Tuesday, April 28, 2015

FRHD to highlight educational issues in Global Action Week

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Foundation for Research & Human Development (FRHD), as part of the Global Action Week (GAW), will organize a walk from the Scouts Headquarter to the Karachi Press Club on April 29 while a delegation, comprising of children, will meet the Sindh Education Minister, Nisar Ahmed Khoro, on April 30. 

Members of the civil society will be joining the children to convey a loud message to the policy makers, legislators and others implementing agencies about realization of the educational goals. 

Education is human rights, a public, good and a state responsibility.Pakistan remains obliged under various national and international commitments to provide quality education to children irrespective of their gender, class or religion. 

At the forefront of these declarations is the Dakar Framework of Action, signed by 163 other countries in April 2000 and the world’s leaders made a series of promises intended to guarantee education for all by 2015. 

The EFA goals consist of six broad objectives which include: provision of early childhood care and education, provision of primary and secondary education, improvement in adult and youth literacy rates, provision of vocational and technical education, eradicating gender discrimination and enhancing the overall quality of education. Pakistan’s progress towards achieving the goals have been slow to say the least. 

The education system of the country is emasculated by an inadequate number of teachers, insufficient infrastructure, lack of funds for the education sector and a constant threat of conflict, especially in FATA and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. According to the latest ASER 2014 report, approximately 61% of children aged 3-5 years in rural areas and 42% in urban areas are out of school. 

This is an alarming figure given the fact that most of the children who do enter school either drop out or do not progress further on thereby increasing the number of out of school children. There is a dire need for an intervention whereby the provincial governments formulate laws that will ensure that early childhood education is made mandatory and out of school children are brought back into school. 

A positive shift was seen in the budget of 2014-2015 wherein all provinces doubled the amount of funds given to their respective education departments; focusing more on infrastructural development, enrollment and retention of students. Yet more needs to be done, particularly concerning the implementation of Article 25-A of the Constitution. 

The year 2015 presents education activists with a crucial opportunity to demand the realization of the right to education for all, and to set the direction of education for another generation. This year, the world will agree new frameworks for education and for sustainable development more broadly that will help set the tone and the focus for government policy and action from now until 2030. 

As governments prepare to make this new set of promises, it is critical that civil society has a say in what is being promised, ensuring that these commitments respond to the rights, the needs and the priorities of citizens. For these reasons, the GCE members and allies will be campaigning throughout 2015 during Global Action Week (GAW).

Sunday, April 26, 2015

PLA Sindh, PBWG celebrate World Book Day

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sindh Branch of the Pakistan Library Association (PLA), with the collaboration of the Pakistan Bibliographical Working Group (PBWG), organized a programme to celebrate the World Book and Copyright Day at the Liaquat Memorial Library, Karachi, on April 22.

Chaudhary Mohammad Nazir, Director General, National Library of Pakistan (NLP), presided over the ceremony which was also attended by Khawaja Mustafa, President, PLA Sindh, and Abdul Samad Ansari, President, Bazm-e-Akram, and Deputy Director, PBWG. 

Dr Nasreen Shagufta, Secretary, Bazm-e-Akram, and Editor, Pakistan Library and Information Science Journal (PLISJ), presented the vote of thanks in which she complimented the organizers for holding the ceremony besides acknowledging the guests of honour and the participants. 

It was a welcome initiative of the PLA Sindh and the PBWG with the presence of quite a few library professionals as well as the representatives of the publishing business making the event a significant one.

Abdul Samad Ansari, President, Bazm-e-Akram, and Deputy Director, PBWG, reckoned that such efforts could be helpful in raising awareness about the importance of public libraries in particular which play a critical role in bringing various communities closer to each other. 

Khawaja Mustafa, President, PLA Sindh, emphasized that all civil societies in the world considered public libraries as a fundamental component of their life. 

He informed that there were more public libraries (16,541 to be precise) in the United States of America (USA) the number of McDonald’s outlets over there as each neighbourhood carried pride in its public library and all educational institutions housed huge libraries where books on almost any subject could be found.

It was regretted that public libraries have been a victim of gross neglect by the governments and philanthropists in Pakistan with the odd exception people like the late Hakim Mohammad Saeed who was an ardent advocate of libraries and had approved a plan for a City Library in Karachi during his governorship which was subsequently shelved. 

The Government of Sindh was requested to put in their share in the development of public and school libraries in the province.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima advocates for more public libraries in Pakistan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, an eminent scholar and library scientist, has advocated for the establishment of greater number public libraries all over the country in order to facilitate the people who are willing to learn and move forward in life.

“New libraries could be established in public places like sports complexes, railway stations and social clubs. It will be hugely beneficial for the people in their quest for knowledge,” she observed in a statement on the occasion of the World Books & Copyright Day being celebrated on April 23. 

“Libraries are comfortable and peaceful places where one can sit and acquire knowledge safely. There should be more and more libraries in the society that are easily accessible to the general public,” Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, a former chairperson of the Library & Information Science department of the University of Karachi, stated. 

