Stories about teacher

How an Iqbal poem got a Muslim headmaster suspended in India

It no longer shocks us in India. Prejudice and bigotry have become such a part of our existence that it no longer pricks our conscience when a lynching takes place, when a Muslim is humiliated for their way of life, when an overwhelming majority of television stations dish out jingoism all day long – it no longer baffles us. The recent suspension of a school headmaster, Furqan Ali, in the Pilibhit district in Uttar Pradesh (UP) is only the latest demonstration of these growing hostilities. A local Hindu right wing leader belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), one of the ideological brothers of the ...

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#JusticeForHunain: Is this how we ‘discipline’ our children in a ‘civilised’ society?

The recent death of teenage student Hunain Bilal in Lahore only brings to light the tragic reality of corporal punishment among the countless unethical but socially accepted norms in the Pakistani society. Allegedly, Hunain had failed to memorise his lesson, due to which the teacher “punched him repeatedly, grabbed his hair and hit his head against the wall, all the while yelling at him”. As a result, the child collapsed and died on the spot. Hunain’s case is not rare in Pakistan where corporal punishment is considered the best way of disciplining at both home and school. Although a 2014 National ...

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Pakistan’s education crisis: enrolled in schools, unable to learn

It is no secret that Pakistan’s education sector is in dire straits. The Wilson Center report, titled ‘Why Can’t Pakistani Children Read? The Inside Story of Education Reform Efforts Gone Wrong,’ talks about Pakistan’s ‘education emergency’. It talks at length about the misdiagnosed education crisis of Pakistan which has resulted from decades of well-meaning but majorly-flawed internal and international reforms. Maina Gathinjaga WaGîokõ, a fellow educationist from Kenya, once said, “I am not worried about the 850,000 who are out of school. I am more worried about the 12 million who are in school.” The current level of enrollment in kindergarten at ...

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A teacher’s response

No, beta, the trees can’t talk and sing, Nature doesn’t invite you in, And the wind certainly doesn’t give you wings! No, no, colours don’t melt, Transcendental emotions you pen aren’t felt, Word in your poems, Are sounds, lines, and curves, Not pillows, crutches and memory reserves. And please, people are people, Can’t see a rose in a person and person in a rose, A void exists only in space, Not in her eyes! Her hair, how can it be like a fall? Her smile like a fresh stream, And laughter like a heart’s somersault? Sorry, beta, but the dead are dead. Their love and laughter, you can’t store, And their memories, time will ...

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Rescuing the dying reading culture of Pakistan

Pakistani classrooms usually do not encourage questioning amongst students, but can we really blame the classroom for a trait we are socialised into from the beginning? Thus, when I became a teacher, I made sure to always encourage questioning by responding in a positive manner, turning whatever was being formally discussed into a casual conversation. Recently, however, I was asked a question that left me astonished. An undergraduate student in one of my classes, a rather intelligent kid, asked me why reading books was so important. In his words: “We live in a visual world, then why do you keep emphasising reading ...

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For Neelum, life was only just beginning

Neelum sat by the window as rain spilled from an ashen sky. From the window, she saw a little girl, almost the same age as herself, scuttling in the rain with her father. She laughed as rain poured over her and her eyes twinkled happily. Neelum watched the little girl scurry down the street, with her father holding her hand protectively. Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes, and she crawled back into her grief of being an orphan. It was night, and the sky was full of stars. Neelum’s parents still hadn’t come back home. She felt sick with apprehension. ...

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The room of beasts and unspeakable secrets

Mahnaz sat under an ivory sky on the ground outside the library building of her college. A light and wispy summer breeze kept turning the pages of a tattered and well-thumbed copy of Jane Eyre lying at her feet. She had just finished reading the book for the umpteenth time, which was evident from the pages that were all worn and dog-eared, the margins that crawled with hastily scribbled notes, the pastel-coloured post-its that protruded from every page, and the spine that was riven with creases. Every time she finished reading the book, she could not help but cringe ...

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Only in Pakistan can your child get an ‘A’ without learning anything

Over the past few years, the policy on education has taken centre stage in Pakistan. There is now debate over reforming the curriculum of madrassas, as they have failed millions of students who have, and continue to receive, their education in these religious seminaries. However, it is not just the madrassas that need reform, but also the ‘elite’ private school system. I have been teaching part-time in Karachi’s private sector for almost a decade, and it is blatantly clear that the current system has failed miserably. Be it private universities or schools, few understand or are interested in the purpose of education itself. The ...

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Heartening and poignant, ‘Hichki’ is a reminder that Rani Mukerji is one of the Bollywood ‘greats’

Rani Mukerji’s interesting new movie Hichki hit the theatres recently, and if there is one thing I’d say about her, it is that Mukerji has still got it! This is her first movie in four years, as she was last seen playing a leading role in Mardaani (2014), and yet she is the scene-stealer! If anything, the break proves that despite spending a few years away from the big screen, she still has the acumen to deliver a performance reminding us why she is one of the ‘greats’.  Directed by Sidharth P Malhotra and produced by Maneesh Sharma, Hichki focuses on Naina ...

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The newspaper boy

He threw it inside the house and as he cycled forward and heard it land softly on the doormat. Great shot, he thought. There were three streets to go. And the light around him was slowly spreading. He continued. In the street before the last, he slowed down because he was nearing the house filled with flowerpots. Previous shots had broken some pots and invited anger from the owner whose life seemed to be divided into the dozens of pots she had. This time, though, he came near the gate and slowly hooped it inside. The sound of contact with ...

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