•December 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Computer system cracks down on student truancy
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Dec 22, 2014
DUBAI: Developers and computer software engineers in Dubai designed a unique computer solution for schools to cope with various issues, especially the maintaining of student attendance, while the parents of absent students will be informed via SMS as soon as a teacher completes the attendance.
The development has brought relief for teachers who face the very tiresome task of informing the parents of absent students.
“In a recent case, the school administration had admitted that it is not practically possible to make calls to the parents of absent children when the number reaches as high as 1,000 in some days. Keeping this in mind and other solutions for the teachers, parents and management of the schools, we at Ilmasoft has developed a complete solution, Ilma Smart Institute Management System (ISIMS),” said Syed Iftikhar Shah, CEO Ilmasoft, in an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today on Sunday.
The Dubai-based Ilmasoft has been working on various projects especially developing mobile phone applications for various clients from educational instates to corporate sectors.
The ISIMS has been designed to address a wide range of solutions from easing the administrative task of organising classroom activities digitally.
“The system we designed will not only manage all activities online, but teachers will have the ability to organise classroom-based activities like timetables, notices, syllabi and other activities online, while student-related activities like attendance, fee submission, and report cards will also be available online to check at anytime,” he said.
Through this system, parents will be able to monitor the progress of their children by internet or through the use of mobile app operated by user ID and password access.
“In the last couple of days, we have tested this (ISIMS) module in-house and made it perfectly user friendly for teachers as well as parents. This system could be used by an individual school or by a chain of schools managing various campuses,” he said.
The software has been designed with the aim of informing the parents about the progress of their children online, making it easier for the school to inform parents about their kids absence via SMS as soon as the teacher finishes attendance. The data will be updated through a cloud-service and could be checked by parents with smart phones or tablets via app.
“Through this system, parents will be informed immediately, as the attendance is marked in the school early morning by a class teacher. If the absence is marked, immediate alert notifications will be sent to the parent’s smartphone and also an SMS to their phone numbers, indicating that their child is absent. This way if the child is missing, timely actions can be made,” elaborated Iftikhar Shah.
The other features of ISIMS will be accurate student attendance; automatic attendance collection; daily absentee reports sent to the parents and school management; and the generation of daily, monthly and yearly attendance reports.
Shah added that as they have tested the system with them now it is ready for schools to adopt. “Soon we are going to visit various schools to demonstrate this system and we are sure with the use of technology we can prevent any danger to our children, especially if there is a factor of negligence involved,” he added.
•December 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Residents continue to offer prayers for Peshawar
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Dec 20, 2014
DUBAI: Hundreds of people from different areas in Pakistan – residing in the UAE – have continued to organise gatherings in memory of the over 140 people, mostly schoolchildren, who died in an attack by terrorists on a Peshawar school last week.
The attack on the Pakistan Army Public School in Peshawar was one of the worst terrorist attacks in the country’s history, and more than 100 schoolchildren were killed.
One of the gatherings organised by the Pakistan Association Dubai at its premises in Oud Metha, Dubai on Friday evening, drew over 300 people including women, professionals, businessmen, students and families to attend and offer prayers for the departed souls.
The event was also attended by Javed Jalil Khattak, Pakistan Consul General in Dubai, while Zahid Tirmizi, Vice President of PAD, Syed Tahir Zaidi, Joint Secretary, and other office-bearers of the association were also present.
Addressing the mourners, Khattak said that the nation has not forgotten the day (Dec 16, 1971) when East Pakistan became an independent state, and how anti-state elements like these terrorists created another bad memory for the whole nation in killing over 140 people where more than 100 were young students.
“We as a nation will not kneel before terrorists, and as one nation we will fight back and take stern action against these elements. We condemned these acts of barbarism in which enemies kill our young children, but do not forget that we are going to be stronger than ever,” he said.
Tirmizi also showed solidarity with the bereaved families and said that overseas Pakistanis stand with the nation during such times, and they are demanding of the government to leave no stone unturned in its mission to eliminate terrorism and keep the country safe and secure for our future generations.
Later, a group of young students and families participated in a candlelight vigil, while prayers were offered for all the people who lost their lives.
However, community members at various forums in Sharjah and Dubai also participated in such events to remember the loss of precious lives in Peshawar.
The Pakistan Social Centre Sharjah organised a large funeral prayer at its premises on Thursday evening, in which members from Sharjah and Ajman gathered and offered prayers.
Office-bearers of Pakistan Journalist Forum had also organised a condolences reception in the social centre and offered prayers.
Workers and office-bearers of former President Pervez Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League had also participated along with hundreds of other community members in Dubai to offer prayers and attended a candlelight vigil.
•December 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Hotels present certificates to fresh set of graduates from Rashid Centre
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Dec 19, 2014
DUBAI: A first-of-it-kind humanitarian gesture was made by three prominent hotels in Dubai for children with special needs as a group of 11 students with special needs were awarded graduation certificates after completing their 10-month industrial training. The gesture entered its fifth year.
To integrate people with special needs into mainstream society, the management of Villa Rotana, Rihab Rotana and Rimal Rotana provided industrial training to a group of select students as a CSR initiative — since 2009 – for individuals over 18 years of age from the Rashid Centre for the Disabled. After completing training in different hotel service areas like food and beverage, administration and office work for 10 months, the students were awarded with certificates and recognised at a graduation ceremony.
One such ceremony was organised by the management at Villa Rotana hotel in Dubai on Wednesday and awarded the certificates in the presence of the Centre’s management, including Abduljalil Musabah, Board Member of the Centre, as well as Maryam Othman, Director General of the Centre.
Talking to The Gulf Today after the ceremony, Kinan Al Ghraoui, the General Manager of the three hotels, said: “Villa Rotana, Rihab Rotana and Rimal Rotana are committed to supporting young students with special needs and making sure that they are trained in a real work environment. They are gaining professional skills that will help them get jobs in similar areas. Our colleagues took the students under their wing and taught them everything they needed to know. It’s amazing how they embraced the students and maintained high expectations for them,” he added.
Responding to a question, he pointed out that they are going to give these children the opportunity of working in the three hotels where they were trained, and it will help them to utilise the experience and training they sought: “Soon we are going to bring necessary changes in our policies and some of the trained students will be provided job opportunities at these hotels,” he mention.
Maryam Othman, Director General of Rashid Centre, commented: “This is a proud moment for Villa, Rihab and Rimal as well as for the Rashid Centre, as we celebrate our young graduates achievement. We are extremely proud and content with this permanent cooperation of many years with Villa, Rihab and Rimal Rotana, by which our children acquired vocational skills to help them in the future with better job opportunities which will allow them to live with dignity when they graduate. The contribution of Rotana in the rehabilitation of many students with special needs is indispensable, as it helps students to become fully integrated with the entire society,” she added.
Later Kinan Al Ghraoui also thanked the sponsors of the event which included Al Ghurair Centre, Wild Wadi Water Park, Baby Shop, Sparky’s and Flash Powder Photography for making this event successful.
•December 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment
UAE residents hold vigils for victims of Peshawar’s tragic terrorist attack
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Dec 18, 2014
DUBAI: On Wednesday, thousands of Pakistanis residing in different parts of the UAE organised a number of vigils for the 140 children and others who lost their lives in a terrorist attack by Taliban on an Army Public School in Peshawar.
The community members offered prayers, arranged candlelight vigils in many places in memory of the departed souls while the Pakistan missions flew the national flag at half mast.
On the directives of the government of Pakistan to observe a three-day mourning in honour of the victims of the heinous terrorist attack on a Peshawar school, the Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Consulate in Dubai were seen with flags flying at half-mast, while all scheduled festive events have been postponed.
However, a condolence book has been placed at the Embassy and will be available for the public to record their feelings from 11am to 3pm on Dec 17–19.
A condolence book has also been opened at the Consulate General of Pakistan, Dubai which will be available for comments from 2 to 4pm on Dec 18 and 19.
The biggest gathering to mourn the 140 lives of Peshawar incident was held outside the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai, which was attended by thousands of community members, which are gathered before sunset and attended a collective prayer for the departed souls.
The members, including young children from social classes, had also arranged a candlelight vigil to remember the victims and condemned the terrorist act.
Javed Jalil Khattak, Consul General, staff of consulate, prominent businessmen, teachers and a large number of community members were present.
“The Pakistani community in the UAE shares their pain with the nation going through in these difficult times. The human tragedy in Peshawar has made every heart weep and has shaken us from our inner core. We standby all the grieved families and vow to stand steadfast against the menace of terrorism in Pakistan,” Dr Faisel Ikram, General Secretary Pakistan Association Dubai, said.
Uzair Wasif, Chairman, Pakistan Professional Wing, said that the PPW and members strongly condemned the brutal attack by terrorists on innocent children in a school Peshawar in which over 130 precious lives were lost.
“The PPW expresses its solidarity with the bereaved families and deeply mourns the death of innocent children and teachers. May Allah grant the departed souls the highest places in Jannah,” he said.
Furthermore, the management at the Pakistan Social Centre Sharjah has also announced to arrange a similar condolence meeting in its premises and asked the community members and well-wishers to attend the prayers and show the solidarity.
“We are very sad on the loss of over 140 people including the huge number of young children in the Army Public School in Peshawar. We condemn the terrorist attack anywhere in the country and demand the government to take stern action against the terrorists,” said Chaudhry Khalid, president of the social centre.
It was noted that students, teachers and staff at Kindergarten Starters, Dubai observed one minute of silence to offer homage to the departed souls of Peshawar school.
According to a press statement, the students immediately blogged and expressed their grief. The students expressed a desire to convey their heartfelt messages to the people in Pakistan. A group of students visited the Pakistani Consulate in Dubai and met with the Consul General, Javed Jalil Khattak.
They recited verses from the Holy Quran to offer their condolences to the bereaved. The Consul General was touched by this very kind gesture from the young condolers and thanked them for compassionate messages which would help in healing the wounds of the injured and the families inflicted.
