Category Archives: Education

Poem:The Hungry Face

” This poem was written to highlight the plight of children, far removed from education and comforts of home and confined to dreaded routines of existence” –

The Daughter of Pakistan, in search for bread and water…….the quest continues and so her questions….

As she rests her soul against the pole
The blistered feet and in tattered clothes
The only place, where she can breathe
The open fields and the crowded streets
In search for bread and water Continue reading

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Children, Education, Labour, Pakistan, poetry, poverty, psychology, Rights

Pakistani College Becomes Focus of a Social Struggle

The GT Road Blog

BySteve Inskeep

In Lahore, the University of the Punjab attracts middle- and lower-income Pakistani students hoping to make better lives for themselves. But the school’s campus is also the scene of an ongoing struggle over education and Islam.

Alfred Cooper Woolner May 1878 – January 7, 1936, was a noted Sanskrit scholar and professor as well as the Vice Chancellor of Punjab University, Lahore. He died in Lahore

Many of the 35,000 students wear jeans and T-shirts. Punjab is a state school, like one of those big American universities in the Midwest. Students attend class in brick buildings, and study on lawns cut almost as short as putting greens. But life here is less peaceful than it looks.

A clash over religious traditions recently brought about the beating of a professor in his office — and forced the school to close for about three weeks. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Education, Identity, Islamism, Lahore, Pakistan, Punjab, Religion, Women

The Ostrich Syndrome: A Teacher’s Perspective

By  Nabiha Meher Shaikh

As someone constantly exposed to the so-called “youth” of this country, I do believe I have some insight and some valid criticism of the recent ban on facebook, which, ostensibly, has to do with blasphemous content.
 
Firstly, what is the “youth” of this country? And why are they lumped into a monolithic entity? Why is it assumed that they are all one and the same when their realities are different in many ways. To assume that our “youth” is living air-conditioned lives, constantly logged on to the internet, chatting away etc. is purely delusional. The truth is, the vast majority of the “youth” are very poor and cannot access websites. The “youth” is actually the majority of our population. And we are constantly trying to box them into holes on what they should be, what they should do, how they should think, how they should behave, killing off any diversity that exists… this has lead to an increase in intolerance which I have noticed in my less than three decades of existence, despite the fact that sensitivity towards women’s issues has increased as compared to my generation (I’m only talking about educated people here though. I do acknowledge that the ground realities for women have become even more horrific). Sounds contradictory? It’s not. Read on. It’s all connected to religion and wanting to desperately prove that their religion is not barbaric towards women, a criticism that has very valid roots since, let’s face it, the status of women in the Muslim world is far from decent. So even though I see an increase in gender sensitivity, I also see an increase in linear thinking, mostly intolerant, reeking of a severe persecution complex (“the world is out to get us and destabilise Islam!”), which is very, very dangerous. Continue reading

70 Comments

Filed under Education, Islamism, Pakistan, youth

Acting upon the Freedom of Information Act

By Naeem Sadiq

In September 2009 I wrote to two  Sindh  government departments seeking harmless information on matters of education and pollution that should anyway be available to all citizens. I was confident that a formal request under the much trumpeted and much ‘seminar’ed  Freedom of Information Act will do the trick.  The law requires a response within 21 days.   When nothing happened for 4 months, in Jan 2010,  I approached the Sindh Ombudsman (as suggested in the law) to ask the concerned departments to do the needful.

After digesting my request for 3 months, the Sindh Ombudsman finally asked the concerned departments (Education and Environmental Protection Agency) to appear and explain why they did not provide the information that had been asked for.  I too was asked to appear.

So I spent the 1st of April (like a fool)  in the Ombudsman’s office, hoping that the real culprits would make an appearance.  Nobody turned up and the helpless  Ombudsman gave a new date of April 6, for all parties to appear again.

On 6th April I wasted  another day waiting in the Ombudsman’s office, but again neither department put in an appearance.

