Stories about education

Not all Indians are rapists just like not all Pakistanis are terrorists

As a Pakistani, I always thought of the Indian media as anti-Pakistani and excessively nationalistic. So when I recently got the opportunity to work with Indian journalists, I was not sure what to expect. I was on my way to London for the Chevening/South Asia Journalism Fellowship. The program brought 17 leading journalists from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives to live and work together in London for two months. Getting off the plane at Heathrow Airport, I wondered what it would be like to have a frank conversation with an Indian journalist. India is almost four times the size of Pakistan, yet their news media seem to be obsessed ...

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The fault in K-P’s education system cannot be attributed only to PTI

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been witnessing a successful stint in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and it went on to claim that the education sector in K-P has improved greatly under their tenure as well. I concur with the previous statement since it is evident that people in K-P have begun to trust public sector schools more, so much so that the K-P Minister also admitted his child into one of these government-run public schools. Education remains the top most priority of all governments, specifically since 9/11. This is because the Pakistani government and international forces realised that the root cause of militancy in this particular region could be due to the lack of basic education. Numerous ...

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We need to teach our children ‘how’ to think rather than ‘what’ to think

Education, much like everything else in the field of human knowledge, is rooted to philosophy. The curriculum texts, teaching pedagogies and school structures all reflect a particular philosophical premise. Be it the idealist school or the existentialist one, the pragmatist theorists or those who seek to use education for social change in the critical paradigm, education is about ‘wide-awakeness’. Today in education, a crucial issue facing us is the need to find ways of educating young persons to sensitivity, potency, social consciousness and a healthy citizenship ethos. In my journey so far as a teacher, I have been particularly impressed with three schools of philosophy: the idealist, pragmatist, ...

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As a South Asian living in the UK, my vote goes to Jeremy Corbyn

Last week, I found a pamphlet of a budding political party innocuously placed next to my door. It embossed a pulp and a round South Asian face wearing a blue tie. Or was it a purple tie? I cannot remember. The party manifesto intrigued me the most. Notwithstanding the poor grammar, which showed the carelessness on part of the party candidate, it was the ambitious claims that interested me. As a Member of Parliament (MP), he promised to nationalise transport, improve health services, reduce housing cost and, wait for it, improve global trade. The manifesto’s language did not only lack grammar, it ...

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Why are students always relying on guess papers instead of following the syllabus?

As a teacher, the most intimidating questioning I am frequently asked is, “Miss, aapka guess paper nahi hai?” (Miss, don’t you have your own guess paper?) On one hand, it makes me feel like a lethargic potato who is probably failing at teaching, but one the other, it also feels like I am not putting enough effort into educating my students. The tragedy I face with not being able to devise a guess paper is exacerbated by my inability to apply my mathematical skills and probabilities to come up with one. This particular question often has its similar counterparts to further drive me into a phase of ...

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Budget 2017-2018: Is Pakistan really on the upward trajectory?

With much fanfare and hoopla, Ishaq Dar and company announced the annual budget for the nation this past Friday. It was budget as usual, delivered with haughty claims of turnarounds and opportunities within reach. Even before the budget had been announced, the Ministry of Finance had been subliminally pushing figures into the media to soften any surprises. While Pakistan missed its growth target of 5.7% from last year, it still achieved a growth of around 5.3%. This puts the country in the company of companies that are over $300 billion dollars in size.  The year over year (YoY) growth, while lower than the target, is still the ...

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The child marriage legislation is a step in the right direction, but will it be implemented?

Marriages are big business in Pakistan. It is a time of hope, happiness, faith and love. Such a memorable event can easily turn sour when the parties getting married are underage. To curb this heinous act, legislation has been passed by the National Assembly, aimed to reduce child marriages by ramping up the severity of the punishment.  Instead of being imprisoned for up to three years, individuals involved in arranging child marriages face a 10-year imprisonment with a one million rupees fine. This new change in the law seems to be a serious effort on part of the government to tackle this insidious practice. Although on ...

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Have Muslim countries failed its women due to religious orthodoxy?

A few months ago, when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won her Oscar, I got into a heated argument with one of my friends. His contention was that people like her were ‘maligning’ the image of Pakistan by unnecessarily inflating some isolated incidents. In his opinion, her efforts were just creating negative stereotypical images of Pakistan and which made ‘enemies’ of Pakistan feel comfortable in their hate. In his opinion, Pakistan’s gender related issues were not systemic and were blown out of proportion. “It is just a tiny minority which is indulging in honour killings and it is unfair to present Pakistan in such a negative light”, he argued. Is he ...

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Why America is the greatest Islamic Caliphate there exists

Last Friday, Maulvi Sahab again said that God’s wrath is soon going to descend on the United States of America (USA) and the Muslim World will rise again. Although these are two entirely different things – fall of America and rise of Muslims more so the Asian Muslims – quite unrelated; nevertheless, he bundled them together as is the understanding in the entire Muslim world these days. So far so good. For the last 30 years of my life in Kashmir, I have often heard this prediction being made by “God’s own middlemen” that this Islamophobic, zionist, kafir America will ...

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Lessons from Nelson Mandela

“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” This historic roadmap  refers to the most celebrated statesman and visionary leader of the preceding century – Nelson Mandela. He is recognised both nationally and globally as an archetype of the utmost endurance and a man who showed unprecedented ...

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