Stories about school

Failing education

As the capital city of Islamabad is growing, its population is increasing and its boundaries are getting wider. As per a survey conducted by the census department in collaboration with the Federal Directorate of Education and the local administration, the capital’s current population is 1.7 million which was approximately 100,000 when the capital city was shifted here from Karachi and only 800,000 in 1998. Due to the rise in population, multiple problems at the administrative and management level have raised their ugly heads and one of these problems is disparity in education at educational institutions in Islamabad and other rural areas. Though, ...

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My Principal Asim Farooqi is not a blasphemer

I still remember those early school days when our principal made an announcement; it was now a compulsion for us to maintain a Namaz Diary. Students were supposed to put a tick mark against those salah which they had offered; this was meant to be a part of our homework. I also remember that for six years of my educational life, I was given only one topic to debate on and this was Serat-ul-Nabi (The life of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)). I haven’t forgotten that when we requested our principal for a change of topic, because there was nothing new ...

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A visit to Greg Mortenson’s school in Korphe

The allegations of fraud against Greg Mortenson were troubling to thousands of firm supporters of his mission to educate children, especially girls, in the isolated regions of Pakistan. For those who don’t know who Greg Mortenson is, he is a humanitarian and the author of Three Cups of Tea, a New York Times best-seller. He is also a mountaineer and in 1993, he decided to climb K2. In his journey through northern Pakistan, he ended up in Korphe, a small village. He was in a terrible state and the locals of Korphe took care of him until he recovered. Mortenson, ...

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The trouble with academia: Write to impress or write to express?

I’d like to expand on a pearl of wisdom that I received from where most pearls of wisdom originate ─ my grandmother. She is a published Urdu novelist and part-time journalist, but more than that she is an intellectual searching for depth in the meaning of death as she sees herself approaching the imminent reality of it. A more popularly acclaimed introduction would be as Bushra Ansari’s aunt. Lucky for you, I’ve chosen to talk about one of the least morbid topics she happened to discuss with me: Academic writing. Despite having published novels, my grandmother does not consider herself a ...

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Malala Yousufzai: My ‘small video star’ fights for her life

I had the privilege of following Malala Yousafzai, on and off, for six months in 2009, documenting some of the most critical days of her life for a two-part documentary. We filmed her final school day before the Taliban closed down her school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley; the summer when war displaced and separated her family; the day she pleaded with President Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, to intervene; and the uncertain afternoon she returned to discover the fate of her home, school and her two pet chickens. A year after my two-part documentary on her family ...

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What to do with your child in the summer

Summer brings with it the pleasant news of no school. This is surely a relief to many parents as there is no more waking up early in the morning, getting  children ready for school, dropping them off and picking them up. However, is this really a time to give your wallet and yourself a break? It’s hard to keep a toddler entertained and I have learned that the school routine gives mothers a chance to think beyond their typical household work and provides a much-needed break from monotonous chores. So what do you do in the summer? Cue summer camps! Even before the ...

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Come home my child

Come home my child, school is over It has been blown up I know some of your mates have been taken Their parents, shattered, battered, broken Come home my child, In the mountains, it has been snowing flakes of bombs, flames so white, Shards and shrapnel, snowballs bright In the name of God some slaughter In the name of God others fight we the people, we the fodder Live to face our gory plight To enormous events we have been destined First the poverty, then the quakes, Then the militants, now the drones, Come home my child, far from the agony Away from the war with no end in sight Come home to my dreams There’s peaceful ...

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Of teens and charity : ‘Like OMG, I work for an NGO’

Areeba, not her real name, is a bright, conscientious 18-year-old off to college this September. She works on and off rebuilding a girls school in rural Sindh in an effort guided by her school. “I know all the girls names, they teach me Sindhi and mark my progress, I distribute sweets,” she says, her enthusiasm apparent. But then comes this observation: It’s something I’m really into, not like, I don’t know, wannabe hipsters who’re just in it for the certificate and the photo ops. Wannabe hipsters in it for the photo ops? I told my father what she said and his first ...

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Why Mother’s Day matters

I have never been a great proponent of the concept of Mother’s Day – or even Father’s Day. Dedicating days to celebrating every member of the family is not something that made sense to me – after all, you already had birthdays and anniversaries, right? Anything in excess of this is clearly a ploy by all those card-printing companies nagging at your guilt to spend more of your money and boost their sales As I have grown older I have come to realise the value of these days, randomly allocated to a day in the year to celebrate our parents’ contributions ...

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The rat race of KGS admissions

Mrs A remembers it as ‘the most horrible week of my life.’ She cried frequently; she had trouble sleeping at night; she had to leave a party early because she felt like she ‘couldn’t breathe’. And too many of her hours were filled with ‘whys’; why did this happen to her? Why? A child stricken with life-threatening illness? The collapse of the family business? The death of a beloved parent?  No, the darkest week of Mrs A’s life came two weeks ago when her daughter was rejected admission in the nursery at Karachi Grammar School (KGS). It’s hard to imagine writing such a ...

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