Tag Archives: teacher

Inside the Lahore High Court (1)


By Farkhanda Qaiser

After having seen huge courtrooms in dramas and movies, I expected the Lahore High Court to be much like that. However I was in for alot of surprises when I entered this place for the first time in my life today. The occasion was the hearing of the YDA (Young Doctors’ Association) case in Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan’s court.

Lahore High Court

Despite the fact that I reached the courtroom as early as 9 AM, it was jam packed. Mostly the audience consisted of young doctors wearing their white overalls whereas lawyers struggled to find a vacant seat in this vibrant crowd. The room itself was a very small one with only 3 rows of chairs at the back for the audience so most of the people were standing shoulder to shoulder in the immense heat of July. In the center was a round table with chairs for the lawyers whose cases were to be heard that day. The table was littered with piles of legal documents and law books. And in the front of this all was the podium on which the Esteemed Judge was to take his place anytime soon. We were all waiting with abated breaths for the case to start. Some of the House Officers sitting with me were from Ganga Ram Hospital and were very vociferous about their support for YDA. Being a Third Year medical student, I probably was the youngest observer in that courtroom. However my spirits were quite high and I was very excited about this little ‘adventure’ of mine.

While we were still discussing the doctors’ strike and the Punjab government’s unprecedented brutal crackdown, suddenly the lawyers sitting in front of us rose up from their seats. As we were quite unaware about the protocol of a courtroom so we were very surprised at this gesture. Then we realized that the Respected Judge had arrived and the lawyers were showing their respect by giving him a standing ovation. Somehow it reminded me of my school days when we used to stand up just like this on the arrival of our teachers to classrooms. But now the scenario was diametrically opposite. The students had been replaced by well-versed solicitors and the teacher was the Judge in whose hands lay the decision of many lives and deaths.

Once the Honorable Judge was seated, the official proceedings started…

To be Continued…

Reforms in Pakistani Education System


By Farkhanda Qaiser

It is high time that reforms were brought about in our education system which is deteriorating day by day. Reforms that affect the multitude instead of just benefiting the selected few who acquire higher education in universities. After all we are a third world country whose majority lives below the poverty line -people who earn less than one dollar a day. For such people, education comes last in their list of priorities. Nevertheless ,if they enroll their children in a government school, what do they get? Adults who are not capable of applying their knowledge to everyday life. Who’s the culprit? The Government? Technically incorrect textbooks? Rote learning system? Teachers?

As far as I think, it is a combination of all these factors that have crippled our education system.

First, I would talk about the role of the government, who needs to understand that augmenting the education budget is not a solution to our problems. What we need is a policy change that includes conceptual based teaching instead of rote learning, revised and updated textbooks and a fair paper checking system.

In order to revolutionize the learning process, it has to be ensured that knowledge is imparted to the young brains instead of asking them to cram the textbooks. In fact the basic concept of a particular subject should be taught in such a manner that students are able to relate to and apply them in their daily life.

Let’s take the example of English language taught as a subject in our local schools. Students are required to learn essays from guide books, memorize short stories from the textbook and translate a few passages into urdu. The result is that they are incapable of speaking or writing a single grammatically correct sentence let alone write essays or stories on their own.

Thus the approach to learn a foreign language has to be changed. Students should be encouraged to converse in English during school hours. They should be given unseen comprehension passages in exams. A reading culture has to be developed in which students are encouraged to read urdu and English literary books. Thus making them capable of creative writing and thinking instead of indulging in plagiarism.

Here, an important measure to be taken is to update existing school and college libraries and build new public libraries. Sadly the public libraries are almost non-existent in Lahore unless you count Quaid-e-Azam Library which requires its members to possess a master’s degree and Children Complex Library for children up to 14 years and not more. Where does this leave people like me who are more than 14 years old but have not yet reached the masters level? This is definitely a point for the government to ponder on.

Moreover, the local textbooks are sometimes technically incorrect and outdated especially those of science. The reason being that the world at large is progressing rapidly in science and technology whereas nobody bothers to update these books.

