Stories about public schools

#NoFeesTillLowFees: ‘Quality education’ at private schools is a myth!

In 2002, when private schools initiated their long, drawn out process of bleeding the parents of this country dry, many predicted that a day would come when the middle class and the upper middle class would have to leave their air-conditioned offices to hold angry placards on the street and furiously pound their fists in the air. That day has come. Recently, parents and students in Karachi accumulated at the KDA roundabout and in North Nazimabad and marched up to Ziauddin Hospital in protest to the harrowing rise in the private school fees. Parents in Islamabad have also organised demonstrations in staunch opposition to ...

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Can fundamentalism in Pakistan be traced back to madrassas?

In Pakistan, certain madrassas have a knack for producing terrorists. The government is aware of this yet it does not have a consistent stance regarding such madrassas. After the Peshawar school attack in December, the government made it a priority to regulate madrassas, but when the information minister, Pervaiz Rashid, spoke out against them last month, not a single member of government publicly supported him. This conflicting treatment did not happen overnight. Fundamentalism in Pakistan can be traced back to Former Prime Ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Ziaul Haq who wanted to ‘Islamicise’ the state. Zia’s 1979 education policy highlighted the priority to ...

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Aao Parhao – A teacher can use all the help they can get

A school is so much more than just a series of classrooms. A school is so much more than just a number of lessons. And an educated person is so much more than a literate person. Education entails all the different facets that are crucial to the mental and physical development of a person as a responsible citizen of society. At the fountainhead of western civilization in ancient Athens, education included the arts and physical education as part of the curriculum rather than extra-curricular activities. Far too often, schools in Pakistan are focused on grades and memorisation of lessons over a ...

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Aao Parhao – The forever existing struggle for education

Half of my life I’ve been taught by people who never wanted to become teachers, but were forced to do so. Teaching is often considered a last resort by many, when they have tried their luck with everything else. And this, in turn, reflects the quality of their work. Many take this profession lightly, not understanding the colossal role this profession has to undertake. After all, “How hard can teaching little children be?” Right? Why there is a need to recruit well-educated and willing teachers The relationship between a student and a teacher is crucial. It either makes or breaks us. Throughout my student ...

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Aao Parhao – Let’s work towards facilitating our teachers

Education is one of the fundamental foundations for a nation to move forward. For this, various models are being introduced and implemented as the most effective and efficient education systems. However, whichever education equation is opted for, it is worth noting that it cannot be initiated without the most crucial building block – teachers. Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and author, Joel Klein, observes, “A great teacher can rescue a child from a life of struggle.” This statement could not be any truer. A high-performing, well-trained, and committed teacher can not only enhance a child’s learning abilities but can ...

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Perhaps the pen is not mightier than the sword in K-P

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has finally unleashed its first substantial policy reforms since the Taliban massacre in Peshawar that killed over 130 innocent children. The policy is to allow teachers in the province to carry weapons to engage terrorists. One wonders how many geniuses it took for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government to come up with such a preposterous initiative. The naivety in argument is that there are not enough police officers in the province to provide security to every school. This clearly shows that the government has not yet conceived even the simplest and dangerous consequences that such ...

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Maybe you can learn a lesson or two from the APS embarrassment, Imran Khan

You know you have done something very, very wrong when distraught, infuriated parents who have lost their children can still find the strength to tell you they don’t appreciate your show of solidarity. That was exactly the public embarrassment that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan had to face when he bothered to show up at the reopened Army Public School, Peshawar – the scene of a heinous attack that killed over 130 children and shocked the nation last month. I hope that Imran Sahib and the PTI leadership uses this as a wake-up call that they have kept this nation, their own voters, waiting for ...

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The story of Pakistan: I am a dreamer but I am not the only one

We, Pakistanis, are full of dreamers. I say this not just as an expression but after observing it myself. While on my trip to the countryside, I came across many stories and dreams, and I found each story unique in its own way. Here are a few of the dreamers I met along the way… Photo: Salman Javed This is an 11-year-old boy and a proud shepherd. His household income depends on the cattle he grazes. He seemed like a very pleasant child. During our conversation, I found out that he wished to attend school, become a doctor, own ...

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Protests in Egypt, Turkey and Brazil for the people, protests in Pakistan for the politician?

Since the past few months, the protests in Cairo and the recent ones in Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro, really made me ponder upon what the real problem in these countries was and why their people were on the streets – all the time. Are these countries worse than Pakistan? Of course not. The economic indicators paint a completely different picture and tell us that countries, like Egypt and in particular Turkey and Brazil, are doing great in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Human Development Index (HDI) and the food index. In terms of peace and national violence, these countries are ...

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Rich people, doing rich things in poor Pakistan

It has been 65 years since Pakistan’s independence. During this period, Pakistan has seen a lot of transition. From Ayub Khan’s industrialisation to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s socialisation, to Ziaul Haq’s Islamisation to Musharraf’s enlightened moderation and war on terror, we have had our fair share of ideologies and doctrines. Being a 22-year-old, average Pakistani guy who hasn’t seen most of these periodic transitions, I can naively (and safely) assume one similarity between all of them – the class divide in our society has remained unchanged throughout these six and a half decades. Every now and then I come across drawing room discussions where people, ...

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