Focus on Education

Ever since the PTI government came into power, they are trying to live up to their manifesto of the 2018 Election campaign, especially in terms of education. The standard of education at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) reflects how much importance Prime Minister Imran Khan accords to education. Prime Minister Khan always emphasizes the importance of education in his speeches.

As in his maiden speech as premier, he said, “His government’s utmost effort would be to improve the provision of education in the public schools.” He frequently mentions the students enrolled in madrassas, and highlights, in his addresses, his will, and policy for mainstreaming them. Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Buzdar and Punjab Education Minister Dr. Murad Raas, following Imran Khan’s vision of education, have formulated policies and taken initiatives to provide quality education to the citizens of Punjab.

Punjab’s Education Policy

In February 2019, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar announced a five-year education policy for Punjab titled, “The New Deal 2018-2023” for transforming school education with an aim to improve — improve learning, access, retention and equity, and overall governance. The Chief Minister, while introducing this policy, said that this policy would end the class system in education and would provide equal opportunities to the students living in distant and backward areas. The main objective of this policy is to enroll the estimated 4.8 million out-of-school children.

To deliver quality education in schools, a number of initiatives have been taken.

Firstly, a Classroom Observation Tool (COT) is being exercised to collect data on 11 teaching practices associated with improved learning outcomes.

Secondly, for the comprehensibility of students, Urdu has been introduced as the language of instruction at the primary level, whereas English will be taught as a language subject.

Thirdly, the Taleem Ghar program has facilitated remote learning for students of Class 1-8 through YouTube and a television channel.

Fourthly, the first-ever transgender school has been opened in Punjab.

Fifthly, Danish Schools which were not accessible to all students earlier, are now been opened for every student.

Sixthly, the establishment of the Insaaf Afternoon School program, an economical initiative, is catering to the high retention of students as well as the lack of school buildings, encouraging more students to attend schools.

Seventhly, the up-gradation of 1227 schools from elementary to higher secondary has been completed. Eighthly, 110 Model Schools, 2000 new classrooms, 1000 Science and IT labs, and 400 libraries have been established under the Punjab School Construction & Rehabilitation Program (PSCRP).

Welfare and Education for Special Children

For the first time in Punjab, the government is paying exceptional attention to the welfare, and education, and training of special children. In this regard, the Government of Punjab has taken several initiatives so that such children may also avail themselves of opportunities of acquiring education and becoming financially independent in order to contribute to the development of Pakistan.

Rs. 755 million have been allocated to the Department of Special Education in the ongoing fiscal year. Collectively, in these three years of the PTI government in Punjab, 14 institutions for special education have been upgraded and 17 new buildings have been constructed for establishing Special Education Centers in different districts of Punjab, including Gujranwala, Attock, Faisalabad, Sialkot, and others.

As many as 13 new Special Education Centers and 2 Special Degree Colleges have been established in Sargodha and Dera Ghazi Khan respectively. The Department of Special Education initiated a door-to-door admission campaign in 2021, which resulted in the admission of 4,000 special children. Moreover, for the establishment of Special Education Village in Sharaqpur, the government has approved a land of 104 Kanals at a cost of Rs. 500 million, where stay, food, and recreational facilities will be available to special children free of cost.

Besides, a facility of 63 buses will be provided to Special Education Centers for easy mobilization of special students free of cost. CCTV cameras will be installed in these buses for the protection of special children. A helpline (1162) has been set up for counseling and resolving complaints of parents and caregivers of special children.

More Budget Allocated for Education

Keeping in view the importance of higher education, development funds of Rs. 15 billion have been allocated in the budget, which is 285 percent more compared to the fund allocated in the last year. The Government of Punjab is establishing new universities in every district of Punjab to promote higher education. Six universities have already been established.

Moreover, approval has been given for the establishment of universities in eight districts of Punjab, including Attock, Gujranwala, Pakpattan, Hafizabad, Rajanpur, Bhakkar, Layyah, and Sialkot, whereas for the next fiscal year, it has been proposed that seven universities will be established in Bahawalnagar, Toba Tek Singh, Muzaffargarh, D. G. Khan, Kasur, and Sheikhupura.

This year, a world-class engineering and technology university is being set up in Sialkot at a total cost of Rs. 16.60 billion, which reflects the science- and education-friendly policies of the Chief Minister. This engineering university will be a significant milestone in the field of engineering and technical education.

New Colleges and Development Schemes

Besides, 27 colleges have been established in three years of the Punjab Government, and it has proposed to set up 86 new colleges in the next fiscal year under the leadership of Usman Buzdar. Four-year BS programs have been started in 201 colleges, whereas the Associate Degree programs are being introduced, phasing out the two-year BA/BSc degree. New, the development schemes for this fiscal year 2021-2022 for higher education include approval of two new schemes for the provision of facilities in the existing public sector colleges at a cost of Rs. 1.1 billion.