In addition to this, we are told by our teachers that the Matric/FSc board exams are unfairly checked. To the extent that the examiners award marks merely on how neatly and primly headed the paper is without reading the content at all.

This has to be changed so that proper mark schemes are made and competent teachers are enforced on paper checking duties thereby ensuring fair results. Likewise students should also be given the right to challenge their marks and evaluation if they feel that injustice has been done to them.

In short the positive points of the GCE system should be adopted which in my eyes is the best except the fact that urdu is not given much attention. For that the Matric/FSc urdu syllabus-after a few modifications-can be taken up.

Now coming to the second major culprit of our crippled education system-Teachers.

Majority of teachers in government schools and colleges show a cavalier attitude towards students. They teach much better at academies than in colleges thereby forcing students to take additional evening tuitions. This largely increases the burden on the poor children who are driven as a yoyo from one educational institution to another till they are mentally and physically exhausted.

Add to this the teachers’ non committal attitude when they are asked questions. They thoroughly discourage this particular habit, possibly to hide their inefficiency and inadequate knowledge of the supposedly ‘mastered’ subject. Ultimately this results in the students being shy and confused. They are not then properly equipped to face the practical world as opposed to the products of private institutions, who surpass them during job interviews and other competitive examinations.

Therefore the teachers need to enhance their knowledge according to international standards and attend teacher training workshops to make learning a fun experience rather than the drab and dull one that it is now. This definitely includes encouraging the spirit of inquiry as one of its postulates.

Another common problem is the rude and immoral language used by teachers especially male ones in academies. They should realize that they are a source of inspiration for students who are actively absorbing every action of theirs like a sponge. Thus such negative attitude should be discontinued immediately. These spiritual parents of ours should realize that teaching is a noble art that requires commitment and sincerity to produce fruitful results.

In the end, I reach the conclusion that once our education system has been modified by the collective efforts of the government and teachers, it will finally start being beneficial to Pakistan.


The Traits of a Successful Nation Episode 2: Conscience


By Farkhanda Qaiser

On this blessed night – Laila tul Qadar – the 27th of Ramazan, I sit down in front of my laptop and endeavor to spread whatever little I’ve learnt from life’s lessons.

Allah says in the Holy Quran (I tried looking for the exact verse but couldn’t find it so if any of you know which Surah and Ayah it is, you’re welcome to share it) and here is the gist of it:

They have eyes but they do not see, they have ears but they do not hear because their hearts have been sealed off.

So however much I might blog or cry myself hoarse about the traits of successful nations, if you do not wish to learn and change yourselves, then it’s all in vain. So the point remains, it’s YOU who can decide whether you want to change or not. You are guarding your gate of change and only you have the key to it. No motivational speaker, no scholar, no teacher, no parents and no friends can make you take that step. It’s solely in your power.


                                            THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘I’

Here is a joke that you might have heard but probably missed out the lesson in it.

Two friends, Santa and Bunta went to give a job interview. Santa was the genius one who was pretty much confident about himself. Bunta was the average slacker who was too scared of the unknown so he asked Santa to tell him all answers after his interview. Santa, being the kind friend, agreed.

Santa’s interview starts:

Question no. 1: When was your country born?

Santa: The struggle started in 1857 and was completed by 1947.

Question no. 2: Who’s your Prime Minister?

Santa: Changes everyday but nowadays its Vajpayee.

Question no 3:  What is the reason for high birth rate inIndia?

Santa: Research is going on, when I’ll know, I’ll tell you.

Perfect interview ends and Santa comes out, tells all answers to Bunta as promised.

Bunta’s interview starts:

Question no. 1: When were you born?

Bunta: The struggle started in 1857 and completed by 1947.

Question no. 2: Who’s your father?

Bunta: Changes everyday but nowadays its Vajpayee.

Question no. 3: Are you insane? What are you saying?

Bunta: Research is going on, when I’ll know, I’ll tell you.

Disastrous interview ends.

So why did Bunta fail to pass the interview? He tried to copy somebody else’s answers to his life. But that’s not how it goes. No one has your life answers. No one can tell you what to do that’ll make your life perfect. You are the only one who knows that!

