Stories about institution

I thought he was a beggar-child…

I was deep in my thoughts, standing at the railway station, when a slight tug on my shirt startled me. Averting my gaze towards the source of the tug, I saw a child. A sense of pity washed over; I took out some money from my pocket and tried to give it to the child, but he refused to take it. Feeling even more empathetic towards him, I gently took his small palm into my hands and placed the money there. Suddenly, a man came rushing towards us, “He is not a beggar! You look smart enough to know that!” he ...

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What next for our men in black?

Rarely has a man in Pakistan polarised opinion so regularly. To his supporters, he is a superhero who steps in every time things start to fall apart in Pakistan. To his critics, he is power hungry and has overstepped his authority multiple times. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is set to retire on December 11, 2013. Or at least that is what the plan is so far. In a country like Pakistan, plans seem to fall apart more often than not. However if all sense prevails, Iftikhar Chaudhry will sleep on the night of December 11, 2013, knowing that he won’t need ...

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Why I chose Karachi University

Karachi University (KU) is to Karachi what Karachi is to Pakistan. I was the first member of my family to attend KU for a Bachelors degree and even after completing four years at the institution, I still get concerned queries from people wanting to know how I survived. It seems strange to me that KU appears like such a distant and uncharted territory to those who have never studied there; it is as if people from KU are aliens! Hence, I thought that I would shed some light on this mini universe for those who have never been here and ...

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My university, NUST, grooms to minimise differences

The dress code at NUST (National University of Science & Technology) has cooked up quite a storm and as a student at the prestigious institution, this is what I have to say: “It was an overreaction.” The match that struck the flame was an image of a student fine notice stuck to a bulletin board at the university. This image, detailing what the students were being fined for, went viral. I admit that the grammar used in the notice was less than satisfactory including the terms ‘wearing tight’, ‘no dopata’ and so forth; but this error has been unfairly used to ...

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Privatisation can save Pakistan Railways

It seems that the damage done to the railways system by our lack of leadership and management has not crippled the institution just yet – the prime minister has just announced a business class service to be offered from February 3, 2012. This is not a novel idea, but a good one nonetheless. Why did this thought take so long to materialise? Considering that PPP supporters burnt down 130 carriages at the time of Benazir’s assassination, I am surprised that the government didn’t take notice of the situation earlier. I was recently discussing the dilapidated ...

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Commercialising our campuses?

So there is a proposal of putting up advertisement billboards inside the Karachi University (KU) premises. The 1,800 acres of campus houses numerous departments, research centres and teachers’ housing societies. It has its own marketplace with shops for grocery, tailoring and electrical repair work. Huge billboards are precisely what this city-like campus is lacking. But is KU an educational institution? How can it have advertising billboards on its premises? Shouldn’t an education institution’s sole purpose be to impart education to its students? And how would setting up billboards on campus fit into this scheme of things given that its main purpose would ...

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‘Strike tomorrow, school’s closed!’

How many countries have more unofficial (read: unnecessary) holidays than official ones? Now that 2011 has been announced as Pakistan’s year of education, we might want to start focusing less on who killed whom and more on keeping our schools open. My high school years in Karachi were a blur of classes, canteen breaks, throwball, netball, and bonfires. Sounds like fun, I know. But it would have been a whole lot more productive had it not been interrupted by school closures thanks to random strikes and curfews. As a young’un, who really cares? After all, no school is usually good ...

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Your university next door

A rare and happy confluence, the seeker and the sought in mutual hot pursuit. While the growing body of students is chasing higher degrees and diplomas, education itself, as it were, is hunting for talents to groom. Man closes one door, God opens another. Choosy public schools and colleges have now few applicants begging for entrance as newspapers are full of new institutions with an open arms policy for anyone who has the resources for bettering his or her future. Bernard Shaw, who said “what we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit ...

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Kinnaird: Teaching more than how to be a wife

Kinnaird College for Women is a prestigious educational institute that has been producing women of strength and confidence for years. From Bano Qudsia, Bapsi Sidhwa, Asma Jahangir, Kashmala Tariq to Faryal Gohar, Sawera Nadeem and Hadiqa Kiyani, Kinnaird has produced leading women in all fields of life. It has a history of dedication and struggle in making it what it is today; the dream of every young girl. I am lucky enough that my dream has become a reality: today, I am a KCite. Everyday, I embrace the pride of being a part of Kinnaird because it is an institution that ...

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Secular or theocratic: State needs to deliver

The discourse on the secular versus religious state in Pakistan is almost always based on the personal alignments of the debaters. Routinely missed out though are the hard facts about the actual actors – people and institutions. If the average citizen is asked to describe in one word those who form this state, one can rest be assured that it wouldn’t be pious, modest, honest or trustworthy – the presumable attributes of momins and true Muslims. The state structure has its roots in the Delhi sultanate and then the Mughal Empire, which was established by Muslims from Central Asia. The true ...

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