As more than 4 million Afghan children prepare to return to school from next week after a particularly harsh winter, the United Nations Children’s (UNICEF) has been helping the Ministry of Education to provide basic classroom stationery and materials to schools nationwide. Although the difficult weather delayed distribution of some materials en route from Pakistan and classroom kits destined for northern provinces, tens of thousands of student kits have been prepared for more than 2 million children, containing materials such as exercise books, pens, pencils and other stationery.Full distribution to an estimated 4.3 million children is expected to be completed by mid-April.Underscoring Afghanistan’s major progress in managing its education sector, UNICEF noted that the ministry’s logistics centre – managed by the agency in 2002 – now has full responsibility for packing and distributing the kits. At present it is producing 5,000 student and teacher stationery kits per day.This year, students in Grades 1 and 4 will also benefit from new textbooks, developed in a partnership between the Government, UNICEF and Columbia University’s Teachers College. The new textbooks are more student-focused and relevant to the new Afghanistan, according to UNICEF, and mark a notable improvement in the quality of education delivery. While some 1.2 million girls have enrolled in Afghanistan’s primary schools since 2002, more than 1 million primary school age girls are still not attending classes. In addition to the support being provided for classroom materials and curriculum development, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education are focusing efforts on developing learning opportunities for girls in communities with no formal school, with the aim of providing education for an additional 500,000 girls in 2005.
They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.Wilhite also said he had never made an animated GIF himself – but that this was his favourite one.This one’s for you, Steve:Read: What have the words GIF and omnishambles got in common? THE INVENTOR of the GIF – the old-school animated image format which has been given a new lease of life on Tumblr and elsewhere – has given an authoritative answer on how ‘GIF’ should be pronounced.Steve Wilhite invented the Graphics Interchange Format while working for one of the original major ISPs, CompuServe, in the late 1980s.While the GIF’s main attribute was its way of compressing images so they could load more quickly over a dial-up connection, what made it totally unique was the fact that it could incorporate animations – a technique which brought plain 1990s webpages to life.However, over the years a significant dispute has emerged over how the name should be pronounced – with some using the intuitive hard G, as in ‘graphics’, while others see it as a soft G and pronounced as if it was a ‘J’.Wilhite – who today is being honoured with a lifetime achievement prize at the Webby Awards – has now confirmed his pronunciation of choice.“The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” Wilhite told the New York Times, before insisting: