Stories about education in Pakistan

‘Aadhay Adhooray Khawab’: Exploring the death of creativity through education

Shahid Siddiqui’s ‘Aadhay Adhooray Khawab’ is like a tangible dream you can hold in your hands. You are a part of a chain and a constellation of dreams, only if you believe in the beauty of the imagination. This novel is a dazzling critique of educational practices in Pakistan. It distinguishes itself from other contemporary Urdu fiction through its content, diction, and style. The story follows the journey of a devoted teacher, Saharan Rai, who is selfless and gallant, and uses his heart and soul to fulfil his dreams. This is where it gets interesting. Rai’s dreams are universal and he illustrates the same desire that many ...

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Bhutto was neither a total villain nor a complete Messiah

I remember going through Stanley Wolpert’s book called ‘Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan: His Life & Times’ on this enigmatic politician. The first sentence more or less defines Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s legacy. Wolpert, while researching his book on Muhammad Ali Jinnah wrote that, during his stay in Pakistan, he found out that people either hated or loved Bhutto. He also wondered about the amazing contradictions in the personality of this remarkable politician. Today, as we stand in 2017 and look back into the strange chequered history of this country, no discussion on politics, culture, economic and social ideology, military and ...

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Dear misogynist from Parhlo, this is what Pakistani feminists want you to know

I came across an article on Parhlo today, and infuriated does not come close to encapsulating how I feel, so here’s my response to it. Before you start calling me a “feminazi” – listen closely. The roots of feminism lie in finding equality; it is not about disowning male rights, or putting women above, it is about finding an equal ground that pleases both genders. Questioning, or challenging or taking offense to feminism makes you a sexist, plain and simple. Have you not heard of the damsel in distress? Have you not heard of the ‘Angel in the House’? I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t because let’s ...

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I was 16 when I was forced to marry a stranger and move to Canada

When I was a kid, my only goal was to get a good education. I dreamt of attending Harvard or Stanford, and planned to become a doctor one day. I was the eldest of four daughters in a Pakistani Muslim family. We lived in Ruwais, a small town in the United Arab Emirates, where my father worked in an oil plant and my mother was a teacher. At school, I always stood out among the girls in my class—I was brash, clever, outspoken. I took pride in acing every test. When I brought home top marks, my father would ...

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“They thought I have a ‘foreign agenda’ because I teach children free of cost”

I was volunteering at a makeshift school for nomads and slum children when one day, a young student of mine, not older than 10-years-old, approached me and said, “God’s anger does not work on me.” This was the first time in my life that I had been exposed to the slum life, aside from what I saw in movies and read in books. This young soul has suffered so much and yet he still lives every day with resilience. To him and so many others like him, life is a manifestation of every day survival. Indeed, some people consider it an unchangeable fate as ...

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If you are a Matric student, you are ‘too local’ for a job in Pakistan

“You have a confused identity. Aren’t you from Paki-land? It seems like you’re ashamed of your roots… haha” Those words used to infuriate me. I used to think to myself, “what do they know? I fluently speak my mother tongue at home!” But I guess that wasn’t enough to prove that I am a proud Pakistani. England was home, but it had its set of challenges. I was constantly questioned on why I prefer cod and chips over chicken curry, why I prefer wearing jeans over shalwar kameez and so on. It used to aggravate me. And post 9/11 it only got worse. The questions had now turned ...

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The educated housewife: A choice, not a chore

Until recently I’d felt that feminism, when it came to women working, was baseless because in most modern families, women can choose to either work or stay at home. But I’ve come to realise that the only reason I feel this way is because I’m lucky enough to have been raised in an environment where I am not expected to give up my dreams because of something as trivial as my gender. Let me tell you a story. I know someone who married at the age of twenty-six, of her own accord. She had already completed her Bachelor’s degree with a ...

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As long as there are dreamers like Chenu, I am hopeful about Pakistan’s future

Go home, turn on your television, switch to the news channel and keep watching it for at least one hour. Next, pick up the newspaper, skim through the headlines and read the main stories on current affairs. If the feeling that the world is falling apart and we are all doomed does not hit you, then you are in need of serious help. We live in a world where every day we are bombarded by negative news through all the major mass media outlets. In light of this, we crave for a story that might make us believe in good ...

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Five reasons to not miss the Learn Smart Pakistan Education Forum 2015

Last year, the Learn Smart Pakistan Education Forum gathered the brightest minds in the education industry and initiated constructive dialogue regarding education in Pakistan. This year, the Knowledge Platform, is organising the conference in Islamabad tomorrow. It will provide a great opportunity for learning, interactive activities and networking.    Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t miss the most happening conference in the twin cities: 1. It will give you a chance to build connections. The forum attracts hundreds of educators from all across Pakistan, including ministers, donors, educational organisations, educationists, financial institutions, telecommunications, media, and more. #LSPedforum brings together like-minded individuals ...

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The children of Mazin Academy need your help – Will you save them?

It was a distress call for the future of the children under his care. “I don’t know what to do to save the school. I think we should post a note on our Facebook page asking for financial help. It seems like I will have to close the school.” This was a call from my brother, a philanthropist by nature, who was always thinking of doing something more than his studies or career for the welfare of people around him. Thirteen-years older than me, I have always seen him helping people, be it relieving the sweeper from hefty interest loans, giving weekly tuitions ...

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