•December 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Egyptian artistes and media personalities visit Rashid Centre
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Dec 14, 2014
DUBAI: A group of Egyptian showbiz stars and media personalities recently visited Rashid Centre for the Disabled and spent some quality time with the children.
The visit was arranged in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development and Dubai Culture. The stars were present to celebrate the UAE 43rd National Day and together had performed the operetta entitled “Khalifa in Our Hearts”.
The group included artist Hani Ramzi, composer Amr Mustafa, artist Ahmed Jamal, artist Enji, artist Rami Sabri, artist Ameena Khalil, media icon Heba Al Abaseeri and poet Tamer Hussein, who visited together and reviewed various departments and services in the centre along with Maryam Othman, director general of the centre.
During the visit, the group had looked at the centre’s treatment, training and rehab services and programmes, serving around 300 disabled male and female students. Dr Habib Ghuloum, Representative of the Ministry of Culture, had briefed the delegation on the services and government’s role and the significance of differently-abled individuals’ involvement in the nation’s celebrations. He expressed his admiration of what he saw were high quality services and high-level programmes along with the guests.
Nojoum Rashid (Rashid Stars) theatre band performed shows that astonished the audience. Composer Amr Mustafa announced that he would make donations to produce a song dedicated to the kids and students of centre.
At the end of the visit, Maryam Othman and Mohammed Abdul Jaleel Musabbah, member of the centre’s board of directors honoured the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development and artist Dr Habib Ghuloom, and also honoured Dubai Culture and handed the centre’s trophy to Walid Al Ahmad.
•December 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Replica of Burj Khalifa made of gingerbread
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Dec 12, 2014
DUBAI: As the festive season has begun, visitors and guests at one of Dubai top hotels are being given a unique chance to feast their eyes on the “tallest gingerbread tower in Dubai”.
The Address Dubai Marina unveiled the spectacular model of world’s tallest skyscraper, The Burj Khalifa decorated with gift boxes and colourful lights on Wednesday which will be displayed in its auspicious lobby till the end of the first week of January 2015.
Pascal Dupuis, General Manager, The Address Dubai Marina while talking to The Gulf Today on Thursday said that the idea was conceived some two months ago while discussing the celebrations of the festive season.
“We thought about it and decided to give our guests a unique experience while showcasing the extreme expertise of staff members in engineering among chefs and others to make a model of Burj Khalifa with gingerbread and other items as part of the holidays’ seasonal celebrations. The structure is one of the tallest in the Dubai,” he said.
“It was not an easy task for the experts like chefs, engineers and other staff to make the Dubai’s tallest model of Burj Khalifa with gingerbread. But we did it and everyone who entered the hotel’s lobby could not resist to come close to admire and take pictures,” he said.
11.7m tall tower
The 11.7m tall tower made by chefs using 180kg of flour, 90kg of honey, 570kg of icing sugar worked on this for around 432 hours meticulously and the monumental gingerbread structure was complete and is being displayed at the stunning lobby of the hotel.
Dupuis pointed that the visitors of the hotel find this a unique and creative idea as the gingerbread structure gave them many opportunities to take selfies and pictures for their family albums.
•December 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment
PPP cadres ask leadership to take care of workers, not the govt
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Dec 12, 2014
DUBAI: Senior party workers of the Pakistan People Party (PPP) – including the former minister – showed great concern towards their party’s policies which favour the wrongdoings of current governments in the country, while also not playing their role as opposition members on the floor of parliament.
“The leadership seems to be playing the role of the B-Team of Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan’s Muslim League, while all opportunities to gain public sentiment in the current political situation just ignore the resulting gulf between the workers, public and the leadership. PPP is a party of the people, and if we are not doing it for the masses, we will be further cornered, even in our own stronghold areas like we saw in Punjab province during the last elections,” said by Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, former minister of the PPP government while addressing a gathering of workers in a local hotel in Dubai on Wednesday night.
She pointed out that the country is passing through a very tough time, especially the sit-in in the capital, and the confrontational incidents in different parts of the country between Imran Khan’s PTI workers and other parties.
“Asif Ali Zardari, the co-chairperson of the party is not taking any step in the favour of workers, but extending every support towards Nawaz Sharif, which is not good for the party and its workers,” she said and argued on behalf of the workers for the leadership to act as the party had known in the past and bring Bilawal Zardari in front to lead the party and its workers.
She also condemned the police’s role in the Faisalabad incident in which one worker of the PTI was killed and the murder of another political worker in Sialkot had happened last week.
Asif Hashmi, a senior member of the party, demanded the leaders to give the government a tough time and to play the role of the opposition from the benches on the parliament’s floor.
He pointed out that throughout the country and abroad, workers are questioning the role of the party’s leadership, which is not a good sign as this is going to result in the party decreasing its hold on its constituents.
The reception was organised by Chaudhry Muhammad Shakeel, office bearer of PPP in UAE, while others who attended were Sardar Yaqoob, Munir Hans, Asif Hashmi and others.