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An academic, a researcher and writer.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Birmingham Paper on Theory-Practice interaction in ITE in England by Muhammad Ilyas Khan

Paper presented by me in TEAN conference Birmingham on theory-practice interaction in Teacher Education in Engalnd and Pakistan. http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=cumbria.ac.uk%2FPublic%2FEducation%2F...%2FPreparingEffectiveTeachers.ppt&meta

Friday, 22 June 2012

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - ANALYSIS : Why Hazara province? — Azizullah Khan

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - ANALYSIS : Why Hazara province? — Azizullah Khan

Is there any valid administrative base for a Hazara province? My simple and plain answer is, no. Hazara is the eastern division of KP, consisting of Mansehra, Haripur and Abbottabad districts with Abbottabad as its headquarters. In June 2011, the ANP government established another division called Abaseen division consisting of Batgram, Kohistan (carved out of Hazara division) and Torgar districts (which was hitherto a tribal area). Abbottabad is 204 kilometres from Peshawar, which requires an approximate time of two hours and 32 minutes in a public vehicle to travel, while the southern districts of KP like Bannu (210 km from Peshawar), Lakki Marwat (207 km), D I Khan (303 km) and Tank (314 km) are comparatively further away from Peshawar but there is no movement for a separate province in these districts. If the PML-N and the PML-Q or any other party (the MQM or JUI-F), which also sometimes raise the issue of a Hazara province, believe that the creation of a Hazara province is administratively justified, they should press for the creation of a province on every circle of 204 km diameter. Go on this criterion and you have almost three dozen provinces. Can our economy sustain that much expenditure, I ask the supporters of the Hazara province?

Till yesterday, the same PML-N was resisting provincial status to southern Punjab, whose every major city is farther than 204 km from Lahore. For instance, Rawalpindi is at 375 km distance from Lahore, Attock at 425 and Chakwal at 271. On the similar administrative basis would PML-N call for another province in Punjab that Makhdoom Javed Hashmi would name as Potohar province? Speaking administratively, Hazara is right under the belly of Peshawar from where it can be controlled effectively.

As far as political power sharing is concerned, the present day KP has been ruled twice by persons who hailed from Hazara division — Abdul Qayyum Khan in the 1950s and Sardar Mehtab Khan Abassi from 1997 to 1999. Hazaras have always enjoyed an equitable power share in the province.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Imagination Victoria Park Sunday 10 pm Dark Cloudy Drizzling An occasional thundering sound A slight breeze A rustle of greenish yellow leaves A sudden flutter and fall of some A few birds up the branches of a tree chirp A lonely bench below the tree You and I Silence Your head on my shoulder A layer of your wet hair Touch my cheek Your hand in mine Some passersby every few minutes Time turns into eternity And imagination goes beyond the existence Beyond the literal And into the metaphorical Then close your eyes And listen to this: http://www.rainymood.com/ As the rain gets stronger And so does the desire to mix into one another Like the drops of rain that mix into the green grass And to the earth Where everything belongs You, and me too And in that belonging and longing we Are but one No you, or me! Ilyas

RainyMood.com: Rain makes everything better.

RainyMood.com: Rain makes everything better.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

"Dr Shirley Lawes debates ‘Schools of the future’ Listen to Dr Shirley Lawes, subject leader for PGCE Languages at the Institute of Education, University of London and a member of the Institute of Ideas Education Forum and Battle of Ideas Organising Committee. In 2010 she was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques for services to French language and culture. Here Shirley speaks at the Birmingham Salon debate Schools of the future: What is education for? on Wednesday 6th April 2011 at The Studio, Birmingham." http://birminghamsalon.wordpress.com/

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Hindu : Opinion / Lead : Curator of a hollowed conscience

