From Kech to Karachi: Journey of an MEd Student
Mehnaz Bashir is a Science teacher from a secondary school in Kech, Makran, a division of Balochistan province. She came to know about scholarships offered under the Strengthening Teacher Education in Pakistan (STEP) project through a programme on a local radio channel. Mehnaz applied for the programme and successfully qualified for an admission.
Makran division is one of the remotest regions of Balochistan. Despite limited opportunities for female education, Mehnaz shares that women in her district are highly motivated to develop themselves professionally, however due to lack of opportunities in higher education they are unable to continue their studies.
“As a secondary school teacher, I was always in search of an opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge to grow professionally.”
Moving from Kech to Karachi was not an easy decision since Mehnaz is married and has two young children. However, she was encouraged by her husband and parents to pursue further studies. Her two children, aged six and four, are being cared for by the family while she studies at AKU-IED.
“After joining AKU-IED I learnt about the concepts of ‘reflection’ and ‘critical thinking’, which have changed my way of thinking. I look at things and processes critically and am able to make decisions in a much better way.”
Mehnaz is currently in the first year of her MEd in educational leadership and management. She highly rates the stimulating and conducive learning environment of AKU-IED. She particularly mentions the caring and safe environment provided to female student.
“Student life at AKU-IED is quite different from other educational institutions offering teacher education programmes. We have a diverse student body that allows us to learn to respect each other’s ideas and learn from each other’s experiences of working in different cultural contexts. We also get ample learning opportunities each day from our course facilitators.”
After completing MEd, she aspires to promote women’s education and leadership in her region and bring about positive changes in her school, such as encouraging teachers’ regularity, develop awareness of performance-based appraisal of teachers and school-based professional development.