Tag Archives: Curriculum

Sindh Textbook Board the most progressive of all provinces – Sindh is set to remove bigotry from its school curriculum.

Textbooks and tolerance –Sindh is set to remove bigotry from its school curriculum

Sindh Textbook Board has been the most progressive of all provinces, taking the lead in formalizing a reform policy in 2006. According to Prof Siddiqui, who has been part of the curriculum board, the federal curriculum wing had rejected the Sindh board’s manuscripts on several occasions. “Making provinces in charge of the curriculum will be a game changer.” Secondary schools in Sindh were at the center of a controversy when a book on “life skills” advocated using condoms and discussed sexual health issues.

By Ali K Chishti

In spite of the rich and diverse cultural history of Sindh, textbooks in the province promote bigotry and glorify war. The provincial government says it is all set to change that.

Continue reading Sindh Textbook Board the most progressive of all provinces – Sindh is set to remove bigotry from its school curriculum.

Advertisements

‘Education emergency should be declared in Pakistan’

ISLAMABAD, June 20: At the moment, over 25 million children are out of school in Pakistan, and the literacy rate is less than 60 percent. It requires us to declare an educational emergency in the country.

This was said by the state minister for education, Engineer Baligh-ur-Rehman, during the launching ceremony of a report, Pakistan District Education Rankings, by Alif Ailaan and Sustainable Development Policy Institute at a local hotel on Thursday.

He said the literacy rate could not be improved without political will. During the past five years, 45,000 teachers had been appointed in Punjab and most were placed near their villages to assure maximum attendance.“We have decided to establish the National Curriculum Council to introduce a syllabus with a minimum standard for all provinces,” he said, adding that schools would be increased from 10,000 to 40,000 in the first year of the current government’s tenure.

The ranking report showed the huge variation in education standards across Pakistan. One of the goals of the report was to serve as a benchmark against which the performance of politicians and administrators could be assessed.

Continue reading ‘Education emergency should be declared in Pakistan’

Schools need new science standards to make U.S. competitive: National Research Council

Science in U.S. schools needs to be more comprehensive, hands on and rigorous to produce more engineers, doctors and inventors to help the U.S. compete, according to groups that are promoting new education standards.

The Next Generation Science Standards, developed by organizations such as the National Research Council and the National Science Teachers Association, were released yesterday. Twenty-six states, including California, New York and New Jersey, took part in drafting the voluntary guidelines and will consider adopting them for state curriculums.

The science guidelines follow a similar effort to create uniform expectations in math, writing and reading, called Common Core State Standards, issued in 2010 and which have been adopted in 45 states. The science standards were devised in part by looking at what is taught in countries that lead international tests, such as Singapore, South Korea and Finland. The U.S. ranked 17th in science and 25th in math in a 2009 assessment, according to the Next Generation Science Standards website.

“The U.S. system of science and mathematics education is performing far below par and, if left unattended, will leave millions of young Americans unprepared to succeed in a global economy,” the group said.

Continue reading Schools need new science standards to make U.S. competitive: National Research Council

Lollipop Azadi Da – Raj Kakra

By Omar Ali

Raj Kakra is a lyricist and singer from Punjab (East Punjab in the Pakistani lexicon) who seems to reflect a mix of Sikh nationalism ….

Read more » Brown Pundits

Rolling back the tsunami – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Excerpt;

…. The state, its institutions and luminaries here are complicit in the spread and sustenance of fundamentalism because they were the immediate beneficiaries and without it could not have sustained themselves; it is only now when this tsunami is engulfing them that they are having second thoughts. The fundamentalist ‘brainwashing’ here is societal and if this tsunami of fundamentalism is to be rolled back it has to be tackled on a similar scale. Pebbles of de-radicalisation are not going to stem this tsunami.

The remedy, which may take a generation or more to take effect, is adopting a secular constitution like Bangladesh, curbing the media channels spewing hatred in name of religion, allowing nations the right to self-determination, disempowering the army, shunning ‘strategic depth’ and ‘assets’, ensuring transparency in governance, revamping education curriculum, banning loud speakers and keeping madrassas in check. But I ask the impossible. They simply will not move an iota from their established lucrative position and will readily take down all with them; this tsunami will haunt the world for a long time.

