Education delivers a huge dividend

Asmat Kakar

I was born in Killa Saifullah but studied in Loralai, Lahore and London. My struggle for a quality education began when I was in 6th grade. As my home-town had a school without any infrastructure and trained teachers; mostly parents preferred labour or religious education for their children instead of modern and skill based education. I saw my age-fellows, who were rich enough to afford quality education in other cities of Pakistan. I always aspired to be like them, I wanted to get quality education. But I feared that my father would not afford and allow me to undertake studies in other city. I did not share my desire with the family and it increased my motivation and commitment towards studies.

One day, a well-known teacher of my home-town, Mr. Rehmat Kakar Sahib asked a few students to purchase prospectus of the Balochistan Residential College (BRC), Loralai, aone of the finest institutions in the province. I also wished to get admission in BRC Loralai. Without telling my family I collected scrap from home and sold it in a scrap shop for purchasing the prospectus. I was selected through an entry test. Mr. Rehmat Kakar Sahib struggled hard to convince my father to allow me to move to Loralai for pursuing my education. It was a turning point in my educational career; I worked hard and secured the 13th position in the Secondary School Certificate Examinations in the whole province of Balochistan. After the SSC, the desire for more quality education led me to Lahore and get admission in one of the leading University in Pakistan, Government College University. Here I completed my Bachelor degree in History through Higher Education Commission’s scholarship “Provision of Higher Education Opportunities to the Students of Balochistan-FATA”.

With that foundation, I was able to get a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Development with focus on Education Policy, Reforms and Financing from the London School of Economics and Political Science with financial support from the school and Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK. This has further enabled me to earn enough to support my family and also develop a vision and passion of working for the people who live through poverty.

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As I passed through such phase struggling to get education, I can realise how important it is for marginalized people to improve their lives through education. My academic pursuits inspired and convinced my family members and other students who left their home-town to get admission in leading schools in Lahore. Moreover, my selection as a Global UGRAD Fellow to the USA has substantially increased the interest of people around me who come to discuss the education of their children with me.

Many people of my district have still been unable to come to terms with or understand the fact that the son of a driver has reached this status. This is because people are still unable to appreciate that realising the potential their children through education can help them get out of poverty. When people internalise the fact that children can’t reach or compete with children of well-off backgrounds then it becomes difficult to harness their potential for their socioeconomic development.

I believe that through education we can make a difference in the life of a common man. I also believe that through the provision of equal opportunities of quality education to deprived people can change their social and economic state. Social scientists and international organisations are of the view that access to high quality primary education can make a substantial and enduring difference to the lives of children living in poverty. Education is a great equaliser, increases access to high education and productivity, resulting in higher economic gains and social mobility. Education can help break the cycle of poverty and bring about socio-economic upward mobility.

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