Stories about higher education

The downfall of Bahria University: From a prestigious institute to the “six-inch university”

“Men and women are to maintain a distance of at least six inches while sitting/standing together.” Imagine reading this somewhere, or hearing about it. What would your first reaction be? Perhaps something like, “Oh my God! The Taliban are back! They must have started enforcing their version of Shariah, and are probably planning to bring the days of terror back to the country!” If so, relax! This notice wasn’t issued by those fanatics, but by a renowned semi-government university, and is applicable only within its premises. It all began when a notice was issued by Bahria University’s (BU) director, requiring male and female ...

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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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My final goodbye to Mirpur, my ancestral home

Today, I will visit the graves of all four of my grandparents. They are buried in Mirpur, Kashmir, where I am able to trace my unbroken lineage for at least 200 years. I have visited my ancestral village a total of 11 times since my birth in the UK, but I feel confident that this visit will be my last. Despite its immense natural beauty, the region of Mirpur suffers from a deep and insufferable moral decay, the likes of which I have never experienced elsewhere in the world. They are buried in Mirpur, Kashmir, where ...

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I was raised as a boy

Shamim Akhtar has a small but mighty presence. All of five feet, she holds herself with a self-possessed reserve, wearing a bold red, tie-dyed hijab with lipstick to match. She speaks fast but deliberately, commanding attention. She has always been confident. This confidence, she says, comes from being raised as a boy. The eldest of eight children, Shamim was born in 1983 in Molvi Abdullah Mari, a rural village in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Her family belongs to a Baloch caste, a conservative and patriarchal sector of society where men traditionally take precedence over women. “Life was not easy for me,” ...

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A farmer’s struggle for education, but will his dreams come true?

Ali Hassan Brohi is a 30 year-old father of five children and a farmer from Dorr, Sindh. Seven years ago, after his matriculation exams, Brohi had to discontinue his education. He didn’t have a choice. His father, the family’s sole breadwinner who died in 2004, had passed away. A year later, his mother passed away too. The demise of his parents left Brohi’s world destroyed and dreams unfulfilled. The responsibility of taking care of his siblings fell on his shoulders. He secured second position in Hyderabad board of intermediate and secondary education and tried hard to continue his studies but he could ...

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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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7 types of Pakistani immigrants you’re likely to come across in Canada

It’s been a little over a year since my immigrant status got confirmed in Canada and I have met some interesting kinds of Pakistanis. Immigrants who tend to fall in a certain ‘type’. Even I fit in there somewhere. This is based solely on my observation and interaction. At the risk of over-generalisation, here goes: 1. Perpetual Complainers Inc. (PCI): ‘I complained in Pakistan. I’ll complain here. Stop me if you can.’ In Pakistan, they complained about the skin-sizzling heat. In Canada, they complain about the mind-numbing cold. Back home the hoard of house helpers was too much to handle. Now, they whine ...

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Is having ‘brown’ skin, in Australia, a crime?

Ali, 26, was lying unconscious on the concrete footpath outside a busy train station on King’s Street, Sydney. His mouth was bleeding profusely and his eyes were bruised and swollen, while his friends made frantic phone calls to the police and emergency services. Within 10 minutes, the police and paramedics were at the scene, applying first aid. As he regained consciousness and looked around, he realised that his attacker had fled the scene and he was surrounded by the emergency staff. Before this incident happened that day, Ali was partying with friends on a Friday night on King’s Street – the party hub of ...

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It’s useless to study in the US, stay in Pakistan!

The education system in the US is, undoubtedly, no match to that of Pakistan. There is a major difference in the quality of education between the two nations. A majority of youngsters living in Pakistan are encouraged to pursue their studies from abroad as the standard of education in Pakistan is awfully low. There are, however, quite a few individuals who believe that receiving education from a country such as the US is of no use. This is a common misconception, possibly stemming from the anti-US sentiment in the country. I, however, do not agree as I believe that there are a number ...

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Education in Peshawar: Will free higher education for students with distinctions help?

Recently I read that the University of Peshawar will be offering free higher education to students who pass their bachelor’s degree with distinction; and this applies to not only Masters but a PhD students as well. As I scrolled down further, other news stories related to the topic materialised. One of them read “The University abolishes third division as a passing grade in order to improve the standard of education”. I was left wondering whether such a move will even be effective. Should we celebrate? Can raising educational standards be possible with as simple a step as this? It has become old ...

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