Stories about education

Begging: Pakistan’s new profession for kids?

They keep navigating from one car to another, knocking at your car windows and doors until you pay attention to them. This is the time when we are waiting for the traffic signal to turn green. They make sure their appearance is seen and not ignored. They are adamant and won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Every summer I come down to Pakistan to spend time with my grandparents, and on my way home from the airport, I feel disheartened looking at these children navigating between cars. These are the handicapped young children on the streets of Pakistan asking for alms. The secret of getting ...

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An intolerant educational system made me indifferent to the death of non-Muslims

As the Twin Towers came crashing down in New York City on September 11, 2001 an eight-year-old boy remained unmoved some 7,000 miles away in Lahore as the horrifying images unfolded before him. The boy then, descended into a mode of celebration upon discovering that the towers were in ‘non-Pakistani’ territory and that a significant majority of the dead were non-Muslims.  This boy was no suicide bomber in the making. He was not the product of an extremist madrassa nor was he the son of a jihad veteran. In fact, this was a boy who was being educated at one of the finest institutions this ...

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Malala returns to Pakistan

DISCLAIMER: Malala has not landed in Pakistan. Ignore the mind-blowing realism and true-to-life drawings – this is ...

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Malala would be better off living in Canada

Jon Stewart was not wrong when in his late night The Daily Show, he offered to adopt Malala Yousafzai. He was highly impressed by this child’s advocacy for education and  for him, it looked like a great deal.  It’s easier to raise a precocious child who is adamant to educate herself even after being persecuted by evil forces, as compared to many other kids in the US who play hooky on attending school.  However, Stewart did not know that his ‘adoption wish’ might come in handy for the brave girl. As the dust will settle in and normalcy will prevail, the question ...

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Pir Sahab’s orders: Don’t breast-feed your child or eat meat

Recently, a two-month old boy, Faizan, was brought to the hospital where I work, by his grandmother. She complained that he suffered from severe diarrhoea. I immediately asked her to bring Faizan’s mother so that we could establish breast-feed for the baby. We are currently in the process of educating mothers about the importance of breast-feeding at our malnutrition stabilization centre, and are trying to help them establish or re-establish breast feeding. In reply to my request, she answered, “Who tou nahi ayegi kyunke uska perhaiz hai.” (She won’t come because she is on abstinence.) Seeing my perplexed expression, she told me ...

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Why I chose Karachi University

Karachi University (KU) is to Karachi what Karachi is to Pakistan. I was the first member of my family to attend KU for a Bachelors degree and even after completing four years at the institution, I still get concerned queries from people wanting to know how I survived. It seems strange to me that KU appears like such a distant and uncharted territory to those who have never studied there; it is as if people from KU are aliens! Hence, I thought that I would shed some light on this mini universe for those who have never been here and ...

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Why should Sindhi be taught in all schools of Sindh?

The Government of Sindh recently announced that it would ensure that private educational institutions offer Sindhi language as a separate subject. The announcement went on to state that schools refusing to offer Sindhi would be fined or even have their permits revoked.  This announcement has led to predictable outrage. Some have argued that students who attend private schools have no use for learning a language that is ‘only’ spoken within Sindh. On the other hand, children attending public schools, given their financial background also have little practical utility for studying the region’s native language. This, in itself, is a false assumption ...

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What is Balochistan like?

With every day we believe, through the media, that we are coming closer to one another. In reality, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We see only what the media wants us to see. That being said, along with many realities, there is much more to each city than our eyes can see. Hopes, dreams and aspirations have always been a part of Balochistan, but we haven’t ever really looked to be able to recognise these. “Balochistan” When you read this word, what is the first image that pops into your mind? Flashes of violence? Target killing? Poverty, discrimination ...

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Going to school during Ziaul Haq’s time

I was born almost a year after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to an Air Force family. Hence, my entire schooling was done in schools run by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during General Ziaul Haq’s regime. My first school was the PAF school in Sargodha and my English teacher resembled Shaista Zaid, the English news anchor on Pakistan Television (PTV), the only channel aired in the country at the time. Although most people remember General Zia’s regime as oppressive and restrictive, my memories of school years are somewhat different. I studied in a co-education school, where boys and girls ...

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Can’t afford to go to Stanford or Yale? Don’t worry, the internet will take you there!

Internet hype prevails globally and world renowned universities are taking advantage of this by offering education online for free, using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Universities such as Stanford, MIT and Yale are inviting students to attend their courses without any charges, regardless of any boundaries and these courses are available anytime, anyplace and almost anywhere with internet access. I can register myself for round the year courses from different universities in different fields of study, irrespective of what my ethnicity or nationality is. My journey with the MOOC began almost half a year back. I was carrying out a research on cryptography ...

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