Hailing from Chitral in Northern Pakistan, Noor Shamsuddin is a graduate of AKU-IED’s Master of Education (MEd) programme. He graduated in 2016 with a specialisation in Teacher Education (social studies). In September 2021, Noor prepares to embarks on yet another exciting academic journey as he begins his doctoral studies at Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education, Kazakhstan, on full scholarship.
We sat down with Noor, as he talked us through his time as a student at AKU and how his academic journey has been impacted by his experience at AKU.
What were some of your most memorable moments as a student at AKU’s Institute for Educational Development?
My time at AKU-IED feels like a dream - one that was punctuated by enlightenment, capacity building, universal ethics as reflected in the AKU logo/seal, and excellent opportunities to socialise and network.
Ofcourse, that dream also featured some nightmare moments i.e. assignment and presentation deadlines, developing reflective journals, preparing for proposal defence and above all writing our theses within the speculated time. Yet through all of it, we had solutions to counter any of the pressures we faced: those no-reason treats from friends to calm our nerves, selfies for social media and WhatsApp groups, outings with classmates, deep conversations with our faculty and student counsellor, University gatherings and so much more.
The culmination of those moments was when the sweet notes of AKU’s Convocation music reached our ears as we walked in the academic procession to receive our degrees. Ah, those good old days!
What has the journey been like since your graduation?
My exposure at AKU-IED helped me two-fold. First, it enhanced my sense of curiosity for learning and secondly, it gave me the confidence to explore pathways leading to different opportunities within and outside my organization.
After graduating from AKU, I was able to tackle my professional responsibilities with renewed vigour and a defined sense of purpose. Infact, just 3-years after completing my MEd, I successfully completed an MPhil in Education in Leadership and Management from Virtual University, Pakistan.
Shortly after that, I was fortunate enough to experience an advancement in my career as I was named Vice Principal of Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Sherqilla with Aga Khan Education Services, Pakistan in Gilgit-Baltistan.
How do you feel now as you prepare for your doctoral studies?
Right now, I am between a state of excitement and extreme nervousness! Yet, the more I think about it, I would have to say that my previous academic experiences have prepared me quite well for the commitment needed to complete my doctoral studies. So, I am eager to begin, and genuinely looking forward to developing the mindset and skills required to excel in my PhD studies, during which I hope to focus my research on Peace Education.
Do you have any advice for current students and your fellow alumni?
To the current students: Make the most of your time at AKU-IED! Your faculty, fellow students, seniors, and other colleagues at IED will play a key role in enhancing your theoretical knowledge, practical skills and all-round development, into an education professional. Be sure to take the time out to listen, learn, and even walk a mile in their shoes!
To my fellow alumni: Challenge yourself to be a better version of yourself on a daily basis. Use every opportunity available to implement what you have learned during your time at AKU-IED and be sure to always pay it forward. Through all of it, let’s make our alma mater proud!