YES program loves it when alumni reach out with updates on their lives. Recently, one of the very first Pakistani YES students to go on program (and the first one from Lahore!), Aneeqa Suhail, updated us on what she is up to and how YES program influenced her life trajectory. Now, Aneeqa is a PhD student pursuing her dream of promoting quality education, conducting critical research, becoming a teacher of excellence, and further empowering human capital. In the above photo, Aneeqa is with eminent professionals from the industry at University of Central Punajb Pakistan.
By Aneeqa Suhail, (YES 2004-2005, Pakistan, hosted by Ayusa in Lancaster, PA)
I was fortunate to get the opportunity to study at Hempfield High School, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA on a YES scholarship. The school system in the U.S. along with modern culture and frequent interaction with fellow students and teachers in a different environment from my home country completely changed my perception and understanding of learning and quality education. In Hempfield High School, the curriculum was based on student’s personal involvement, research and improvement of creative learning rather than being dependent on bookish information and cramming. There I was able to evaluate the difference of education and quality education. I also learnt the importance of research and thinking out of box at all levels. Seeing the importance of education and respect for the teacher in the United States I had developed a strong passion to become a teacher. This was further strengthened after I joined Kinnaird College. My family also encouraged me to opt teaching as a career. Later on this decision became a reality and today being a PhD research scholar I certainly give credit to YES for playing a major role in changing my life. It was my desire to get higher education and impart my experience and knowledge to the younger generations of Pakistan through teaching and research. I truly believe that the change in mindset, economy, social values, and bringing justice to the suffering communities would only be possible through quality education.
I always believed in and was committed to promote quality education. In my view, the biggest challenge that youth faces today is quality education. In our academic institution, we are building followers rather than leaders. Students are not encouraged to share their creativity. There is a huge gap between academia and industry. Students lack soft skills and there is no grooming and career counseling provided to them.
To overcome this challenge, quality education must be provided from the grass root level. The syllabus should be harmonious and balanced for every student living in Pakistan till high school to enjoy equal opportunities. Emphasis should be given to problem-solving and creative thinking.
Furthermore, career counseling must be provided in every academic institution so that youth could identify their creative abilities and try to find other opportunities. The subjects on enhancing moral values, social responsibilities including traffic awareness, moral values, thoughtfulness and helpfulness should be introduced from primary class. Religious and ethnic acceptance must be taught in the institutions as well as at home. The grades should carry marks for soft skills as well. We have to learn and teach discipline if we really want to grow fast. No nation without having tolerance, positive attitude and discipline can move forward in this era of globalization and competence.
In my opinion, the teacher has a great role in developing and grooming young minds. However, the teacher must have right skills to pass on. Therefore, I am pursuing my PhD on scholarship in Belgium. My future goal is to further enhance my skills and knowledge to become a better facilitator. I also wish to bring a positive change in the learning process by doing extensive research to further empower the human capital. Research opens new horizons broadens understanding and is the need of the hour. People and organizations which are contributing to research & development are truly progressing in every field. I would like to assist students to do quality research to empower society. Through research, I want to contribute to bring positive change in my field both academically and practically by providing a solution to the public sector to improve their service delivery and become a better welfare state. Today when I am able to pursue my dream, I can only thank the YES program for giving me that ONE precious year which has given me tremendous opportunities to further strengthen my skills, potentials and capabilities. YES has given me direction, vision and confidence to live up to my dreams.