Stories about school

Horrors of 2007 in Swat: We need the Army

Yesterday I was reading The Express Tribune, when my eye caught an interesting statement made by the new elected chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). He was boldly talking about pulling out the Pakistan Army from the Swat. I will refrain from criticising any party directives or policies here; all I want to do is to provide a clearer picture of the situation in Swat, and let the people be the jury of such an action. I remember when the Pakistan Austrian Institute for Hotel and Tourism Management (PAITHOM) was targeted by the Taliban in the Swat valley in August 2007. This kind of Taliban was ...

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Do you care about the life of an average Pakistani?

It’s about time. Your chauffeur will be here soon to take you home. And on your way, you will certainly stop at at least one signal. At this point if you put your time away, take the Cuban cigar out of your mouth and roll down your window, you will see me: a sweat-covered, ashen-faced and gray-haired young man riding his second-hand motorcycle in pursuit of a better future. And if, miraculously, you are feeling sympathetic towards those belonging to a lesser station, you might wonder what my story is. I was born as the eldest son, rather, the only son ...

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Pakistani with every fiber of my being

I hail from green and white – from a crescent and a star. I live under lights that do not dim, even with electricity loadshedding every day. I walk in slums and narrow streets. I travel across shahrahs and highways that lead up to the mountains. I cower from the sun, glaring down, staring down; I cower from heat waves — from warmth that can make you faint. I am in awe of the sea, the beautiful vast sea that drowned a boy I knew, with long, white, foamy waves that I watch merge with one another. I recognise five rivers that have ...

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Schoolchildren’s travel woes

Children, as young as three-years-old, travel long distances to reach their schools and that, too, in overloaded vans, pickups and rickshaws. Sometimes, unfortunate accidents occur, like the one in Gujrat a few weeks back, which shook the nation. Sixteen schoolchildren and a teacher were killed when their school van caught fire. It is the responsibility of the schools to keep a continuous check on the vehicles their students travel in. They must keep a copy of the driving licences of the drivers and other documents of the vehicles. It is a fact that, at times, accidents are destined to happen ...

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When ragging in hostels turns to sexual abuse

We reached the university hostel. My parents very were happy because I had been admitted in one of the top notch universities of Pakistan located in Punjab. It was the first time in my life that I was going to stay away from my home and I was petrified.  I was accommodated with my seniors as there were no rooms available for freshmen. The first night, I could not sleep at all because the place was filthy and I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I had to stay there for a long, long time. The days that followed were ...

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A chat with Imran Khan’s biggest ‘little’ fan: He will do my homework and feed all the cats

“Sir, ap Imran Khan ko nhi jantay. Wo Superman hai!” (Sir, you do not know Imran Khan. He is Superman!) This is what a child stated at my secondary school back in my hometown – spreading his arms in the air to show the extent of Khan’s jurisdiction – when I asked him how Khan would manage to do so many things. A week before my last semester at university, I decided to visit my old school to refresh some memories. I met my principal, and with him, went to talk with some students of Grade III. I began with the frequently asked questions in such situations, ...

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KGS admission blues and the pursuit of (academic) happiness

Saturday, March 16, 2013 was probably one of the few very anticipated days in the academic calendar. For many, it was undoubtedly a defining moment for their kids. Yes, it was the day when one of the most prestigious schools in Karachi held its admission test for entry into class three. Success would mean victory, triumph and a sense of academic achievement par excellence. Failure would spell doom, despair, depression and a social stigma – in other words – for some nothing short of a calamity. The so called pursuit of academic excellence, if that is what we are after, comes with ...

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Is your child’s backpack too heavy?

Recently, my eldest son joined school at the nursery level for formal education. I was surprised at the list of things to collect: books, copies, pencils, sharpeners, lunch box, water bottle, bag, uniform, shoes, socks and other uniform-related articles for him. For me, it was a long process to find the required paraphernalia to enable him for this first phase in his life. I noticed two issues while going through the admission process and collection of required items for my child. I have to pick and drop my son from school daily. In doing so, I found that the weight of ...

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Dreams do come true: Malala goes back to school

There is a Malala in each and every girl of this unfortunate country. Amidst this war torn country, this teenager voiced her opinion against those elements of society which, quite atrociously advocate that girls should not be allowed to go to school. For them, she is just an ordinary girl. For us, she is a hero. Now, she wears a smile on her face as she strides along the streets of Birmingham, towards Edgbaston High School. She has seen yet another day when she can put on a school uniform and continue with her education. In Pakistan, a society where girls’ schools are being burnt ...

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Yes, I was home-schooled and I turned out fine

Whenever I am introduced to someone, they are certain to ask me the following, very annoying question: “Which grade are you studying in and what school do you go to?” My answer generally leaves them dumbfounded. You see, I have never been to school – ever. I am home-schooled and am currently doing my A’ levels. I am a keen student and always manage to secure good grades. Despite having all the opportunities to enroll myself in any well-reputed school, I chose to study on my own. When I tell people this, they ask me why I chose to be home-schooled. It is a predictable question and I ...

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