The Hindu : Opinion / Lead : Curator of a hollowed conscience

On his hundredth birthday, Manto stands taller on the literary horizon than others who wrote about the mass migrations of 1947. Where he needs greater appreciation is in the role he played as a witness to history through his chilling narratives of partition. In a country where history as a discipline has suffered from calculated neglect in the interests of projecting statist ideology, Manto's partition stories are an excellent entry point for enquiring minds eager to understand the past that has made their present fraught with such uncertainty and danger. The ever-percipient Manto had anticipated the problems of treating religion as a weapon rather than a matter of personal faith and ethics, which have over the past three decades surfaced with a vengeance in Muslim Pakistan. His words of warning have a resonance that is louder than when he said: ‘Our split culture and divided civilization, what has survived of our arts; all that we received from the cut up parts of our own body, and which is buried in the ashes of Western politics, we need to retrieve, dust, clean and restore to freshness in order to recover all that we have lost in the storm.'  Ayesha Jalal
If there is a birthday present Pakistanis and Indians can jointly give Manto, it is to admit the reality of the problems he spelt out in his writings on partition. It may then become possible for them to take the requisite steps towards recovering what has been lost by the myopic refusal of their respective nation-states to understand each other's position, rectify past errors, and strike a mutually beneficial and sustainable historical compromise.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Curtailing ‘immodesty’: Ex-lawmaker ‘decrees’ against female education

Curtailing ‘immodesty’: Ex-lawmaker ‘decrees’ against female education

A former lawmaker and cleric from Kohistan district, Maulana Abdul Haleem, termed formal education for women un-Islamic and asked parents to pluck their daughters from school, or else they would be ‘doomed’.
The nonagenarian, who was elected to the National Assembly from Kohistan on the now-defunct Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s ticket in 2002, also railed against non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the region in his Friday sermon, calling them ‘hubs of immodesty’.
Nestled in the Himalayas, the Kohistan district is picturesque, but also one of the least-literate and least developed in the country.
Fiery sermon
Maulana Haleem, who was an office-bearer of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl until recently, was delivering a Friday sermon, at Jamia Masjid Komila, on who is dayoos, or those liable to be condemned to hell.
“It’s beghairti (immodesty) to equip girls with secular education,” the cleric said, adding that those Kohistani parents who were sending their girls to schools were acting against ‘Islamic shariah’ and the local customs.
“The Kohistani culture does not allow parents to send their pardadar (modest) girls to schools,” the former lawmaker said.
He did not spare female NGO workers either.
“Some women from these NGOs visit our houses frequently, mobilising naïve Kohistani women to follow their agenda in the name of health and hygiene education,” he said, adding that this was ‘unacceptable to Kohistani culture’. He threatened them with ‘dire consequences’, saying that married female NGO workers will be sent back to their husbands, and the unmarried ones will be wedded to Kohistani men.
During his stint as a parliamentarian, Maulana Haleem had also declared poppy cultivation in Kohistan ‘in accordance with Islam’.
Keeping women at home
When approached for comments, the cleric stood by the contents of his sermon, and insisted that several Hadith books prohibit girls from receiving degrees and certificates in ‘secular education’.
He did not actually quote any reference though. Asked to explain how parents would be doomed for their daughters’ education, the cleric said that formal education paves the way for girls to enter the job market. “When they permit their women to work, they give them a free hand to mix with na-mehrum (men they are not related to by blood) – by doing so, the girl’s father, brother or husband become dayoos in the eye of the shariah,” he said.
Such people will never enter Paradise, he added.
The only responsibility men owe to women is their sustenance, and not education, he said. In return, the women should stay at home and look after their children and family members, he added.
Asked if Islamic states like Saudi Arabia and Iran were violating shariah by spending billions on women’s education, Maulana Haleem termed their steps un-Islamic.
If the government is serious about bringing development to Kohistan, it should utilise NGOs’ funding itself with the help of local men.
Men working for these NGOs can continue their work though, he said, saying that is not against the shariah and local culture.
He claimed that 97% of girls schools in Kohistan were closed and the few girls that were enrolled, only visited their schools to collect cooking oil which the education department was distributing with the support of foreign donors.~Express Tribune, Pakistan, 6 May, 2012

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Refugees Education in Pakistan and Afghanistan


Educating refugees
Reviewed by Muhammad Ilyas Khan

'Atle Hetland is a Norwegian social scientist, with over 25 years of experience in development and refugee education work in Africa and Asia, including over four years experience of working with UN organisations dealing with refugee issues in Pakistan. Not being able to let go of his memorable experience of the unique Afghan and Pakistani people, Hetland embarked on a major book project which resulted in three volumes of Learning Away from Home book series. The project became larger than initially planned for the author did not plan to write three books, ‘But now I am through with my job’, says Hetland.

