Stories about education

Our new, increased education budget is a victory for Malala and every Pakistani

We have never given a toss about education in Pakistan. This is not a blanket statement but a fact pretty easily verified if you look at statistics of literacy in this country or the work done on education in our sixty year history. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) puts our literacy at 56%, but also reports that the largest part of our nation which is the rural Pakistan has more than 70% illiteracy, when our regional neighbours like India and Sri Lanka boast literacy rates of around 75% and 91%. In fact education is such a huge priority ...

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Education only panacea to current mess

Today, Pakistan finds itself in the quagmire of violence, uncertainty, and despair, mainly because of its shattered and obsolete education system. A recent report by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) states that Pakistan is number two in the world with 25 million children out of school, coupled with an astronomical dropout rate. This gloomy picture exists because of the oppressive socio-economic conditions that have fostered impoverished living circumstances, monopoly of resources and concentration of wealth in a few hands. State institutions, occupied and run by a handful of feudals, have shirked their responsibility to ...

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Drinking straight from the tap and courteous officers: Surprises in the US

I have always wondered why every other Pakistani is so heavily influenced by the West. Was it the media or was there really something impressive about them? I have to say, after my visit to the States, I have fallen in to the same trap. Here is my story… As I landed at the Los Angeles International Airport, I stood in the immigration line, patiently waiting for my turn. A few minutes later an officer called out to me from a distance and asked me to leave the line. I did as I was told to and the officer slowly walked up to ...

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A letter to overseas Pakistanis: Don’t give up on Pakistan just yet

I have been fortunate enough to travel abroad. During these trips I have met successful young Pakistani entrepreneurs, from high street shop owners to rising bankers and several others who are building their careers with hard work and dedication. It’s always refreshing to talk with fellow countrymen in foreign lands, but seldom is the topic of the political climate or general atmosphere of Pakistan avoided in these talks. Many Pakistanis living abroad are very passionate about their country and its people. They play active roles in contributing towards the welfare of their country by supporting charitable causes that are close to ...

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How I became one of the ‘namaloom afrad’

I was never really the brightest kid in my class. Going to school meant tolerating the teacher’s taunts as he caught me trying to distract my mates from the last bench. It also meant getting kicked out of class almost each day, and spending the rest of the day roaming around the city with my other close pals. My elder brother was different. His studious nature meant that I was always second best at home. My father spent his entire life as a school teacher, earning just enough to feed and educate us. My mother was a simple housewife who ...

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Student unions — not the bigger issue

Should student unions be restored? For half of the students studying in state-run universities, this is an important question. As for the other half, the ‘should’ in the statement ought to be placed after union, making it read ‘student unions ‘should’ be restored, therefore, making it a statement with no ifs, ands or buts. Since Ziaul Haq imposed a ban on student unions, the dynamics of student politics have changed completely. From politically charged students to violence-driven student wings, there has only been one losing party — those students that remain ‘neutral’. One often wonders as a student what platform he ...

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The young criminals of underprivileged Karachi

It has been seven years since I’ve been running an educational institute for women and children in Baldia Town, Karachi. I’ve studied the people carefully and my basic aim is to spread general awareness amongst the underprivileged residents of this area. During my experience, I learnt that the rate of crime in most of these areas is higher as compared to the rest of Karachi. Many young boys, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years, are trained to leak secret information that could be helpful in executing crimes. These boys usually drop out of school after the eighth standard, and ...

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When ragging in hostels turns to sexual abuse

We reached the university hostel. My parents very were happy because I had been admitted in one of the top notch universities of Pakistan located in Punjab. It was the first time in my life that I was going to stay away from my home and I was petrified.  I was accommodated with my seniors as there were no rooms available for freshmen. The first night, I could not sleep at all because the place was filthy and I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I had to stay there for a long, long time. The days that followed were ...

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Follow your passion: How I became a sports journalist

In 2007, as my ‘A’-level exams were nearing an end, I was confronted with that inevitable question: what to do in life? That’s when I began to assess my options. Engineering wasn’t my cup of tea. I’d be having a laugh if I thought of becoming a doctor. What was I left with? The ‘easiest’ option available: pursuing a BBA degree. Till the time I got into a business school, my life had been a roller-coaster ride as far as choosing a career was concerned. There was a time when I wanted to become an aeronautical engineer. Then, physics happened ...

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Poverty and population growth

Sceptics may call it statistical trickery, but economic data confirms that global poverty has indeed been falling for the last three decades. According to the Poverty Reduction and Equity report of the World Bank, which was updated in April, the percentage of people living in the developing world on less than $1.25 a day (in purchasing power parity terms) was 52.2 per cent back in 1981. The figure dropped to just 20.6% in 2010. In other words, 1.2 billion people were impoverished in 2010 in the developing world as opposed to 1.9 billion in 1981. However, far more people would have ...

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