Iran bans foreign social media
Today Ministry of education Iran bans the foreign social media networks in schools, amid a push by Tehran to limit the influence of outside online platforms.
Schools must “only use domestic social networks” for their communication, the ministry said in a statement, according to the reformist-linked news agency.
Telegram is the most popular social network in Iran. In 2017, the app claimed it had 40-million monthly users in the Islamic Republic. Instagram is also very popular, and companies in Iran – like elsewhere – often use both platforms to communicate directly with customers.
Less used, Facebook and Twitter are blocked in Iran, but easily accessible using a virtual private network (VPN).
During a wave of protests that hit dozens of Iranian cities over at the start of the year, temporarily foreign social media bans in Iran such as Telegram, accusing the app of allowing foreign-based “counter-revolutionary” groups to fuel unrest.
Since then, authorities have sought to develop Iranian social media networks and limit the reliance on foreign-based platforms, which Tehran accuses of hosting sites deemed hostile to the Islamic Republic.
Several Iranian platforms offering services similar to Telegram have emerged in recent months, like the Soroush network, which already claims to have five million subscribers.
HEC clarification on news story apropos KP universities!
ISLAMABAD: HEC has commented on a news story published in a section of Press on 20th July 2018, entitled “HEC recognizes only 4 out of 9 varsities PTI claims it built in K-P”.
In a statement HEC has clarified: “It is necessary to correct the ensuing miscommunication. The Higher Education Commission has not rejected any university chartered by KPK Government. It is a process whereby Provincial Government grant the charters and then these universities have to apply to HEC for their accreditation. The specific details for each university are as follows:
“For the University of Chitral, the Higher Education Commission conducted Accreditation visit even before the grant of the charter. NOC granted subject to the approval of the charter by the Provincial Government. Accreditation visit conducted for UET Mardan university has been conducted and NOC has been granted.
“Likewise, Accreditation visit for the University of Buner has also been conducted while the report is under process. NOC has already been granted for Abbottabad University of Science and Technology. A similar visit to University of Science & Technology Lakki Marwat is being planned. Agriculture University Mardan has yet to apply with all the documents for accreditation”.
A piece published earlier:
Pakistani Students Prepare for a Semester at American Universities
ISLAMABAD: Thanks to the U.S. government-funded program, over 108 students from across Pakistan will spend a semester in the United States studying at colleges and universities alongside American peers.
During a pre-departure orientation in Islamabad, American Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Hoover congratulated the students who have been selected to participate in the fall 2018 Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD).
Chargé d’Affaires John Hoover told the students they would become “powerful messengers” between the United States and Pakistan. “You will tell stories that go beyond the headlines,” he said, “and your stories will give your friends and families a genuine understanding of the shared values between our two nations.”
2017 Global UGRAD alumna Fer Ghanaa Ansari shared stories of her year studying in New Jersey and explained how her time abroad changed her. “I fully realized all that I had gained from the UGRAD experience only after I came back,” she said. “I gained confidence; I wanted to take more initiatives to make my country better; I wanted to remain an active member of my community.”
PS: USEFP, a bi-national commission established in 1950 by the governments of Pakistan and the United States, helps the American Embassy administer the Global UGRAD Program in Pakistan. Executive Director Rita Akhtar said that since the program began in 2010, more than 1,500 students have participated as Global UGrads, and 60 have gone on to study for Masters or Ph.D. degrees in the United States on the prestigious Fulbright Program.
A relevant piece published earlier:
A pre-departure orientation ceremony of over 100 students who will begin their graduate and undergraduate programs in the United States was hosted by United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan on Monday 17th of July here at Avari Towers. Susan Ross, Cultural Attaché of the Consulate General of USA in Karachi addressed the parents and students who have got admissions in bachelor, Masters and Ph.D. programs in the universities including Dartmouth College, University of Texas Arlington, Boston University, New York University, University of Houston, Washington State University…Susan Ross stated: “I’m really pleased to be here, I really really like these kinds of events because I know that everyone in the room (as has been mentioned before) had to work really hard to get to this point. So I would re-iterate the congratulations toward you and commend you for your accomplishments and were really here to wish you well. Some of us will be participating in your breakout sessions and your activities this evening. I also wanted to commend you for your courage. It’s not easy to leave your home and go somewhere very unfamiliar very different from where you used to be. And to embark on your course of study and path that will take you and a direction that is yet unknown so from the US Consulate to you congratulations to you and go forth with our admiration and support.”
