Monthly Archives: January 2021

Language report

By Zubeida Mustafa

EARLIER this month, The Citizens Foundation (TCF) released a landmark report on the language of education, probably the first document of its kind in Pakistan. Based on in-depth studies and interviews, it reconfirms that children learn best in a language they understand. This is generally the mother tongue or the language of the environment in multilingual communities.

TCF is now testing this thesis in 21 classrooms in Tharparkar where it is setting up schools with the help of Thar Foundation. True, this is universally recognised. But TCF’s endeavour should be appreciated — it is the first private-sector organisation to move away from the prevailing practice in non-government institutions. They generally use English or an English-Urdu hybrid as the medium of instruction.

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Plugged in: headphones or earplugs?

By Rifaat Hamid Ghani

The PTI has too many spokespersons. The spin has become self-defeating. It no longer leaves listeners merely dizzy with listening: the noise is so loud that far too many have stopped listening or can’t make out exactly what is being said. And, in the meanwhile, there may be a whole new message which even a fanatically attentive audience is losing out on.

Now that, the perspicacious sceptic say, is the whole point — engaged in lip-reading in a deafening din, we don’t look where the real action is. It’s the juggler’s sleight of hand in auditory form.     However, when you give up trying to make sense of the statements and messages being fed you, you start to think for yourself. Or to put it another way when you are glutted you start to digest. So, where are we heading – what is actually happening?      In an off-the-cuff session with journalists after

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Baloch paradox

By Zubeida Mustafa

BALOCHISTAN is a paradox — like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces that do not fit. The recent tragedy — the brutal mass murder of 11 Hazara miners in Mach — is testimony to this paradox. It is bizarre that, periodically, a cultured people with a rich tradition of poetry and learning should be subjected to such atrocity on the soil of Balochistan by brutes under the protection of non-Baloch.

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Twilight years

By Zubrida Mustafa

“A few years to my sum of years,/ I am still stuck in the in-between./ A relic in this vale of tears,/ A reluctant ‘was’, ‘has-been’.” — Chris Z. Abbas

THESE verses were penned by a dear friend describing old age, three years before her death in 2009. Chris was 88 when she departed from what she called “this vale of tears”.

The fact is that medical science boasts of its success in prolonging the age of man — life expectancy in Pakistan has grown from 45 years in 1950 to 67 today. But society and state have done precious little to improve the quality of life for their senior citizens.

Hence it gave me great satisfaction when I learned recently that in 2014 the Sindh Assembly had adopted the Senior Citizens Welfare Act (SCWA) — the first province in Pakistan to do so. Lawyers dub it as a ‘model’ law, cut and pasted from the social welfare law of a West European state but without any plan for its implementation.

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