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More teachers may get training in US

September 23, 2004

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KARACHI, Sept 22: The principals, administrators and heads of schools that had received the educational gifts of American Discovery Centres (ADCs) from the US consulate-general in Karachi , have termed it very useful and informative for both students as well as teachers.

These views were expressed by them at a get together held at a local hotel on Wednesday under the auspices of the office of public affairs, US consulate general, Karachi. It was pointed out that by making use of the ADCs consisting of a standalone P-4 computer, a laser printer, 150 CDs on various subjects and 20 books, youngsters had developed skills of critical and creative thinking.

Speaking on the occasion, the US Consul General in Karachi, Douglas C Rohn, said the ADCs were great teaching tools, offering students access to a great deal of knowledge. He pointed out that the range of these subjects were quite broad and met modern day academic requirements of students. Mr Rohn stated that in some cases, the ADCs had been there for about a year now and it seemed as if students were making great use of them.

As many as 52 ADCs had been distributed among educational institutions in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, he informed, adding that owing to the programme's success, his government might be able to convince the people in Washington to expand it further in the country and introduce the same around the world as well.

A former education minister of Sindh, Prof Anita Ghulam Ali, opined that our children should not merely take what was said in classrooms but should also ask questions to foster discussion and thus learn more.

Prof Anita stressed the need for sharing knowledge for the benefit of teachers and students, adding that the internet was a useful tool for the purpose. Various principals and heads of schools said the ADCs had proved beneficial for students.

Dr Qamar Zaman, administrator of Aisha Bawany Academy, pointed out that students of his institutions were making a very good use of the ADC. Sister Pinto, administrator of St Joseph's Convent School pointed out that students of 'O' level and teachers had found a lot of informative material.

Principal of Karachi High School Ms Parveen Hassan suggested that the CDs should be modified in accordance with the syllabus taught at schools, and in that case students would find them easier to benefit from.

Lt-Col Shams, administrator of Foundation School Hyderabad, Mr Victor of a school in Jacobabad, and Principal of Nazareth Degree College for Women, Hyderabad Prof Ms Aftab Qureshi also spoke.

The Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate-General in Karachi Rex Moser, on the occasion, said the United States was heavily involved in promoting education in Pakistan, adding the USAID programme for education in Pakistan was to the tune of $300 million.

The programme, he said, included sending teachers of English to the United States for training. He stated: "We will be sending other English language teachers from Pakistan to the United States soon."

He pointed out that the ADCs were test projects that had not been placed in any other country and were unique to Pakistan only. Some of the schools desired broadband access and modem and this would be looked into as well.

Mr Moser pointed out: "We actively encourage Pakistani students to apply for studies in the US, where there are great educational opportunities." "We think we have the greatest higher education system in the world and there are thousands of Pakistani students who are benefiting from the American education system," he remarked.

To a question about the relocation of the US consulate general in Karachi, he said: "We are looking for another location for the US Consulate in Karachi but it has not been fixed yet. "We will not make an announcement to this effect until the final decision has been made," he added. - APP