These schemes include the launching of the Chip Designing Tools project for the first time in the universities of Punjab; introduction of new subjects according to the modern requirements and market demand to enhance the skills of students in colleges; introduction of Relative Grading System in Intermediate Board, and others.

Improvement in Global University Rankings

Thanks to the government’s excellent strategy and education-friendly policies, the ranking of Pakistani universities has improved significantly. The QS Asia ranking of the Punjab universities, which stood at the 11th position in 2018, shows them standing 6th in 2021. Similarly, the QS World University Ranking that put the Punjab universities at 5th in 2018 put them now at 3rd in 2021. Similarly, the Impact Ranking which was 21 in 2018 is now 3 in 2021.

For the facilitation of school teachers, the Punjab Government has launched an online information system known as Human Resource Management for the transfer, appointment, and other administrative matters. This is an innovative system that is helping improve school education departments by developing an e-transfer system for public school teachers across Punjab. Teachers can easily know all their data in just one click with the help of such an efficient data management system that was not possible in the past.

Single National Curriculum

The Single National Curriculum (SNC), which is a fabulous initiative of the PTI government, reflects the vision of PM Imran Khan about Naya Pakistan and was included in the manifesto of the PTI government during its 2018 Election Campaign. The Prime Minister always expresses his desire that students belonging to the poor class and Madrassas should also study the same syllabus as elite students in his addresses. “This was my vision for last 25 years that one day in Pakistan we will have a single core curriculum for the whole country,” said the PM while addressing the SNC launch ceremony.

Pursuing the vision of PM Imran Khan, the Punjab Government enforced Phase I of the Single National Curriculum in all public and private schools as well as seminaries of Punjab for classes 1 to 5 on August 2, 2021. Punjab Education Minister Dr. Murad Raas said the SNC would eliminate the societal division in the private and public education sector and will create equal opportunities for all the students of the country while briefing the media. For teaching SNC, training of teachers has been started and around 50 percent of trainers have been inducted from the private sector.

Key Features of Single National Curriculum

Some of the key features of SNC include teachings of Quran and Sunnah, Vision of Iqbal and Quaid, emerging international trends in teaching, learning and assessment, outcome-based approach, focus on values, Life Skill-Based and Inclusive Education, Respect and appreciation for different cultures and religions in the local and global context, promotion of intellectual, spiritual, aesthetic, emotional, social and physical development of learners, move away from rote memorization and focus on project, Inquiry, and Activity Based Learning, use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and Alignment with trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).

Scholarship Programs

The Punjab Government, under the leadership of CM Sardar Usman Buzdar, initiated Rahmatul lil Alameen ? scholarship for deserving and talented Inter and Undergraduate students and in this regard, allotted funds of 1 billion rupees. Annually, 14,891 students will be awarded scholarships. Intermediate students will be awarded 25 thousand rupees. Rehmatul Lil Alameen ? Chair is established in divisional universities along with the provision of scholarships for research on the blessed life of Holy Prophet ?. The objective of such an initiative is to inculcate interest among students in acquiring higher education.

In a nutshell, the Punjab Government under the leadership of CM Sardar Usman Buzdar is striving for delivering quality education at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Above mentioned initiatives are a step in the right direction for making Punjab the most literate province of Pakistan. Compared to the past governments, the PTI government in Punjab is not only making promises for delivering quality education to all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background, but they are also taking practical steps and ensuring equal opportunities for all students.

Source: Pro Pakistani

New Regulatory Body to be Set Up for Punjab’s Private Schools

The government of Punjab has decided to establish a regulatory body for all private schools across the province.Punjab Minister for School Education, Dr. Murad Raas, said that the single controlling authority would regulate private schools’ fees and ot…

The government of Punjab has decided to establish a regulatory body for all private schools across the province.

Punjab Minister for School Education, Dr. Murad Raas, said that the single controlling authority would regulate private schools’ fees and other matters.

“We are going to form an authority for private schools that will regulate fees, other issues pertaining to the syllabus, licenses for new ones, etcetera,” said Raas while talking to media on Thursday.

He also hinted at setting up Insaaf Academy, which will impart free online lectures, quizzes by best teachers for students who cannot afford private tuitions.

The idea was floated by the provincial minister last year but it didn’t materialize back then.

Announcing the program in October 2020, Murad had said that the Insaaf Academy would include free lectures for classes 9 to 12.

“The first phase will include lectures on Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Computer Science, and Mathematics for class 9. The students will be able to self-assess their abilities as well through quizzes. The whole program will be free of cost as well,” he had said.

Among other key developments, the provincial education department has upgraded 8,500 schools to the elementary level.

“Almost 70% of children used to quit schools after studying in fifth class as there were no elementary schools nearby,” he said, hoping that the trend would start to change.

Raas said that the up-gradation of schools would help bring 107,000 children back to school within three weeks.

Source: Pro Pakistani