Finland government to train 1 million Pakistani students


Karachi(Cliff News)The Federal Minister of Planning & Development – Asad Umar, chaired the signing ceremony of a historic MoU between the Governments of Finland and Pakistan, to launch an initiative to train 1 million students on disruptive technologies like; Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IOT), Gaming-Tech, Health-Tech, etc. This is the first and the largest ‘Mass IT Education Program’ in collaboration with the Government of Finland. It will be managed by prestigious institutions like the “Kajaani University of Applied Sciences”, Finland, “Allied ICT”, Finland and the Virtual University (VU) Pakistan, while also engaging a local partner – Integration Xperts (IX), in Pakistan to provide technical expertise.The former Minister of Information-Technology – Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui (MNA) also graced the occasion, accompanied by senior officials of the Ministry of IT & Telecom, CEO of Kajaani University Matti Saren, Rector of VU-Mr. Naeem Tariq, Delegates of Allied ICT Finland and Global Alliance, etc., while the CEO of Vendor Junction (Regional Partner) – Sayed Jawed also witnessed the signing ceremony, along with Mr. Umair Azam – Managing Director of Integration Xperts (Representative in Pakistan). All these stakeholders have been working hard for the last one year, to make this venture a reality.Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui thanked the Government of Finland for their support and stated that: “This valuable initiative reflects Pakistan government’s commitment to enrich the economy with an additional qualified workforce of one million youngsters, educated on European professional standards, to learn special skill-sets. It will enable them to capitalize on the latest trends evolving in Information-Technology. With their globally recognized certifications, these fresh human-resources will strengthen Pakistan’s IT industry, by nurturing a wide range of technology start-ups. Pakistan will thus gain competitive-advantage in the global free-lance work-space, to become an attractive destination for international companies searching for qualified technology experts.”The President & CEO of Kajaani University and Member ICT Finland – Matti Saren, said: The Economist Intelligence Report has declared Finland as the best country in the world for future skills-education, while the PISA research by OECD also ranks Finland as the best higher-education & training system in the world. Since Last year, Vendor Junction and Integration Xperts have been exploring ways to access the highest quality of mass-education, technologies and ideas. By following the proven system of Finland, millions of Pakistanis will now become highly-rated experts in the global business environment. The European enterprises are also being engaged to identify investment opportunities in this region, which promises great talents for building innovative businesses.Anas Al Natsheh – Director of International Education Cooperation at Kajaani University said: Resourceful international collaborations and digital technologies are enabling accessibility to quality education across the globe, nurture innovations, new ideas and products. These collaborations serve as great platforms for knowledge-exchange, teaching and learning. Rapid advancement promises accelerated progress, especially for developing countries.Jarmo Jarvenpaa, member of Allied ICT Finland and CEO of iSTOC stated: Digitalization is creating a whole new world of possibilities for growth. Partnerships are enabling new ways to attract investments and achieve agility for success. Working research institutes and local healthcare partners, Allied ICT has already executed a successful infectious-diseases program in Pakistan. Now we are implementing this international training program for nurses and healthcare workers, through mHealth education.The experts involved in this initiative recognize that; AI, IoT, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Digital Networking, Gaming and Drone Technology, are essential skills for success in the global ICT market. Investing on quality incubation and commercialization centres with accredited certifications are needed to nurture local talent, start-ups, based on research, that can impact, sustainability and lives in society as a whole.



Children’s agency remains at full swing at CLF Lahore

CLF Lahore Photo Release 2 (Day 2) - Children’s agency remains at full swing at CLF Lahore (Jan 22, 2020)