“Many of the historic libraries in the country are in dire need of renovation. Libraries are part and parcel of our cultural heritage of writing manuscripts and letters of dignitaries, pictures of historical monuments and mushaira recordings etc,” she added. 

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, who is Vice President of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB), Editor of the Pakistan Library & Information Science Journal, and Chief Editor of Adab Wa Kutubkhana, expressed the hope that the government authorities and the non-governmental stakeholders will play a proactive role in the establishment of more public libraries in the country in the larger national interest. 

“The creation of large number of libraries will bring about a very positive change in the society and it will also be greatly helpful in enhancing the literacy rate,” she concluded.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sarfaraz Ahmed receives Jumbo Karachi Guide in Adelaide

Pakistan News & Features Services

Wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was one of the top performers during Pakistan’s campaign in the recently concluded ICC World Cup Cricket Tournament 2015, hosted jointly by Australia and New Zealand, was pleasantly surprised when presented a copy of Jumbo Karachi Guide by its Chief Editor, Abdul Qadir Qureshi, in Adelaide.

This presentation of Jumbo Karachi Guide in Adelaide indeed looked quite incredible because both Sarfaraz Ahmed as well as Abdul Qadir Qureshi belonged to Karachi and they had gone to Australia in connection with the World Cup. 

Abdul Qadir Qureshi, who had flown to Australia for the World Cup coverage, later revealed that the presentation of Jumbo Karachi Guide wasn’t a planned event and it just took place by chance. 

“Actually I was staying at my daughter’s place in Adelaide. Sarfaraz, who was in brilliant form throughout the tournament, was missing the cup of tea he was used to having in Karachi. So I invited him to come over for that elusive tea of Karachi flavour in Adelaide at the residence of my daughter,” Qadir Qureshi disclosed. 

“Sarfaraz accepted my invitation right away and dropped in the same evening to have a cup of tea with our family. He heaved a few sighs of relief at sipping the kind of tea he was unable to get after having left the shores of Karachi quite a few weeks ago. The enterprising cricketer didn’t conceal his delight at getting it finally thousand of miles away from our home city,” he added. 

“Just as the extended tea was coming to a close I availed the opportunity by presenting Sarfaraz a copy of Jumbo Karachi Guide which he was very glad to receive. He just went through its pages quickly and complimented us for the good work. He promised to read the contents of the guidebook in detail at a later stage,” Qadir Qureshi concluded.

FRHD aims to work rigorously for society

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Foundation for Research & Human Development (FRHD), a group of social activists, parliamentarians and ex-government officials having been registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, would like to fill the research gaps in the field of human rights, child rights, women rights, labour rights, social and development rights of marginalized groups in society. Besides, it would like to develop moralized social groups by interactive and self-initiated developmental programmes and schemes. 

This was disclosed by Nazra Jehan, Executive Director, FRHD, in an interview who added that the core values and principles of the organization, on which it was found, were equality, equity, non-discrimination, dignity, respects, openness, transparency and good governance. 

The vision of the FRHD is to have a society where writ of law would have prime consideration and justice would be delivered on the basis of equality and impartiality; where rights of individual are respected, protected, and promoted. 

Its mission is to act to promote and protect human rights in order to empower people within the framework of recognized standards through advocacy, research, awareness-raising, outreach activities, human development and institutional capacity building. The FRHD would be focussing on the areas of human rights, health, education, poverty alleviation and development, and climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

The strategies of the FRHD include mobilization of active agents either children or adults, men and women for achieving the desired vision, goals and objectives; formation of district or community level groups/committees, but the main emphasis would be on youth and women; conducting brief scientific and empirical researches by involving academics and others so that these can contribute in policy formulation. 

It will also be working on capacity building of active community agents for developing young cadres of social workers; coordination and liaison with government departments; advocacy at district, provincial and national level for the basic rights of excluded people; construction and repair of basic (physical) infrastructure and facilities, and networking with like minded civil society groups for creating more pressure. 

The main objectives of the FRHD include working for the welfare of disadvantage people especially poor, to endeavor to provide moral and financial help to the unprivileged class particularly orphans, widows, children, juveniles and disable persons, enabling them to support themselves financially & live a dignified life, to provide education and health facilities to the children and to highlight & address the issues and problems of women and children mainly women prisoners and juveniles. 

It also has a plan to empower children by promoting and protecting their rights in conformity with the international standards, to conduct research on issues of public importance, to protect and promote rights, privileges and economic interest of the people, to constitute sub-committees at district level to strive for promoting and protecting the rights of people, to conduct advocacy and lobbying for promotion and protection of the rights of people to educate masses on human rights and to build capacities of partners and stakeholders. 

The FRHD will give special consideration to children because they were unheard and they did not have right to even claim for their basic rights. The FRHD Children Board will work for the promotion of the rights of children in Pakistan. Its objectives would be to work for the enabling environment in which child rights are express and they have right to express and make associations.