This is why I Teach For Pakistan
Look closely; there seems nothing substantially wrong with this picture, just a little 6 year-old staring out of the window. But what if I tell you the very thing that is disturbing about this picture is this kid staring out of the window.
Look at this cute kid looking out of the window with such intent. He seems so captivated by what he is staring at outside that he didn’t even realize when I took his picture. In that moment something bothered me so much that I decided to capture this moment and reflect upon it with all of you out there.
Look closely; there seems nothing substantially wrong with this picture, just a little 6 year-old staring out of the window. But what if I tell you the very thing that is disturbing about this picture is this kid staring out of the window. Meet Shehzad, 6 year old 2nd grader, who’s more interested in what is happening out of the classroom than what is happening inside. Isn’t it alarming?
Shehzad and majority of the kids that belong to the low income group are left with no other option but to go to government schools for education. For the reason that, this might be their only chance, however insignificant it may be, to a comparatively better life. But unfortunately majority of these students and their families have been wronged. They sent their kids to government school trusting them to provide their students the best of education as it is their responsibility. Alas! That is certainly not what is happening.
Blame it on the incompetent hiring system of the government or lack of check and balance from the education ministry, millions of Shehzads couldn’t become what they dreamt to be and millions will not be able to. According to the research 87% of third graders in Pakistan, cannot read in any language then imagine how are they are graduating from school every year?
From where you are, looking at the deplorable situation in Pakistan it seems like there is no end to this misery and there is nothing that we can do to help Shehzad. But from where I stand, I see hope. I see 10 years from today Shehzad worrying about whether he should go to LUMS or IBA for bachelors or should he check out the Media Science program at SZABIST, just too many options for him to choose from. Sounds uplifting right?
The reason why I am so optimistic and sure that the same fate will never befall upon Shehzad is because of the organization I chose to become a part of 8 months ago. I am Tooba Hatif and I am 2014 fellow at Teach for Pakistan. I have been placed in an underprivileged government school in Karachi for two years. In these two years I, along with 72 other fellows, will be working toward eliminating education in-equity and bridging the achievement gap for hundreds of Shehzads.
Being a fellow, in my classroom, it is my topmost priority that no matter what is happening outside of the classroom, my students remain focused and invested in the learning and outside it is my responsibility to provide them the access of and opportunity that will ensure they will achieve their dreams.
Shehzad will be joining a Fellow lead classroom this year in April. The reason why I can predict he will have a better life path in future is because I know he will be under supervision of a teacher who believes that ‘one day all children in Pakistan’ will become what they want to be. Despite of all the negativity, I am sure Shehzad will find his way out with the help of the guidance and quality education that is his birth right.
You too can help students like Shehzad by applying for the fellowship or you can also get in touch with the fellows working in Karachi and Lahore to learn from their experience about the wonders of fellowship. For details visit http://www.iteachforpakistan.org