Lahore(Cliff News)After the two exhilarating days of literature celebrations of Lahore, the 64thChildren’s Literature Festival (CLF) wrapped up at Children’s Library Complex on Wednesday with children’s participation and agency being the most vibrant aspects of the fun-filled event.The two-day event organized by civil society organization Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and sponsored by Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan, Open Society Foundations (OSF), Oxfam, British Council, Life Skills for Kids (LSK), Lahore Grammar School and Roots Millennium School.The co-hosts, sponsors and partners of CLF Lahore were also pleased to see such a great turnout in the event held in the capital. They all pledged to continue their efforts in improving the means and outcomes of learning for the children.On the second day, Amjad Islam Amjad visited CLF as a special guest and engaged with the kids on the importance of literature and creative writing. He also distributed his signature pens as a souvenir for young writers and encouraged all the aspirants to use the power of pen to change the world.Children’s agency remained at full swing at CLF Lahore 2020 as they were at the center of the two-day festivities at the Children’s Library Complex. The literature festival received a huge response from students, teachers and the general public as over 30,000 children attended the event. Schools from distant districts like Kasur, Faislabad, Gujrat and Sheikhupura also participated in the event.“This is not co-curricular activity but Children’s Literature Festival is Mainstream Curriculum,” said the Minister Food Punjab Sami Ullah Chaudhary, as he heard the young authors and read their writings. This was the best tribute to the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF). He further said that “CLF is indeed mainstream curriculum where reading, creativity, Science, Math, heritage, technology, theatre, music and movement is being promoted for making “Learning” happen. He said ‘when a child learns in this mode, she/he never forgets, the dots begin to connect – the truth begins to illuminate. This is an unforgettable and largest learning event for children that I have ever seen!”At least 80 sessions were held at CLF Lahore with over 125 resource persons and 36 partner institutions who were a part of the learning activities. Learning was at the heart of the two-day festival, CLF was packed with Augment reality sessions, robotics, pottery making from Harrapa, toy making, Science Fuse, Kitabgari, Alif Laila Book Bus activities, theatre workshops, open mic sessions, Cinema Ghar, Dastan-Goi, puppet shows, book launches, science activities, STEM workshops and experiments and exhibition, panel discussions, history of coins by State Bank of Pakistan and many more activities organized for the children. Child poets from Sanjan Nagar schools impressed the audience with an energetic Moshaira. Moreover, there were insightful and thought provoking panel discussions on topics concerning children’s literature, heritage and child rights.The second day’s morning session saw the main ground packed with children who were being entertained by non-verbal storytelling session through animations by Fauzia Minallah followed by sing-along session with Khaled Anam, a wonderful puppet show by Rafi Peer that was the main attraction of children and theater workshop by Atif Badar.Bano Qudsia room had several panel discussions in which one of the session was about Child Protection “Hamari Hifazat Kaun Karay Ga”. During the discussion CLF Ambassador, famous host and panelist of the session Juggun Kazim, ardently stressed on the rising concerns and alarming cases of child abuse and how we all need to knit together against it. There was a unanimous spirit of spreading maximum awareness and fighting this evil to make the society more amicable for our younger generation. CLF Advisor, Rumana Husain had wonderful session on history of Lahore and its heritage, creative writing and also she launched a book named “The Winged One”.The room titled Karwan-e-Iqbal had sessions through the day varying from storytelling to talks on Truck Art, Craft and Literature and innovative approaches to learn poetry. Suno Kahani Meri Zubaani was also there that was the main attraction to promote Urdu as a language alongside giving children valuable input on morals and ethics. Iqbal Shah from Shaman family of Kailsah joined CLF to narrate stories from the children’s literature from Kailaash.Faiz Ghar Auditorium had theater performances by Sanjan Nagar School, puppet show by Alif Laila, drum circle, theater performances by kids, theater competition by Khaled Anam. The CLF also gave special tribute to Fehmida Riaz, the poet-author who had been associated with CLF since its inception in 2011 and wrote many beautiful books for children. While in Waris Shah ki Baithak OUP had a full-day activity on the art of bookmaking.In other spaces CLF was packed with Augment reality sessions, robotics, pottery making from Harrapa, toy making, Science Fuse, Kitabgari and Alif Laila Book Bus activities.ITA CEO and CLF founder Baela Raza Jamil expressed great delight over the successful event. She said that it is very encouraging to see all these young faces excited to broaden their knowledge. “This is a dream come true that we have managed two amazing days in Lahore. We encourage and celebrate the joy of literacy and welcome anyone with an interest in children’s literature to join us. The festival went really well and I am thankful to all of the sponsors and partners for their support and love,” she added.With the success of 64th CLF held in Lahore, it has become the largest social movement for children’s learning in Pakistan. Through these interesting and interactive activities, CLF Lahore promoted the ideas of multilingualism, girls’ education, children’s literature, multiculturalism, diversity, sustainable lifestyles, tolerance, and gender equality, among others. Having a nationwide footprint with a reach of over 1.4 million children, CLFs continue to promote a culture of learning, focusing on creativity, imagination and multi-sensory stimulation, and not just on school textbooks, tests and examinations.

