Syed Nadir El Edroos

Nadir teaches Economics at Bellerbys College, London and is interested in Pakistani politics and current affairs. He tweets @needroos (

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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At NUST: Fined for ‘wearing tight’ or no ‘dopatta’

As its contribution towards disciplining the youth of this country, the National University of Sciences and Technology (Nust) imposes fines on students for breaking their dress code. In their haste to fine students for wearing jeans and not wearing a dupatta they overlook something called grammar. No one is perfect, but when one is running an institution of higher learning perhaps one should have higher expectations. However, I digress. According to, Nust has denied the report and stated only that students are instructed to wear ‘decent’ dresses. The fact, however, remains is that this isn’t the first time students have been fined at Nust or ...

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Education is not just about how many As you score

Recently, the British Education Secretary announced that students starting their A’ levels in England from fall 2015, will return to the previous system of an “all or nothing” exam at the end of two years of study. Eventually, these changes will not only impact exams in England, but will also trickle into tweaks to the manner in which Cambridge International Examinations and EdExcel International exams are organised. It is still not clear whether Wales and Northern Ireland will adopt these changes; Scotland has a separate system. The current system of units or modules has been criticised for allowing examination retakes and grade inflation. ...

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Why sending bureaucrats’ kids to govt schools won’t work

Would forcing government servants to send their children to public schools help improve the quality of education? While such a populist measure seems well intentioned and simple enough, it betrays our continued ignorance of how education works or at least how it should work. Now don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe that state schools need to be expanded and improved. I believe that schools should be palaces. However, the factors that contribute most to improving the quality of education, measured in terms of examination performance include, the quality of teachers, supportive parents and the financial standing of the student’s household. In ...

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Refund policy: The end of university looting

Largely unreported, Pakistani students earned a well-deserved victory in the Islamabad High Court last week. The High Court ruled the current policy adopted by several public and private universities to demand non-refundable deposits at the time of offering admission ‘illegal’. This is a problem that many students are familiar with. When the admission season starts, they apply to a range of institutions and even start hearing back from a lot of them. However, they are still in waiting for their first choice to respond. In the meantime, unsure whether they will get into their most preferred university or not, they start making deposits ...

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Cheating on exams: I blame the system

A recent news report in The Express Tribune titled “Rs100 is all your dad needs to have pharras delivered to you during the exam” began with the question; “Is there a point to sitting examinations at all?”  The article was about the recent case in Sukkur where invigilators and school staff were found helping students cheat, as eager parents outside paid them off. Let’s start by considering the question posed –  is there a point to taking exams at all? Across the globe, educational systems have implemented testing as a means by which to discriminate academic performance between students. However, this is a hangover ...

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Bahria University: Arsalan Bilal’s hunger for justice

Ask the administrators of Bahria University Islamabad, who have reportedly expelled Arsalan Bilal from the University for threatening staff members by forwarding a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. It appears irrelevant to the administrators that the same e-mail was forwarded to his friends, class fellows and family members. Yet, Faiz’s poetry is a reason good enough to warrant expulsion if a teacher is added to the mailing list. Bahria University has also declared Arsalan Bilal “psychologically unstable,” even though they are no experts in psychiatry. If so, the university appears to have ...

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Sympathy for a terrorist

The production of illegally detained, suspected terrorists in the Supreme Court should have been met with a sense of triumph. Instead, the families of missing persons, who have joined  the Amna Janjua led missing persons camp over the past month, as ‘sympathisers’ of terrorists and militants. On the other hand those who have hailed the Supreme Court’s actions have been accused of neglecting the memory of the victims of terrorism and their families.  Things have changed quite swiftly over the past few months. Then, everyone seemed content with denying that anyone was actually “missing” or that the military and intelligence agencies had anything ...

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The problem with the expat vote

The Election Commission of Pakistan recently announced that in principal, it had agreed to franchise overseas Pakistanis by allowing them to participate in the electoral process. However, going through the minutes of the meeting conducted by Secretary ECP Mr Ishtiak Ahmad Khan, it’s quite clear that things are not as done and dusted as news reports have made out to seem. Quite rightly, the ECP is still considering the most efficient and transparent way in which to conduct elections for overseas Pakistanis. Setting up voting booths in high commissions, embassies and consulates across the globe is quite an expensive option as many Pakistanis may not live ...

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February 10, 2012

The Islamic university where girls were raped

Today a news article in Dawn revealed the shocking case of female students and staff members forced to offer sexual favours in return for grades and demands of their immediate superiors. I do not believe that this news is “shocking” because such cases are a rarity. In fact I believe that such cases probably proliferate throughout educational institutions, or indeed in any institution where men are in a position to extract sexual favours. This case is shocking because of the International Islamic University Islamabad’s indifference to these cases and its efforts to cover it up. Further, they have tried to justify ...

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