Stories about private schools

Load-shedding? Bill tampering? Theft? Fret not, Pakistan, for solar-powered systems are here to save the day (and your money)

For the last 10 years, we’ve been hearing that Pakistan is on the verge of getting rid of load shedding and power shortages. The situation, however, has stayed the same despite repeated government announcements. Since power is not the only sector in which gross incompetence and corruption have led to low levels of service delivery, it is perhaps correct to assume that the prospect of things improving in the short to medium term are impossible. When the government-provided education services are inadequate, people send their children to private schools. They opt out of the government-prescribed syllabi which are often used to propagate nationalistic and corrosive ideologies and get their children to study for internationally recognised A’Levels. They send ...

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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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I am a Muslim parent in the US and I chose to send my children to a Catholic school

My wonderful nani (maternal grandmother), Jamila Khatoon, was an advocate for missionary schools and hospitals in Pakistan. She would famously say, “Schools and hospitals are best run by the mission.” Resultantly, my mother and her siblings went to missionary schools in Karachi, as did my siblings and I. Why is it that parents, belonging to other faiths, sometimes consciously make a choice to send their kids to a Catholic school? Is it because they feel that faith-based education, regardless of what faith the school believes in, imparts spirituality at a young age that leaves an impact through adult life? I remember putting the ...

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Why are our children brain washed to become “followers” instead of “thinkers”?

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.”  ― Charles William Eliot In the wake of the critical crisis that literacy and education suffers in Pakistan, it is imperative to understand that education and the enlightenment of the mind cannot necessarily be instilled within the caged walls of a classroom. Although degrees and grades can produce suited versions of empty minds vying for jobs in an already saturated market but they can hardly broaden the vistas of learning or enrich young brains with insight and ...

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Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is the reason the state of education in Pakistan is so bad

I recently came across an Urdu newspaper in which the date was stated to be October 32, 2016. Apparently the editor didn’t know that October has only 31 days, and it can’t ever have 32 days, not even if Imran Khan wants it and threatens to lock down the whole world if it is not done. Teachers of English in our schools are not qualified to teach, which is why most Pakistanis routinely add an apostrophe before an “s” even when it is not required. Education standards have deteriorated drastically. I usually come across such phrases as “his” husband or ...

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Should school administrators be allowed to harass students over non-payment of fees?

While winding up the lesson, the teacher turned towards the clock to check the time – there were 20 minutes remaining. Opting for a pop quiz, he asked everyone to take out a rough sheet of paper. One of the students eagerly did so – for history was her favourite subject – but as she scribbled the answer ‘Treaty of Versailles’ to the question asked by the teacher, she saw terror approaching from the corner of her eyes. She heard the dreaded words, “Please step outside and bring your diary along.” And quietly moved toward the door while all the students stared ...

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Pakistan’s inhumanity is robbing our children of their innocence

The other day, my son wrote a story about a king and a prisoner who wanted to kill the king. The prisoner made an extraordinary gun and wanted to shoot the king to avenge his imprisonment. After two attempts the captive was successful in murdering the king. When my son finished reading his story out to me, I was literally in a state of panic. I asked him to stop writing stories that mention guns or killings and warned him against sharing them at school. He innocently informed me that he had already shown it to his teacher and that she ...

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Stop trying to make private schools cheaper, improve govt schools instead

Back in September 2015, the parents of students studying in the top elite schools of Pakistan created an outcry over the unwarranted increase in school tuition fees. No one could have guessed the extent of effect the parents’ grievances would have on the elite private school systems. The fee chalaans for the year 2015-16 incited an uproar, prompting them to protest and provoke the authorities to devise a system that can regulate the fee structures of these schools. They claimed that the ‘private school mafia’ – a term coined during the protest – treat them as ATM machines with an unjustified ...

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Why isn’t the standard of education in Pakistan’s private schools regulated?

A free school run by Yorkshire’s biggest academy chain, Dawes Lane Academy, has been closed down, simply because it failed to secure a suitable permanent premise. The school was opened last year on a temporary property after getting necessary permission from the Department for Education. Does that, in anyway, ring a bell? Private educational institutions today have become a billion rupee industry in Pakistan. A phenomenal growth in private sector schools between 2000 to 2014 has been recorded – an increase of 69 per cent, as compared to a mere eight per cent in public sector schools. This should not come as a surprise since not much is required to open a private school in Pakistan. Institutions offering ...

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Q&A in Pakistani history book: Do you think Jodhaa Akbar looked like Aishwariya Rai’s depiction of her?

A few days ago, I was browsing through my Facebook newsfeed and thinking how boring this particular social media website had become of late. Scarcely had the thought entered my head, when I saw that someone had shared this image on their page, I was about to scroll down, thinking it was probably some ‘blown-out-of-proportion’ news about the Bollywood actress Aishwariya Rai, when I noticed the words “class seven history book” accompanying the image. When I stopped to read the status, image and accompanying text as well as the comments that followed, I was literally left dumbfounded. This image is from ...

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