64th CLF kicks off in Lahore with a bang

CLF Lahore Photo Release (Day 1) - 64thChildren’s Literature Festival kicks off in Lahore with a bang (Jan 21, 2020)

Lahore(Cliff News)Day 1 of the two-day programme of 64th Children’s Literature Festival CLF culminated here today at the Children Library Complex Lahore, with 1000s of children, teachers and families participating with great spirit in over 50 sessions. CLF is the largest children’s learning festival of the country! Graced inclusively by government, private, and special schools it is created a positive narrative for learning through feelings and inquiry for ALL in Pakistan. Nearly 10,000 children attended the festival on the first day.Punjab Minister Food, Sami ullah Chaudary inaugurated the 64th Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) cutting the ribbon of a beautiful installation celebrating the theme and tarana of the CLF “Hamein Kitab Chahiye”. The festival’s inauguration at the CLC Main Ground or the “Walled City Lahore Gardens – “Nai Reesan Shehr Lahore Diyan” mesmerized the entire audience with brilliant renditions by the children from Government Special School Choubarji and Shahdab School, two young authors who share their writings in Urdu and English, and the Sanjan Nagar School students of Faiz Ahmed Faiz poetry. The Minister whilst presenting the CLF Awards to longstanding CLF unique resource persons said. “Today is a very special day for me; I want to be a child once again- let us all work for the learning beyond the narrow text books culture”. Commenting on the event, Ms. Talat Fatemah Naqvi, member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab said, I am just awe struck at the scale and beauty of this festival – the only one of this kind in Pakistan.Earlier Dr. Fauzia Saeed, Director General Pakistan National Cultural Academy (PNCA) invited as the Guest of Honor, said that CLF is a powerful platform that celebrates diversity and learning! She said “I am overwhelmed each time by this unique festival for children committed to enhancing the love of reading and critical thinking among children through beautifully crafted storytelling, creative writing, illustrations, theatre, music, puppet shows, digital, robotics and STEM workshops, book launches and book fairs.The festival opened with multiple sessions taking place simultaneously making it very difficult to make choices by children and teachers alike as they hopped from one segment to another in a bid to attend as many as possible within the same time slot, learning the rich ideas.Whilstouncing the need to celebrate learning, reading, storytelling, and children focused activities, Baela RazaJamil, CEO ITA and founder CLF said, “We are back today with the tilsm / magic of CLF all due to the efforts of over 40 amazing partners and 130 valuable and celebrity resource persons present making our children happy; multiplying the love for stories, storytelling, reading and inquiry for expanding our imagination. Good things happen when we work together for them to happen,” she said, adding that books, literature as performing arts and science as interactive inquiry of nature through all senses broadened the minds of our children and teachers to new and fresh ideas. To honor and encourage our teachers the Teachers’ Literature Festival will be held to foster professional development and multiply the CLF in the classrooms on January 23, 2020 from 9:00 -3:00 p.m. The first day saw the Main Stage packed with kids interested in the atre conducted by Khaled Anam, AtifBadar to storytelling sessions by Suno Kahani Mari Zubaani and through the mural of love by Fauzia Minallahan open mic session for students” bolkay lab Azad hein teray” and a concert titled “Rocking Timeless Poetry by Ali Noor, Ali Hamza and Rakae Jamil”.The Shakespeare Hall held dramatic storytelling, puppet show by Alif Laila Book Bus Society, and Shair o Shairi ,Mushaira by Sanjan Nagar school students. Bano Qudsia held book launches by a 7 year old Zahra Bokhari and first time author Anam Khan along with Sign Language Facilitation and panel discussions. In Waris Shah di Baithak 1, full-day activity on the art of bookmaking was held by OUP’s team. FaizGhar Auditorium had Theatrical performance by Sanjan Nagar Students, theater performance by Rafi Peer and development through astronomy in Pakistan by Cosmic Perspectives. Digital Pakistan and Arfa Karim room featured digital various digital activates and session Safe Internet by ITA team.Karwan-e-Iqbal held public speaking workshop, History of Lahore by Rumana Husain, Critical thinking and creativity, storytelling session of folktales of Kalaash were narrated by the ‘Shaman- .from the beautiful Kalash Valley and  Khurshid Khan an amazing school teacher from Peshawar.The programmesat Abdus Salam hadrich learning spaces with daylong activities including robowars by Oxbridge, the amazing LHC tunnel by Khwarizmi Society, Robotronics, Science Fuse and heritage activities by State Bank of Pakistan Museum teams. Potters, paper making, wooden toys experts, arts and crafts and three mobile libraries from CLF and Alif Laila Book Bus Society enthralled Ghar had everyone.Cinema film screenings from Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (SOC) Films, Quaid say Batein, many others.CLF Lahore has been generously supported by the Children Library Complex, School Education Department Punjab, Oxford University Press (OUP), Open Society Foundations, Oxfam, the British Council Library, Life Skills for Kids (LSK), Lahore Grammar School and Roots Millennium Schools.CLF promotes creativity, imagination and responsible citizenship through multi-sensory stimulation both in and beyond classrooms and textbooks, a truly unique platform that practically illustrates ways of motivating children to learn through self-expression, tolerance and critical thinking.CLF continues to spread the love of learning and propagation  practically as the largest learning festival for children and teachers in Pakistan promoting multiple intelligences; being held from Mithi, Turbat and Muzaffargarh to Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi  & Islamabad since 2011-Lahore marks the 64th CLF.Entry is free for all-Children as the VIPs of the CLF and adults must be accompanied by them. 