The ‘Expanded Volume’ of the series describes and analyses refugee issues, emphasising on education with a special focus on the Basic Education for Awareness, Reform and Empowerment (BEFARe) project in Peshawar. The 93-page ‘Introduction Volume’, on the other hand, gives a summary of key issues prevailing in that area. It introduces the readers to the project’s key partners and donors and gives profiles of some refugee pupils, teachers, and other stakeholders. Most of the data has been extracted from refugee camps and villages near Peshawar and Quetta.

After the launch of the book, the author also visited several universities and NGOs all around the country to introduce the book and the many issues it explores. Heltand maintains that young people are always interested in issues related to refugees who have to go through voluntary or forced migration, including human trafficking and smuggling.

Readers are given glimpses of the efforts made and problems solved in the day to day lives of the refugees. Although Hetland commends the work done by the government and people of Pakistan, as well as UNHCR and its partners, he repeatedly says that ‘we didn’t do enough’, and, ‘we should not reduce aid to education and skills training when repatriation begins; we should increase the help at the time of repatriation, in the host country and the home country’.

Hetland documents that research from other countries shows that education is a key tool in repatriation. It allows the returnees to be able to go home with certain competencies and skills to get employment, and education provides them with the courage and confidence to return to their homelands, which is a crucial step after being in exile for many years.

Hetland is also impressed by the good work that has been done regarding refugee education in Pakistan, but more should have been done, and more can still be done, he adds. After all, there are 2.4 million Afghan refugees registered with the government of Pakistan, and a good number may not even have been registered, and there are some who will not be able to return but seek permanent residence in Pakistan or resettlement in another country. They need education and skills so that they can look after themselves and contribute to their host country’s economy.

Hetland reminds us of our responsibility to assist the refugee-hosting areas and host communities. The international community must enhance its assistance to Pakistanis, and mixed Pakistan-Afghan communities, for many of them need such assistance.

It is also important that the Afghan authorities, with increased assistance from the international community, expand programmes for returnees. That means practical and financial assistance with housing, employment, skills training and primary and secondary education for children and youth, and better health services.

Hetland has included a special section in the annex of the ‘Expanded Volume’ about the earthquake, since refugee education and assistance have many similarities to assistance required after natural disasters like earthquakes.

Another useful annex in the book is the list of international instruments and conventions concerning the right to education. The references in the annex to selected specialists and detailed footnotes at the end of each of the 10 chapters in the book include essential details for students, researchers, teachers and others who want to continue studies of refugee education in Pakistan.

There are still many areas left to study, as Hetland underlines, and many lessons to learn for mainstream education too, in Pakistan and Afghanistan. ‘We must still remember that it is the teachers and the education authorities who are the specialists, while the rest of us should play a supportive and monitoring role,’ Hetland adds.

He hopes others will dig deeper into the many important issues in education and other refugee, returnee and refugee-hosting issues. ‘I find it important that we study the situation of the urban refugees. I have only been able to write scant stories about them, but their number was usually larger than that of camp refugees. Their history is important and we can learn lessons from it, as we can from the other refugee history. Pakistan has done well, and the Afghan refugees have also made their contributions to their own upkeep and lives, and many times even to the host country.’ Books and Authors, DAWN, Pakistan

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Free Books



Romance Fades

Screaming pulses,
Beating hearts.
The sky's the limit
when you're in love.

Once announced
the object turns
from one of affection
to that of indifference.

Romance fades.

Routine creeps in.
What once was sweet
new and exciting
is now tarnished.

Requited love is often
the hardest love of all
for it is much easier
to love from afar.

Romance fades.

Who knew that he
wakes up disheveled
every morning
with as many flaws as me.

Imagination cuts deep.
Champagne and strawberries
turn into a six pack
and backseat fondlings.

Romance fades.

The sun has risen
Now it will set.
What once was golden
Slowly blackens.

Muted sensations.
Slurred voices.
Reality is tiring
and romance is dead.

Nadine Tisdell


Monday, 19 March 2012

A dream

A lonely dark room

A deserted place

A sleeping fellow in an adjacent bed

Noise of loud talk

A silent struggle

Of wish and will

An aroma around

A tickle of rain drops on the roof

A light breeze fluttering across the window

An eerie moment in time

What is it?

