Stories about education

Did Pakistan really top the ‘porn-searching’ list?

Pakistan (also referred to as ‘Pornistan’ in recent time) has topped the list of Porn-searching countries in the world yet again, as revealed by news website Salon. That’s not it – it gets even more disturbing when the story states that, “It leads the way in porn searches for animals like pigs, donkeys, cats, dogs and snakes.” Snakes? Are you kidding me?! I really wouldn’t want to get into the details of that. Following us, on the list, were countries like Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This list insinuates that Muslim countries are goldmines for porn companies and sites. Today, however, I will not ...

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Did Cinderella really want to marry Prince Charming?

“It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time, for we are bound by that, but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.” – T S Elliot She is mean, she is nasty, and she is a step-mother. The little boy looked at her and thought, “What did I ever do to deserve this? She has taken my father and finds joy in mistreating me, but one day it will all be happy.” The little boy had nothing to eat; he would go without eating real food for days. He would ...

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My bleeding heart for my bleeding Pakistan

Before I introduce myself, I would like to add a quote by one of my favourite human beings, Maya Angelou: “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” I am a visually impaired citizen of my beloved country, Pakistan, and this quote has a strong influence on me. I try to do good as much as possible and try to spread love and harmony by my actions. I have a ...

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There is more to us than extremism: 10 extraordinary Pakistanis of 2014

Pakistan isn’t an extraordinary country. But Pakistan is a country brimming with extraordinary people. They are not perfect – yet therein lies their beauty. Extraordinary Pakistanis don’t wait for a perfect opportunity, a perfect personality or a perfect external landscape to make an impact. This is the first insight we stumbled upon after interviewing extraordinary Pakistanis for a series of articles published on our website Extraordinary Pakistanis. Unlike the rest of us, extraordinary Pakistanis aren’t turned off by the problems plaguing this country. Where we see hopelessness, they see problems they can solve. Where we see a failed state, they ...

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Why can’t we clean our streets and houses ourselves?

It was December 25, 2014 and I was heading out for work. As I approached the main gate, my eye caught sight of our building’s notice board. The words scribbled on the board left me dumbfounded. It read: “Important Notice: On December 25 and December 26, on account of the Christian community’s religious festival, Christmas, the sweepers will be off. Hence, on these two days, residents are requested to make sure garbage is not dumped on their balconies and special care is taken of their surroundings, with regards to cleanliness. Thank you.” Photo: Ishrat Ansari Though born and bred ...

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Aao Parhao – Why I chose teaching over a ‘dream job’

Teaching students at the college and high school levels has been a constant in my life since I graduated from the Lahore University of Management Sciences in 2011. Apart from working as a sub-editor at The Express Tribune in the year 2011-12, I was also teaching Sociology as a part-time faculty member. I have chosen to continue with the latter occupation for a variety of reasons. I went into teaching because I was inspired by John Dewey and his work on the education system in Turkey, whereby he completely reformulated the country’s education system according to the demands of the modern world. Not only ...

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Jinnah’s Pakistan does exist

“Terrorism, target killings, rape, corruption and dishonesty – what else is there in Pakistan?” Comments like these are not new to Pakistanis. Coming across tragedy and despair almost every day, it becomes hard for people to see anything but negativity here. A large number of people have already fled the country and most have started believing that the conception of Pakistan itself was a big mistake. Many are of the view that staying here would mean jeopardising the future of their coming generations as well. While some of it might be true, this is not what Pakistan is all about. In order to set the record ...

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Aao Parhao – A lesson less ordinary

My experience of teaching high school students has been rewarding, frustrating and overwhelming – all in one fell swoop. I’ve come to believe it is through teaching that one truly learns. Every year the teacher is a year older, perhaps wiser. The students, however, don’t age. Yet, either through the work of evolution or technology, the classroom seems to fill itself with a batch that is smarter at outsmarting the teacher. The profession, by its very nature, forces you to keep up with the times. And with time, the ways of teaching are changing too. The classroom has become ...

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Red is such an ugly colour on green

My Facebook timeline is black. It’s so black that every time a coloured photo appears on it, I am taken aback and even angered; how anyone can think of posting anything other than black? Black is an appropriate colour for today. I think if grief and shock to the point of being numb would have a colour, it would be black. I want everything to be black; I want my mind to go black, and I keep trying to make it do so, but it insists on flashing bright red with images of the beautiful children of my country, murdered in cold blood. They ...

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Aao Parhao – Jo Seekha Hai Wo Sekhao

As part of a remembrance to Robin Williams, I arranged a showing of Good Will Hunting and invited some school friends over. After the movie ended, one of them remarked on the critical role the protagonist’s teacher, Prof Gerald Lambeau (played by Stellan Skarsgård), a Fields Medal winner, and mentor  Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams) had in his development. “We didn’t have anyone as dedicated as them. Not even close.” I had to disagree and thought back to an incident back in March 1991. The phone rang and my mother picked it up. “Hello, is this the home of Sibtain Naqvi?” a lady asked. My mother ...

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