In late December, we hosted visitors at Zahoor School - the pilot school of Khud’s self-learning initiative (on the outskirts of Lahore). The background of our visitors was wide ranging: bankers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, architects and moms. Some local Lahoris, others from as near as Islamabad - others all the way from Dubai and New York.
It was a great opportunity for us to not only share the great progress that we have made but also get their thoughts, suggestions and counsel on how to improve our approach and pedagogy. Moreover, the event helped us in connecting these children with outsiders. The children were very excited to meet and interact with people with whom normally they would never get the chance.
The conversation was started by Khud's founder Salahuddin Khawaja - he shared how he was inspired by the work of educationist and TED-Talk winner Dr Sugata Mitra in India and across numerous countries in the third world. Salahuddin highlighted the troubled state of affairs in education sector of Pakistan, in summary:
- 146 (out of 187) UN Education Index
- 25 Million Children are not in school
- 1.4 Million Teachers are needed
(Source: Alif Ailaan's great work on the Pakistan's Education Crises.)
Khud is trying to tackle this crises head-on. In: Self-Learning, Technology and Inherent Curiosity. Out: Dogmatic, rote memorization.
Then it was the children's turn. Those that have been following Khud will recall we asked the children to build presentations using cloud based service Haiku Decks. The topics we posed:
- What is Success?
- What is Google?
- What is Wordpress?
- What is Great Art?
Most of these children 1 year ago did not know what the Internet was. Slowly they chipped away and were able to create the topical presentations with limited guidance.
(Presentations was just the start of our innovative pedagogy, so much more to come: video editing, coding, design etc.)
The conversation then shifted to the visitors sharing their take on success. Sohail Khan of StormHarbor shared "To attain success you have to keep trying … and remember respect is king!" Naveed Khalid Chowdhary of Medipak encouraged empathy as a key attribute and said that, “It is human nature that giving feels better than taking … touching peoples live is very important." Abid Imam, a Pakistani lawyer and politician said, “The path to success is different for everyone” and more importantly, as Shahzad Ali of Goldman Sachs put it, "Failure is in the path to success and that is completely OK."
The visitors stressed that success is not something that can be quantified and should not only be look through a monetary lens. Rather, success is something that gives you peace and makes you feel content with your life. The visitors also encouraged the young learners to dream big and take risks in their life.
All in all was a great visit where both the students and visitors learned from each other. If you are ever in Lahore and are interested in paying us a visit, drop us a line.