Stories about school

At LUMS I was not allowed to enter the library

Ray Bradbury, a well-known American author says, “There’s no use going to school unless your final destination is the library.”  I endorse the same idea; any kind of studying is incomplete without having access to a library where one can explore and read about relevant material. The reason why I feel the need to highlight the importance of a library is because of something that I had experienced while I was studying a management course at the Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS), one of the top-ranked private universities in Pakistan. To my surprise, during the entire duration of my course, none of the ...

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Bulldozing the poor of Islamabad to make room for the rich?

I offer my deepest sympathies to the elite and upper-middle class families of Islamabad who may be experiencing frustrating irregularities in the activities of their servants. It’s quite possible that the inconvenience is being caused by their maasi (domestic maid) Zareena’s sudden homelessness in the aftermath of the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) war on slums. I’ll try not to undermine the importance of preventing illegal occupation of public land but this prevention shouldn’t be reserved for just one segment of society. It’s expected for these settlements to be raked away especially, if the occupiers are haplessly poor and have no teeth to bite back. But what ...

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Humiliation, detention and beatings do NOT help children at school!

The environment in some Pakistani schools, particularly, government schools, is uncivilised at best and tyrannical at worst. While studying Psychology, I was compelled to look back at events from my childhood and school days. There were times in school when a few of my fellow students were mistreated by their teachers and class mates. Every class has a few students who are slightly slow at learning or grasping certain subjects or concepts. In my class, Zara was one such girl. She was mistreated by each and every teacher along with all the students in the class only because she was unable ...

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Working women do not make better moms

“Working women do not make better moms,” I told an audience comprising of my teachers and fellow students in my primary school where my own mother was working as a teacher. I had the audacity to look her in the eye as I completed my argument in the speech competition. She looked back with a smile and I looked away. I had a good reason for the argument. Ever since my mother started working I saw a change in my family life. She often brought work home and then struggled with house chores. I got lesser treats at home. There were no more homemade doughnuts ...

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Islamabad is the safest city in Pakistan? Not today…

I was tying my shoe laces, getting ready to go for a walk when the number of my children’s school flashed on my screen. My heart always flutters a little when I see this number on my phone and this time was no exception. “Maybe you should pick your kids from school early today,” said the coordinator. “Umm why,” I thought, running through a mental check list in my mind and wondering if I had forgotten a costume or an art supply or something at home. “You know, because of the shut down,” she added helpfully. I gasped. I had been too busy working to switch ...

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6-year-old child beaten to death in school: Are we teaching our kids to be bullies?

As a parent of a fairly young school-going child, you get a lot of feedback from friends, family, teachers, peers, experts, columnists, TV show ‘analysts’, blogs, books ad infinitum. You get to see a lot of competitive parenting and then you hear of how you need to teach your child how to tie shoelaces, how they need to learn to be independent, how important it is for them to know their ABCs, have the right pencil holding position, etcetera. Lots of parents even brag about how creative a child gets when he or she has to fight another child for their favourite ...

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In Hangu, are teachers a specie quickly going extinct?

A few days ago when I was going home, I received a text message from Abdullah Khan, a journalist working in Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). It said that three primary school teachers had been killed in Kach Bandha, Hangu in a drive-by shooting. I immediately called him to confirm the news. I felt goose bumps as he told me that three teachers – Muhammad Khan, Syed Khalil and Faqir Hussain – had been killed and two of them had been targeted because of their sectarian affiliation. These teachers had left their homes in the morning with prayers from their families and were killed that same ...

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Named and shamed in Utah: How can you deny food to elementary school students?

Imagine this scenario. You are in high school, perhaps 11-years-old and you walk in to the cafeteria with a group of friends. You line up at the food counter, wait your turn anxiously because you have been working hard during lessons and are absolutely famished. Your turn is next. “Do I get the pizza or the burger?” You can’t decide because they both look so good and you are truly very hungry. You flip a coin mentally and decide to go with the pizza. As you proceed down the line with your tray and pizza, you see something rather odd happening in front ...

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We don’t have a new syllabus, schools or books but you want to give us iPads?

Recently, I came across a piece of news about the Punjab government’s decision to replace traditional course books with iPads next year. Adopting advanced technology in education is a really good idea and it has already been successfully implemented by the United States, the United Kingdom, China, India, Australia and a host of other countries. These nations have the potential advantages of reducing expenses on books, saving trees, student-centric learning, greater collaboration with other students and access to wider resources of education. However, there are a number of underlying issues — some fairly obvious — that rule out the idea of introducing e-learning ...

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‘Abay yaar’, who betrayed Urdu?

There is a large number of modern, educated people in Pakistan that are blind to an entire area of literature, beginning with the first Urdu novel written by Deputy Nazir Ahmed back in the 1800s to anything written in the Urdu newspapers today. Not only are they completely oblivious, but this educated class also looks down upon the mother language and anything associated with it. To me, it seems that it’s not their fault. For every one of them, somewhere along the line, Urdu lost its value and respect in their eyes. This is how I experienced it. I remember very vividly the day I first used the word ...

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