A craze?

Clouds of thoughts?

Shadows of reality?


a dream?


What is it?

Is it concrete
Is it abstract
Is it phronetic
Is it epistemic
Or is it gestaltic

Where is it?

Is it in the bird
Or in the flight of it
Is it in the fish
Or in the swim of it
Is it in the bee
Or in the honey of it
Is it in the rose
Or in the colour of it
Or in its fragrance
Is it in the poet
Or in the poetry
Is it in the philosopher
Or his philosophy

Where is it

Is it out there
Or is it in here

How is it?

Is it black or white
Is it grey
Or is it coloured
Is it straight
Or crooked
Or square
Or biological

Is it yours
Is it mine
Or is it ours

But who are you?
Who am I
Who are we
Are we one
Or many
Or many in one
Is reality in us
Or are we in the reality
Or is it that we and our reality
Are but shadows of the real?

P.S: An extempore flow of consciousness that I wrote for my talk on ontology to my colleagues at a UK university.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The ‘castle of Islam’ concept

The ‘castle of Islam’ concept : The tool of isolationism is ideology because it indoctrinates and creates the uniformity of thinking that the castle demands. States that give the impression of being castles insist on the uniformity of mind. It is only by thinking the same way that you can live inside a castle without conflict. Hence, the importance of an agreed ideology protected by a Penal Code prescribing the measure of punishment that a breach of ideology, will entail.

Pakistan, as a castle, is trying to defeat efforts at creating difference of opinion and tolerance of opinion opposed to the indoctrination of the state. If English punctures the isolationist discourse, it must be either abolished or tamed through forcing ‘three streams’ of education — English, Urdu, madrassa — into becoming one dictated by the state. The castle of Pakistan is still being built.
Khalid Ahmad ET, Pakistan

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Poem on a teacher

I knew a teacher once
With words as soft
As moths on summer screens:
Cruel was not his style.
As others barked,
His whispers touched the dark,
Inside your soul
And seemed to echo there.
The way was sure.
He always took the time:
Refused the rush
Of world reports for poems-
And pushed aside
The weight of dusty tomes
To scratch his nose
And passed around the mints.
He seemed alive.
You couldn’t put him on.
He’d take a book
And make it yours and his
In magic ways
That made your breath come quick.
His wink was slight,
The eyes were bright and clear,
A hush of blues.
You’d watch the pause of smile,
A patient blink
That let the question hang.
Grimmett and Mackinnon

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Education: The PTI’s false promises won’t help

Instead of asking for the moon, Chairman Khan could serve the genuine interests of Pakistan were he to demand that its school system stop spreading sectarian and religious hatreds; stop viewing the people of other countries as their enemies; stop telling lies about our history; stop using wretchedly bad locally-written science and math textbooks; stop rewarding parrot-like memorisation in examinations; and stop tolerating widespread teacher absenteeism~ Pervez Hoodbhoy

Education: The PTI’s false promises won’t help

Monday, 30 January 2012

K-P govt wants citizens’ help to design syllabus

K-P govt wants citizens’ help to design syllabus

To remove flaws from the current syllabus after it was criticised for being class-based, the government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has sought the help of ordinary citizens to make changes to the curriculum on social, scientific and religious grounds.

The announcement came from Sadar Hussain Babak, the minister for education in K-P." Express Tribune

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Friday, 27 January 2012

Let’s talk dirty

Let’s talk dirty ...The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is supposed to be a citadel of all that is holy and sacred. It’s a ‘family value’ culture, you know. Unlike the ‘selfish, immoral westerners,’ we live and die for our families and our children. Yet, a child is raped and molested every seven hours here. And this ugly statistic is just the tip of the iceberg and accounts for only reported cases. The actual figure runs many times over.
According to studies, over 60 percent of such cases involve family members and associates. Incest too is a reality but nobody dare talk about it. Married women are dying needless deaths in dingy, secret abortion facilities because nobody is telling them how to live. Young children are being exploited for asking the right questions from the wrong people. We are a nation breeding like rabbits and dying like vermin, but nobody wants to talk about sex. It’s time we did.