Stories about education

Badam Zari: The first Pakistani tribal woman to stand for elections

The much-vaunted democratic transition has taken place in Pakistan. Caretaker set-ups have settled in the centre and the provinces are to hold free and fair elections.  Similarly, candidates have also swung into motion, filing nomination papers, appearing before the Election Commission staff for pre-poll scrutiny and, most important of all, arranging funds for the election campaign. However, one event stands apart, amidst the din and uproar, of the initial phase of the election campaign: A female candidate has filed nomination papers to stand for NA-44 constituency, falling in Bajaur Agency. Badam Zari has made history by daring to move out of the confines of ...

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How many will be murdered in the war on education?

When Malala Yousafzai, was shot by the Taliban last October, there was a huge outcry all over the world about the dismal state of education for girls in Pakistan. It wasn’t the first time such an attack happened however, and unfortunately it is not the last. Despite international awareness and pressure put on the government to provide girls a safe haven for education, we seem to be engulfed in violence where teachers, schools and students are attacked frequently. Just days ago, a principal in Baldia Town in Karachi was killed along with several other children during a prize distribution ceremony. Even though no immediate response ...

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Dreams do come true: Malala goes back to school

There is a Malala in each and every girl of this unfortunate country. Amidst this war torn country, this teenager voiced her opinion against those elements of society which, quite atrociously advocate that girls should not be allowed to go to school. For them, she is just an ordinary girl. For us, she is a hero. Now, she wears a smile on her face as she strides along the streets of Birmingham, towards Edgbaston High School. She has seen yet another day when she can put on a school uniform and continue with her education. In Pakistan, a society where girls’ schools are being burnt ...

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Yes, I was home-schooled and I turned out fine

Whenever I am introduced to someone, they are certain to ask me the following, very annoying question: “Which grade are you studying in and what school do you go to?” My answer generally leaves them dumbfounded. You see, I have never been to school – ever. I am home-schooled and am currently doing my A’ levels. I am a keen student and always manage to secure good grades. Despite having all the opportunities to enroll myself in any well-reputed school, I chose to study on my own. When I tell people this, they ask me why I chose to be home-schooled. It is a predictable question and I ...

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Recovering my stolen car from the police

There is no worse experience than buying your own stolen car back and from none other than the police itself. Such has been the experience that my friend and I went through when the Islamabad police informed us that my friend’s car, which was stolen months back, had been recovered. Looking for a car stolen in Pakistan is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Recovering it from the authorities, once it has been found, is an even bigger hassle. Little did we know, enroute to Islamabad from Lahore, that to recover the car it will not just be a ...

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Failing education

As the capital city of Islamabad is growing, its population is increasing and its boundaries are getting wider. As per a survey conducted by the census department in collaboration with the Federal Directorate of Education and the local administration, the capital’s current population is 1.7 million which was approximately 100,000 when the capital city was shifted here from Karachi and only 800,000 in 1998. Due to the rise in population, multiple problems at the administrative and management level have raised their ugly heads and one of these problems is disparity in education at educational institutions in Islamabad and other rural areas. Though, ...

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Observations from Sri Lanka

After fighting an uphill battle against the Tamil Tigers, Sri Lankans are now keeping their focus on education and economy. This is what I observed in Sri Lanka last month. Sri Lankans are now following the policy: “Good walls make good neighbours.” I met several lawmakers, who strongly believe that Colombo is trying its utmost to promote business relations other South Asian countries, particularly with India and Pakistan. A senior member of parliament, Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, who represents the treasury benches, remarked that New Delhi and Colombo have not only improved their diplomatic relations but also expanded their trade volume recently. His views ...

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The tale of transgender people: When hate starts ruining lives

Recently, some of my friends and I made a short documentary on transgenders to participate in a documentary competition held at my university. To collect the required information, we visited their homes and were shocked at what we discovered. Passing through the narrow alleys, I was disturbed to see open drains and human waste all around. After having spoken to Sahiba, Sapna, and a few other transgenders, I was able to form a clearer picture about this particular gender and the appalling exploitation of their rights. Sahiba, the president of the transgender society in Bahawalpur, started the conversation; “God created us, as He created all. ...

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Am I normal?

My parents think I repress my feelings . They say that I need to be more assertive and understand that my feelings count. If they knew the degree to which my brain has gone haywire, they would probably search for the nearest asylum to chuck me into. They say that I have not been honest with them, so I should either start talking or be prepared for weekly sessions with a shrink. Cruel, isn’t it? All I did was hide my monthly report card which showed my poor academic performance and questioned my intelligence quotient. It isn’t the most uncommon thing to do, but ...

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Mind your language: Chal Parha’s take on language in schools

Chal Parha is a brilliant TV show, recently launched on Geo, hosted by Shehzad Roy to reform the government education system in Pakistan. The second episode was a thought provoking insight into the issue of the language of instruction in Pakistani schools. The episode looked at the emotional trauma and turmoil children face when they are forced to learn or communicate in languages which are completely foreign or alien to them, in our case these being Urdu and English. It does not only cause confusion in the minds of the students, but may eventually lead to a loss in self-confidence and the ability to express themselves, ...

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