To read complete article → Daily Times

The hornet is dead, near the nest – Dr Mohammad Taqi

The Pakistani brass was caught red-handed and was not given an option to say no to the operation. But the Pakistani deep state still does not get it, for its ideological sympathies are elsewhere.

Doveryai, no proveryai! This Russian proverb, meaning ‘trust, but verify’, popularised by Vladimir Lenin and later by Ronald Reagan, has not rung truer than in the events surrounding the assassination of Osama bin Laden (OBL) earlier this week. And we may see it applied much more intensely in the months to come.

Phone calls from friends in Abbottabad about an ongoing military action there, were enough to suggest that something big was happening in what the locals had always believed to be an ISI-run facility, but the e-mail news alert from The Wall Street Journal announcing OBL’s death was still a major surprise. Against the norms of punditry, this time one hoped that we were wrong and this was not happening in Pakistan. But it was, and yes, we now stand vindicated: all of us who had been saying and writing for years that the US’s most wanted man was not under the protection of any major Pashtun tribe but was guarded by the clan that has anointed itself as the guardians of Pakistan’s ‘ideological’ and geographical frontiers. It is this same clan that had actually codified in its curriculum that “you are the selected lords; you are the cream of the nation”. Where else could this syllabus have been taught but at the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul — less than a mile from OBL’s last lair?

There is no polite way of saying it but these masters of Pakistan’s fortunes got egg on their face and that too with the whole world watching. A Peshawarite calling in on a television show said it most aptly: “Koilay ki dallali mein haath to kalay hotay hein per moonh bhi kala hota hai” (Those, whose business is foul, not only get their hands dirty but a blackened face too). But they still have the nerve to say with a straight face that a million-dollar fortress under their nose had been “off their radar”!

Not only that but they also have the gall to mobilise the right-wing media to create the smokescreen of sovereignty yet again while simultaneously playing up their ‘role’ in support of the US action in Abbottabad. The world, however, is not buying that in a cantonment city, the army — which keeps track of every inch of land around its facilities — did not know what was going on in the high-walled compound next to its primary training academy. The paid spin masters will have to do better than this. No matter what President Asif Zardari or his ghostwriter is made to say in op-ed articles in US papers, it is the top brass that is under scrutiny. Using the civilian political leadership as the human shield is not going to work, as the calculus has changed dramatically.

Barack Obama’s token acknowledgment of Pakistan’s non-specific cooperation is being construed by the Pakistani establishment and its minions to imply that the US can be taken for a ride again. It is too early for the specifics to surface but conversations with several sources in Washington and Pakistan point only to the deep mistrust that the US has had vis-à-vis Pakistan. There was no deal initiated by General Shuja Pasha to ‘trade in’ OBL for a bigger Pakistani role in Afghanistan. On the contrary, in response to the chest thumping by the Pakistani security establishment and its ultra right-wing political acolytes, they were confronted with damning evidence about the Haqqani network and possibly the Quetta Shura, while the OBL lead was not shared. The no-fly zone over Pakistan was created through phone calls, minutes after the OBL operation got underway. While the Pakistani brass is clutching at straws like blaming the ‘two Pashtun guards’ for protecting OBL’s compound, it was caught red-handed and was not given an option to say no to the operation. But the Pakistani deep state still does not get it, for its ideological sympathies are elsewhere.

Hillary Clinton’s nuanced diplomatic statements notwithstanding, the mood of the US leadership is almost reflective of the immediate post-9/11 days and was conveyed well by Senator Carl Levin in his remark: “(Pakistan has) a lot of explaining to do … I think the army and the intelligence of Pakistan have plenty of questions that they should be answering.” In a complete paradigm shift, any leverage that the Pakistani junta was hoping to gain from the bravado that started with the Raymond Davis affair has been lost completely. What will follow is a steady demand within the US to hold Pakistan’s feet to the fire. While maintaining a semblance of a working relationship, a very tough line will be adopted in private. The question bound to come up is not just why Pakistan was hanging on to OBL but also if there was any connection of its operatives to the 9/11 tragedy.

