by Sharif Khan (Faculty PDCN – Gilgit)
In 2006 I was able to compete for M.Ed 2006 at AKU-IED. We were supposed to join Aga Khan University Centre of English Language (AKU-CEL) at the main campus as a compulsory course before the commencement of two years M.Ed course. The objective of that course was to familiarize us with academic writing and the American Psychological Association (APA) style of referencing. Our fellows were 35 Course Participants (CPs) from various parts of the developing world such as Kenya, Zanzibar, Syria, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Kirghiz Republic and from the remote areas of Pakistan such as Northern Areas, NWFP -Chitral, Makran Division, Noshki –Quetta -Blochistan, Hafiz Abad-Punjab, Thatta and Khairpur- Sind.
Most of the CPs from East African countries comparably were confident at English with their good schooling background, while the participants from Noshki Hafizabad and Quetta were also good at English. The rest, including me, were in great trouble and were struggling for survival. However, after the two months course, I got little confidence and hope for the good start of my M.Ed class in October 2006.
During the first semester all my colleagues except the few were totally disturbed because of the inquiry based teaching and learning and the pressure of academic writing. At the end of the first semester, I had suffered in a great trouble, as my two years old son suffered in serious illness and was hospitalized in Karachi for two months. One can imagine the tough schedule of AKU-IED and the torture of a dear one staying at a hospital, struggling between life and death. During the day times I attended my M.Ed class at AKU-IED and submitted all the required academic papers including the verbal presentations in many intervals while at night I attended my son at the hospital.
After two months I suffered in a trauma, having lostt my beloved son Jan Sher Khan, at AKU hospital. As usual I took his dead body to my native village and stayed there till the seventh day. Afterwards I went back to AKU-IED for the continuation of my M.ED course. My facilitators were shocked on the tragic demise of my son but there were no concessions or comprises on my academic assessment. My colleagues were supportive but they were supposed to struggle for their own survival. I was totally disturbed because of the trauma and the tough academic activities.
I was thinking to escape from the scene, not seeing any hope under those circumstances, but thanks to one of my senior M.Ed colleague who forwarded the reflection of Molana Hazir Imam (MHI). I read it thoroughly and found many points empathetic. It helped me regain the zeal for moving on in my life despite of the tragedy.
With that reflection ( attached below) and the kind support from my parents, brothers, kith and kin, I was able to successfully complete the two years M.Ed program. Those who have gone through the process of research and rigorous process of formative assessment can imagine the situation. Luckily, I got degree from the University Chancellor His Highness The Aga Khan in December 2006, during the convocation. Thus, I was able to reach to my destination because of the power of reflection of a role model.
Click on the link below to read the speech of His Highness the Aga Khan that helped the writer in troubling times.