Artificial Intelligence can boost education efficiency:Jibran Jamshad

Karachi(Cliff News)“The Middle East and Africa has reached a key chapter in its education story. Up until now, the conversation around education has revolved primarily around improving the standard of education across the region. But as digital transformation continues to sweep across the globe, there’s a unique window of opportunity to fast-forward to a completely revolutionised era of education.” These thoughts were expressed by Jibran Jamshad, Microsoft Country Education Lead for Pakistan.He further explained that for years, the general level of education across the region has been improving at a steady pace. “According to the World Bank, the average level of schooling in the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) has quadrupled since 1960, with the rate of illiteracy having almost halved. At the same time, statistics tell us that the region has made significant strides when it comes to school enrollment. But despite this progress, the general standard of education across the region still varies significantly, with many countries yet to attain the level of learning to which they aspire”, he added.Research shows in many cases curriculums favour an approach to education based on rote learning, which means students are not always exposed to 21st century skills, such as working in teams, problem solving and innovation. Skill sets such as these are only going to become more important as automation begins to replace lower-skill jobs. Recent Microsoft research conducted in collaboration with McKinsey & Company’s Education Practice shows that by 2030, the fastest growing occupations will require higher-level cognitive skills in areas such as collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. Already as many as 30 to 40 percent of jobs in growth industries require soft skills.Though the need for social-emotional skills is clear, teachers don’t always feel adequately equipped to teach these skills. And to build crucial cognitive, social and emotional skills, educators need training, technologies and time. Technology can play a critical role in helping to overcome these challenges – AI, in particular, has significant potential to increase the efficiency of education, whether by freeing up educators’ time or helping them develop a more student-centred approach to learning.Microsoft’s research shows technology can free up as much as 30 percent of teachers’ time, making it easier for them to respond to individual and group needs. And the same study shows students who receive personalised instruction perform better than 98 percent of traditionally taught students. AI-enabled tools are also far more easily accessible than educators might realise. Those found in Microsoft Office 365, for example, are available in programmes such as Word, OneNote and PowerPoint, meaning they are free and easy to use.Immersive Reader, for example, helps students with learning differences such as Dyslexia build reading confidence. Students can use features like Line Focus, which reduces visual crowding and highlights text to improve readability. On the more sophisticated end of the spectrum, AI can provide educators with greater insight as to how students are progressing so they can adjust their approach, supporting students’ individual needs.Many schools have improved the academic interaction between students and educators through applications like OneNote and Teams. The tools not only promote better collaboration and productivity, but also enhanced interaction between the students and their teachers. The schools digital transformation has a strong impact on student performance, from day-to-day activities to official exams, completely transforming the entire learning journey. These technologies are particularly effective in breaking down the barriers in communication between students of different abilities. By drawing on AI, these tools can help ensure every student has a voice.Even simple AI-enabled features like those found in Office 365 can help tertiary-level students with their academic pursuits. PowerPoint Editor, for example, draws on machine learning and natural language processing, enabling students to proof read their content more effectively. The tool even provides helpful suggestions as to how students should refine their style of writing.This is a promising sign that we are moving in the right direction as incorporating technology in today’s classrooms can help catapult the region’s education sector into the digital era. And ultimately, empowering young people to become successful, capable, and active contributors to the digital economy will create prosperity.