Clearly I was now being given a taste of my own medicine.  The Ombudsman could keep calling.  I could keep appearing.  The departments violating the freedom of information Act could keep not turning up.  Life could keep going on as normal. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Citizens, civil service, Conservation, Democracy, Education, Environment, executive, Law, Pakistan, Rights, Sindh

Room for optimism

[‘The audacity of hope’? ‘Hope dies last’? Or, just the reality of Pakistan in its many aspects? Here’s how Mohsin Hamid sees it. – PTH]

Dawn, Friday, 09 Apr, 2010
 
 EVER since returning to live in Pakistan a few months ago, I’ve been struck by the pervasive negativity of views here about our country. Whether in conversation, on television, or in the newspaper, what I hear and read often tends to boil down to the same message: our country is going down the drain.

But I’m not convinced that it is.

I don’t dispute for a second that these are hard times. Thousands of us died last year in terrorist attacks. Hundreds of thousands were displaced by military operations. Most of us don’t have access to decent schools. Inflation is squeezing our poor and middle class. Millions are, if not starving, hungry. Even those who can afford electricity don’t have it half the day.

Yet despite this desperate suffering, Pakistan is also something of a miracle. It’s worth pointing this out, because incessant pessimism robs us of an important resource: hope.

First, we are a vast nation. We are the sixth most populous country in the world. One in every 40 human beings is Pakistani. There are more people aged 14 and younger in Pakistan than there are in America. A nation is its people, and in our people we have a huge, and significantly untapped, sea of potential. Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under Democracy, Economy, Education, Identity, Judiciary, Languages, Media, Pakistan, Religion, Society, state, Terrorism

The Enemy Within

Terrorism and the denial problem

By Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi              crosspost from Daily Times, 28 March, 2010

The most serious threat to Pakistan’s political stability and economic development is the growing terrorist attacks by the various Taliban groups and other militant Islamic groups that use violence to pursue their narrow-based religious and political agendas.

        Gen. Zia ul Haque

    Pakistan army soldiers carry a coffin of a colleague who lost his life during a fight against al-Qaida and Taliban

Pakistan’s societal harmony and political stability is threatened by the complex challenges of religious intolerance, Islamic-sectarian violence, militancy and jihadi culture against the backdrop of the regional and global environment that is not always helpful. These domestic ailments have compromised Pakistan’s capacity to cope with global pressures and improve its bargaining position in international diplomacy. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Democracy, Education, Islamism, Pakistan, Religion, state, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror

ASR Institute must be saved at all costs

Raza Rumi

ASR Institute of Women’s Studies, Lahore is not a run of the mill NGO or a donor-sponsored institution. Pakistan, not unlike other developing countries has enough of such makeshift, quick-fix research institutions that advance the Eurocentric and inappropriate agendas of those who want to liberate and enable the natives to come at par with the ‘civilized’ world. Since 1983, ASR has held its own – under dictatorships, quasi-democratic charades and amid the rise of Islamism. Not content with radical research and speaking the truth, in 1997 ASR went ahead and set up the first women’s studies institute in the non-state domain. This institute is open for South Asians and boasts a curriculum and faculty that would compete with any similar outfit in the international arena.

In February 2010, ASR organized a national seminar entitled A Celebration Of The Women’s Movement 1947-2010. The seminar honoured women who have struggled for women rights, and especially to pay tribute to the valiant struggle of the women of Pakistan who have consistently challenged all forms of oppression since 1947. This occasion also paid tribute to the women of Lahore and the Women’s Action Forum (WAF) who resisted the dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq on the 12th of February 1983. This historic day will always be remembered as a shining moment in our troubled history, when a few women faced large contingents of brutal police and marched their way through lathi charges and tear gas to protest against the anti-women, dubious ‘Islamization’ under Martial Law.

The sad part is that the process that was unleashed by the Ziaist mock-theocracy has turned into a national disaster. The rise of the Taliban and other Wahabi-Salafist groups are a danger not only to women and minorities, but also spell doom for the future of a plural Pakistani society. In this milieu, ASR’s bold stance and unwavering commitment to an equitable, progressive Pakistan is therefore heartwarming. At the same time, ASR is also facing existential crises that concern its basic survival. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Activism, Education, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Women