It’s said that when Allah was making this earth, he asked the angels that where I should hide the life secrets. Angels said, either high up in the skies or deep down in the oceans. To that, Allah replied, no the human being is really clever, he’ll dig out the answers from these far off places. So instead the Almighty hid the life secrets in a person’s heart. Just as Iqbal says,

Apney mann main dub kay pa ja suragh-e-zindagi

Tu agar mera nahi banta, na ban, apna tou bann


And then there’s the whole concept of ‘khudi’ that Iqbal explains but lets leave that for another time.

So the importance of I is evident from the fact that even in the aero plane, when they’re giving the security instructions about wearing the oxygen mask in case of low atmospheric pressure, they emphasize upon the fact that first you should wear the mask yourself and only then move on to helping others.

Moreover, even in the most selfless statement that you can make, in which you’re laying down your heart for someone in which you say,I Love You to someone, you say I first!

So once you’ve learnt the great significance that you have in deciding the course that your life takes and once you have mustered up the will and courage to take your life to greater heights and once your eyes and ears are open then you start learning.

As it’s said, ‘When the student is ready, then the master appears.’


In this second of series of blogs where we’re trying to learn the traits of successful nations from countries like Japan which survived the nuclear blasts and emerged to become one of the biggest economies of the world, we’ll talk about the conscience of a nation!

Following the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami of March 11 this year, there was an accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that led to power failure in some part of the country. This power failure had occurred inJapanafter 40 years. (Well yes, the last power failure inPakistanwas probably just a few minutes ago) However the way that people reacted to this failure was simply remarkable. People who were shopping in malls and had picked up stuff from the shelves, kept the stuff back and silently moved out of the shops. This is called ‘conscience’ of a nation.

We sure are lacking in it. We have grown so used to doing illegal stuff that it no longer seems wrong.

We cheat in exams. So what? Everyone does it.

We break traffic rules. So what? I’m getting late for office

We litter around in public places. So what? The sweeper will pick up the stuff anyway.

We are hardly ever punctual for our meetings. So what? No one is on time.

We don’t use environment friendly fuels in automobiles. So what? Am I responsible for the entire planet?

We raise prices during Ramazan and Eid. So what? This is the best time for earning profits.

We sell poor stuff for higher prices. So what? The customer must know the difference himself.

We accept not-properly-titled receipts from shopkeepers. So what? The government must keep a check on all retailers not paying taxes, why do I bother?

We pick up random stuff from the shelves in shop and don’t return them on their proper places. So what? The shopkeepers can sort them out, I don’t have time.

We steal electricity. So what? Electricity is a national resource and public property, I’m not stealing it.

Why do we not bother about all these issues?

Oh, as if one person doing his responsibility will make a difference.

If I tell a shopkeeper to give me a proper receipt or else I won’t purchase from his shop and even if he does so, what difference would that have made? The government will get only a small amount of tax from my receipt. All other thousands of customers who come and go daily and don’t ask for titled receipts, theirs was a larger amount that didn’t go into tax. Hah! There you go! No use doing this activity and besides our government is corrupt anyway. Whatever tax we give them to be spent on the country, they use it to buy expensive sports cars and import huge pets from abroad. So we’d rather not give any tax at all.

Well, we should be doing our part of the deal and be satisfied that we are listening to our conscience and doing the right thing. Such behavior may impress others and you never know how many followers you might have. Moreover, you have NO right to blame the government when you yourself are not fulfilling your responsibility!

So it all boils down to the fact that you must take a step in the right direction not caring whether it’s enough or not. You must listen to the call of your conscience and be content that you’re doing the right thing. After all a society is made of individuals and if every individual starts doing this then we sure will have a revolution in Pakistan!

Signing off,

Remember me in your prayers especially that I and all my fellow medical students pass in our Profs. Ameen!

P.S. The major content of the blog is taken from the motivational session ‘Magic with Medicine‘ by Umair Jaliawala held on 1st August 2011 in KEMU Auditorium, Lahore.