Stories about public schools

Dear private schools, I am a parent but not an ATM

The Constitution of Pakistan has, via Article 25A, made it mandatory for the government to provide free education to all citizens who cannot afford to go to school otherwise. However, implementation of this clause has never been enforced in letter or spirit, allowing the private sector to take advantage of the growing gap between private and public schools.   Now, be it rich or poor, people from all strata of society are sending their children to private schools irrespective of the teaching standard of such schools. Operating a school has become one of the most profitable businesses in the country, and ...

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Sending your child to school doesn’t guarantee that he will actually learn

In a utopian setting, the quintessential scenario for Pakistan would be to educate every child, thus leading to countless benefits, not least in relation to important indicators such as employment, health, equality and so on. Receiving “free and compulsory” education is also a legal constitutional right for every Pakistani child aged five to 16 under Article 25A. However, let’s face the harsh reality: Pakistan is unable to educate every single child. According to budget estimates, the government will only spend around a meagre 2.03% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on education in 2018. This is way below international requirements. Resources are ...

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Nation uniform curriculum: Are we compromising equity for equality?

In another move towards a Naya Pakistan, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood has announced a uniform national curriculum policy to not only ensure the quality of education, but also provide a level playing field across the country and present equal opportunity to everyone. This may sound utopian to many, but can we start celebrating yet? Let’s unearth this thought by taking a glance at the omnipresent institution of ‘schools’. How old is this institution? Impromptu responses might suggest perhaps thousands of years old, or maybe dating back to Socrates. Not only would these responses reflect our ...

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5 reasons why good teachers quit within 5 years

Often a good teacher will decide to leave his or her job after just a few years. A federal study states that up to 20% of certified pedagogues of both public and private schools begin to change their minds about devoting their lives to teaching by the fifth year of their career. According to Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, the number is actually much higher. He claims that about 50% of young experts quit teaching during the first five years because they are sick of the profession. While the exact number remains to be ...

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Teachers threatening mass suicide – How did it come to this, Pakistan?

It was a despairing day in the capital, when around 1,800 teachers and staff of public schools and colleges threatened to commit mass suicide outside the Supreme Court. Having not been paid for a shocking period of over 10 months, the protestors said they would kill their children alongside them. One wonders how this is possible in a country where even low-ranking ministers have imported, luxury cars, and where politicians are on the next flight to England upon a hint of the slightest ailment. There is no doubt the state of public education in Pakistan has continued to dwindle, but ...

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Why America is the greatest Islamic Caliphate there exists

Last Friday, Maulvi Sahab again said that God’s wrath is soon going to descend on the United States of America (USA) and the Muslim World will rise again. Although these are two entirely different things – fall of America and rise of Muslims more so the Asian Muslims – quite unrelated; nevertheless, he bundled them together as is the understanding in the entire Muslim world these days. So far so good. For the last 30 years of my life in Kashmir, I have often heard this prediction being made by “God’s own middlemen” that this Islamophobic, zionist, kafir America will ...

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Reassessing what it means to be a Pakistani Muslim immigrant in Canada

While I sip tea and watch my children play around in our almost four-year-old home in Canada, I can’t help but reassess what it means to be me, as 2016 comes to an end – a Pakistani Muslim immigrant in Canada. I can’t help but feel this warmth for this great nation’s hospitality and heart. At the same time, like an itchy throat signalling the onset of a ruthless flu, I shift uncomfortably in my seat as corroborated stats show the rise and effect of hate crimes across Canada. I can’t help but remember last year’s shootings in Ottawa and how Canadian Muslims were shoved ...

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Why aren’t the citizens of Pakistan helping to fix our public schools?

Education in Pakistan refers to two types of schooling, for two different income groups: children from wealthy families go to private institutions while children from relatively poorer backgrounds study in public schools. The latter group accounts for majority of the population of our country. Public schools are better off in terms of financial considerations i.e. they have affordable fee structures for the majority, which is why they are often seen as institutes of the masses. They take into account the expenses (other than education) that most families in Pakistan incur, such as utility bills, fuel, grocery and other supplies. In contrast ...

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Despite increasing the education budget, the Sindh government is failing its youth

If you want to see how Sindh has failed its children, visit a public school in some of the obscure towns of the province. I was well aware of the fact that government-run schools had flaws, but the extent of this problem was always abstract for me, up until I had a first-hand experience. I was in Shikarpur recently (the city once known as the Paris of Sindh) to attend a cousin’s wedding. While in town, I thought it would be a great idea to see how education was faring in a place known for its academic excellence, considering Shikarpur ...

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Why Christine Craig should not face disciplinary action for her anti-Muslim cartoon

Uncertainty breeds insular thinking and bigotry, a theme as old as time, and as true. Therefore, it is of no surprise to find, in this brave new world of globalisation, economic changes and environmental threats, a surge in discriminatory behaviour and values. This surge is not limited to the US, but it is seen as being more prominent, mainly because of America’s stance as a moral watchdog of the world. The land of the free, the land of opportunity, comes into the limelight every time Donald Trump opens his mouth, or a member of a public school board shares a ...

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