Stories about education

Being a woman: Why does marriage equal lifetime security?

“You’ll be left alone, to rot in a corner of the house owned by your brothers and their families.” “There’s a time when you’re wanted, and it doesn’t last long.” “People will ask questions like why our ‘peghla lur’ (young daughter)’ is still not taken!” Are you familiar with such statements? No? Unfortunately I am.  And so is every other girl of my area who is in her mid-twenties, educated …. but still not ‘taken.’ I remember the time when I passed my Matric exam. I had aimed to study at the best college of the province and I somehow managed to fulfil this ...

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So, you want to be a doctor? Think again!

Dear prospective, to-be doctors, this article contains stuff you may consider sadistic or full of spoilers. Read at your own discretion. Don’t say you were not warned! Let’s observe some reasons why your medical ambitions might turn out to be more challenging than you initially thought they would be. No pressure, of course. You will never, ever stop studying You will have to appear in approximately about 15,000 examinations. Yes, it’s true, and mind you, more keep adding up on a daily basis in case you ever think you are close to getting done. It only makes sense then that books and wards are going to ...

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When the Okara police made a father and son rape each other

It was one of those foreboding nights; the power had gone out and I was sitting on the roof on my charpai. With the atmosphere already grim from stories of jinn possessions and cannibal witches, my cousin launched into a narrative about the increasing number of violent crimes in the area and the complete and utter ineffectiveness of the police, who seemed more and more interested in exacting bribes and satisfying their sadistic tendencies. As the discussion grew heated, I discovered the true extent of the latter. Police in our area had become notorious for brutalising their captives no matter what the crime or proof of ...

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PEMRA, banning an ad on contraception makes no sense

From banning websites over blasphemous content to the recent ban on the advertisement for contraception, Pakistan seems to be headed in the wrong direction. The problem at hand is not just the ban, but the authority that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has assumed – the power to ban anything. As a citizen of this country, I have a few concerns. Where exactly is democracy and our right to the freedom of speech? Pemra is abusing its power here. They are banning content on the internet based on what they find inappropriate. However, this content may not actually be inappropriate but educational. Additionally, they can’t install filters to block ‘immoral’ and ...

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What happened when a Pashtun child tried to read Urdu

Note: To fully understand this post, it is mandatory that you watch the video pasted above. If one knows Urdu as well as Pashto then watching this video invokes instant laughter. I had great fun carrying out this experiment on a lot of my friends, having them watch the video and crack up. However, the post-laughter response to this video has usually been a lament about the state of education in Pakistan. There were many who were genuinely saddened by the unfulfilled potential of this boy to learn. Many deficiencies in the education system of Pakistan can be attributed to the meager ...

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Malala Yousufzai and the league of extraordinary Pakistani women

There was the face of one woman in that room that could quash all the misgivings that one has about Malala Yousufzai’s “backstory”. No, it wasn’t 16-year-old Malala’s herself, it was her mother’s. Minutes after Malala began her magnificent speech at the United Nations General Assembly this Friday, the camera cut to the face of her proud parents. Her father smiled like a man who had won a battle he had fought his entire life. Her mother, in her plain white dupatta and light green shalwar Kameez, sat next to him wiping a tear that fell out of her right eye. Since ...

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Article 25-A: What does the ‘free’ in ‘right to free education’ imply?

Pakistan faces many challenges today, but education is one of the biggest. It includes huge disparities in terms of opportunities, particularly for girls and the rural population. There are also the issues of poor quality of education, low enrollment and high drop-out rates. Reportedly, over 25 million children between five and 16 years of age are out of school. This fact points to the emerging and critical social imbalance of education, even as a fundamental right. Article 25-A, the Right to Education, was inserted in the chapter of the fundamental rights of the Constitution as part of the Eighteenth Amendment. ...

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Pakistan, where security and justice are only illusions

Public security measures taken in Islamabad are often regarded as anathema. A few years back, the police checkpoints and barricades around the city made our once-serene little town look more like a sister city for Baghdad than Ankara. Of course, recent rains temporarily made the capital resemble another one of its sister cities — Venice — but that’s a separate story. The checkpoints around town have fallen in number over the last couple of years, and especially since the new government came in, but the large barricades outside some offices, schools and embassies remain, despite the fact that most of these ...

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‘Halal’ education in Pakistan: When ‘pig’ in a nursery rhyme is taboo

As certain words and concepts in English are out of their range of experience, my students, coming from an underprivileged background, find it difficult to understand or accept them. With English nursery rhymes for example, since Jack was remiss enough to break his crown, the girls thought he and Jill were king and queen, until I explained otherwise.  Humpty Dumpty on the other hand continues to be viewed with deep distrust, however much I pleaded his cause. It isn’t, after all, normal to be an egg person. The resultant doubt of his being quite kosher creates a degree of disquiet. If ever Humpty wanders ...

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All in a day’s work: The modern Pakistani (super) woman

If you are a woman who belongs to the circle of society that sees itself as urban and educated, you will most likely find yourself adequately qualified with a degree and then promptly married off within a few years of working. Of course, that is if you managed to put your foot down in the first place to demand that you be allowed to work before marriage. Upon assuming marital responsibilities, it is but natural that your degree and work are pushed to the back seat, because now you are expected to take on domesticity as your foremost occupation. Or so ...

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