Monthly Archives: November 2005

Roots of the organ racket

by Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

A MAJOR international meeting opened yesterday in Karachi. This was the triennial Conference of the Asian Society of Transplantation (CAST) that has brought together 200 experts from Asian countries and a few more from Europe and America.

They will be discussing issues related to organ transplantation. Although CAST gives the impression of being a very technical forum of medical professionals, the major issue to be debated is of a non-technical nature and directly concerns lay people. In Pakistan, it has acquired a grave dimension.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Health |

When women are worst sufferers

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

FOUR days after the devastating earthquake in Azad Kashmir and the NWFP, the UNFPA released its annual report, State of the World Population 2005, which focused on gender equality. The earthquake was a compelling pointer to the drastic implications of a high population growth rate for women and children.

More than half of the 76,000 killed or the several hundred thousands injured by the earthquake were children. As someone poignantly put it, a whole generation has been destroyed.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Women |

The healing touch

By Zubeida Mustafa Since October 8 when the killer earthquake hit Azad Kashmir and northern Pakistan, the media has been full of images related to the tragedy. They tell a bigger story than a thousand written or spoken words. There … Continue reading

Leave a comment | Posted in Natural Disasters, Social Issues |

Debate on medium of instruction

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

A QUESTION we are still grappling with in Pakistan after 58 years is, what should be the language of instruction in our schools? Given all the scientific research that has gone into the language and literacy issues worldwide — but surprisingly not enough in Pakistan — one would have thought we would have found the answer by now. Unfortunately, we haven’t.

Those who have studied the psycholinguistic development of a child are very clear about their findings. They say that language and cognitive development are intimately related. According to them, a child learns best in his mother tongue because he is not doubly burdened with the task of acquiring literacy skills simultaneously with learning another language not his own. That is why very often the student taught in a non-mother tongue learns to read syllable by syllable with very little comprehension.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Language |

An uncalled for controversy

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

A LANGUAGE controversy has been brewing in Sindh for the last five weeks. It would have assumed the shape of a full-blown crisis had the earthquake of October 8 and its aftermath not diverted public attention. But as life returns to normality, attention is once again focused on the language issue which can become quite explosive if not handled promptly and tactfully.

The venom being spewed out is reminiscent of the tumultuous days of July 1972 when Karachi went up in flames, curfew had to be imposed and people lost their lives. It may be recalled that the cause of provocation at that time was the Sindh (Teaching, Promotion and Use of Sindhi Language) Act, 1972, which the Sindh Assembly adopted on July 7, 1972. This prescribed measures for the teaching of Sindhi in accordance with Article 267 of the Constitution which provided that a provincial legislature could promote a provincial language without prejudice to Urdu, the national language.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Language |

Miseducating the child

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

LAST week it was decided at a high level meeting in which both the president and the prime minister were present that the education sector would receive four per cent of the GDP in the fiscal year 2006-07. It has not been reported in the media what stirred the government to suddenly turn its attention to this very important sector of national life which has conventionally not been deemed worthy of our leaders’ attention and precious time.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Education |