From a tactical standpoint, the OBL operation is likely to serve as a template for future action against the jihadist leadership hiding in Pakistan, especially with General David Petraeus assuming his new role in the near future. To get closer to the strategic objective of a certain level of stability within Afghanistan and potentially a political reconciliation there, it is imperative for the US to neutralise the next two key hurdles, i.e. the Quetta Shura and the Haqqani network. Both these entities have so far been able to evade the US’s reach, thanks to the Pakistani security establishment’s patronage.

Members of the Haqqani clan have been roaming freely in the vicinity of Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar. Khalil Haqqani has conducted several meetings in the previous few months to broker the ‘peace deal’ for the Kurram Agency. It is inconceivable that he could act without the knowledge of the Pakistani security agencies. Similarly, Quetta is home to the Pakistan Army’s XII Corps, ISI regional headquarters, the Balochistan Frontier Corps, an army recruitment centre, the Pakistan Air Force base Samungli and the Pakistan Army’s prestigious Command and Staff College. One wonders if the Pakistani brass would still be able to say that they do not know the whereabouts of Mullah Omar.

A window of opportunity perhaps still exists for Pakistan to make a clean break with the past but its incoherent blame-game and constantly changing story says otherwise. The Pakistani establishment has given the world very little reason to trust it without verifying — unless, of course, another hornet is to be missed hiding near a major nest.

The writer can be reached at mazdaki@me.com

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201155\story_5-5-2011_pg3_2

Governor Salman Taseer’s assassination & the rising tide of fanaticism in Pakistan

By Ahmed Chandio

The assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer has spread fear and terror among people. A killer has been made hero and the victim as a villain in the name of blasphemy law. Religious parties of the country have intensified their activities in the wake of the Governor’s assassination. They don’t care about the country’s image abroad and the cost anyway. People are not ready to discuss the issue of blasphemy saying it’s a sensitive issue.

Lawyers of Rawalpindi forced a judge of an anti-terrorism court not to leave for the capital to hear the case. Finally, police shifted the accused to Rawalpindi to present him before the judge. Lawyers and activists of some religious parties placed garlands of roses around the killer’s neck. They showered him with flower petals and kissed him. According to a PPP minister, lawyers who garlanded the killer belonged to the PML-N.

Over 300 lawyers signed legal documents expressing their willingness to defend the killer. But no public prosecutor came forward to plead the case of the assassinated governor because of fear.

One newspaper reported that Qadri was a mercenary killer and paid to carry out the murder. He was given an assurance that his family would be looked after if anything happened to him or if he was convicted. Sources said announcements had been made about bounty to be paid to the killer and the amount offered totaled Rs40 million.

The Punjab governor’s murder is seen as an act of religious fanaticism. The roots of the menace can be traced back to the Zia era. Earlier it was considered that madressahs (religious seminaries) served as breeding grounds for producing fanatics. But profiles of 9/11 terrorists, Times Square bomber, the killer of journalist Daniel Pearl proved that all of them had not studied in madressahs. The killer of Punjab governor had also not studied in madressah.

Can we hold curriculum being taught from primary to university-level education in Pakistan responsible for terrorism? No. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the killer of Daniel Pearl, had studied in the London School of Economics.

Then what instigated them to be a fanatic? What are sources and forces of hate in Pakistan?

There has been no doubt that hate missions are very much institutionalized and billions of rupees are spent on them. Some foreign countries are also funding millions of rupees to groups involved in acts of militancy. …

Read more : Indus Herald

Times we live in

In order to make sense of the atmosphere of fear, it is important to distance oneself from essentialist readings of Muslim culture as being inherently intolerant.

By Ammar Ali Jan

It is difficult to point out what is more painful to witness; the brutal murder of a Governor of the largest province of the country because he had dared to express dissent on a controversial law or the public celebration of this violent act by extremist forces, with complete impunity from the state. What is particularly shocking, however, is the muted response of secular political parties in the country in the wake of this assassination. Despite enjoying complete electoral hegemony over religious forces in Pakistan, mainstream parties are finding it increasingly difficult to speak out against discriminatory practices in our society, owing to the growing domination of religious forces in setting the contours of our cultural discourse.

Continue reading Times we live in