Dettol educate 2 million kids to become hygiene ambassadors

Global Handwashing Day- Picture

Karachi(Cliff News)The purpose of Global Handwashing Day, celebrated every 15th October worldwide, is to reiterate the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.  In anticipation of this Global Hand Washing Day, “Dettol” educated the kids of SOS Hermann Gmeiner School on the importance of healthy habits and ensuring personal hygiene, especially hand washing. The interactive session was part of the year-round school program Dettol conducts with over 2 million school going kids every year.A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that washing hands with soap and water can reduce the diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%.“It is extremely important to instill healthy habits at an early age and educate our children regarding their well-being,” said Humayun Farooq, Director Marketing – Health, Reckitt Benckiser Pakistan Limited (RB) – makers of Dettol. He added that “We at Dettol strongly believe that kids have a very entrepreneurial nature, where they will find creative ways to spread a message if it has been registered correctly in their minds. Since kids respond to stories better, this year we have launched a special handwash campaign as well which narrates the story of a boy called Ahmed who articulates the message of handwashing in his own creative way to teach others. We believe in clean hands for all and thus through this campaign we want to reach out to even those kids who we cannot connect with physically.”While speaking at the occasion, the school’s principal, Sharmin Yasir said, “Including school children as part of the Dettol School Program will not only ensure the adoption of this habit but will also reduce disease incidence among them. Through this initiative, Dettol teaches school going children healthier living habits with an aim to increase their attendance in school.”


Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood visited TCF

Karachi(Cliff News)Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood visited The Citizens Foundation (TCF), Head Office where he met with the Founding Members and Senior Management of TCF.The purpose of the visit was to introduce Mr. Shafqat Mehmood to TCF and its impact in the field of education whilst also discuss the need for strengthening cooperation to address the education crisis in Pakistan. Mr. Shafqat Mehmood commended on TCF’s work and was impressed by its scale of operations and success in breaking down barriers to education for the less privileged children of Pakistan. He was also briefed on TCF’s Adult Literacy Program and its impact across Pakistan.The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is a professionally managed, non-profit organization set up in 1995 by a group of citizens who wanted to bring about positive social change through education. 24 years later, TCF is now one of Pakistan’s leading organizations in the field of education for the less privileged, educating 252,000 students across 1,567 schools in Pakistan.

About TCF:

The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is a strong advocate of the belief that a truly informed and educated society forms the foundation of a progressive state and instills in its citizens the ability to adapt and evolve with changing times. It is a non-profit organization set up in 1995 by a group of citizens who wanted to bring about positive social change through education. 24 years later, TCF is now one of Pakistan’s leading organizations in the field of education for the less privileged. The TCF model focuses on providing quality education through purpose-built schools located in the heart of Pakistan’s urban slums and rural communities.  The organization ensures that girls represent nearly 50% of overall student enrolment. To magnify its impact, improve enrolment and quality of education, TCF is also adopting Government schools across Pakistan.


Dettol brings a chance to win school scholarships


Karachi(Cliff News)The Back to School campaign is offered by Dettol every year and they are continuing the tradition this year as well. The scholarship will cover the tuition fee for a period of 12 months, from the 1st of January 2020 till 31st of December 2020 for those who win. There have been 21 Dettol Scholars who have won this scholarship in the past two years along with the winner of the Dettol School Fund. Dettol offers several opportunities to increase access to quality education in the county. “We are extremely thankful to Dettol for providing our kid an opportunity to have a better future through Dettol Scholarship ’’ says Basim Sajjad’s Mother who was one the scholarship winners from last year.The campaign will continue taking entries till August 31, 2019. For taking part in the contest, the applicant is required to buy any qualifying, Pakistani made variant of Dettol soap and give a missed call on 0306-3Dettol (0306-3338865). The applicant will then receive a call and an SMS with further instructions to enter the four-digit batch code number and the details of the kid to participate.Humayun Farooq, Director Marketing – Health, Reckitt Benckiser Pakistan, commented about the campaign “Going back to school is an exciting time for children and parents alike. To add further to their excitement, this year again we are giving parents a chance to win school-scholarships for their children. Through our initiatives, we want to ensure that children have a more productive school year by ensuring good health through sustained hygienic practices that Dettol promotes.Dettol has always played an important part in giving back to the community through different campaigns & programs. The Dettol School Program is an excellent example which reaches out to two million school going children across Pakistan educating them on the importance of cleanliness and hygiene.