Janan Ali Mirza, who is going to the University of Central Florida said:“I’m currently a pre-engineering student and I’m going to the state of Florida in the University of Central Florida to continue mechanical engineering. I went to Mama Parsi Girl’s Secondary School and then I went to Agha Khan higher secondary school and now I’m going to the US for my education my visa is for 5 years. I intend to study there for 4 years and then for some experience. And then I tend to come back and to work over here. I already have a scholarship but it’s not too much so I plan on increasing that scholarship by improving my grades more and more. (What a student should do to get scholarship/admission at an American University?) Okay, first of all, you need to plan exactly what you want to study. And then you need to decide a state where you want to study where its best according to your major. And then you just research and research and apply according to what you can afford and what you want to do.”
Izan Ahmed who will be studying at the Grinnell College said: “I’m going to Grinnell College in Iowa… and… I’ll be leaving next month. I did my O Levels from Indus Academy and A levels from Nixor College and I applied through there. I’m going to be studying math, chemistry and physics and maybe computer science I’m not sure, I’m going to decide that later. I do have a (70%) scholarship at Grinnell College. I’d just advise that you should start early and not like waiting for the last moment. And for example, if you’re writing the essays for the colleges just start like 5 to 6 months early. Because that’s what I regret doing and you’re going to like to cramp up in the end. And just prepare for your SAT as well from really early. And yeah you’ll do a great job and extracurricular just be a part of that, be a part of the sports team or debate team it’s going to help you out”.According to details, overall 150 pupils from across the country secured admissions for their higher education in the US. As compared to 2017, this year the number of students has augmented by 14.7 percent. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan-United States governments had formed USEF (P) back in 1950. USEF-P is guided by a bi-national commission composed of an equal number of Pakistanis and Americans, with the chair alternating each year between a Pakistani and an American. Advisers at USEF centers assist students with researching choices and preparing for standardized tests, applying and securing admission, financing education, preparing for and securing the U.S. student visa.
PS: The United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) helps Pakistani students achieve their dreams of U.S. higher education through its scholarship programs and free advising services. The orientation sessions include practical student information for an international program of study in the United States to maximize the takeaways from such potentially life-changing experiences. The sessions are designed to help ensure that Pakistani students fully benefit from their travel and study abroad experience. Topics covered include travel documentation, campus life, academics, U.S. society, and culture. The goal of all USEFP programs is to help Pakistanis learn more about the U.S. and to help Americans learn more about Pakistan and its people. (Published on 18th July 2018)
Iftikhar Arif emphasizes on promotion of book reading!
ISLAMABAD: Renowned poet and scholar Iftikhar Hussain Arif, expressing concern over the declining book reading trend, Friday underlined the need to change the education system altogether to create love for books among the youth.
“Book reading habit is dying down rapidly not only in Pakistan but all over the world,” Iftikhar, an author of five well published books told the MEdia.
“It is natural that novelty attracts people everywhere in the world. We see old and worth following trends are forgotten and replaced with the new ones. But that should not have happened in the case of reading habits,” he opined.
He said with the emergence of electronic gadgets, books had lost their charm in society. “Electronic books (e-books), mobile phones and computers had taken the place of reading and communication.
“I started reading and collecting books since my childhood and still my thirst for reading books has not quenched. Though e-book has halted the progress to promote book reading and damaged the business of book industry, but still it is unable to break the bond between genuine readers and books,” he added.
Despite the fact that access to e-books is quite easy in Pakistan as money is not involved in it and it is also easy to carry them around. “Yet it is also a reality that you remain unable to create bond between the reader and the book,” he observed.
Iftikhar, who has widely traveled abroad, said that in the past book corners were seen in every street in foreign countries, but now they had also vanished there. Now you only find some great bookshop and publisher names, he added.
He believed that defective education system was one of the major causes of decline in the book reading trend. He also observed that the drastic changes in cultural values and adaption to new and easy ways to get success were other major causes to put a dent on this trend.
“We see students carrying heavy bags and gaining enormous knowledge, despite that lack of critical thinking and wisdom can be noticed. We put stupendous burden on young shoulders that they seek freedom and comfort in weightless gadgets. It is their short cut to get quick knowledge without an exhausting research,” he lamented.
“They do not feel the need to go through different books to complete their assignments. What they do is simply to get the required and desired material from the Internet. We need to change the education system altogether and create love for books in young minds during early years of their lives,” he opined.
When contacted, Zohaib, a bookshop manager told APP that e-books had badly affected their business. “We generally see a number of people heading towards restaurants to order expensive meals or deals, but they rarely visit a store to get a new book.
“Nowadays it is only at the start of an academic session that we see people rushing in to our shops to buy syllabus books only,” he added.