Stories about english

Pakistan’s education crisis: enrolled in schools, unable to learn

It is no secret that Pakistan’s education sector is in dire straits. The Wilson Center report, titled ‘Why Can’t Pakistani Children Read? The Inside Story of Education Reform Efforts Gone Wrong,’ talks about Pakistan’s ‘education emergency’. It talks at length about the misdiagnosed education crisis of Pakistan which has resulted from decades of well-meaning but majorly-flawed internal and international reforms. Maina Gathinjaga WaGîokõ, a fellow educationist from Kenya, once said, “I am not worried about the 850,000 who are out of school. I am more worried about the 12 million who are in school.” The current level of enrollment in kindergarten at ...

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A day trip to the micronation of Andorra, a jewel hidden between European giants

Sandwiched between Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountains, very few have heard of the micronation that is Andorra. I too only came across this tiny European country on Google Maps while I was planning my Euro tour. With a total area of only 468 kilometre square and a population of almost 77,000 people, it attracts over 10 million tourists annually, which is where 80% of its gross domestic product (GDP) comes from. Seeing its beauty and its unusual size, it didn’t take long for me to include it in my itinerary as I planned to visit every single state in ...

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What independence are we celebrating?

Some 71 years ago, people from all over subcontinent left their homes and took roads laced with perils to reach the ‘land of pure’. What made them leave their lives behind to move to an unknown land where all that awaited them was a promise? No tangible shelter but only a promise; the promise of freedom. What is meant by this ‘freedom’ that caused the greatest migration of the century? Freedom or independence means the availability of the opportunity to exercise one’s rights, powers, desires and even faith. Yes, I put emphasis on faith because any country where any ...

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Unable to get your desired band score in IELTS? Fret not and follow these tips!

One late evening, a student came down to my office, wanting to join my International English Language Testing System (IELTS) class. This young lady told me how she had given her IELTS for the second time but she knew her performance was not upto the mark and hence, she was not expecting the band score she required; despite paying Rs54000 for the course itself. On the day of the exam, she woke up at 5:30am, and had a healthy breakfast with a mug of coffee to make sure she wouldn’t feel drowsy in front of the speaking examiner. However, I could see ...

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With its sandy white beaches and visa on arrival, picturesque Maldives left me spellbound!

In 2016, a colleague of mine happened to take a trip to Maldives, and showed me his pictures when he came back. I didn’t know much about Maldives at the time, but the moment I saw the pictures, the extraordinary beauty and splendour of the place blew me away, and I immediately placed Maldives on my bucket list of the ‘must-see’ places around the world. Soon after, I did my initial research and realised the trip would be an expensive one. Thus, it was a couple of years after being introduced to Maldives that I finally got the chance ...

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Hindi cannot be the national language because India’s unity is shaped by its coloniser’s English language

Earlier this month, a very significant debate took place in the Lok Sabha of India between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor. The debate was regarding making Hindi an official language at the United Nations (UN). Swaraj, in reply to a question on what steps the government is taking in making Hindi an official language at the UN, said the government is doing its best in creating a consensus among other countries to accept it. She said that the government of India is willing to spend not just 40 but even 400 crores in ...

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Dear NADRA, your failure to recognise Pakistan’s undervalued regional languages is not surprising

I recently came across a disheartening news article which stated that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) failed to recognise a degree attained in a regional language. This applied to all the areas and provinces of Pakistan and not just Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Now, let us take in the severity of this statement. In effect, this means that those who have done their Bachelors or Masters in Pashto or any other regional language cannot enter their education data for their national identity cards (NIC) at NADRA. The premier regulatory authority’s online forms only contain and recognise a master’s degree or Doctorate in English, Urdu and Persian. But ...

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Give Pakistani women a solid tech platform and watch them break every glass ceiling in sight

The empowerment of underprivileged women in the absence of technology is hard to imagine. After all, a basic understanding of programming can encourage them to identify new market trends and eventually embrace entrepreneurship. Similarly, exposure to data analysis and web development skills can afford easier penetration into Pakistan’s booming Information Technology (IT) industry. The industry is home to some of the highest paying jobs in the country, but a dearth of technological training has denied females a level playing field. Therefore, HerDomain has the perfect strategy in place to change that. HerDomain is a non-profit technological startup that provides coding skills and ...

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Dear Pakistan, I know our history is complicated, but our friendship is greater. Love, India

When I was a little girl, it was customary for our family to watch at least one new movie every month. Back then, movie titles were always displayed in English, Hindi and Urdu. Therefore, while English remained my primary language of communication, I ended up speaking both Hindi and Urdu fluently. I grew up in Mumbai which has a strong cosmopolitan culture. I grew up with friends and neighbours from different faiths, and was simultaneously introduced to Diwali and Eid, to Navratra and Ramazan, even as my friends got to know more about Christmas and Lent. It was because of this multi-cultural experience that I got to learn so much about the ...

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Half Girlfriend fails to even half-impress the audience

Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Wake Up Sid (2009), and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) were some of the few memorable coming-of-age Bollywood movies and my favourites too. Half Girlfriend, directed by Mohit Suri, had to be a coming-of-age movie as well, but it did not live up to its expectations. The movie will prove to be quite a disappointment for those who have read the book written by Chetan Bhagat. Arjun Kapoor plays Madhav Jha, a boy from Bihar while Shraddha Kapoor plays Riya Somani. From the beginning of the movie, it is quite evident that both characters are poles apart. Where Madhav can’t even construct one coherent sentence in English, Riya speaks fluent ...

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