Stories about universities

What if I want to be an astronaut and not a doctor?

The very first profession (barring the childhood fantasies of becoming a superhero or flying jets) I was genuinely interested in Psychology; becoming a shrink, if you will, drew me like a magnet. That of course lasted maybe a few months (four or five months at the most) and this was when I was in the 10th grade. I never really pursued it nor explored it. What attracted me towards this profession was listening to and helping people understand their problems. Unfortunately the fact of the matter was (well at least what I felt at that time- I may have been ...

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Our teachers are loyal to money only, not students

“You’re no better than a prostitute.” These weren’t the words I was expecting to hear when I started teaching at Pakistan’s most prominent university. But here a retired admiral and at the time serving pro-rector was telling me that I am no better than a w****e. As anyone would, I took immediate offence to these words and asked for an explanation. His analogy was simple to understand. “Prostitutes aren’t loyal and they go wherever they get paid the most.” And as it was explained to me, a new faculty member, “That is what most educators in Pakistan do.” Although the words stung at first, as ...

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Will I get a job if I haven’t graduated from LUMS or LSE?

Call a top-notch organisation enquiring after their recruitment process and they will, more often than not,turn you down saying; “We only hire LUMS and LSE graduates.” Today such blatant and disgusting bias is observed in many many multinational organisations across Pakistan. This is an extreme sort of epidemic prevailing in the recruitment process of many organisations. A reality check must be given here. I feel obliged to inform these ‘guided’ organisations that many brilliant students are studying in universities that are far older than Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Institute of Business Administration (IBA) or even Lahore School of Economics (LSE). However, they are ...

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Budget cuts mar higher education

Heads of the public sector universities have warned the government of protest if the finance division fails to provide an additional Rs8 billion to the cash-starved Higher Education Commission (HEC). The university heads and HEC officials say that without the additional funds, the commission will not be in a position to ensure payment of 65% salary raises for employees of the 70 public sector universities under its domain. Cuts in the commission’s budget have already affected research and development projects, when a major chunk is being diverted towards the employees’ salaries. Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh in Friday’s meeting gave ...

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Easy education: How to spot a fake school

It is not so hard to to attain a student visa for the United Kingdom nowadays and go there for higher education with a dream of becoming rich. Indeed the process has now become very easy – even students who have just completed 12 years of education get admissions in universities in the UK. The UK earns nearly $1.8 billion annually from international students, most of these are from Asia. A pertinent question here is: does every university in the UK provide quality education and are all properly accredited? No. According to research conducted by a UK based background screening company in 2011, ...

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‘Professor sahab, please help me get in to college’

It has been a good seven months now. And I am still not done with my college applications. At first, the process seemed as simple as looking for the right university. I narrowed down my list of choices to Canada, googled a list of Master’s programmes and found myself overwhelmed with the choices. “British Columbia is too cold, you’ll freeze to death!” “Do you even know how far Vancouver is? It’s like a whole other country.” “Ontario sahi hai.” The next step was fairly straightforward. Look up the requirements for these universities and make sure you meet them. The worst part of it ...

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An astronomical waste – literally

Pakistan’s government institutions and universities own valuable astronomical resources which are being wasted. There are telescopes – that could be put to good use by amateur astronomy societies like the KaAS (Karachi Astronomer’s Society) – which are currently doing nothing. One of these, a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, is stationed at Pakistan’s answer to NASA: Suparco (Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission). According to market evaluation by Zain Ahmed, the vice-president of the KaAS, the current price of the 14th Schmidt-Cassegrain at Suparco as a complete package would be between $4,500-5,000. The telescope has not been used for 10 years. Officials at Suparco ...

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Graduation dilemma: This seat is taken

Among the enlightened elite of our great nation are parents who believe in educating their daughters. They spend several thousands, millions even, to ensure that their daughters have quality education from the best universities within their means. Yes, parents like these do exist, among the many who only look forward to the dubious pleasure in marrying their daughters off. Imagine, for example, one of Pakistan’s best universities. Graduation, especially with accolades, would add to any resume, attracting many good opportunities. But you are mistaken if you think I am talking about job opportunities. Somehow, somewhere, someone changed the rules of the ...

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Sacrificing education for floods

As the aftermaths of the deluge begins to unfold, the national economy has started to cringe under the weight of the losses incurred. With the flood waters having affected nearly one-fifth of Pakistan’s land-area, we can only start to imagine the total damage. On one hand, power generation units and fuel supplies have been battered and on the other, the huge losses in crops and livestock weigh heavy on our agrarian economy. To top things off, governmental neglect has been utterly baffling. Not only is there absolutely no crisis management strategy on ground, there also seem to be no economic policies ...

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