Stories about schools

7 types of Pakistani immigrants you’re likely to come across in Canada

It’s been a little over a year since my immigrant status got confirmed in Canada and I have met some interesting kinds of Pakistanis. Immigrants who tend to fall in a certain ‘type’. Even I fit in there somewhere. This is based solely on my observation and interaction. At the risk of over-generalisation, here goes: 1. Perpetual Complainers Inc. (PCI): ‘I complained in Pakistan. I’ll complain here. Stop me if you can.’ In Pakistan, they complained about the skin-sizzling heat. In Canada, they complain about the mind-numbing cold. Back home the hoard of house helpers was too much to handle. Now, they whine ...

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Is my tax money funding your political advertisement?

Open any newspaper and you’ll find government advertisements – be it provincial or federal – flashing their on-going or upcoming projects. The best term I could come up with for this exercise of self-promotion is ‘political advertising’, meant for boosting a politician’s profile or a junior level politician behaving like a sycophant for his party boss. The phenomenon cuts through all political parties and ideologies, and affects all forms of media, print or electronic. Such adverts are often used to serve party politics rather than public policy. The incumbent government spends the most on such commercials, which explains why the government’s budget for advertising is ...

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Overcoming adversity and reopening schools in Swat

As one travels, on the highway, from Peshawar to Swat, the lush green fields, dotted with tall poplar trees, appear breath-taking, and gradually the silhouette of the mountains become visible. The low-lying mountains gain height and the sound of water springs, gushing from the crevices of rocks create a melancholic music. Photo: Sameera Rashid   On a winding road from the Chakdara to Mingora, people are seen crossing the clear waters of river Swat, on makeshift bridges, and plum trees with delicate pink flowers bloom on the roadside orchids. Photo: Sameera Rashid Not only does Swat cast its ...

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Am I a ‘ganwaar’ if I speak in Punjabi?

Over the last few weeks, I have been meeting children from different parts of Punjab. They ranged in age between three and five years and included children of my friends and extended family. I was pleasantly surprised to hear these kids speaking in Punjabi. Some of the phrases that I recall hearing them use are, “Kithay chalay o?” (Where are you off to?) “Aa ki aey?” (What is this?) “Ki karde paye o?” (What are you doing?) Punjabi is the most widely spoken language across Pakistan. However, from what I have seen, most of the people in Punjab – especially those living in the urban centres – do ...

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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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Why should Sindhi be taught in all schools of Sindh?

The Government of Sindh recently announced that it would ensure that private educational institutions offer Sindhi language as a separate subject. The announcement went on to state that schools refusing to offer Sindhi would be fined or even have their permits revoked.  This announcement has led to predictable outrage. Some have argued that students who attend private schools have no use for learning a language that is ‘only’ spoken within Sindh. On the other hand, children attending public schools, given their financial background also have little practical utility for studying the region’s native language. This, in itself, is a false assumption ...

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Uniforms in university turn adults into mere children

There isn’t nearly enough harm being done by making our students think alike; we need them to look alike as well – to iron out every last lump, wrinkle and kink of individuality in them, leaving a monochrome sheet with every thread being exactly like the other. Uniforms in schools and colleges are a vestige of a past that valued military-style automaticity as the only true form of discipline. Some people may think that it is a good idea to have every future lawyer, playwright, cardiologist and sculptor dress up in a uniform and march into the assembly ground like ...

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Going to school during Ziaul Haq’s time

I was born almost a year after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to an Air Force family. Hence, my entire schooling was done in schools run by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during General Ziaul Haq’s regime. My first school was the PAF school in Sargodha and my English teacher resembled Shaista Zaid, the English news anchor on Pakistan Television (PTV), the only channel aired in the country at the time. Although most people remember General Zia’s regime as oppressive and restrictive, my memories of school years are somewhat different. I studied in a co-education school, where boys and girls ...

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Is a ‘science student’ smarter than an ‘arts student’?

As soon as we step into the dreaded phase of our education where we must choose which subjects we want to pursue for our higher studies, arts and science are pretty much the basic options to choose from and these practically shape our academic future. I remember when I passed the eighth grade, I was content because I had been able to achieve the target score required to be able to choose science for my matriculation; I was ecstatic, my interest in science being secondary. It wasn’t just me, all my class fellows worked hard so that they could be promoted to the ‘science’ ...

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A letter to Adnan Rashid: Do the Taliban have a bullet for every raised voice?

Dear Mr Adnan Rashid, I am writing to you in my personal capacity, as I’m shocked by what you have written to Malala Yousufzai, my sister by religion. I am surprised that you don’t want to argue whether religion permits attacking a girl or not, and yet, you have the audacity to say that your emotions for Malala were brotherly. In Islam, and in our culture (and I suppose in your culture, too), we don’t support the brother who stands by the attacker when his sister is attacked. In her articles published in BBC Urdu, Malala only wrote about her woes after ...

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